When you run an online retail business, shipping plays a huge role in determining your failure or success.
It is a complex subject, involving so much more than simply sending boxes to customers. Good shipping can drive additional sales, great brand identity, and create loyalty among your clients.
However, there is so much that can go wrong when it comes to shipping.
Luckily, there are several common shipping mistakes that a lot of retailers make. Knowing what they are and how to avoid them is a huge step in the right direction.
Here is a list of the most common e-commerce shipping mistakes.
1. Not Letting Your Customers Choose When Their Package Will Arrive
Every customer is different. There are some who don't mind waiting, and there are some who prefer almost instant deliveries.
Some people like free shipping, others will always choose fast shipping.
Provide your customers with multiple options so that they can select what they want, whether it is quick costly deliveries or slow cheap deliveries.
You can use coupons to make the selection process more fun while earning you more money. This freedom of choice further builds loyalty, and you will get fewer complaints of delays or high shipping costs.
2. Not Listening To Customers
Customers often give feedback once they receive their packages.
You need to listen to them and take their feedback into account on your next shipment.
Complaints about delivery times mean you need a better shipping service, even if it costs more. If they are amazed at the shipping times, it means you are doing something right by exceeding their expectations.
This could also mean you could switch to a cheaper delivery service and still be in the green.
3. Not Paying Attention to Packaging
Packaging is essential because it is the first contact your client has with your brand.
The right packaging not only protects your product but also builds your brand identity. You need to use the correct packaging for the product you are shipping.
Don't be cheap, but also don't overspend on the packaging.
4. Guessing Shipping Costs
Using guest estimates to determine your approximate shipping costs is the perfect recipe for disaster.
You will end up losing a lot of money that could have otherwise been saved by simply doing a little research.
Delivery costs are seldom straightforward, and you may be charged for miscellaneous things such as Saturday deliveries, residential delivery charges or even fuel surcharges.
A good understanding of this can help you save a little money on each delivery, which adds up in the long run.
5. Not Tracking Your Shipping Supplies
Shipping supplies are essential to sending items to your customers, so you need to manage them just like you manage your product inventory.
Tracking your shipping supplies will help you know when to reorder to avoid running out.
6. Not Being Prepared For Changes From Shipping Carriers
Shipping policies change every year.
Shipping carriers will adapt to these changes. This can sometimes mean abrupt and drastic changes to their prices.
For example, when USPS decreased their prices for electronic postage, savvy retailers knew they could save a few bucks by taking advantage of this.
7. Not Automating
You need to automate your shipping process. Efficiency is everything in this business.
Instead of spending hours creating labels no one will pay attention to, automate this process and print them instead.
Similarly, there is a shipping software out there for everything, from retyping addresses, customizing invoices and customizing packing slips.
You can also use automated deals and discounts to trigger specific shipping presets. This way, you will save time, look more professional and earn more money.
8. Not Doing Shipment Audits
You need to audit your shipments to figure out where you may be losing money and what you can do to improve. You may realize that shippers may be owing you money for late arrival refunds, late deliveries, incorrect Saturday delivery charges or even duplicate charges. The best part is you can automate this process too!
9. Incorrect Product Specifications
This can be a costly mistake on your part. You need to double check your product specifications to make sure that what you are shipping is exactly what the client ordered.
Otherwise, you risk unsatisfied clients, returns, bad reviews, and loss of potential revenue.
10. Not Being Transparent About E-commerce Shipping Costs
Not being clear on exactly what the customer should expect to pay will almost always do more harm than good.
Making the customer believe they are going to pay a certain amount for shipping and then springing up upon them extra costs that they had not budgeted for is one of the ways to make them never buy from you again, and to advise everyone they know to stay away from your business.
11. Right Product, Wrong Package
Again this alludes to the packaging problem highlighted earlier.Packaging is of vital importance.
Using the wrong package could hurt your brand even if you have the right product. Mixing up packaging or using cheap options can e easily fixed with a little due diligence on your part.
However, if you ignore these, you risk losing even more.
What are the most common eCommerce shipping mistakes?
- Not Letting Your Customers Choose When Their Package Will Arrive
- Not Listening To Customers
- Not Paying Attention to Packaging
- Guessing Shipping Costs
- Not Tracking Your Shipping Supplies
- Not Being Prepared For Changes From Shipping Carriers
- Not Automating
- Not Doing Shipment Audits
- Incorrect Product Specifications
- Not Being Transparent About E-commerce Shipping Costs
- Right Product, Wrong Package