Don’t Let Holiday Shipping Delays Drive Your Customers Away
Widespread shipping delays are expected this 2020 holiday season, but these eCommerce tips for customer communication can help you minimize the damage and keep shoppers coming back to your store.
For eCommerce retailers across the globe, it should come as no surprise that 2020 is going to be a particularly hectic holiday season in which shipping delays are an inevitable reality that must be dealt with.
Let’s take a look at shipping delay expectations for this holiday season, how those delays might affect your business and ways to address the issue.
Widespread Shipping Delays are Expected this Holiday Season
The first quarter of 2020 alone has already seen an increase of over 31% in eCommerce sales. Now, with holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s and Boxing Day fast approaching in the midst of the pandemic, carriers and merchants alike are bracing for an unprecedented volume of orders, as well as delays. In fact, according to LateShipment.com’s report, the “2020 State of Holiday Shipping in the U.S.,” there will be “record package delays” this holiday season, “even as high as 25% to 30%” in heavily populated cities like New York and Los Angeles.
While logistical obstacles will impact almost everyone this time of year and during these difficult times, eCommerce retailers who fail to minimize the harm of delayed orders through proactive customer service may risk significant commercial repercussions.
Late Deliveries = Fewer Return Customers
A new survey from Voxware indicates that “consumers are abandoning retailers with late delivery.” The data reveals that in 2020, 30% of eCommerce customers who fail to receive their orders by the expected delivery date are “much less likely” to make purchases from that business again — a notable increase from 24% in the 2018 survey.
To add insult to injury, 43% of the survey participants stated that they were “very likely to share their negative experiences” on the web in 2020 — a significant jump up from the 33% of online shoppers likely to express their criticism online in 2018. You don’t need to be in the eCommerce game for very long to understand how detrimental negative reviews can be when it comes to attracting prospective customers and sales leads.
In a nutshell, enacting poor customer communication strategies, while handling a high volume of delayed orders, is a combination any eCommerce business would be wise to avoid. Here are our top tips and best practices for communicating with customers about shipping delays.
1. Be Pragmatic — Don’t Wait to Communicate
Getting ahead of the problem before it results in a negative business outcome is likely the simplest, as well as most efficient, way to curb customer expectations during a particularly hectic shipping season.
Overlaying your eCommerce storefront’s homepage with a message stating that shipping delays are expected due to an overwhelming volume of orders prevents shoppers from experiencing the disappointment of delayed packages. If not on your homepage, include this message at some point in your customer’s journey before checkout.
You may worry that your prospective customers will simply shop somewhere else all together upon learning about delays, but the silver lining here is that you convey total transparency and engender trust. Also be sure to utilize a friendly and apologetic tone.
2. Be Proactive and Convey Options
If an unexpected delay occurs, don’t wait until you receive a message in your inbox to do something about it. Instead, email customers whose shipments are taking longer than anticipated and let them know what their options are.
Would they like to cancel the order? Can you reroute the shipment? If they wish to cancel, consider offering a discount code for their next order.
Besides making your customers feel valued, this strategy empowers them with the feeling that they still have choices and are in control of the situation. Taking this proactive approach helps soften the blow of prolonged shipping and expresses a commitment to customer satisfaction.
3. Leverage Your Brand Voice to Reduce Shipping Anxiety
It’s not uncommon for online shoppers to check their order tracking data numerous times between the time they purchase and receive their product from the web. Recognize this as an opportune time to imbue order confirmation and shipping emails with your brand voice and tone, delivering a positive user experience while quelling shopper concern.
Put your customer’s mind at rest by ensuring them that their package is being prepared and any updates or unforeseen circumstances will be clearly communicated in a timely manner. Using eye-catching graphics or visual elements that align with your brand identity will also help strengthen message efficacy and brand identity. For more on this, check out ShipStation’s guide to branded confirmation emails.
Managing order fulfillment during the holidays isn’t easy, but by focusing on what you can control, you can weather the 2020 Holiday shipping storm. With Replyco’s comprehensive list of marketplace integrations, robust set of features and commitment to creating an effortless user experience, managing messages and providing first-rate eCommerce customer service have never been simpler.