The customer support personnel for e-commerce shopping malls often receive questions from shoppers indicating they have seen an item in a mall shop that they might be interested in purchasing but are unable to determine what the shipping charges might be, and they need this information in order to make a purchase decision.
In looking at the home page of the shop in question, the customer support representative notes the shop owner has chosen to not display their physical address, and instead, in its place, have input messages such as, “DIDN’T FIND WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR TODAY? Just e-mail us ~” or “Address only provided to CUSTOMERS!” Or in some instances, shop owners fill the address field with promotional messages about their other business locations, sales notices, or special services they offer. In most cases, the address field will at least provide the city and state and/or zip code, along with the shop’s message in lieu of the street address. But some do not, which makes it impossible for a shopper to be able to surmise how much shipping is likely to cost them.
The cost of shipping is almost always going to be a very real concern for a buyer. In situations were automatic shipping calculators are provided, the shop must input a valid U.S. Postal (zip) code in the appropriate field in order for the shipping calculator to function properly and calculate the cost of shipping automatically upon demand by a potential customer.
When no location information is provided in a shop’s address field, the buyer has no idea where the shop is located and where the item will ship from, and not only is this frustrating for the buyer, but it may result in lost revenue for the shop owner. Buyers to your shop are busy people, they prefer to find what they are looking for and conclude the transaction immediately. Having a customer wait for important information they need to make a purchase commitment does not make good business sense, any delay is an opportunity for the customer to find a like item or lose interest all together. The quicker the customer can arrive at a purchase decision, the better for all parties involved.
There are other reasons why Internet shop owners should consider displaying their complete or partial address, such as, the customer may be interested in knowing the address an item is shipping from because they need to know the approximate amount of time it will take for the item to travel from point A to point B. The purchase may be a gift to commemorate a birthday or other special occasion, and needs to arrive by a specific date. Without a ship from address, the potential customer has no method by which to estimate the time it will take. Another important reason for shop owners to consider displaying their complete or partial address, is because location can also be an indication as to what currency is accepted as payment by the shop owner. We can certainly understand that some shop owners might prefer to keep their complete address private until a customer orders merchandise, but if a shop is unwilling to at least give the city, state, country and postal code, how do they expect shoppers to make a purchase decision without this bit of important information?
Something else to consider is buyers are expected to send money in advance of being able to physically examine the item they are purchasing, and they may be uneasy about doing so, especially if they are new to Internet shopping or are purchasing an item from an unknown shop. It does not help the customer to feel comfortable about making a purchase, nor foster an environment of trust, if the shop owner appears unwilling to provide basic transaction information, such as a business address displayed prominently in their shop.
To help instill trust in potential buyers and to provide them with the information they need to make a purchase decision, we recommend that e-commerce shop owners consider supplying an address, or at the very least, a partial address, which includes the state and/or country in which they are located and a postal shipping code, like a USPS Zip Code. If a shop doesn’t have an actual business address and/or you don’t want to post your complete street address because you have concerns about personal security, you might consider getting a local P.O. Box and displaying that address, instead.