Shipping orders is the most important part of an online store's business - without this factor, there would be no sales.
However, the better the business grows, the more orders and shipments and the more... inevitable mistakes. But can they be prevented? And how to achieve it....? After all, nobody wants to lose customers and potential income due to simple mistakes. Check which aspects connected with shipping should be paid special attention to.
Online Store Offer versus Customers' Needs
We all know that running an eCommerce company is a really tough business with many challenges. Online retail no longer focuses solely on just product quality. An outstanding shop's offer is only half the battle: you still have to take care of the UX of the store, packaging, logistics, and shipping, and meet the ever-increasing expectations of customers - who expect to have a choice of payment methods and shipping carrier, need to follow outstanding return policy, get the parcel with same/next day delivery, can track shipments, etc. Growing eCommerce businesses are like children that need to be taken care of pretty much all the time - not to lose potential customers, to have higher profits, and to keep developing. But the effort is worth it.
Satisfied customers double your profits: firstly, you gain loyal buyers (we all struggle to take care of customer retention), and secondly - they become your brand advocates by posting positive reviews online. Therefore, it is worth doing everything possible to take special care of buyers' satisfaction and to get more customer reviews (the positive ones, of course).
But remember: the needs of customers are changing dynamically; due to the growth and development of the e-commerce market and the really big industry competition, customers have a lot to choose from. Thus they can also afford to have higher expectations regarding retailers. What used to be considered a nice gesture and added value on the market today has become a kind of standard (such as free delivery).
The good news, however, is that not all of the features you should provide to your customers have to be expensive. Once you put the time and money into building a clear, well-functioning, and intuitive website design, your store will be around for a long time. Provide many products' pictures and detailed product descriptions. Have a clear return policy. Great user experience is crucial, and not providing it will heavily affect your business.
Ecommerce leaders can easily pinpoint where an issue is by using technology and years of experience, there are endless options to help small and medium-sized businesses grow. By studying customer behavior you can take your eCommerce business to another level - it's as easy as listening to their needs.
Common Mistakes in Shipping Process
Customers are always on the lookout for the best eCommerce platforms to get their desired products and experience a proper CX. There are quite a few components that are crucial to meet customer service expectations, the eCommerce shipping process plays a crucial role in the entire process.
So, let's take a closer look at the most common mistakes the e-commerce industry makes in this area - and how we can prevent them (or fix them after they happen).
Issue no.1: late deliveries
Apart from decreasing shipping costs, sending products promptly is crucial. Nobody wants to wait for their package but were you aware that over 50% of customers that obtained their package late will not order again from an online store that provided such delay?
To prevent that, online store owners should monitor any delays, try to avoid them, and if they unfortunately happen - offer the target audience an incentive that will cover up such shipping errors. A great way to do that is by offering gift cards or discounts on the next purchase- that way it is more likely for the customer to get back to the online shop since they already have been hooked by the previous purchase, now they have a reason to come back and let the store "redeem" itself in their eyes.
Another situation is when a later than declared exhibition date is due to poor inventory management in the warehouse. Make sure that the employees working there have enough shipping supplies to the end customers on time.
Issue no.2: damaged parcels (and their contents)
The worst eCommerce mistake is not taking proper care of the right packaging issue. A damaged package is one of the darkest scenarios that can happen during delivery. Even if the damage occurred in transit (through no fault of your own, I know) - in the eyes of the buyer, your store didn't take enough care of the product you ordered. Your store's reputation will suffer as a result - and you will have to pay extra costs to return the order (you will have to pay the reshipment cost, and reship the ordered item, which also has its value).
So make sure you choose the right packaging materials, use protective packaging and void fill - or cooperate with the right fulfillment provider who will take care of the packaging for you.
Issue no.3: lost packages
The worst package is. ...is a package that doesn't exist or simply got lost. Logistics is not a magic show with things disappearing and suddenly being found at the other end of the event room. This is a serious business, on which the trust of your customers and therefore the financial success of your store is based. So you can't afford this kind of slip-up, and if it happens, you have to quickly turn down the logistics company with which you cooperate.
Failure to get an order into the hands of the final recipient is a really bad scenario. Even more so in times when customers rely on the ability to track their order in real-time thanks to dedicated courier apps
Issue no.4: wrong delivery address
You may have received a package or letter that was not addressed to you. At first sight, this seems to be a simple human error, but in the long run, it causes many problems.
Not everyone is honest enough to return often expensive parcels to their proper owner. Thus, you will have to compensate the recipient for the lack of order and send it again, paying all the costs connected with it (the cost of the item itself, the shipping cost and also compensate for the long waiting time for the shipment with a discount).
Issue no.5.: surprise billing
Many business owners offer free shipping, by now such a possibility became a norm, it's a great way to encourage potential customers to put money into their products. Lowering or getting rid of shipping costs is a pleasant (no longer) surprise for customers, although it might generate some hidden costs for the business owner, in the end, it's worth it.
Another way out is to offer free shipping on a certain amount of purchases. This way, as the saying goes, the wolf is free and the sheep is whole: customers are more likely to select several products to get free delivery, and it will pay for itself. You can also offer free delivery periodically, e.g. during Christmas or seasonal sales.
Whether you offer free shipping or not, be transparent about it. If you write about free shipping on your website and then bill for it, you won't save money, you'll just get unhappy customers who will not only not buy from you again, but will also give you a bad review.
Issue no.6: wrong tracking code
As I mentioned before, tracking code is the key to customer satisfaction - they want to track their order from the moment they press the "confirm payment" button till the moment when the parcel lands directly in their hands.
Not allowing them to track the package hurts their satisfaction with your service - they do not know what is happening with the package, at what stage the order is being processed, and when they can expect the courier.
Issue no.7: lack of ability to choose shipment options
Shipping options that can work for multiple clients is an important perk, one of the most common mistakes online stores make is not offering a variety of shipment possibilities. When using the wrong e-commerce platform, the frustration can only grow- some offer only the most basic options and leave no room for modification, one of which is changing the shipping process to fit customers' needs.
Tips on Shipping Process Improving
Meeting clients' needs and expectations without generating endless costs can be a challenge but hey, a challenge is always a great opportunity to grow and learn!
To plan an eCommerce store's marketing strategy accordingly, a great way to handle is to find warehouses nearby the widest customer congregates and send your product from them. Not only does it decreases CO2 emission, but it also helps to provide faster and cheaper delivery to the customer. Exploration and the ability to target customers' needs are important in learning what can be improved and what area to focus on while planning the next step in business.
Creating a cost-effective eCommerce store provides future successes, it helps grow an online business without generating endless costs. You can do that by cooperating with trustworthy shipping carriers and negotiating fitting offers. By doing so you are providing great service as well as upgraded customer experience- by getting to work with professionals in a certain area.
Offering multiply shipping and payment options to choose from that are suitable for various clients can be a great way to create more movement on the site, which can also decrease shipping errors. An eCommerce store that offers a wide variety of services will work better.
Staying on topic: the outstanding and uncluttered work of the online store, uncluttered by any (including shipping) mistakes is particularly important.... in the High Season (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas). Download our "How to prepare your e-commerce logistics for high season" ebook - and find out how to smartly plan your upcoming logistics activities!
Summing Up: Shipping Issues Finally Fixed
Shipping is only a seemingly easy and pleasant part of an eCommerce business. In reality, many elements contribute to its success: from choosing the right shipping carrier to meeting customers' expectations, to solving packaging problems.
As a e- business owner, with the right choice of logistics partners and fulfillment providers, you can take these potential headaches off your shoulders - and put them in the experienced and responsible hands of companies that specialize in this kind of work.