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8 Most Common Shipping Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Shipping plays a very important role when it comes to online business. However, we need to understand that shipping is not just about delivering the packages to the buyer. It also displays a company’s commitment towards providing an amazing overall experience for its customers. Avoiding some of the common shipping mistakes can surely get you an extra mile ahead of the competition. Most of these mistakes are not that big but the impact that they can cause can be devastating. Business owners can easily avoid these mistakes unless they identify them. Identification, however, is the tougher part.

This article helps business owners identify and avoid some of the most common shipping mistakes that business owners commit. Using this article you will able to easily identify the mistakes that you may be committing. This way you can save a lot of time and money that you may be spending unnecessarily.

Most-Common Shipping Mistakes

Improper Packing

About half of the issues that arise while shipping a product are because of the improper packing. Most of the times faulty packing is the reason for the product damage. Online stores sell different products that vary in shapes and sizes. Be it smaller products like nuts and bolts or products having a greater weight like vehicle parts, furniture, etc. different types of products require different packing. Business owners need to identify which products require what type of box as well as protective cushioning. If a box is not well reinforced, it may not be able to support the weight of heavy products.

If a product is not packed properly, there is a chance that it might get damaged while in delivery. The customers are not liable for any damage caused during shipping. As a result, either the online store or the shipping carrier has to bear that extra cost too. In addition, the time it takes for shipping, replacing the damaged product and shipping again is something no store owner would want to waste.

Hence, when it comes to packing your products, it is advised to consult a professional. In addition to that, having reinforced boxes dedicated to each type of product and making sure that there is proper protective cushioning in the box is the way to go. It is much better to invest some time in ensuring the product is well-packed than to bear the additional cost otherwise.

‘Not’ Automating the Shipping process

One of the biggest shipping mistakes that online businesses commit is to avoid the shipping automation. Nowadays, there are a lot of platforms that support online shipping process. When it comes to WordPress based websites, there are tons of plugins that can automate the whole task of shipment creation and packing. Using such plugins you can even get the shipping labels which you can easily download from your store’s back-office. You can check out some of the best shipping plugins that are available for WooCommerce store owners, here.

Insufficient Shipping Options for the Customers

Who doesn’t love free shipping, right..? But at what cost..?
There are times when the business owners may decide to provide free or other cheaper shipping options to their customers. What we need to understand is that cheaper shipping isn’t always the best shipping. Some customers may value other factors over the cost. A customer may prefer to pay more in order to get the shipment faster. Short delivery time, package security, features like guaranteed delivery, etc. are some of the factors customers may prefer over cheaper shipping rates.

Business owners need to be a bit more flexible when it comes to providing shipping options to their customers. Identifying the factors that their customers value more and providing shipping options based on those factors is a much better approach.

Incorrect Shipping Address

Earlier we talked about the importance of proper packing before shipping. Moreover, the impact that adequate shipping has on the customers, is also incomparable. From an online business owner’s perspective, both these things are very important. At the same time, both these things are relatively easy to identify. However, a small change in the ZIP code, State Code, Country Code, etc. would not be visible until the product is halfway across the globe. For a store owner, the thought of shipping a product to a wrong address and then getting it back to its rightful owner is very costly. Not only there is a loss of money, but the customer dissatisfaction that it causes is much worse.

In such cases, it is much better to take time and double, even triple-check the destination address and small details such as ZIP codes, rather than wasting a huge amount of money as well as time in reshipping the product.

Inaccurate/Estimated Weight of the Shipment

While selling products that weigh more, it is a common scenario to get a weight estimation. One of the biggest reason is that in most of the cases the online business owners won’t have the correct tools to weigh the products. Hence, estimating the weight to some decimal places may seem the best option. This is one of the biggest mistakes committed by online business owners. The shipping carriers weigh the packages before shipment and if there is a difference in the actual weight and the weight mentioned by the owners, they will charge extra cost. Further, the weight estimation results in the adding up of all the small weight in decimal points and affecting the shipping cost significantly.

In such cases, the best option would be to measure the exact product weight before and after packing. For this, the business owners must consult the shipping carriers about the tools and techniques that they use to measure the weight.

Only One Shipping Carrier

When it comes to medium to large scale business owners, relying only on one shipping carrier can prove to be one of the biggest shipping mistakes. Most of the businesses tend to work with only one shipping carrier because of the shipping services they provide. Take the example of Canada Post and Australia Post. These carriers may provide some of the best shipping services in terms of both price and time, in Canada and Australia, respectively. However, at the same time, the international shipping services provided by these carriers may not be at par with the likes of DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc.

The idea with multi-carrier shipping is that a single carrier may not be specializing in different shipping needs. Working in a multi-carrier environment, business owners have the flexibility to choose the shipping carrier based on factors like scale, expertise, and geographical areas covered by the carriers. In such cases, using tools like WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin for WordPress based online store owners will be beneficial. This way they can have access to shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx, USPS, Stamps, DHL, etc. all at the same time.

Not Maintaining Delivery Receipts

As discussed above, product damage during shipping is not liable to the customers. In such cases, there is a need for a mechanism for the business owners to ensure that the damage is done during the shipping process and not while packing. Having Delivery Receipts with no damage to the product is one way to ensure that.

Maintaining delivery receipts at every step will help you to identify the exact phase where the damage took place. Bearing the product damage cost as well as higher customer dissatisfaction is nothing less than a nightmare for business owners.

‘Transparent’ and ‘Visible’ Return Policy

There was a time when customers used to look out for the terms and conditions to return a product, at the time of any damage or improper functioning. Nowadays, even before buying the product, a customer wants to know the process of returning a cell phone and buying a new version, if in case the company launches a newer version of the same product. Not having a transparent and easy to access return policy is among the most common shipping mistakes that online business owners commit.

There is a need for a transparent return policy containing the details of what damages will be covered, will there be any shipping charges, who will pay the shipping, etc. Store owners can also go a bit further by providing the printable return shipping labels their customers. Most of the successful online stores such as Amazon have a very customer-centric approach when it comes to the return policy. You can check out Amazon’s return policy by clicking this link. Also, the return policy needs to be easily understandable and visible to the customers at the same time. Having a dedicated section for all the return terms and conditions seems very organized. But a return policy which is not easily visible to the customers while purchasing a product is not that useful in a longer run.

Summary…

This article covers one of the most important aspects of the online business – Shipping. This article is about how important shipping has become in modern day E-commerce and what are some of the most common shipping mistakes that people commit. In the modern day business, where customer obsession is the key to success, a single mistake can be the reason for a company’s failure. With the help of this article, you can identify whether your company is playing it safe or not when it comes to shipping. By avoiding the above-mentioned mistakes, you can assure that the company’s success goes hand-in-hand with the customer’s satisfaction. Moreover, it can be very costly trying to identify shipping mistakes on a ‘trial and error’ basis. A small mistake in the shipping field can cost a lot of money, time, reputation and customers. It is much better to analyze your business and identify as much as you can from other’s experiences.


If you have any query or suggestion regarding the content written in the article, we request you to share your views in the comment section below. In case you feel a point or two missing, feel free to let us know. We would surely add them to this article. We will be more than happy to update the list. This way it will help business owners to identify and avoid more such mistakes.

Last Updated On September 21, 2018