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The number one cause of cart abandonment is hidden delivery costs at the checkout.

A study conducted in 2013 by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, found that 77% of online shoppers have abandoned their basket in the past year, with 53% citing unacceptably high delivery costs as the main reason for bailing.

A newer study from this year by Hubspot claims that the average checkout abandonment rate is 67.4%, so an improvement on two years ago but the majority of abandoners still cite hidden delivery charges as the main reason for cart abandonment. 

It seems that checkout abandonment is still very much linked to nasty delivery surprises

Many giants of ecommerce offer free shipping without a minimum spend, however many others can’t swallow the costs of this.

However if shipping costs and options are made completely transparent as early as possible in the customer journey, this will certainly prevent a lot of unpleasant surprises and abandoned carts.

How best to present this information? Here are 12 excellent ways that ecommerce stores display their shipping information.

I originally wrote this guide last year and it has become somewhat out of date now, so this is a revised and updated version of that previously published post


We may as well start at the most obvious place…

It’s clear in bold and all-caps that Amazon offers free delivery almost across the board. 

I’m an Amazon Prime member, so I’m fully aware I’ll be able to receive eligible goods with free next-day delivery. However this also tells me I’m eligible for day of release delivery.

For non pre-orders Amazon provides further options for delivery once the item has been added to the basket and an address has been selected.

Free delivery is automatically selected, other options for express delivery and evening delivery are then offered with the price being the first thing you see and respective delivery times highlighted in green.


As Graham Charlton mentioned in 13 best practice lessons from AO.com, AO.com displays its free delivery proposition very effectively and prominently. On every page, it shows free delivery at the top of the page… 

As well as in search results and on product pages. 

It also offers delivery options so that users can have items shipped within a nominated time slot. 

Offering a range of options and prices ensures that AO.com covers most customer concerns around delivery. Even more impressively is that every single one of these dates carries no extra cost, even ‘next day’.


BrewDog just has one standard flat shipping cost, however it does encourage you to maximise this by adding up to 24 items in the cart for the same shipping price.

BrewDog visually represents this when you add an item to the cart with a case that looks desperate to be filled up and a reminder to take advantage of the £5 flat rate.


Shipping costs don’t appear until after you’ve added items to your basket, although you can find delivery information before this point within the ‘help’ section. 

The estimated shipping amount in the cart is clear enough and certainly the total is too.

Perhaps most impressively that at the above point, Threadless knew I was an international customer and did in fact give me an accurate total. Within the checkout process, faster options for delivery are clearly defined with the cheapest automatically chosen.


A wealth of delivery options are offered by ASOS here on one page, making it abundantly clear before you’ve added anything to a basket what you can expect when it comes to completing your purchase.

ASOS is also pushing its Premier service at the top of the page, which for £9.99 gets you one year’s nominated day delivery and collections for returns. Compared to some of the other deals, if you’re a regular customer this makes a lot of sense.


Hobbycraft ensures visitors are completely aware of all its customer service propositions clearly at the top of the homepage. This helpfully answers many questions that a new visitor may have when they arrive on site.

These messages also remain when exploring search results and on the product pages so its not just visitors to the homepage who see it.


Over at Schuh, you’re told immediately on the homepage that free and premium delivery options are available.

Then within the product page, before you’ve gone through checkout or even added an item to a basket, you’re told exactly how much each of the many delivery options costs.

I’m surprised Schuh doesn’t mention its free standard delivery and click and collect service on the home page as well.


Waterstone’s makes its best shipping deal plainly visible on the homepage, along with its handy free click and collect service. The grey boxes subtly and tastefully draw attention.

Once you’re through to the checkout you’re presented with this warning from Waterstone’s saying exactly how much more you need to spend to get free shipping.

Being as postage is £3.26, it probably works a treat in getting a customer to purchase an extra item, which could possibly equate to a half-price book.

John Lewis

The department store makes all of its shipping options plainly visible on the home page.

Then on the product page, before an item has been added to the basket, the prices for each option are presented to you in an utterly idiot-proof manner.

Simply Scuba

This excellent real-time ticking clock feature adds a sense of urgency to claiming free delivery for purchases.


Similarly this helpfully lets you know how long you have left to take advantage of next day delivery. 

Product listing pages also show the free delivery speech bubble next to eligible items.


The retailer's delivery propositions are clearly displayed right from the start under home page banner, in a suitably attention grabbing green.

Then on the product page I’m informed of every delivery option open to me, before I’ve added to basket. All of which are clearly priced in the same green text as above.

For more ecommerce best practice check out these 21 sites that are getting it right.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 8 July, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

686 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

NB: this study is specifically about checkout abandonment - i.e. it only covers abandonment after shoppers have reached the checkout and sometimes get a bad case of "sticker shock" when they see the full cost.

Looking at the whole shopping experience, delivery costs is one cause of abandonment, but it's far from #1. The difference is because the study results do not include the greater amount of cart and browse abandonment that occurs earlier while choosing products.

over 2 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Hi Christopher, thanks for the mention. I think it's a fair comment about why we don't mention other delivery services on the homepage.

Essentially, it comes down to a desire not to overwhelm the customers with service messaging. We regularly update the three messages in the banner on the homepage, our impending site redesign will give us many more homepage messaging opportunities. As an aside, next day delivery has become more important to our customers, especially since we introduce the 10pm cut-off.

We believe that we have one of the most comprehensive fulfilment offers in the market, when you include things like the reservation of store stock in 20 minutes; one of our biggest challenges is knowing how to present it clearly to customers. Choice paralysis is a real concern for us, the redesign should certainly help, but I think we'll have a lot more work to do after it, considering we still have more delivery options to introduce.

over 2 years ago


Ava Cristi, Marketing Specialist at Softship

I enjoy reading your article healthy habits for increase productivity. I learn so many things about eCommerce and shipping information.

over 2 years ago

Hazel Bolton

Hazel Bolton, Content Manager at Formisimo

I've been looking at something similar myself today (watch this space), you always hit the hot topics perfectly.

over 1 year ago

Bonnie Martin

Bonnie Martin, Owner at Zen Web Consultant

This was very interesting and useful, thank you. I'm currently working with a client whose products come with big shipping charges because of their size and weight. I'm going to include some of these tips to make sure customers are warned ahead of time that there are large shipping prices that get calculated during the checkout process.

over 1 year ago


Maggie Tolliday, Consultant at M T Consulting

You seem to have missed another reason for abandonment. It is not just delivery/shipping costs that are deal breakers, but also the cost of returns. With fashion items this is crucial as there is always the chance it doesn't fit etc. the threat of paying out for a non purchase is painful, particularly if you've already paid a delivery charge.

over 1 year ago


Ben Bowdon, Lead Strategist at Brand Labs

I personally like this Shipping page from Oransi Air Purifiers. They show the shipping turn around time for each product, in an easy to digest manner, along with an obvious Free Shipping callout that is sitewide.


over 1 year ago

Tap Analytic

Tap Analytic, Marketing lead at Tap

Simply Scuba uses timer to remind customers about the free delivery. it serves two purposes. it attracts users attention to the free delivery section and the timer makes people to revisit and reanalyze their product choices for orders.

over 1 year ago

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