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Let’s be real: once a package leaves your facility, it sometimes feels like all bets are off. Unless your small business manages each of its deliveries personally, e-commerce forces you to rely on other operations and businesses to ensure that your product gets to your customers’ doorsteps. Truth be told, not every customer sees the big picture in the shipping process, either. Undoubtedly, some buyers will end up at your contact page asking why they didn’t receive a package in time for the holidays.
While you can’t prevent 100 percent of customers from tagging your company in their frustrated Twitter posts, here are some tips on how to prepare customers for shipping delays this winter to manage expectations more effectively.
Reach Out To Warn Customers
The postal service gets swamped this time of year. Use social media, email campaigns, and website banners to let your customers know when to order to ensure they get their package before the holidays. Even if you include a cutoff date, it’s best to attach a caveat as well if you can’t offer a guarantee. After all, things happen, and customers really do appreciate honesty!
Offer a Variety of Shipping Options
Customers often pay more to get packages on time, especially when they’re buying or sending gifts. Start planning out the shipping options your company can realistically provide, and give customers that opportunity to decide what fast shipping is worth to them.
Each shipping carrier offers various levels of shipping services, with some expedited and some not. If your customers pay for shipping costs on their product, this is a chance to give them control over the delivery date. Businesses that offer flat-rate shipping may run into issues with this depending on their current fulfillment strategy, so you’ll need to determine if it’s a viable, scalable option.
Include Alerts at Checkout
Finally, include a pop-up window or alert at checkout notifying customers of possible delays. While this warning has the potential to lead to cart abandonment, it is vital to make sure that all customers, including those who do not follow your digital campaigns, are aware of delays. Use this reminder to communicate expectations as clearly as possible.
Understanding how to prepare customers for shipping delays this winter allows your business to maintain honesty and integrity with its customer base. Avoid making unrealistic promises that put undue stress on your team and lead to poor reviews. Instead, look for opportunities to help customers make the right choices for their seasonal shopping, and provide up-to-date information regarding the shipping times, delays, and delivery dates that you expect.