Achieving success in eCommerce is hard, but maintaining success is even harder. In this type of industry, success is never owned, it is simply rented.
One of the usual stumbling blocks for online business success is shipping delays, be it order fulfillment for customers or inventory orders from suppliers. Believe it or not, delivery delays are not rare events in the retail industry. According to LateShipment.com, between 6 and 12% of shipments are usually delayed regardless of carrier.
How Shipping Delays Should Be Handled
Although most packages are delivered on time, it is still necessary to know what sellers should do in case items are delayed. Here are some of the things online sellers should carry out in case of order fulfillment delays:
- Identify the Cause of the Delay
As an online seller, you should be on top of every situation. An Amazon seller, for example, should be able to identify the factors causing the shipping delays to easily come up with a solution or implement backup strategies.
In searching for the source of the delay, sellers should secure crucial details such as when delays first happen and where the items are currently stuck.
- Do Not Panic
By now, you should have already realized that becoming an online entrepreneur entails stressful events and demanding scenarios, including shipping delays. For that matter, it is a must that you stay calm no matter what.
Panicking will not help you or your team resolve the concern; it may even worsen it. The issue you are faced with is temporary, maintain a clear mind in order to come up with reasonable analysis and viable solutions.
- Implement Backup Strategies
Like in any other form of business, your online selling business should have a backup strategy in place. If a specific software or piece of equipment relating to order fulfillment becomes faulty, your backup strategy should be ready to compensate for the error.
This advice holds greater importance for online sellers who manage the storage and shipping of items, such as Amazon FBM sellers. With a backup plan, you are likely to resolve the issue in no time.
- Do Not Forget to Inform Customers
Regardless of how your customers react, you should inform them of shipping delays.
Reducing Order Fulfillment Delays
Be Accurate With Your Inventory
For an online seller, inventory management is crucial for a healthy warehouse operation. Aside from that, having reliable inventory management will also help avoid irate customers due to delayed orders.
For Amazon FBA sellers, Amazon In-Stock Head Start allows you to display product listings that are out-of-stock, provided certain requirements are met.
To avoid delays and confusion around order fulfillment, it is highly suggested that online sellers, including Amazon sellers, utilize online selling tools such as an inventory management tool.
Maintain Supplier Connection
Another reason for delays is the lack of consistent connection with suppliers. Online sellers who are either dropshipping or waiting for inventory items to arrive at their warehouse should constantly update their orders. Manufacturers and suppliers may also experience unprecedented delays on their part.
To minimize shipping or order fulfillment delays, you should also keep track of the performance of your suppliers, especially those based overseas.
Practice Slotting Optimization
Slotting optimization simply means the identification of the best location to slot or store your inventory items. When you implement slotting optimization in your warehouse or fulfillment centers, order fulfillment cycles are shortened and workforce efficiency is increased. Thus, resulting in reduced shipping delays.
Common Cause of Delivery Delays
Knowing how to handle shipping delays and reduce order fulfillment hold-ups is not enough. As an online seller, you should be proactive in dealing with delivery delays.
To help you avoid shipping delays and improve your overall customer service, here are some of the common causes for order delays to be aware of:
- Mistakes Concerning Documentation
Perhaps one of the most common reasons for delivery delays is documentation mistakes. When addresses are misspelled or insufficient information is given when signing forms, delays normally happen.
- System Glitch or Failure
Another factor that causes delays is system issues. Amazon glitches or any platform issues will subsequently result in delivery delays. Hence, it is always wise to run a system check or maintenance from time to time.
All online sellers who use an eCommerce platform are of course dependent on their ability to function. For platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Shopify, the best approach would be to track system maintenance announcements to inform loyal customers of the possible order fulfillment delays ahead of time.
- Logistical Problems
Having issues with logistics causes order delays. Be sure to properly prepare for the shipment of voluminous orders or orders that are logistically challenging.
Additionally, choosing poorly performing carrier partners may also cause shipping delays. Partner with reliable shipping companies, and those suggested by your online selling platform.
For Amazon sellers, check here for Amazon Partnered Carrier options for quick reference.
- Unreliable Seller Tools
To avoid delays, you should only rely on tested and proven seller tools, be it inventory management tools, listing optimization tools, or even automatic repricers. Having reliable seller tools at your disposal will enhance the overall operational process of your online selling business.
Smoothen The Process
Keeping your entire business operation at its best is critical in avoiding shipping delays. In order to smoothen order fulfillment, try to evaluate what your online business needs, and come up with a strategy to provide the best customer service second to none.