Having to ship merchandise out to customers reminds me of the hassle of shaving every morning.
It’s a part of the daily routine, it’s something to be tolerated but it’s never enjoyed, and the longer you let it go, the more difficult the chore grows for the next day.
In my mind, having to ship merchandise, keep inventory on hand, box and package products, etc, is one of the reasons I feel strongly about solo operators focusing on information based business only. There is no shipping.
If you ship merchandise, you have to keep merchandise.
All of a sudden you are in the warehousing and inventory business that presents all kinds of extra manpower costs, worries and hassles.
Wouldn’t it be much better if you sold digital information that didn’t require any shipping?
Think about the ease of doing business in this scenario:
A customer visits your web site and decides to purchase your information product.
He is presented with a digital shopping cart that, with the click of a button, now holds his chosen product.
With a second click he is ready to “check out.”
He fills in a short form with his personal information and credit card number, clicks again, and his information is confirmed and sent immediately to a real time credit card processor.
Within seconds, a confirmation screen is returned to his computer showing that his purchase has been accepted.
It also contains a link that the customer can click on to download his information product.
A few seconds later an email is automatically sent to the customer’s inbox thanking him for the purchase, confirming all the details and making sure he received his product.
A second email is also sent to the business owner telling him of the purchase details as well and informing him that the money from the purchase is now sitting in his business bank account (or will be deposited there for him shortly).
All of this just took place at 1:00 a.m. in the morning and the business owner is sleeping like a baby.
The sale was made, the product was delivered to the customer, and the money was deposited into the account of the business . . . everybody’s happy and the owner never had to lift a finger!
Here’s something else to think about if you sell physical products that have to be shipped: many shopping carts are abandoned when the customer finds out how much it is going to cost him to have his desired product shipped.
Some have estimated that over 50% of all pending purchases are abandoned at check out for one reason or another. I don’t know how reliable or credible that number really is . . . but it is staggering!
But if shipping is not an issue, it stands to reason that a lot fewer carts will be abandoned and more sales will transpire.
That is a very good thing!
A recent report by Jupiter Media noted that 63% of consumers surveyed stated that excessive shipping costs were the reason they cancelled an online purchase.
If you charge excessive shipping fees (even if they accurately reflect the cost of shipping), your customers are likely to hop in the car and drive to the mall to make their purchase locally instead.
Nonetheless, if you decide to move ahead with your solo business and it includes a physical product, there are a few important guidelines we’ll share with you in another post about basic shipping practice for the online small business. Stay tuned . . .
To your online business success,