Shipping delays can hurt your dropshipping business if not addressed properly.
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are in choosing suppliers, shipping delays happen that can affect your dropshipping business. Unforeseen circumstances such as deadly virus outbreaks, bad weather, natural disasters, and accidents can hinder the on-time delivery of products and services from the suppliers to your customers if they’re on affected areas.
Although this can affect all types of businesses, small eCommerce businesses like yours might feel the impact more seriously than your bigger counterparts. The more so if you’re just starting your dropshipping journey and don’t have sufficient funds to cover the losses you might get as a consequence of shipping delays. Some shipping delays cannot be avoided but still, it is a delay that not all customers could understand.
Shipping delays can lead to unpleasant customer experiences. Unhappy customers will not be buying again from you and worse, they can write negative reviews about your store. A single negative review can make you lose hundreds of potential sales and if not handled properly, can cause your business to fall. Word of mouth, after all, is a powerful way of persuading people to buy or not to buy your products. Therefore, you have to ensure that you can placate unhappy customers to stop them from spreading bad words about you.
So how do you handle shipping delays the right way?
A shipping delay is going to cost you. Regardless of how you handle it, your business will still be affected. Yet, if you deal with delayed shipments the right way, the impact will not be as bad as just ignoring it or not taking measures to cover up the damages.
If you’re dropshipping products from AliExpress, you might have known already the estimated shipping times of the shipping methods that they are using. Depending on the product and your customer’s location, shipping time could take 12 – 60 days. Any delays in the fulfillment and shipment of the products could prolong shipping times resulting in orders not being delivered to customers on time. To address the issues that may arise with shipping delays, here are 5 simple methods that you can do.
Method #1: Inform customer of the delay
Even if the delay happened due to the supplier’s unprofessionalism or mismanagement, it is still your fault that the shipment gets delayed. You are the seller of the items and the customer is yours. Making excuses and blaming the shipping service will not appease the customer. The customer will not give a damn about your excuses and problems because they care more about their money and receiving their purchases within the time frame that you promised.
Instead of fabricating stories, track the order yourself and think of a solution. You might have to spend time and lose money doing so but this is part of running a dropshipping business. You got to lose some to win some. Be honest, handle the issue, and inform your customer that you’re attending to the situation. Make sure that you let the customer know that you will make up for the shipping delay.
Method #2: Make calls before emails
Calling the supplier and the customer about the delayed shipment can save a lot of time than sending an email. It takes extra effort to call but it can quickly get you the answers you need from the supplier and update the customer on how you are solving this unpleasant situation. By calling the customer, you are creating value for your business that the customer will not surely miss.
Handling the situation with fast customer care is a unique selling proposition that your business can use as an advantage over huge competitors. You can resolve issues immediately and establish your business as a reputable one with your speedy customer service. By acting quickly on shipping delays and covering up damages with perks and freebies, you can rebuild your reputation and encourage customers to buy from you again.
Method #3: Follow-up shipment regularly
Allocate enough time to frequently follow-up with the shipping company and update your customer. This way, you can pressure the shipping company to facilitate the delivery process while showing your customer that you are actively acting on resolving the issue. When the customer notices your effort on making things right, they can show their appreciation by not giving you a bad review.
Method #4: Offer choices to the customer
Show customers that they are valued by offering them choices on how to handle the shipment delay. Don’t stick to one way of resolving the issue only. Even if the package is already on its way and will be delivered on a specific date, you can still offer to reimburse the customer if they will refuse the order. If they, however, decided to wait for the package to arrive, you can offer them free shipping or a gift on their next order.
By giving the customer a bit of control in addressing the situation, you convey a message that you value their opinion. This can cost you some money but you’ll be averting the damage that a bad review can cause your business. Be open and present solutions that can turn an unpleasant experience into a satisfying one.
Method #5: Cover-up damages of delayed shipment with offers
Sometimes providing fast customer service is not enough. Some customers do not accept delays and threaten to file disputes instead. You can try to cajole them by offering coupon codes or some inexpensive items. It will cost you money but it’s cheaper than the cost of a bad customer review. Bad reviews can put off hundreds of prospects and you’ll lose a lot of sales in the process. It’s something that you’d want to avoid in your dropshipping business.
Also, offering unhappy customers with coupon codes or a free product is making an opportunity for a second sale. You’ll not only make your customers happy, but you’ll also be able to earn some sales from them too.
Now that you know the different ways to deal with your customers in case of shipping delays, start implementing them already. With these methods, you can alleviate the damage that a bad review can cost your business and encourage repeat customers despite the delayed shipment on their first purchases.