5 Ways to Turn Ecommerce Shipping Delays into Opportunities

Fast ecommerce shipping has become the standard for online shoppers, with big players offering 24 hour—and sometimes even same day—shipping. Fast shipping is what makes online shopping more enjoyable. Free Shipping. Shipping delays and hiccups caused by the overloaded mail system and persistent problems with the global supply chain have caused significant disruptions to independent retailers. 

Long shipping times—both from suppliers to your store and from your store to the shopper—are painful. More than a third won’t shop with a retailer again after a negative delivery experience. 

But do ecommerce shipping delays Not required to make it a bad experience? Shipping is complicated in an age of supply chain problems. More shoppers are realizing this. There are opportunities to keep them happy even when packages won’t get there in time 

In this article, we’ll go over you everything you need to turn the negative impacts of shipping delays around:

How to Launch an Unified Omnichannel Commerce Strategy

Omnichannel retail places the customer at center of the shopping experience and gives them seamless access to multiple channels. Learn how to adopt this customer-centric strategy.

Banner 3

Supply chain and shipping delays: A new (and familiar!) battle

2020 and 2021 are the years of supply chain delays. Pandemic lockdowns or restrictions caused labor shortages. This in turn led to slowdowns that led to shoppers and retailers ordering in large quantities to minimize the number of times they had to reorder. That This has led to Gridlocked traffic at shipping ports around worldShipping container costs are skyrocketing. 

Overloaded mail systems can cause unexpected delays in getting goods to customers once they have been loaded onto the boat. It’s a complicated, interconnected system that’s currently being stretched to its limit. 

While there’s a good chance things will eventually stabilize, for the time being, delays are the new normal, and there’s no real ability to predict how long they’ll take. There are likely to be complications Expand into 2022 before they start getting better, but if there’s anything we’ve learned over the last year, it’s to expect the unexpected. 

However, peak shipping times will always cause delays for packages. Since years, holiday shopping shipping delays have been a problem for retailers. It happens, and while nobody wants it to happen again, it does happen. Even when the supply chain recovers—or, perhaps more accurately, evolves—you’ll need to be prepared for the occasional ecommerce shipping delay.

5 ways to reduce the pain of ecommerce shipping delay

A survey has shown that shoppers are more aware of the supply chain issues surrounding the pandemic. 91% understandThe complexity that retailers face. They are more open to your efforts now and in the future to ease the pain.

Here are four strategies to make ecommerce shipping delays a positive brand experience. 

1. Free shipping

Fast And Shipping free of charge to e-commerce is the gold standard. But free shipping in and of itself can be a draw—shoppers Regularly choose fast shipping over free shipping. If they can get their goods without having to pay any shipping costs, they’ll be more forgiving of delays.

The most straightforward tactic here is offering free ecommerce shipping across the board, but that might not be doable for all retailers, especially if you’re shipping heavy products.

Instead, you can choose your own fate. Free shipping threshold. This means you will need to identify your median order value (the amount that 50% of your orders exceed) and set that as your free shipping threshold. This is how you do it:

  1. Compile the total number of online orders you have received in the last month.
  2. Divide by two and round up an odd number. Divide by two if you have an even number. This is your median. 
  3. Arrange your orders according to value, starting at the lowest and ending at the highest.
  4. Count your orders till you reach the median value you calculated. This is your median order amount. 

You might check to see if your median has changed significantly in the past quarter.

If free shipping upfront simply isn’t feasible for you, you might consider retroactively offering it. You could offer to reimburse customers who are affected by shipping delays by sending them discount codes, store credit, or a direct refund. 

2. Preorders are a great way to build excitement

Reframe the situation if your problem has more to do with receiving goods from suppliers than shipping to shoppers. Think about it—what’s more exciting to see on a site: an out of stock notice, or a preorder button?

Preorders can be offered without causing any headaches for your customers or yourself.

  • Only the best sellers should be preordered. Hide slower moving out of stock products until they’re back in your inventory.
  • Don’t set specific delivery time frames unless you’re Absolutely certain of when you’ll receive an item. Instead, give a range of numbers and indicate that it is approximate. 
  • Take a limited number of preorders—only allow as many orders as is coming in your next shipment.

A notification system can be set up for customers as well. Customers could sign up to receive an email when stock is replenished, instead of ordering the product in advance. This will mean less backorder management for you, but it might also mean losing a shopper’s business if they find their desired item somewhere else first. 

3. Transparency is key to ecommerce shipping

As we’ve noted, shoppers have become more understanding of supply chain struggles throughout the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to forgive every delay.

They will now know what they want. More communicationThere are many ecommerce shipping issues. Shoppers want regular updates about shipping status, as well as transparency about inventory—if they’re backordering or preordering, let them know—and potential supply chain struggles so they’re not hit with an unexpected delay. 

You can look to your shipping integration partner to help give shoppers the increased transparency they want now—and if you don’t have one, now’s the time to pick a company. Some companies, like ShipStationYou can also set up a tracking page that shoppers can access on their own, if desired.  

4. Offer discounts to ease the pain

If it just isn’t going to get there in time, a shopper upset about ecommerce shipping might feel better if they know next time they shop with you, it’ll be with a discount.

Shoppers love to get a deal. 64% of US shoppers think a discount is important when they’re shopping for clothes (and 31% think it’s a little important), and we see that behavior replicated in other industries as well: an Surprising majorityCustomers have used coupons for shopping. 

Yes, they may be upset about the slow shipping. But they’ll save money next time, so it’s almost as though they’re leaving money on the table if they don’t come back. If you’re both lucky, the shipping time won’t be so long. 

5. If all else fails, offer a refund

If a shoplifter is Really upset, there’s not much you can do to make the package get there any faster, but you can let them know you take responsibility for what happened. It may not be your fault, but even with more understanding of supply chains than ever, shoppers think of online shopping as a seamless process, so you unfortunately can receive  some of the blame. Refunds are an apology to help mitigate this. 

While handing out refunds should be a last resort—it’s not economically feasible for retailers to refund Everywhere delayed package—they can go a long way in winning back a shopper. Refunds and returns lead to repeat business, because you’ve proven you’ll take on the risk and cost if absolutely necessary.

Ecommerce shipping delays don’t have to be the end of the relationship

No one wants to deal with ecommerce shipping delays—not you, not your shoppers and not your suppliers. Fortunately, even if shipping times are not your control, you can help ease the pain and make shoppers happy.

It’s all about being shopper-focused. By proactively offering to solve the problem, you prove that you put customers first, even when they can’t get their items tomorrow. They will continue to pay you back by building a relationship with you.

Having a seamless integrated commerce platform makes managing online orders, shipping logistics, preorders, discounts, and all other aspects of your business easier. Small Biz Sense could be that platform for you—Why not speak to a product specialist for a free consultation?



Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.