According to the Census Bureau of the United States Commerce Department, the first quarter of 2018 saw the Internet-wide e-commerce industry make up 9.5 percent of total sales across the United States. Online shopping has continued to grow in popularity in year-on-year growth for longer than the past decade. In the first quarter of 2008, for example, e-commerce sales only totaled some 3.75 percent of total retail sales in the US. The past decade has seen e-commerce grow roughly 6.0 percent in terms of its share of retail sales.

Arguably the most substantial difference between in-person, traditional shopping and its Internet-based counterpart is that consumers aren’t able to physically touch, smell, or examine goods that they could thoroughly experience in-store; further, potential buyers can look through reviews, search for video demonstrations of such products, and goods purchased through the Internet can readily be shipped throughout the world.


Shipping isn’t free, though delivery directly to one’s door is pretty convenient

Online consumer research suggests that over one-quarter of all online shoppers1 will drop everything in their carts if they subjectively feel that shipping costs are excessive.

Many sellers online find competitive advantages by offering free shipping to their customers, especially if they order a preset minimum dollar’s worth of goods. Believe it or not, consumers are willing to pay higher totals for goods online if shipping and handling costs are free – even if two competitors’ identical goods are side-by-side!


Do not price goods lower than market value just to surprise potential customers with egregious shipping costs

It’s simply not worth it. One recent survey indicates that roughly 10 percent of online retailers that attempt to make money on high shipping costs break even, while the remaining 90 percent is split between half-and-half – 45 percent of the total group profited, whereas the other 45 percent lost money.


Offer consumers both flat-rate and weight-calculated shipping costs

Consumers love having options to choose from. Don’t ride with just USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL; rather, offer potential buyers all available options so they can decide how much they want to pay.

Further, strongly consider offering both flat-rate shipping via USPS Priority Mail, for example, and calculated-by-weight pricing. Make sure your checkout page automatically displays both costs.