Just as customers had come to expect lightning-fast shipping from your online store, along came the pandemic and all bets were off. Supply chain snafus created a trickle-down effect that caused delays on inbound and outbound shipping.
Are you resigned to riding out the storm, hoping that things get better soon? Take a proactive approach and use these helpful tips to turn shipping problems into opportunities for growing your business.
1. Be fully transparent.
In the interest of closing sales, it can be tempting to make vague promises about quick shipping. Some sellers take the attitude that once a sale is final, the customer will just have to accept the shipping time, no matter how long it takes.
This position may help to pick up a few sales, but you’ll lose far more in terms of repeat business. If you’re up front about estimated shipping times and offer prompt communication about delays, customers will appreciate the honesty.
2. Build a strong relationship with suppliers.
When you’re an online retailer, communication flows both ways. It’s just as important to maintain frequent contact with suppliers as with customers. The more information you have about product and parts availability and supplier shipping issues, the better equipped you are to give your customers realistic delivery windows.
Help your suppliers by providing accurate projections of inventory requirements and timelines. They’ll appreciate the effort to make their job easier and consider you to be more of a partner, which can pay dividends in a long-term relationship.
3. Be accessible.
Ghosting has become an acceptable way to deal with personal relationships, but this practice of disappearing with no notice has no place in the business world. Clearly define the methods customers can use to reach you, whether it’s email, phone, chat, or a combination. Few things will set people off on the social media warpath like a business that is unresponsive or, maybe worse, sends customer down the voicemail rabbit hole.
4. Offer free shipping.
Have you resisted jumping on the free shipping bandwagon? Yes, it can be difficult getting past the idea of giving up precious profit margins. But free shipping can offset the perceived drawback of shipping delays, tipping the scales in your favor. Consider the fact that, according to a UPS survey, four out of five shoppers rate shipping costs as a significant factor driving their decision to purchase.
This doesn’t mean you have to adopt a blanket free-shipping policy. Tie it in to promotions and incentives to create additional excitement and urgency. For example, you might offer free shipping for ordering during a specific time period, or reaching a minimum order value. Build repeat business by making free shipping a perk in a customer loyalty program.
Are you just not in a position to offer free shipping on any level? Keep it in your back pocket as an option to satisfy customers who experience major shipping problems. Pay the shipping cost retroactively or offer discounts to cover the amount.
5. Partner with a fulfillment warehouse.
You may find that dealing with today’s heightened supply chain and logistics difficulties is taking valuable time away from the main focus of growing your business. Teaming up with a fulfillment warehouse lets you shift the heavy lifting to an experienced and capable company, leaving you free to concentrate on sales.
Scalable, Cost-Effective Fulfillment Warehouse Solutions
With more than 35 years of experience, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics has the know-how to handle your needs through any fluctuations in the marketplace. Contact us today to learn more about our customized programs, including our Amazon replenishment warehousing service.