In recent times, it has become an arduous job to meet customer needs and deliver their items on time. Even if you manage to impress them with a five-star delivery service, the complete shipping process might take a toll on your efforts and resources. Not just that, in the midst of working hard to fulfill an order you might encounter an unexpected issue. The repercussions of this unfortunate event can cause a chain reaction that can ill affect your future orders.
In search of possible solutions to the most common shipping related issues, store owners end up looking in the wrong place and spend money on unnecessary things. They eventually waste a lot of time. Rather, they should engage in implementing activities and technologies that are simpler and cheaper to fetch. Doing this will save you from contemplating the shipping issues, you can focus on other important parts of the order fulfillment process. Like customer support and feedback.
As a result, you may receive even more appreciations from both old and new buyers. And in addition to that, you will feel confident when handling much complex and bigger orders in future. So without a doubt, listing out the possible issues beforehand would definitely help you prepare better. What’s more, if you get a pocket guide containing the list of common shipping problems along with their solution, it will be of great assistance.
What are the common shipping problems?
Delay in final delivery
This has got to be one of the most common and tough issues out there. There can be multiple reasons for the delay in delivery, but for the sake of simplicity, we will classify them into two forms – external and internal delays. The external delays are usually due to factors like bad weather conditions, heavy traffic, delivery vehicle breakdown, etc. There is nothing you can do to completely overcome these external issues. Although, big companies like Amazon are coming up with solutions like Delivery Drones. They are, however, currently not practical. The only solution to this is to inform your customers about the delay as soon as possible.
Internal delays, on the other hand, can be controlled if you know them well. For instance, you can pack the items that are usual and do not need any customizations. This way you can quickly hand over the package to your shipping carrier once the order is received. And if you are sending items to international borders then make sure to prepare the necessary documents for the customs. Incorrect customs classification can lead to incorrect license that can result in the shipment being held by the authorities. If you deal with perishable items with coolants like dry ice, then make sure to mention it on the package to avoid problems.
Incorrect tracking information
Tracking numbers are generated by computer and should be assigned only to their respective orders. But, many store owners prepare and print the shipping labels manually. This important process involves human input and thus, is susceptible to error. One of the most common mishaps due to incorrect tracking information is the delivery to the wrong recipient. This is bad for both the online store owner and customer.
There are many solutions to this issue. For WooCommerce users, there are shipping carrier plugins that handle the end-to-end shipment. WooCommerce Royal Mail Shipping with Tracking, for instance, provides the ultimate shipment tracking experience. Store owners can automatically share the tracking information with their customers via emails. And in case if you have bulk orders, you can create a CSV file where you can mention the tracking details for the orders and then upload it to the website. Doing this will trigger order completion emails that will be automatically sent to the respective customers.
Delivery refusal by the customer
There can be cases when a customer refuses to pay the outstanding order amount and request to return the order. Although there can be many possible reasons behind this, there are however three most common justifications – buyer made the wrong purchase, item received is wrong/damaged and when they simply don’t want the product anymore. Whatever may be the case, managing returns is quite a challenge. You have to get the order back, unpack it and then place it back in your inventory. Handling returns can also cost you money and time. And so, it should be avoided at all times.
In order to reduce hassle and loss of resources, you can create a minimum COD eligible order limit and charge money to your customers for every return. This step is necessary, as they will reduce the damage inflicted on your overall revenue. Moreover, introducing this change can also ensure a decrease in the number of future returns and delivery refusals.
Handling repair/damaged item shipments
Online electronic stores, especially the ones who deal with warranty products, need to handle repairs as well. Your customers may request you to repair their product, and for that, your customer would need to ship that item to you. Which means, he or she has to initiate the shipment and then send it to the shipping carrier. This is not a good practice, as the customer has to work on this, which he or she might not be compliant with.
Luckily, there is a way around. Some shipping plugins like the one mentioned above offer return label feature. By using this, store owners can send a return shipment request to the respective shipping carrier. Once approved, the corresponding shipping label will be generated based on this request and the store owner will be charged for it. Thereafter, your customer just needs to hand over the item to the pickup agent and the item will be shipped back to your store/repair Centre. Once you are done with the repair, you can again create a shipment and ship the item back to the customer.
Order returned, but not in inventory
Although the possibility of occurrence of this issue is quite rare, store owners may feel uneasy when it happens. The situation gets even tougher to decipher when you have an unorganized/inexperienced order management system. Not just that, the chances of missing order increases when you have a large warehouse or deal with a huge number of orders every single day.
Moreover, if you ship your items using third-party shipping carriers then you would have to contact the respective authorities to find the order. And if you are out of luck, then the complete search might take days or in some cases, months.
To prevent such situation, you need to be in contact with your delivery agent at all times. Thankfully, some good WooCommerce shipping plugins offer the live shipment tracking. This feature, in general, has multiple necessary order status checkpoints. Both store owner and shipping carrier will be aware of the current order status whenever the order crosses a checkpoint. This way if the order is misplaced or lost, the shipping companies can help store owners track their package.
Shipping with third-party services a safer choice?
While shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS can be quite costly, they are far better than other shipping methods like drop shipping. They are a much safer choice, and you can track your items anytime. And, if you are unsure about the safety of your package, you can always opt for order insurance.
So, it is recommended to use a shipping carrier to ship your items to your customers. Doing this will not only solve most of your shipping issues, it will give you a better shipping experience.