6 Ecommerce Shipping Problems Resolved
As an ecommerce business, you’ve got a lot of things to tend to. From tracking your inventory and keeping it stocked to ordering seasonal hot-sellers on time, all the way to managing customer service, fulfillment, shipping and returns. This is not forgetting your marketing methods, print ads, public relations and online advertising mechanisms, either.
Needless to say, where this many intricacies are involved, something is bound to go awry from time to time. How you handle the situation can mean the difference between you winning over loyal, long term customers or losing them. We’ll cover the six most common ecommerce shipping problems and provide an effective resolution for them, so you can improve your operations moving forwards. If you need more help with your shipping department, you find answers here in this Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment: The Definitive Guide.
1: Item Out of Stock
Issue: One of the most frustrating and common of all of ecommerce shipping problems that you will encounter is an item being out of stock after it has already been ordered. The customer, excitedly, finds the product and places the order, but your storefront has not been updated yet that it was out of stock. Now you have to figure how you are going to inform the customer without making a bad name for yourself.
Solution: The best solution is to either call them (ideal) or email them back and offer them a prompt refund. Apologize to the consumer and issue the refund promptly if they so desire. If you have a similar product that you do have in stock, suggest that product to earn their business and offer them a small discount for the inconvenience. In many cases, you can still earn their business. The fact that you took the time to contact them personally (if you phone them) will set you apart from many other businesses.
2: Shipping Delays
Issue: Sometimes you have the product in stock and your fulfillment department gets the product out the door right away. But then the unthinkable happens: a storm hits and prevents the product from being delivered at the intended interval. With your hands tied, you feel like there is nothing that you can do. The shipping companies can only wait out certain storms, and you have customers who may decide to not shop with you anymore.
Solution: The best solution that you can pursue here is twofold. One, post an update to your social channels and on your website explaining that this instance is beyond your control and identifying what orders it affects. Second, contact each customer personally via email to notify them as to why their package is delayed, and promise them that you will keep them updated as soon as the shipping company updates you.
3: Wrong Item Sent
Issue: Shipping accuracy is a big issue. But even with the best laid of plans, sometimes mistakes do happen. This is particularly true for companies that are shipping large volumes of packages daily. One mismatched label or invoice can lead to the wrong product being sent to the wrong person. Naturally, the recipient will not be thrilled that you sent them something that they didn’t order.
Solution: Take a look at the invoice and compare what items were on it to what the customer actually received. Pay for the return shipping and issue a prepaid shipping label to appease the customer. Offer an apology and consider providing them with a discount on their next purchase or a discount on the existing purchase to win over their future business.
4: Wrong Address Shipped To
Issue: In some cases, an item might be shipped to the wrong address. In many instances with online ordering, it has to do with the customer entering in the wrong address. But with over the phone orders, it commonly has to do with a customer service agent making a mistake. Either way, you’ll want to remedy the situation with the consumer as best you can.
Solution: Make sure that you always have receipt of shipping with the address that you shipped to. Confirm that the package actually has been delivered to the address. Because if the address does not exist, the product will be returned back to your warehouse by the shipping carrier anyways. Once you have confirmation of the proof of shipping, you can decided whether to just send another product and call it a loss or wait until the item comes back to your warehouse. In most instances, it’s best to appease the customer (even if it means losing some funds upfront). This way, you have a chance to earn their business in the long term by doing so.
5: Damaged Item Received
Issue: Commonly called Dead On Arrival (DOA), these are a nightmare for your ecommerce business. Nobody wants to receive a damaged product, and you have no real way of knowing whether or not it was damaged before or after it arrived. But in most cases, the customers is presumably telling the truth.
Solution: It’s on you to pay for return shipping and to send a new item and then return this item to the factory to have a replacement issued to you. Doing so will preserve your customer rela
6: Invalid/Wrong Tracking Code
Issue: From time to time, the wrong tracking code can be mistakenly issued, which is especially true if you are still manually updating your customers. If you ship in large volumes, this becomes even more apparent. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this.
Solution: Simply look-up the package and its actual tracking number. Confirm that your details are correct and update the customer. Inform them that a technical error caused the improper tracking number to be issued and that the situation has been resolved by presenting them with the proper tracking number.