How to Avoid eCommerce Shipping Delays During Holiday Season?

How to Avoid eCommerce Shipping Delays During Holiday Season?

The holiday season is an exciting period in which you can rocket your sales. However, it also could be an unfortunate time if you won't be able to manage a high number of sales that you are not used to.

As you know, the sales process does not end until the customer receives the package in eCommerce. And one of the most significant steps of a successful sales process is providing on-time shipping. You should manage this process carefully because a shipping delay could cost you a customer and many potential sales.

To enlighten you more about eCommerce shipping & help you with handling the shipping process of many orders, we explained the effects of cargo delays on your business, and the reasons for shipping delays during the holiday season.

Also, we have great tips about how to avoid shipping delays and how to deal with shipping delays just in case it happens. Let’s go!

What are the Effects of Cargo Delays on Your Business?

Shopify shipping illustration

Cargo delays may appear insignificant at first, but if they occur frequently, they can have a negative impact on your business, as we explain below:

1. Decrease in Customer Retention

Probably 80% of your revenue comes from repeat sales and cargo delays bring the risk of creating a reduction in your customer retention rate. When your customers are not satisfied with the product & service you provide (including shipping), it is very less likely that they shop from your Shopify store again. That means you should take shipping delays seriously and find solutions to prevent them!

2. Bring Negative Reviews

Shoppers look at store reviews before purchasing from you to understand whether they can trust your brand.  It is crucial to create a well-established brand reputation with positive reviews and you must ensure customer satisfaction in order to receive these reviews.

On the other hand, if your customers receive their packages later than expected, they may be disappointed and leave negative reviews on your Shopify store. It would harm your brand's reputation, which you have worked hard to build. Shipping delays should not jeopardize your efforts.

3. Cause Product Returns

If the shipping process takes longer than expected and the customer needs the product right away, they may shop elsewhere. As a result, they may return the product because they no longer require it. eCommerce returns cost you money, and if the rate of returns is too high, it can harm your business.

How Much Do Shipping Delays Cost Your Business?

cargoo delivery illustration

Did you know that 69% of shoppers don’t want to shop from an eCommerce store again if their order is not delivered within two days of the expected delivery date?

This is a significant percentage, and considering that customer retention accounts for the majority of your revenue, it could result in a significant revenue reduction. In such a case, you would need to acquire a large number of new customers, but retaining new customers is 5 to 25 times more costly than retaining existing ones.

Plus, before retaining new customers, first you need to acquire them and it could be very expensive because of the cost of sales, advertising, and marketing. You can calculate the customer acquisition cost with the formula below:

customer acquisition cost formula

Since when you lose your existing customers you need to acquire new ones, any delivery delay will add up to your total customer acquisition cost.

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What are the Reasons for Shipping Delay On Holiday Season?

In the above sections, we explained the negative effects of cargo delays on your Shopify business and why you should avoid them. The key point to preventing shipping delays is understanding the reasons for them. After this step, you can find the solution and fix it if there is a problem. Let’s check the common & holiday season shipping delay reasons:

Common Shipping Delay Reasons

Here are the most common shipping delay reasons that could happen at any time and have a negative impact on your Shopify business:

1. Weather Conditions
Bad weather conditions such as snow, fog, etc. might slow down the delivery process. As a result, shipping companies should be prepared for bad weather in order to minimize delays.

2. Documentation Mistakes
Documentation mistakes are one of the most common reasons for shipping delays. Customers or retailers might give a wrong & insufficient address or complete the order form incorrectly.

In these situations, delivery agents may reach the customers by using their contact information, however, if this information is also missing, unfortunately, there is no chance to deliver the package to customers.  

3. Equipment Failures
There may be some equipment failures that cause delays during the shipping process, such as vehicle issues. To prevent these kinds of issues you shouldn’t postpone regular checks and proper care of your equipment.

4. Technological Problems
If there is a technical problem with your website, for instance, if you can’t receive the order information because of a system failure, it is highly possible that it creates delivery delays for your orders.

technolgical problem illustration

5. Customs Procedures
If you are shipping internationally, there could be customs requirements for different countries. All your documents should be prepared if you don’t want customs to hold your package.

You can prevent customs delays by leveraging reliable courier services that follow customs regulations & prepare the paperwork for you.

6. Current Events
Some current events might have an enormous impact on shipping. For instance, the global pandemic significantly increased eCommerce sales and cargo volumes. On the other hand, because of the lockdowns and high demand at the same time, it caused shipping delays all over the world.

