The most common shipping problems and how to fix them
Shipping is a quintessential part of any business, especially any online business, such as webstores and online shops. Having issues with your shipping process can be very harmful towards your business and bottom line. Keep in mind that Shipping impacts the bottom line of an e-commerce business because customers expect multiple shipping options, free shipping, free returns, and on-time product delivery.
With this information in mind, it’s more critical nowadays to streamline the “last mile” segment of your delivery process.
1) Inventory management
A warehouse that’s poorly organized makes it unnecessarily difficult to get your products out the door as soon as possible. Items are out of stock already without you knowing or it takes longer to locate an item and package it.
A major issue you should also be aware of are damaged goods in your inventory. Sending your customers deteriorating items or even just those that look unappealing will surely discourage them from buying from you again. Not to mention that you just lost money on them.
Communicating with your suppliers is also part of managing your inventory. If you don’t receive inventory from your suppliers by a certain date, you would only disappoint your eager customers.
2) Demand planning
Planning for the anticipated demand of your product is the first step in avoiding shipping and order fulfillment problems down the line. Because the more people who’ll buy from your store, the more likely you’ll encounter challenges in your supply chain.
But if you don’t have a plan on how to meet the demand, your first customers will probably not buy from you again.
How to fix this? Try to track your sales trends. Forecast the gross sales from your marketing campaign by referring to industry benchmarks and by looking at your previous performance. You can also expect surges during holiday seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas where people are spending more. By having an idea of how much product you can sell given your timeline, it will be easier to pick a third-party logistics partner that can handle your inventory volume requirements
Product packaging, to be more precise. Incorrect or bad product packaging is one of the main causes of damaged shipments. Keep in mind that subpar packaging materials and inadequate packaging will always cost more in the long run, even if you’re saving a few pennies right now because you’ve opted for the cheaper packing option(s).
Solution? Use the right packaging materials and pack your shipments properly. you should be using new cartons because the cardboard material is at its strongest. You should also use adequate cushioning materials (packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, styrofoam, etc) and packing tape to help prevent the item/s inside from being damaged further.
4) Shipping notifications and times
After customers have paid for their order, they want to be notified when it is shipped. They check the status of their package regularly — whether it’s through an app or website — and count how many days are left until it arrives.
And as the store owner, it’s imperative to inform them that the number of days only refers to business days and doesn’t include weekends or holidays. The shipping industry as a whole is at the mercy of the weather and traffic and it is a common practice to give estimates for transit times. Unless you’re using expedited shipping, guaranteeing the date of arrival is a bigger risk to take.
Another sticking point would be the tracking number of the package. A wrong tracking number will — at the very least — confuse your customer. It can also be the cause of their disappointment when they find out they have the wrong package.
It may seem like a small thing but if they it they’re not sure their order is on its way, you can expect phone calls from frustrated and angry customers that can be hard to deal with.
5) Shipping costs
Nobody likes to pay for expensive shipping. There are many factors that contribute to how much the total cost for shipping your freight safely.
The weight of your shipment heavily influences the rate you’ll be charged by your carrier. Shippers should invest in a quality scale so that their weights, and expected freight charges will be in alignment. If you don’t have a scale and are estimating your weights and the carrier weighs your shipment and it’s far off from what you declared, they will charge you a reweigh fee.
6) Billing information
Last, but definitely not least, getting your customer’s billing information wrong. As simple as this sounds, small yet inaccurate details in the billing information found on the packaging can cause huge frustrations, both for your and your customer. One particular problem is when the shipment is delivered to the wrong location — making a bad impression especially to your customer. It’s even worse if there’s a deadline because precious time is wasted. Not to mention that your carrier will charge you to deliver it to the right address.
To sum up
Make sure you pay attention to all of the above-mentioned points and make sure that your shipping process is well-optimized.
Keep in mind that when you’re running an e-commerce business, lost or damaged shipments are simply inevitable. But when you correctly deal with the situation, you hardly lose any money and you also maintain the trust you built with your customer.
In the end, it will cost you more time and money if these mistakes aren’t corrected as soon as possible.