6 Common Shipping Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses
Is your business one of the over 2 million online businesses operating in the U.S?
You made a smart decision to start an ecommerce business. The vast majority of Americans are now shopping online, which means an online business has access to a wider market than a brick-and-mortar business selling the same product.
However, running an online business means you must have a way to deliver the products to customers who make a purchase. You need a shipping strategy and that strategy can make or break your business.
In this article, we’re sharing shipping mistakes you must strive to avoid; otherwise, your business could fail terribly.
1. Overpromising and Underdelivering
As a business owner, sometimes you find yourself overpromising things. Maybe you sometimes exaggerate how effective your product or service is. Sometimes you might promise to deliver an order the next day but take a couple of days to ship the item.
Overpromising creates unrealistic expectations among your customers yet they duly expect you to meet those expectations. So, if you’re promising a client that they’ll receive their order tomorrow, they better receive it or they’ll be frustrated and consider you deceptive.
In your shipping strategy, it’s better to under-promise and overdeliver. It’s just how human psychology works. If you tell a client that they’ll receive their order in three days after making a purchase and the order reaches them within two days, they’ll be super happy. This is how you increase customer satisfaction and build loyalty.
2. Longer Shipping Timeframes
We are living in the age of instant gratification. Online shoppers want to make an order now and receive the item the next minute. In fact, did you know 71 percent of online shoppers are willing to pay a charge for same-day delivery?
A good number of customers understand that not many businesses have the delivery capacity of large e-retailers like Amazon who offer same-day delivery. They’re willing to wait for their orders for a couple of days.
However, this doesn’t mean they have the patience to wait for several days on end. If your business has long shipping timeframes, you’re hurting your business. Strive to offer next-day delivery and if that’s not possible, ensure you’re delivering within two to there days.
3. Expensive Shipping Charges
If you’re an avid user of social media, you’ve probably seen memes alluding to the importance of free shipping. A customer would rather pay $50 for a product that has free shipping, instead of paying $45 for the same product but with a $5 shipping charge.
Customers understand that your business needs to charge shipping fees depending on the customer’s location and size of the order. However, this doesn’t mean they’re willing to overpay for shipping.
If your shipping charges are higher than that of your competitors, you’re making a big mistake. You will easily lose customers to those competitors.
There are a number of steps you can take to lower your shipping charges. If you’re working with a third-party shipping provider, for instance, ensure they have cheap rates. Don’t be stuck with a pricey shipping partner if you’re passing on the cost to your customers.
4. Working with an Unreliable Shipping Service Provider
Speaking of shipping providers, how reliable is yours?
Like most small and medium-sized small businesses, you don’t have the money to build your own shipping infrastructure. The most cost-effective option is to outsource the service to a third-party company.
Now, shipping companies aren’t created equal. Some are known to offer reliable services and others have unreliable services.
If you choose a shipping provider without doing plenty of background research, it’s easy to end up with a provider who offers the worst services. Of course, you can terminate the service when you establish that the shipping provider isn’t up to the task, but what will be the cost?
First, you might lose some customers whose order fulfillment experience was negatively impacted because your unreliable shipping partner couldn’t make deliveries on schedule. Second, searching for a new shipping partner can take time. Until you find one, who will make the deliveries?
As you can see, the stakes are high when you’re dealing with a shipping partner.
5. Poor Packaging
Customers want to have the best unboxing experience when they receive their orders. This is part of their overall experience with your brand.
So, if you’re packing orders poorly, you’re hurting customer experience and satisfaction. Using high-quality packing materials and sealing the items properly is key to offering the best customer experience.
Not only that, but high-quality packaging also provides better protection during shipping, ensuring orders reach the customer in perfect condition. You can easily buy high-quality shipping boxes for wholesale if you’re worried about the cost of acquiring high-quality shipping materials.
Since orders arrive in one piece, your business will be able to maintain a low return rate. A high number of order returns increases your costs.
6. Failing to Provide Order Tracking
Do you know what customers love just as much as same-day delivery or free shipping? The ability to track their orders.
No customer wants to be in the dark after they have made an online purchase. They want to know that the order has been received. They want to know when it’s being processed; when it has been dispatched for delivery, and when it’s due for arrival.
If you’re aren’t providing any order tracking tools, you’re making a big shipping mistake.
These Are the Shipping Mistakes to Avoid
Shipping is the lifeblood of ecommerce businesses that sell physical goods. Get shipping right and you’ll build a happy customer base. Get it wrong and watch your business struggle to make a sale.
With this guide on the shipping mistakes to avoid, you now know how to stay on top of your shipping game.
Keep tabs on our blog for more ecommerce tips and advice.