7. Supply Chain
Supply chains of businesses have a limited capacity and if there are much more orders compared to regular times, it may create supply chain constraints. For instance, if the workforce of your shipping company is not enough for your sales density, it is likely that your packages arrive later than they should have been.

eCommerce product delivery illustration

Shipping Delay Reasons Specific To Holiday Season

The holiday season is the perfect time to boost your sales. However, it is also the time that customers most want to have their packages arrive on time.

That is why there are some points you should consider while pushing your limits such as double-checking your shipping and fulfillment process. Here are the reasons why you should check them out during the holiday season:

1. High Demand
Holidays are the times of the year when people have the highest demand to shop and when eCommerce sales are at the top of the year.

You can utilize the time of the year and peak your sales, however which means, you should also have an adequate shipment system to deliver all the products you sell on time.

2. Likely Shipment Process Complexity
Due to the high demand during the holiday season, there is a risk of problems during the shipment process because there are too many cargoes to deliver.

For example, there could be a shortage of shipment tracks or a labor force. Alternatively, some packages may be lost due to the chaos of too many orders.

To reduce such risks, you should work with reputable shipping companies that your customers also trust.

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How Can You Avoid Shipping Delays?

The happiness of your customers is one of the most significant points you should focus on to grow your Shopify business. And receiving the products on time is an important part of the customer's happiness.

That is why you should work with the most reliable shipping companies even if their service is more expensive. If you are offering free shipping you can add the pricess to the product price.

After you minimize the delay risk with the right shipping company, you should check the other factors to avoid shipping delays during the holiday season:

1. Anticipate Delays

You should deliver your promises to your customers to not decrease customer trust. That is why, if there is a delay risk in your shipments, you should inform customers about that by extending the expected delivery time during the holiday. So, you won’t create disappointment with your customers by informing them about the delay possibility.

2. Automate Shipping Process

An automated shipping process could be so much faster than the manual one. If you are having too many orders, we can say it is almost a must for you. That means, it is a great way to reduce delivery delays.  

Automated software determines the dispatching rank of the products based on the ordering times.

3. Use Multiple Carriers

Working with one international shipping company might not be enough for the holiday season since there are a higher number of products to send compared to regular times. That is why it could be logical to work with more international shipping companies to deliver your packages on time.

Partnering with local delivery companies also could be a solution. For instance, if you are having too many orders from a specific area, you can work with a local shipping company from there.

4. Prepare Your Warehouse

Before the holiday season, you should check your supply chain and optimize it if needed. In this process, you should also prepare your warehouse for the orders you will take during the holiday season.

The crucial point here is that products should be easy to dispatch. That is why you can organize the most popular products you sell first and then other ones.

preparing warehouse illustration

How to Deal with Shipping Delays Just in Case It Happens

Even if you took all the precautions, there still could be delays in your orders. Here are our suggestions regarding how you should react to your customers with the delay of orders situations:

1. Keep Your Customer Relations Tight

If the orders are delayed, it is better if you inform your customers regarding the issue and explain the reasons for the delay. You can make a call or send a detailed message and inform them regarding when they should expect the package.

So, even if their packages are delayed, customers might appreciate your effort to call them and realize your brand cares about their needs. So, you can increase the chances of them shipping from your Shopify store again.

2. Offer Free Shipping Option

If you send your products with paid shipping, they may expect same or next-day delivery. On the other hand, you can decrease your customers’ expectations by offering free shipping during holidays. Still, it is better to try to send the products as soon as possible and satisfy your customers.

free shipping illustration

3. Offer Gift Cards and Discounts

You can offer gift cards, promotions, discounts, etc. to your customers if their orders are delayed. So, you may lower their disappointment level and raise the chances of them shopping from your Shopify store again. Besides, it could be a way of convincing them to not write a bad review and affect your potential customers negatively.

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Final Thoughts

Holidays are the times that eCommerce sales boost and that means the number of orders you should send could be several times higher than usual.

The crucial point here is manage this process well and send your packages on time in order to avoid frustrating your customers. Otherwise, they may not shop from your Shopify store again.  

However, customer retention is the key point to growing your store since existing customers spend more than new ones and purchase repeatedly. So, losing your existing customers is one of the worst things that can happen.

You should avoid eCommerce shipping delays if you don't want to lose your current customers. . To help you with that we explained how to deal with this shipping process in the best way above. So you can give your customers the best shopping experience possible and keep them!