"Oh Ship!" Moments Series: The Worst eCommerce Shipping Nightmares

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We’ve received hundreds of submissions in our “Oh Ship!” moments contest from retailers with the biggest shipping and fulfillment blunders. While growing their businesses, these eCommerce sellers experienced a slew of in-house disasters and costly mistakes from their shipping partners. Here are three of their horror stories.

“I blew my entire budget on shipping.” - Bryson

This beauty retailer began selling his products locally but was ready to branch out nationally. The business quickly took off and products were flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, CEO Bryson didn’t account for the increased shipping costs and had an expensive “Oh Ship!” moment. Here’s the story he shared.

“Due to COVID-19 demands, I saw a huge increase in orders and was able to start serving customers in other states. My top-selling beauty kits included a branded face mask and 2 oz hand sanitizers. Although sales were great, I didn’t budget for the extra shipping costs. My out of state orders were costing me more than the actual kits! Lesson learned - adjust costs and budget better for my growing customer base.”

Unexpected shipping costs can severely hurt your business. When you’re ready to scale your business to reach new customers, it’s important to rethink your budget and plan accordingly.

“My shipping partner sent 3,000 products to the wrong location.” - Japanese Clothing Retailer

This clothing retailer had a large number of orders to fill in a short period of time. She recruited a shipping company to help her manage her growing inventory. Unfortunately, her shipping partner misread her order paperwork and caused a catastrophic “Oh Ship!” moment. Here’s the story CEO Cheryl Santellano shared with us.

“Last year I began working with a shipping company to manage my large orders. Since they had so many years of experience, I thought I could put my shipping woes behind me. But that was not the case. The shipping company made a grave error when processing my merchandise and ignored the SOP and paperwork I’d included with my request. The paperwork had detailed information of all of my products including photos of the 3,000 pounds of 60-year-old traditional Japanese clothing included in the order. As a result, my "Tangerine Mountain" kimonos were confused with tangerine fruits and ended up being delivered to the CDC. After multiple phone calls to try and resolve the order, I was finally able to get my products released and delivered to the right customers. This was the first and last time I used their services.”

“Our 3PL shipped someone else’s product to hundreds of our customers.” - Alaska Salmon and Seafood Online

This online retailer experienced the worst shipping nightmare with its unreliable 3PL. This “Oh Ship!” moment resulted in dozens of refunds and confused customers. Here’s the story CEO Matt A. shared with us.

“Summer is our busiest time, and we have always struggled with keeping orders frozen to their destination. Two summers ago we started work with a shipping company and nearly lost customers because of their careless mistake. Our biggest seller is Wild Alaska salmon, and hundreds of orders needed to be fulfilled. Instead of receiving our salmon, the 3PL sent all of our customers 20 pounds of another company’s coconut product. This created a two week period of confused, furious, and bewildered customers that all needed replacement shipments

or refunds, as well as an inventory reckoning to find out if our salmon had shipped to someone else’s coconut customers. It was a total nightmare! We now refer to it as the great coconut crisis of 2018, and hope we never have to re-live it!”

These are just some of the many painful shipping and fulfillment nightmares online retailers have shared in our “Oh Ship!” moments contest. Have you experienced a dire “Oh Ship!” moment? Your biggest fulfillment failure could win our $5,000 grand prize!

Submit your “Oh Ship!” moment by July 31 for a chance to win!

Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce. RSL offers modern fulfillment solutions for leading eCommerce retailers focused on reducing shipping costs, improving order accuracy, decreasing shipping times, and increasing customer satisfaction.