Shipping costs, a significant trust element

Shipping costs are an important factor to consider for your online store. How can you increase your shopping cart with the right information about shipping costs? You can find out this and more in today's issue.


Hello, my name is Jörg Dennis Krüger, and as my Pokémon Trainer said at the beginning: 

Yes, that's right, I'm the Conversion Hacker. Welcome to the new edition of the Conversion Hacker Podcast. 

This time on the subject of shipping costs. 

Shipping costs, an extremely exciting topic! I advised a store some time ago. It's still in my consulting program and sells high-quality women's fashion. 250 a piece: dresses, blouses, pants and so on. And then all of a sudden he demanded €5 shipping costs at check-out. "So, what? "What? I spend €52 and then I'm supposed to pay €5 shipping costs? Why is that?"

There is actually only one company that I know of that can afford to charge customers who spend a lot of money with them high shipping costs on a large scale. And that's IKEA. I don't know how long they'll keep this up. But IKEA applies the same shipping cost logic in the online store as they do in the furniture store. In other words, the more you buy, the higher the shipping costs.

Well, but with this fashion provider it's of course like: "I'm supposed to buy such an expensive dress and then I'm supposed to pay €5 shipping costs?". It's a kind of backwards exit: "The user has decided to buy such an expensive dress, then I want him to pay €5 shipping costs". So then he has to make another decision to spend another €5. And a lot of people will say: "Nah, why is that?" 

So in this respect, you can accept shipping costs and they are quite fair, especially if you are selling small items of less than €30 or €40. Then the user will probably agree to pay shipping costs. However, each product should have its own limits. I would see a free shipping limit somewhere around 39, 49 € at the latest. Then shipping should also be free of charge. And of course you can mention free of charge everywhere.

"Free shipping from 49 €".

This is a really great trust element. I can point out in the shopping cart that the shipping costs will be free if you add something to it. And that way I can increase my shopping cart amount accordingly. A lot of people do that. If I have something in my shopping cart for €35 and I have the message "Add another €4 in products and you'll get free shipping". Then it's clear that the customer might only add the €4 or even €10 for more purchases, so that it really pays off. And then I get much, much more benefit from it. 

And of course I can also use the shipping costs on another level to increase my shopping cart, namely with express shipping. Because many people naturally want things quickly. I order something and realize "Oh dear, it's my birthday in three days", "Valentine's Day is coming up", whatever, I need it quickly. Then I might want to spend a little extra money to book express delivery. Depending on the product and how you send it by express, it can easily cost €17, €20, €25. If you can really guarantee 24-hour shipping.

I know this from a large adult shipper from Berlin, for example, who does it very, very well. They don't even ship with DHL, but with a smaller shipping company. And they really do deliver. If you order by 6 p.m., I think, it usually arrives the next day in the morning. It's really good, it costs a bit, but it ensures that it's there straight away. And as you've just heard, I know this because I've used it twice before. Because I said, "No, come on, I really want it at short notice". And in this respect, these extremes of "free shipping" and "spending real money on shipping" are very close to each other.

Because if someone gets something for free, they are happy. But then they might say, "Oh no, now I don't want it for free, now I'll put even more money on it because it gives me an advantage". And that's much better and can even end up being financially more or less the same. 

If you then offer the user free shipping, but then optionally express shipping. Of course, you have to describe it properly: by when the order has to be placed; how quickly you ship, etc. So that you avoid complaints and so on. And of course, express shipping costs are non-refundable. "So if you return something", dear customer, "then the express shipping costs are simply excluded, even in the case of withdrawal" (no legal advice). I always recommend taking out a protection package with a lawyer who can advise you. But the fact is that such express delivery costs are not refundable, because this is a service provided and cannot be returned. And the return costs, or the sending costs, whatever they may be, must be reimbursed.

Whatever, it's definitely a great option. So, first offer free shipping from the lowest possible level, but then offer express shipping at the end so that there is a corresponding upsell. And you have to package it nicely, you have to present it nicely. There are nice ways to do this properly, but in many cases it works really well. 

Do you have experience of this in your store, or would you like to offer it in your store? Send me another email to I'm looking forward to your feedback and input. Perhaps you have had completely different experiences. I'd love to hear about them too. If you like my podcast, please leave a review on Apple Podcast, subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or wherever so that you don't miss the next edition. And I look forward to you joining me next time.

See you then, your conversion hacker, Jörg Dennis Krüger. 

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