6 Tips to Avoid Shipping Delays with Your Online Store

Losing valuable time due to shipping delays is a common problem that can affect small business owners selling products online. Customer satisfaction depends heavily on how fast you can get their products to them, and it can often leave them feeling unhappy if they are left waiting, reducing the chances of future orders.

Reducing shipping time is not a straightforward task, however, as you are often depending on other companies to help with this, but there are things that can be done to improve your service.

Here are a few points to consider to make sure your shipping is up to speed.

1. Avoid Committing to an Ambitious Delivery Time to the Customer

As simple as it sounds, don’t make promises that you cannot keep. It’s understandable that you want to appeal to customers with a low shipping time estimate to beat your competitors. However, if you can’t meet your deadlines, customers will soon lose faith and take their orders elsewhere.

It is much better to set a lengthier estimate and exceed customers’ expectations than make promises without being able to deliver.

2. Improve Overall Efficiency

Even the minor parts of the process such as having your packaging ready can save time and effort when shipping your products.

Ensure boxes, packaging, and labels are ready for you to get a product wrapped up as soon as that order comes in. Buying packaging in bulk may even cut your costs. Getting your products picked, packed, and shipped the same day lets the customer know you are a reliable store to buy from.

3. Be Aware of the Holidays

You’ve received an order and you’ve committed to a 2- to 3-day shipping window and then you realize it’s a statutory holiday on Monday! Not only do many shipping services not work on statutory holidays, but they also end up with large backlogs of items that have been sent in the preceding days, meaning a slower shipping time could be very likely.

Be cautious around busier times, such as Christmas, when shipping services are in higher demand. These times could mean a less efficient service for you and a longer wait for your customer.

4. Manage Your Stock

It’s a common issue with small online stores—an order is received but the product isn’t in stock, meaning a long delay while you source the stock and then get it sent to the customer.

Keep your product availability updated to provide the customer with an honest timeline, meaning less chance of leaving them feeling dissatisfied.

5. Predict Product Demand

As with many online businesses, products can be handmade, such as printed t-shirts, meaning that shipping cannot begin until the product has been created.

By looking at past sales history and predicting trends in demand, you will be able to see which of your products get the most sales. By doing so, you can ensure that the item is ready and waiting to be posted when you do receive that order, keeping the customer quickly satisfied and creating an image of trust and reliability.

6. Negotiate Your Rates

Depending on the number of goods you are shipping each month, rates can be negotiated for certain shipping services. Don’t assume your online store is too small to qualify for special rates.

Contact your shipping services provider. You might find that you can negotiate a great deal for faster service if you are shipping products regularly. You may need to pay a small fee for quicker service, but the fee will be worth it to ship faster, track better, and build loyalty with customers. It will lead to more sales and a better customer experience to keep them coming back for more.

There are a variety of ways to improve your shipping service to your customers, and it should be remembered that delivery is a large part of the sale process. Good or bad shipping can be the final decider on whether a buyer gives you repeat orders or looks elsewhere.

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