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Easy-to-take strategies to move away from shipping delays

Lots of things in this world are partial, but the priceless gift that everybody might own equally is 24 hours per day. So that, hardly a person could long to spend their precious time just to wait for shipping delays.

Too many things have been said, discussed, and concluded on the importance of delivery on time. That’s why the shipping guarantee is the key here. However, long shipping times, even shipping delays, happen a lot and come as a common issue.

5 unpredictable causes of shipping delays

There’s a thing that we must keep repeating in mind, that customers care about delivery dates more than ever, since

There is no denial that shipping delays influence the brand’s prestige and reliability, as well as customers’ satisfaction in a terrible way. It may suddenly come from many situations, with subjective and objective reasons that sometimes are unforeseeable, and prevent the merchants from handling this matter promptly.

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Some unforeseen situations that are beyond our control cause a delay in our deliveries, which can be listed out such as:

  1. Warehouses are generally located at inconvenient places, making it difficult to check and take goods, also increasing the cost of transportation.
  2. Focus on fulfilling too many orders at one time while the operating and manufacturing are not well-corporate, which slows down the customer order processing speed in general.
  3. Lack of communication between the warehouse, the office, and supervisors, so the time for solving the tasks is two or three times longer than expected.
  4. The surge in delivery volume during peak seasons such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Lunar New Year, etc., as well as the very recent online shopping events like Chinese Singles Day.
  5. Bad weather, or even worse, natural disasters, epidemics affect on a large scale like earthquakes, tsunamis, and fires as well, definitely are the things that nobody can anticipate. It comes along with awful traffic, causes massive jams, and makes it difficult for courier riders to navigate and continue their jobs.

Take a quick look at the current state of the world, and you can clearly see. As the coronavirus stretches on, lockdown policies and restrictions are implemented in many countries, causing the increase in delivery times, even temporarily suspended.

Unpredictable causes but predictable consequences

These unavoidable circumstances lead to inevitable consequences of delayed shipment, which nobody can deny

  • Decrease customers’ satisfaction, which may increase the dispute and chargeback rate and seriously hurts your business.
  • Affect customers’ customer retention. They are less likely to come to your store again if the products they purchased are not delivered within the promised dates.
  • Shipping delays come along with customer complaints and disputes. Losing customers means losing out on money. You can totally fall into a zero-revenue scenario if you handle this difficult circumstance clumsily.
  • Bring the whole business to a standstill, not just some bad reviews from late deliveries that hurt the brand’s reputation.

So, how to overcome the problem caused by long shipping times? To avoid this difficult situation, you need to ensure that:

  • Your items are fulfilled, manufactured, and delivered on time, on schedule. So, choosing the trusted shipment agent is the key here.
  • Once customers are satisfied with your support, they will accept the long delivery and keep returning for your store over and over again. So, concentrating on your customer service to resolve the upcoming problem and prevent customers from leaving you to other competitors.

In this article, we will give you some of the answers that might surprise you. Let’s jump straight into it!

1. Choose trustworthy shipping agent

We can’t predict how complicated the future will be, so let’s prepare to be perfectly ready for any situation. The first step to prevent shipment delays is to work with reliable and trustworthy suppliers.

But that’s easier said than done when you can’t stop confusing with tons of questions to identify quality suppliers. It’s hard to find an honest supplier with

  • Good service and excellent products
  • Reasonable cost
  • Guarantee policy
  • And fast dropshipping shipping times, without having worked with them first.

So, you can evaluate your supplier’s processes first with an ISO 9001 quality audit to ensure that they will stay on track for production. Besides that, give them a few questions to sort out the good to the bad, such as

  • Do they have a warehouse?
  • What is their commitment to order processing time?
  • How do they conduct a quality control inspection?
  • Do they have a return policy for too-long shipping times and faulty products?

Understanding all the hassle of sellers in finding the best-fit shipment agent, ShopBase provides CrossPanda – our in-house dropshipping agent, which is perfectly integrated with ShopBase stores.

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CrossPanda will work directly with the manufacturers, test the products, stock what is best, auto-fulfill orders, and then manage your inventory in their warehouse for free. It also takes good care of all the stocking and fulfillment process for you, with such outstanding points below:

  • Works with manufacturers in China to test and source only what meets your quality standard
  • Assure product quality control with Return & Warranty policies
  • Guaranteed fast delivery with average dropshipping shipping times from 6 to 12 days.

Have you had a store integrated with fulfillment service to run your business in just one place?

Creating your dropshipping store with ShopBase enables you to have your website fully-functioned, including product sourcing, order fulfillment, shipping, and inventory management.

It’s cool, isn’t it?

>> Craft your dropshipping store with ShopBase today!

All that’s left you have to do is give the best customer service and find strategies to address correctly and overcome the unavoidable shipping delays.

2. Be honest with customers about shipping delays and bring out the best customer service

People may not mind the shipping times when they buy an item, because they are used to getting an item quite fast. But after a week or two, they start to get a little bit angsty and feel unpleased.

These dissatisfied customers are likely to leave you for competitors, leave negative reviews and bad word of mouth about your business which totally ruin your effort in customer acquisition, especially if you give offense to them with lousy support services. According to a survey from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of the U.S, 68% of customer defection takes place because customers feel poorly treated.

