Real-time shipping quotes: Should you add them to your checkout?

Everyone loves real-time data updates from their favourite app, but if you find yourself questioning whether you truly need spontaneous and highly personalised notifications, consider how you feel the moment you get that UberEats notification when your order’s been picked up by the driver. 

It’s exciting, right?!

Data enriches our lives in so many ways (and not just when we’re notified when our food is arriving).

The average American will check their phone up to 300 times a day to stay on top of all the information and updates they have access to in real-time, and as connectivity improves, our addiction to data will only increase. 

It’s fair to say that our need for real-time information isn’t going away any time soon, but how can business owners harness its power? And are there potential cases when we shouldn’t use it?

This post will give an understanding of live data, what it means to offer real-time shipping quotes at your checkout, and how it impacts the consumer in their purchasing journey. 

 

What is real-time data and how does it apply to live-shipping?

In a nutshell, real-time data is information that is immediately available after collection. 

 

Live rates at checkout

In order to calculate the total cost of shipping, couriers often require product details (including weight) as well as the delivery address to provide a live quote. 

Below you’ll see how Decathlon manages their live-quoting experience:

Step 1:

Orders are added to the bag and the shopper is notified that shipping is calculated at checkout.

real time shipping quotes 1

 

Step 2:

Once order details are completed, the shopper is provided with two shipping options before they continue to their payment method.

real time shipping quotes 2

 

Step 3:

Once the shopper has confirmed their shipping details, the delivery cost is added to the total cost of the bag and they can complete the cart.

real time shipping quotes 3

 

 

Live shipping rates on the product page

Rebel Sport removes a few steps mentioned above and provides shipping rates directly on the product page while the shopper is browsing. 

This gives the shopper an immediate understanding of how much shipping will cost as well as the amount of time it will take to deliver the items. 

First, the shopper is asked to select their location in order to calculate the shipping rate:

real time shipping quotes 4

Once a location is selection, the shopper has access to a variety of options available for that area:

real time shipping quotes 5

 

 

Consider this first…

Nine times out of ten, both businesses and customers are happy with the convenience provided by flat and standard shipping rates. Flat rates don’t drastically change depending on product weight or shipping location, and therefore are the preferred shipping method for everyone involved.

Live rates are pulled directly from the courier and feed through the shopping cart into the customer’s checkout or depending on the eCommerce platform used, into the product page. 

The courier rates are automatically calculated based on what the customer ordered and the distance the order has to travel. Although live quoting works really well for small items shipped within short distances, not maintaining control over the shipping rates you offer at checkout might be harmful if you ship big and bulky items across long distances. 

For example: A real-time shipping quote for a large ottoman being shipped from Sydney to Perth might equal or even exceed the total cost of the item itself. 

If you’re considering offering live shipping rates at the checkout, ensure that you won’t be giving customers a delivery shock during cart completion. Once you can confirm this, you’re ready for the next step: seeing whether or not you meet the requirements for real-time shipping quotes.

 

 

What it will do

It gives your customer more choice

Coupling live-shipping rates with free or flat delivery options give customers more choice at the checkout. Real-time shipping quotes that are available on the product page offers a tangible experience that isn’t possible through alternative digital shopping experiences. When customers are seriously considering adding your products to their cart, live shipping takes them one step further in the buyer journey.

It can save shipping costs for certain areas

If a lot of your deliveries are sent within metro areas you’ll be able to offer cheaper shipping alternatives at checkout. However, you’ll often find that rural shipping quotes are more expensive.

 

It works best if you have an eCommerce platform

Only a few eCommerce platforms on the market offer the ability to serve real-time shipping quotes. But that’s ok, we know which ones have that ability:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento 2

 

It’s more transparent

There’s nothing customers hate more than hidden delivery fees, and live shipping rates are your biggest weapon to combating shipping shock. Even if your real-time shipping quotes are higher than your flat rate, it’s still more transparent and informs the customer exactly what they’re paying for. 

 

 

What it won’t do

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to shipping

In most cases, live quoting works really well. But in other cases, it can contribute negatively to abandoned carts. If you get a lot of orders from rural areas or even overseas, live quoting but not be the best option for your customers. 

 

It doesn’t always provide the fastest or cheapest shipping option

Depending on what you sell and where you ship to, live quoting won’t always provide the fastest or cheapest shipping option for your customers. Research has shown that the main cart abandonment reasons are caused by expensive or slow shipping. If you’re concerned about this, consider setting up a flat rate shipping rate in addition to your real-time shipping quotes. 

 

It can be tricky to set up

Without an eligible eCommerce platform and a shipping solution like Shippit, it wouldn’t be possible to offer real-time shipping quotes at checkout. Even if you use Shopify or BigCommerce, if you don’t have a shipping solution to power your shipping rates you’ll lose a lot of the control you need behind the scenes when using live quotes. 

 

 

The wrap

Live shipping rates are quickly becoming a popular option for retailers and customers, and for good reason.

They offer customers more choice, more transparency, and a better understanding of when their items will arrive and how much shipping will cost right on the product page.

The downside is that real-time shipping quotes can be really expensive if your products are large and bulky. Additionally, if you ship to remote areas, you’ll find an increase in abandoned carts due to high shipping rates.

Want to see if real-time shipping quotes will work for you? Our solutions experts will be happy to walk you through the pros and cons to see if it’s right for your business.