3 Tips for Overcoming Shipping Disruptions

Are shipping disruptions affecting your business? The ShipEngine team includes ecommerce and shipping experts who can help you sidestep disruptions to keep your business moving forward. See below for 3 tips for overcoming shipping disruptions, and get in touch with us to schedule time to chat with one of our experts about your business and its unique needs. We’ll even share a code so you can get some free ShipEngine swag from our Gear Shop.

It’s impossible to miss the headlines. Some products are hard to find on store shelves. Cargo ships stacked with containers sit off the coast of California for days upon days. Consumers can’t depend on their orders arriving before the holidays — even if they buy early. 

And there’s no end in sight, according to experts.

Ecommerce brands are caught in the middle of this global supply chain crisis. These brands need to delight their customers in order to generate repeat business and drive more revenue. But how can ecommerce companies overcome today’s shipping challenges?

While no one can wave a magic wand and return us to the relatively dependable supply chain and shipping environment from before COVID-19, there are strategies ecommerce brands can deploy to overcome shipping disruptions. Here are 3 tips you can use to keep your business moving forward in a chaotic shipping environment.

1. Be Transparent With Your Buyers

Ecommerce brands are no doubt frustrated by the shipping crisis. So are their customers. In these uncertain times, ecommerce customers are flocking to brands that communicate proactively and that operate transparently through every step in the buying cycle.

What do ecommerce customers want to know? They want to know what type of inventory a brand offers. They want to know how much shipping will cost (before they get deep into the checkout process). And they want to know when their order will arrive. Back orders, surprisingly high shipping prices and lengthy shipping delays are good ways to boost cart abandonment and to ensure your prospective buyer won’t return.

Upward of 78% of Americans forgave slower shipping times in 2020, and 73% have lowered their delivery-speed expectations due to COVID-19. If you can simply communicate with your prospective buyers and make clear when their orders will arrive, you’ll gain a more loyal following and the repeat business needed for your brand to scale.

Communication doesn’t end post-purchase. Make sure to provide regular status updates during the fulfillment process. Ecommerce buyers in 2021 and beyond want to know where their orders are and when they will arrive. Transparency is everything.

2. Streamline the Shopping Experience

Cutting friction out of the shopping experience is a great way for today’s ecommerce businesses to thrive. What does that mean in practice? It means:

  • Giving customers the ability to make purchases at the click of a button.
  • Making returns as quick, easy and painless as possible.
  • Creating a truly omnichannel experience.

That last point is especially important. COVID-19 has accelerated the movement toward omnichannel commerce. Buyers today expect to be able to buy online and pickup in store. They expect curbside pickup options. And they expect the traditional ecommerce experience, too. 

Yes, implementing an omnichannel strategy requires time and effort. But, if your company can master the omnichannel approach, your customers will feel that much more comfortable shopping with you.

3. Diversify Your Carrier Portfolio

It’s tempting to consolidate all your orders with one shipping carrier. During a shipping crisis, though, consolidation limits your options for delivering as quickly and affordably as possible.

We’ve written previously about the benefits of using regional carriers and their geography-specific knowledge and experience. Adding regional carriers works best in a large, diversified portfolio of carriers. 

Most ecommerce businesses are using one or more big-name carriers like the USPS, UPS and FedEx. But fewer have explored adding other carriers to their mix. Complementing big-name carriers with others can:

  • Shorten transit times.
  • Unlock competitive rates.
  • Add shipping capacity for high-volume seasons.
  • Provide access to carriers with in-depth local knowledge and experience.

If you’re still using a single carrier for order fulfillment, your company is exposed to more risk related to the supply chain crisis.

What Happens After the Holidays?

The 2021 holiday season is serving as a landmark for the ecommerce industry. Most brands are gearing up to manage their influx of orders as best they can in the coming weeks and months. But what happens after the holidays?

As noted above, many experts see supply chain disruptions lingering into 2022. While you may not be able to overhaul your entire order management and fulfillment system for this peak season, it’s worth overhauling for the long-term. In fact, brands that find creative, effective ways to communicate with customers, to streamline the shopping experience, and to diversify their carrier portfolios, will be the brands of choice when peak season rolls around again at the end of 2022.

Solve Shipping With ShipEngine

Integrate just once with ShipEngine, and you gain access to 100-plus carriers and order sources. ShipEngine allows you to import orders into a single view, to calculate shipping rates, to validate addresses around the world, to print shipping labels in real-time, to track packages to their final destinations, plus more.

Are you ready to solve shipping for peak season and beyond? We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about how ShipEngine can empower your business to grow, or sign up to start building with our shipping API for free.

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