While it’s quite hard to eliminate delays, there’s a way to smoothly and cleverly handle it by bringing out the most of your support.

Good customer service can make a business stand out from the competition, but lousy review travels far faster, and word of mouth, which spreads tales of poor customer service, can put a tremendous strain on your brand’s prestige.

Don’t let the shipping delays problem have a terrible effect on your quality of customer services. You can mitigate the late orders’ impact by communicating directly with customers and go straightforward about the current situation in 2 order statuses: Before ordering and After ordering.

2.1. Notice about delayed delivery before ordering:

2.1.1. Address the current issue on your website

Don’t try to hide the customers. Be honest and upfront with them about late shipping times like the solution of the store below.

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An announcement about the delayed delivery display on the storefront

You might put a copy on top of the website, at the end of the product page or order email confirmation to inform that the item is going to take more than weeks to arrive. Bold the section to make sure people notice and read it.

Moreover, you can show customers their order status right in the order confirmation page using ShopBase’s live tracking system tool. When the customers track their orders, they can find the Order Processing Bar on your thank-you page, along with order information. These tools can powerfully boost your store’s credibility.

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Order Processing Bar and Delivery Policies display on ShopBase

2.1.2. Notify customers in checkout page to consider carefully before placing orders

If the current expected delivery date might be longer than usual, notify and advise customers to consider carefully before placing orders and completing transactions.

You can display notifications along in the buyer’s journey to inform shoppers, who added items into their cart that delivery times may be longer than usual. By doing so, you’re making buyers aware that any delays may happen right before they checkout.

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Source: MAC Cosmetic

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Source: Sephora

2.2. Notice about delayed delivery after ordering:

2.2.1. Keep the customers updated with shipping times information

Remember to take proper care of your customers and keep them updated with shipping times. You can announce new information through posts and banners on your website to catch people’s attention.

Sometimes, you will get a lot of emails saying the same thing like, “Where is my item? It’s been a week and it hasn’t arrived yet” or “It’s been two weeks and I haven’t received it yet? Is this normal?”. The vast majority of people just want a reply. They want to know that someone is behind the computer screen that cares.

So don’t worry if you get an email that sounds a little bit angrier than just “Where’s my item”. If you email the customers back and explain to them very nicely that this is absolutely normal and it’s going to arrive in two or four weeks, as advertised, then you’re gonna calm a lot of angry buyers.

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Source: Kiwi Crate

Take this delayed response email template as an example in solving customer complaints and offering them a coupon code that helps keep them with you instead of moving to your competitors’ sites:

Dear {customer_first_name},

We must, unfortunately, inform you that we are unable to make delivery of {products and quantity} on {date}, in reference to your purchase order {number}.

Based on the information we have at the moment, we should have the merchandise ready to ship within {number} days of the original delivery date. Delivery can be made on {date}. We only hope that you can hold off until that time.

If your order remains in force, we will expedite delivery to you as soon as we have received the merchandise. Please accept our apology for this delay and thank you for your understanding.

As compensation for trouble caused, we would like to give you 25% off almost everything for your next order until {date}. Simply enter {code} at checkout!

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

Best regards,

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Apology letter for the delay in shipment, with coupon code included

Don’t forget to tell them that you appreciate their patience and support for your products, and wish them a blessed day with good health. Doing this will help you with follow-up customer support.

2.2.2. Reassure customers with coupons or promotional code

Communicate proactively with your customers; reassure them this problem is temporary and won’t last long. Be honest about the delay or unfulfilled orders.

You can offer loyal customers a gift card or some promotional code to cover-up damages of delayed shipment and guarantee that they will return to your store in the future. Not only do you make customers happy, but you also earn sales from them.

Besides that, keep updated with the suppliers/shipping companies about delivery times to promptly deal with it if any unexpected situation happens.

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Source: OnePlus

2.3. Flexible cope with refund/chargeback requests

Sometimes, you get customers that won’t care or be calmed down, just simply ask for a refund. When customers can’t tolerate and don’t want to hear an explanation from you, the last thing you can do in this situation is refunding after trying to persuade them to change their decisions.

A straightforward thing noted here, right before crafting your store, you should create a clear Return and Refund policies. For example, only allow refunds for faulty products or products that arrive after four weeks. If you do this, you have zero obligation to give customers a refund and maximize the chargeback win rate. Clear return policies stated on your website will help you avoid any customer confusion and dissatisfaction.

When building your store with ShopBase, you can set specific policy pages including:

  • Refund policy
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms of Service
  • And Shipping policy

By default, these pages will show up at the footer of your checkout page. You can also add them to your menu bar on the storefront to make them more visible to visitors.

But of course, at the end of the day, if you don’t want to deal with the headache contesting dispute, then you do have the option of just refunding the customers. Process it immediately, even chargebacks to avoid negative reviews, because it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience, according to research published in Harvard Business Review.

Final words

Our final piece of advice: Don’t try to hide the customers about the shipping delays, and make sure your delivery and inventory solution is up to the task.

The takeaway here is that customer service is key, and they don’t mind waiting a little longer if you can provide better customer support.

If you would like to discuss more on tackling shipping challenges and how ShopBase can help you to overcome it, join our community of ShopBase sellers or get more selling tips here, we’ll be happy to help!