An online retailer’s job is not easy. There is a lot to get done for day to day sales and even more for the holiday season.
From managing inventory and order fulfillment to shipment tracking, timely ordering of seasonal hot sellers, and managing customer service, the list is never ending. Add to the list, marketing, public relations, print ads and online advertising, it gets really crazy near the holiday season. When we add shipping problems to this list, the job gets astronomically tougher!
Here are some common eCommerce shipping problems that you must plan for. That will help you improve your business operations and drive customer sales.
1. Items Going Out of Stock
Nothing can frustrate a prospective customer more than finding that their ordered item is out of stock. It’s worse if they find out after paying their order!
The cause of the problem stems from poor inventory management. Your storefront was most likely not updated in time, and showed the item in stock, which prompted the customer to place an order. So how will you deal with such a situation so that your reputation is not negatively affected?
Apologize to the customer immediately and offer a prompt refund. You may want to suggest a similar product available in stock for a discount to earn their business and retain them as a customer. The customer most likely will welcome your gesture of personally contacting them and accept your offer. Most importantly, your simple gesture will retain a valued customer.
2. Shipping Delays
Nobody has control over weather changes which cause shipping delays. However, as a business, you may not be willing to lose a customer due to shipping delays. So what should your plan of action be for such exigencies?
You will need to post an update on your website and social channels explaining all that has happened. Clearly communicate with your audience that such exigencies are out of your control. It will help to clearly identify and enlist the affected orders. Best would be to contact each customer personally over the phone or via email, notifying them about the delay in delivery of the package. They will appreciate your efforts!
3. Shipping Out the Wrong Item
What could possibly frustrate a customer more than receiving the wrong item? Shipping accuracy continues to be a big shipping problem. When such mistakes happen, you risk losing customers. There are professional Order Fulfillment companies that pick pack and ship your products for you.
Recheck invoices to find where you may have gone wrong. Since it’s not the customer’s fault, it is important that you pay for return shipping and offer an apology to the customer. It will help to immediately issue a prepaid shipping label, providing a discount to the customer on either the existing or next purchase to appease them as well as thank them for being your customer.
4. Shipping to the Wrong Address
In some cases, the order may have been shipped to the wrong address. More often than not, this has to do with a mistake on the part of your pick pack and ship employee, who mixed up customer invoices because of too many orders to handle.
Make it a point to keep a record of the address where each order is shipped. It may help to confirm with customers regarding the delivery of their order. If the product does not reach the desired address, you may want to send another order to the correct address and not wait for the item to return to you before you ship out a replacement. It is best to send a replacement package to the customer in order to win over future business.
5. Customer Receiving a Damaged Item
A customer receiving a damaged item is a nightmare for any eCommerce business. This is one of those shipping problems where you have no way to determine the cause of the damage to the item.
In most cases, it will help to give the benefit of the doubt to the customer and resend them a new package even if that means a small loss to your business. Doing so will set you apart from the competition and preserve your customer relationship, winning their loyalty to your business. Who knows this could also earn you referral business?
Related: Shipping and Reverse Logistics
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