Common Causes of eCommerce Order Delays and 4 Ways to Avoid Them

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On the surface, a typical ecommerce order fulfillment process looks like this: the customer places an order, your team picks it from inventory, prints the label, packs it, and then ships it to the listed address. Easy right? Well, not so fast. In between the process, there's the possibility of a lot going wrong. Especially with the increase in online shopping due to Covid-19, the chances of ecommerce order delays are high, now more than ever. If you've been experiencing customer backlash due to delayed orders, here is what you can do to prevent ecommerce delays.

What Causes eCommerce Delays?

You cannot address a problem if you don't know the causes. Below we outline some of the most common causes of delays for online orders.

An Increase in Delivery Volumes

Deliveries are often delayed when there's a surge in ecommerce shopping. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse to ecommerce retailers. On the one hand, the pandemic spurred an increase in ecommerce spending by 30.1%. This meant more sales and returns on revenue for retailers.

On the other hand, however, it meant a huge spike in orders for many online retailers, causing massive order processing and shipping delays. According to Digital Commerce 360, retailers are talking about 1.5 days longer than average to fulfill orders. Why? Because they're not well-equipped to scale the massive delivery volumes that came with the pandemic-induced peak season.

Lack of Structure

Another common reason for eCommerce order delays is due to a lack of structure. As noted earlier, a typical order fulfillment process involves picking, sorting, and shipping the product. The whole process calls for utmost reliability and accuracy. Without a proper order management structure in place, your team lacks cohesion, which increases the chances of inaccuracies in order processing, and conversely, delayed shipping.

Problems in Transit

Your business may have a proper order processing system and staffing in place and be well-equipped to handle an increase in orders during peak seasons. But delayed ecommerce deliveries are not always the retailer's fault. The chances of your customers getting their orders late are high during unusual weather conditions and road closures.

Poor Documentation

Other times, everything could go right but one simple misspelling of an address or suite number. In these cases, not only can delays occur but a package may never make it to the correct recipient. By the time a customer realizes their package was delivered to the wrong address or lost in transit, the package is already past due and the customer must now wait even longer for a replacement to be sent.

How to Prevent eCommerce Order Delays

Now that you know common causes of ecommerce order delays, here are steps you can take to prevent them:

1. Update Your Inventory

The last thing you want is a potential customer to place an order, only to find out you don't have the requested product in your inventory. This will only result in delays, which means a frustrated customer. Always have a team that regularly checks existing inventory and updates your ecommerce website to reflect instock products and consider setting up inventory alerts to avoid running out of a popular seller.

2. Establish an Efficient Order Processing System

If there's no cohesion between those who pick orders and those who pack them for shipment, the processing process will likely be slow and inefficient. This means there's a high chance your courier or shipping company may leave orders meant for same-day deliveries behind, and as a result, delaying and frustrating the customer.

To avoid this, make sure you have an efficient order processing system in place. Automate the process through reputable software so you can ensure you don't miss carrier deadlines or your shipping company's pickup timelines.

3. Be Honest with the Customer about Delays

We all hate fake or empty promises, and your customers are no exception. Nothing frustrates a customer like placing an order and being promised same-day delivery only for their package to get to them a day or two later. It's a good idea to let the customer know you're experiencing delays and that their order will be shipped later than usual, as to set the right expectations. Place a banner on your website or product listing, alerting them of the delay before they check out. This way, they'll know what to expect in regards to shipping times from the moment they click the checkout button.

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4. Work with a Reliable Shipping Company

Even with the best in-house fulfillment process in place, there's always room for error without the right expertise on your side. Working with a trusted and experienced fulfillment company can help eliminate order processing and shipping delays. Enlist the services of a well-established third-party fulfilment company known to live up to its fulfillment promises so you can be confident your products will reach your customer as expected.

Fulfill Customer Orders With the Best Today

Wrong addresses, damaged products, lost packages, and poor career services are just some of the challenges that come with ecommerce delivery, and that result in massive delays for eager customers. You can avoid such problems by enlisting the services of a reputable ecommerce fulfillment partner like ShipNetwork. Contact us today to learn how a nationwide delivery network of fulfillment centers and dedicated ecommerce fulfillment experts can improve your customers' delivery experience.

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