So, it wasn’t exactly Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (“I’ve abandoned my CAAARRRRRRT!!!”), but when Jeffrey told me today that he still hadn’t bought his nephew the Fisher Price Grow to Pro Basketball hoop after two weeks of putting it off, I assumed he was being dramatic.
Jeffrey claimed to be sticker shocked from shipping cost inflation, a common reaction while shopping online. One minute, you think you know the whole price. Then — bam — you proceed to checkout, only to find that the price has shot up as much as 25%.
Was Jeff being cheap? Probably. But it’s understandable.
The truth is that online shopping has spoiled us. When Amazon ships for free — at least it feels that way if you buy into Amazon Prime — and when Zappos wants you to return those shoes (yes, really), anything less feels like a cheap plastic substitute for the real thing.
ToysRUs.com does so many things right. The product image views are clear and show multiple angles. The customer reviews are helpful and thoroughly integrated. I could go on, but the important thing — the reason they still haven’t sold Jeffrey a Fisher Price Grow to Pro Basketball hoop — is that they set a poor expectation of total cost before checkout.
Here we see Toys ‘R’ Us insisting that their price is $39.99; a price even our CEO can afford.
Sounds like a great deal!
And look at these reviews:
Wow, that’s a popular basketball hoop! You’d think he were buying an iPhone.
But when Jeffrey proceeds to checkout…
Fifteen dollars isn’t a big deal, but it’s something you’d never be asked to pay in a toy store. It’s not as though Jeff doesn’t have fifty-five dollars to spend on his nephew. [Author's Note: Jeff has reminded me that he was shown a $22 shipping fee, making the $40 toy cost over $70 after tax. This begs the question as to why we were shown different shipping charges since neither of us was asked to enter a postal code and we visited the website from the same office.] It’s just that, like you, me, and the millions of people who shop online, we’re turned off by hidden fees.
Is it believable that it costs the company $15 to ship this product? Of course. It looks big and bulky, if not heavy. Is it reasonable to expect them to ship it for less than that? No! In fact, it’s very unreasonable. But logic has very little to do with it. This is about setting the right expectation.
People rationalize buying decisions with logic, but we make buying decisions based on feelings.
As Sitebrand’s Carolyn Gardener points out,
. . . when shipping becomes a pain point due to lousy check-out procedures, strict delivery options and exorbitant fees, the odds of cart abandonment increase.
When you consider the abandonment literally squashes someone’s intent to buy, not to mention the e-store’s ability to make money, it’s a very serious issue.
Jeffrey insists that he still plans on buying the basketball hoop from toysrus.com — and I’m pretty sure he will — but let’s brainstorm some ways for e-tailers to reduce the emotional impact of shipping cost shock.
What other ways are smart e-tailers reducing shipping shock? If you have examples, please do share them in the comments.
Want to reduce cart abandonment without sticker-shocking your CFO? We can help.