Shipping is one of the most important – and often overlooked – aspects of running an ecommerce business. If your shipping process is flawed, it can cost you money, frustrate customers, and damage your company’s image. There are many things that could go wrong during the shipping process, so it’s important to be aware of them! In this article, we will discuss the top shipping mistakes to avoid for your ecommerce business.
Mistake #1: Not Communicating or Being Aware of Carrier Cutoff Times
One of the most important things to know about shipping is that different carriers have different cutoff times for accepting shipments. FedEx, for example, will not pickup or deliver any packages once their cutoff time has passed – this is why it’s crucial to make sure your customers’ shipments arrive on time! A quick online search can tell you what carrier’s cutoff times are, so you can ensure your customers’ packages will arrive on time.
Mistake #2: Shipping with the Wrong Carrier
Another shipping mistake to avoid is using a carrier that isn’t best suited for your products. For example, Amazon uses UPS and FedEx for ground and air shipments because they’re highly cost-effective and trackable options. If your company is shipping larger items, you might want to consider choosing a dedicated trucking carrier so that the product will have its own space.
Mistake #3: Not Letting Your Customers Choose When Their Package Will Arrive
Customers love free shipping, and most will choose that as their preferred option if the package will arrive in 5-7 days. However, if given a choice of a faster shipping option with a slightly higher cost, your customers might opt for that instead.
You should let your customers choose the delivery date they prefer!
Mistake #4: Not Listening to Your Customers
Customers will often provide feedback on how their package arrived. When they do, take the opportunity to learn from the experience so you can improve your shipping process. It might have arrived damaged, or slightly later than they wanted – if this is a recurring issue, your customers might not purchase from you again.
Pay attention to trends. If orders are routinely arriving with the same sort of damage, there may be something you need to change with your packaging methods to correct it.
If customers are regularly raving about the speed of your deliveries, obviously it is great that you are exceeding expectations. That could also mean that you potentially could consider using a slightly slower, less expensive shipping option. Perhaps just for certain regions.
Mistake #5: Not Using the Correct Packaging
When packing items for shipping, it’s important to remember that different carriers have different requirements. For example, UPS requires packages over 25lbs be packaged in a box made of paper or cardboard – if you use plastic or Styrofoam peanuts, they may refuse the shipment.
Additionally, your packaging should protect your products from damage during transit. Broken items lead to unhappy customers and wasted inventory, so you should take all possible precautions.
Mistake #6: Not Tracking Your Shipping Supplies
You likely are taking meticulous care to manage and track your inventory, but are you putting the same effort into tracking your shipping supplies?
Running out of something like your small-sized shipping boxes can lead to needing to use a larger box for fulfilling orders that day which could mean you are paying more for shipping.
Running out of packaging materials can also lead to unnecessary delays, impacting your customers.
Make sure you are tracking everything from packaging inserts to boxes and that you always have enough on hand.
Mistake #7: Neglecting to Track Packages
There is no excuse to not being doing this. Shipping carriers make it easy to track packages. The carrier you’re using should have a way for your customers to easily track the progress of their purchase online, and it is often easy to integrate right into your website or give the customer a link to track the progress of their shipment.
Mistake #8: Not Having Enough Help
Don’t underestimate how much time you need to manage your shipping process. Depending on the number of products and customers you have, this can quickly become a full-time job in itself!
You should always have enough people to fulfill orders on time, especially if your company is growing rapidly.
Having an experienced fulfillment company, like ShipBuddies, manage your shipping process can ensure that you get accurate order fulfillment every single time – even on the busiest of days!
Mistake #9: Not Publishing a Return Policy
If a customer is on the fence about whether to buy from you or from your competition, they could be swayed by how easy it is to return an item.
In an effort to overcome their hesitations, customers might not want to purchase from you because your store’s return policy looks too complicated. Make sure this process will always be as easy as possible for your customers.
Not having a published and clear return policy can also lead to unwanted disputes and unhappy customers.
Avoid These Mistakes
They say, “Knowing is half the battle,” and now that you know of these mistakes, you are already well on your way to avoiding them.
Shipping mistakes can cost you time, money and customers. By avoiding the mistakes we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able to streamline your shipping process and keep your customers happy. ShipBuddies is here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about shipping – contact us today!