7 min read

How Your Shipping Strategy Can Drive Customer Loyalty

🕒 October 2, 2022 by Reham Omar - 7 min read

Today’s customers are digital natives, reflecting their expectations of e-commerce experiences. They want to buy with one click, get their package delivered in a day from stores that don’t have long checkout lines or return processes and always know what’s coming next from brands they trust. It’s no wonder that shipping is the third biggest pain point for online shoppers, following only product information and checkout processes.  

There are over millions of shoppers browsing online stores at least once a month but not making a purchase. Why? It is because, among other reasons, they are not satisfied with the shipping being offered. The pattern was recently confirmed by a Last Mile Mandate Consumer Survey conducted by FarEye, which found that 85% of customers won’t return to a retailer for another purchase if they had a bad shopping experience. Moreover, over 88% of customers will likely abandon their carts if they don’t like the delivery terms.  Shipping factors into the buying decision and, as a result, can act as a driver of customer loyalty. If you have an e-commerce store, you can leverage your shipping strategy to build a loyal customer base.

What is a Shipping Strategy?

Shipping is dispatching or sending goods from one location to another. In e-commerce, this usually means moving products between your warehouse and customers’ homes. This process usually involves services like postal carriers, freight companies or UPS.

A shipping strategy is thinking about how you’ll meet your customers’ delivery expectations and what service levels you’ll offer for domestic and international shipments. It includes how your brand will approach questions like:

  1. What shipping carriers/services you’ll use? 
  2. How will you schedule and prioritise shipments?
  3. How will you handle shipping errors/delays and communicate them to customers? 
  4. What type of shipping promotions will you offer to different customer segments? 
  5. How will you price your shipping? 

 An actionable shipping strategy can help your brand identify and prioritise key attributes of its shipping plan. In other words, it can help you plan what you want delivery to be like in terms of speed, personalisation, etc.

Importance of Shipping Strategy

Your shipping strategy is one key factor determining your success as a retailer. The quality of your customer service and the speed at which you ship the items you sell are essential for building customer loyalty.  

In a recent consumer survey, 36% of customers linked fast delivery to a positive experience, while 34% said they would connect it with low shipping costs. 

If you don’t offer fast shipping, your customers might be less likely to order from you in the future. Alternatively, if you offer free shipping but it takes too long to arrive, they may become impatient and move on to another store that provides more reliable delivery times.

The right shipping strategy can be the difference between a customer being satisfied and one leaving your store with a bad taste in their mouth.

As established already, many factors affect shipping time and cost. How quickly do customers need their items? Are you willing to absorb the additional cost of expediting orders? If so, how long will this process take? If your answer to these points is “yes,” you need to start thinking about your shipping strategy. You want to be able to ship quickly and at a reasonable cost.

How to Develop a Shipping Strategy

Here are the four things you must do to build a successful shipping strategy:

Identify Your Goals

The first thing you must do is spell out your goals. Doing that will ensure that you know what you are working towards. These goals could be free delivery, fast delivery, same-day shipping, etc.

Determine Charges

If you’re charging for shipping, you must ensure that the buyer gets value in terms of good packaging or quick delivery. If you deliver for free, you must meet at least the common minimum standard in your industry.

Assess Warehousing

A bad warehousing policy can leave your shipping team handicapped. You’ll be ill-equipped to meet your stated goals.

Find A Partner or Build In-House Capacity

To outsource shipping, you must look for a partner who can deliver on your goals. In case you want to build an in-house team for shipping, you must find out the cost involved and how to absorb it. 

Ways Shipment Strategies Can Drive Customer Loyalty

One-Click Checkout

Customers who navigate multiple pages or tabs to get to a shipping page are likely to feel frustrated. They don’t have the patience to conduct research, hunt down the best carrier and then fill out a long form to schedule a pickup. One-click checkout makes the shipping system simple, quick and easy so customers can get back to what they wanted to do in the first place.

Enhanced Shipping Notifications

Customers want to know when their package leaves your warehouse, when it arrives at their local hub, when it’s out for delivery and when it arrives at their door. That’s a lot of emails and messages, and not every brand offers that level of service. But it’s essential to do so if you want to keep customers happy and loyal. Customers want to know what’s going on with their package, and brands that offer this level of visibility are more likely to retain them as customers.

Shipping Discounts

Customers who are new to your brand will likely be willing to pay a higher price for their first purchase. However, that might not be the case when they make another purchase. If they have to pay a high cost, again and again, they may choose another brand that offers a discount. Offering a percentage off shipping for all purchases is one way to keep customers happy and coming back for more.

Flexible Shipping Options

Customers want to buy now but may not want to pay for shipping now. They may want to wait a few weeks until they have the cash to pay for their purchase. Or they may want to pick the item up in a store. A strategy allowing a wide range of shipping options will keep customers happy and loyal.

Effective Shipping Partnerships

Some companies partner with other brands to ship their goods and offer special rates to their customers. It is a great way to provide customers with a lower-cost or even free shipping option. A shipping strategy must include a list of all shipping partners and a way to track shipments shipped through these services.


Customers appreciate transparency. If you’re providing them information about the shipping of their product at every step and keep them in the loop about delays or unforeseen issues, they are less likely to be upset. Keeping them in the dark can deter them from returning to your website or buying a product from you the next time.

Bottom Line

Shipping is an integral part of every e-commerce business operation, but it can also be a major source of frustration for customers and retailers. A good shipping strategy ensures smooth sailing! Moreover, in many ways, it can promote customer loyalty. 

When buyers get products delivered without hassle, they are more likely to return to your e-commerce store and buy again. With the right tools, partnerships and approach, you can achieve seamless shipping that puts your customers at ease and drives repeat business.

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