It is proven that the more steps you make a visitor take to get to their end goal, the better chance you have of them NEVER reaching it.
So why would you “add” another step for them to “buy your product” especially when that step includes a pop-up (blocked by most browsers now)? Well, strangely enough, I have seen it on many Zen Cart sites. Store owners making their “potential customers” click on an “estimate shipping button” in order to get the shipping rates.
It not only adds another step to the process, but it adds one that could very easily turn your customers away.
Why it Hurts
Hiding shipping in a pop-up hurts because it not only makes the visitor “think” (and you don’t want them to have to “think” to order … it should be “automatic” with all of their questions being answered at exactly the right time.
Of the many factors online shoppers look for to “satisfy their need to buy”, one of the top items is the price of shipping. So, logically, seeing that is the case, why would we try to hide it from them (which is what the pop-up effectively does). We should not only “plant” it right in front of them, but put links to it in as many “decision making spots” as possible so as not have cause them to even think about it. It should just be a matter of fact that they can easily access shipping rates for their order.
Many e-commerce studies have shown that customers find it annoying to say the least when they have to “search for” shipping rates. And, in many of those instances, customers said “had they been able to find the shipping rates before, or during (NOT AFTER)” adding items to their cart (on their way to checkout), they would have continued with the purchase and completed it.
This holds especially true if you are in a competitive industry or one that sells merchandise that can be bought at the “local brick and mortar store”. The harder you make it on your customers to checkout, the less sales you will see.
How to “Fix” it
Zen cart comes built in with a feature (Accessible from within the Admin by going to Configuration > Shipping / Packaging > Shipping Estimator Display Settings for Shopping Cart). Do yourself, and your customers a favor … set that value to “2”.
This example shows you how it would look.
Until next time … keep your customers happy, and your pocket book will be too!