For ecommerce businesses, it’s crucial to have a unified customer experience. When onboarding is intuitive but navigating the shopper portal isn’t, customers notice. When support is responsive and helpful but refunds are challenging to navigate, customers notice. When the checkout experience is seamless but shipping is confusing, customers notice.

For physical ecommerce businesses, shipping is critical to get right to ensure customers receive the products they want on the timeline—and at the price—that they expect. To win your customers over, your shipping must align with your overall customer experience so your shoppers have positive experiences with your brand. For Shopify businesses, shipping rates are determined in Shopify but other subscription checkout functionality is controlled in Recharge.

We brought in experts Chelsea Jones and Rachel Saul from industry-leading agency Chelsea & Rachel Co. to ensure your shipping setup runs smoothly. Read on to explore their insights on how to avoid common shipping pitfalls and create the best customer shipping experience possible.

Key takeaways

  • Shipping is a crucial part of your overall customer experience.
  • To keep your customers with your business, your shipping experience should be intuitive and clearly communicated.
  • For merchants with the Shopify Checkout Integration, shipping profiles are a key part of your overall DTC strategy.

Three common shipping pitfalls & how to avoid them

ISSUE #1: Setting discrepancies between first & subsequent shipments

For merchants using the Shopify Checkout Integration, your customers’ first transaction will pull in shipping settings from Shopify. Each subsequent transaction then pulls the shipping settings from Recharge. Often, brands aren’t aware of this discrepancy between their customers’ first order and second, third, fourth, and other future orders, which can cause confusion and create a negative customer experience. 

The solution: Set up both shipping profiles on a weight basis, which doesn’t change, rather than charging a flat fee, which can fluctuate.

ISSUE #2: Shipping charges for subscription vs. one-time products

Similarly to the issue above, shipping rates for subscriptions on the first shipment are pulled from Shopify, while subsequent shipping rates for subscriptions are pulled from Recharge. However, Recharge does not handle any costs for shipping one-time products—all of those rates will be pulled from Shopify.

The solution: Use a Shopify discount code for the first subscription shipment that auto applies to subscription orders. Then, ensure shipping rates are set up appropriately in Recharge so all subsequent rates are accurate.

ISSUE #3: Free shipping for subscriptions but not one-time purchases

Many brands want to provide free shipping for subscription orders but not for one-time purchases. The only solution here is to hide shipping rates in Shopify via Shopify Scripts. Note: For this to work, the merchant must be on Shopify Plus.

For example, let’s say a Shopify Plus merchant wants to offer free shipping for their subscription orders, but the first order on Shopify doesn’t have a toggle for free shipping. By selecting “If subscription product, then free shipping” in Shopify Scripts, they can eliminate the shipping fee for subscription orders but not for one-time purchases.

The importance of shipping profiles

With all the brands they work with, Chelsea and Rachel emphasize that shipping profiles are a crucial part of the overall DTC strategy. In fact, if you’re upgrading to the Shopify Checkout Integration, shipping profiles are one of the first things you should align with your customer experience.

While merchants and customers alike often assume shipping will “just work,” this critical element of logistics requires careful consideration—just like any element of your customer experience.

Finally, to provide an industry-leading shipping experience, be sure to constantly A/B test and optimize your shipping rates. They should be reevaluated constantly—not just when a problem occurs—to deliver a best-in-class experience.

All together, these efforts keep your subscribers with your business, allowing you to foster the types of long-term customer relationships that lead to higher lifetime value, greater customer satisfaction, and reduced churn.