Making Shipping Estimates a Little More Obvious

Back in September when we did our exhaustive shipping project on Detailed Image, one of the more interesting features was a system we developed to estimate the ship date and arrival date of the package based upon the delivery location, time of day (before or after our last shipment time), day of the week, upcoming holidays, and shipping service selected. It’s a pretty sweet system.

In the comments, Oke suggested that we include the day of the week so that the customer doesn’t have to peek at a calendar to figure out when their package will arrive. I agreed and quickly made the change.

Here’s what it looked like up until yesterday (the grayed out background was for emphasis…I would have taken a new screenshot but I forgot before putting the new version into place):

Detailed Image Shipping Estimate

It was a very subtle feature. We thought we were making it obvious by putting it on the shipping line and by highlighting it every time the user changed their shipping preference.

Prior to September, Greg got a ton of questions like “when will my order ship” and “will my order arrive by…”. We also saw a lot of “uninformed” shipping choices – purchasing an expedited option to NY when the ground option would get there in one day anyway, or purchasing an expedited option on a Friday afternoon when no option would get the package delivered on Saturday. These cost the customers money and led to a lot of frustration.

We weren’t making those things obvious, which was something we needed to fix. Since September, we have seen a reduction in both, but not as much as we had hoped for. A few weeks ago we discussed how to make it even more obvious. Yesterday Mike and I put this into place:

Detailed Image Shipping Estimate

The calendar graphic really jumps off the page. I’m sure it won’t eliminate the questions, but hopefully the large graphics will reduce them to a more acceptable number and alleviate much of the concern about delivery dates on the customers end.

8 comments on Making Shipping Estimates a Little More Obvious

  1. Dave says:

    Subtle change but huggee difference in my opinion. Nice job!

  2. Nice work, Adam. It’s more than a minor UX change in my opinion. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the graphics. It’s amazing how even changes more subtle than this can bring huge results.

  3. Rob says:

    Definitely a great move. I had to hunt on the first one to find where it said it, and if I didn’t know it was there I probably would have missed it too!

  4. Rob says:

    Incidentally – how many of these kind of tweaks come from your own experience and how many are inspired by other carts you see? Obviously your backend is very specialised and powerful, but are there any features in carts out there that still blow you away?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Another good question Rob…you’re on fire lately 🙂

      I’d say it’s 50/50. About half the time we see a customer issue/need and try to figure out the best way to address it, and about half of the time one of us is shopping online and sees some awesome feature and then comes back and tells the rest of the team. We also read a few e-commerce blogs for ideas and from time to time pick something up there.

      As far as companies that blow me away, I’d say Newegg, Zappos, and Amazon off the top of my head. They all have some really advanced stuff going on if you pay attention. For instance, being able to cancel an order or add to an order or split up an order into multiple shipments on Amazon is immensely complicated. We may do it at some point, but there’s a lot involved in that, including re-charging credit cards sometimes. Newegg and Zappos have really really efficient back-end operations in their warehouses, which just amaze me. I’d love to have the chance some day to optimize and automate a warehouse on that scale.

  5. Rob says:

    Yeah sorry about that – you wanna be careful that my questions don’t end up taking 70% of your time!

    Anyway, thanks for the brilliant answers (as ever) and I simply can’t say enough how much I enjoy your blog and how pleased I am that things are going so well for you.

    Congratulations, have a fantastic Easter.

  6. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks Rob, you too!

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