It’s no surprise that packages have been extremely delayed compared to their normal delivery times because of the pandemic. This issue continues to impact the carriers and delivery times in a way that are beyond the sellers’ control, to an extent. In these uncertain times, following these tips are a sure way to help things run smoother for your ecommerce business.
Extend your promised handling/delivery time to account for the delay.
Making the same delivery promise as you did pre-covid is nearly impossible nowadays due to the delays. By extending your handling time and/or delivery promise, this will cause your delivery date to be more accurate, and delivery complaints from angry customers can be avoided altogether.
Keep in mind though that the longer the window for delivery, the better the chance that your delayed packages will arrive “on time,” since on time in this case means “before the date you promised.” In retrospection, this will result in more happy customers than aggravated, frustrated customers who ask for refunds because their packages continue to arrive late.
Something that may raise concern is that this strategy will show the buyer a longer expected transit time for the package to arrive, which is true. However, by extending your delivery time, your customer’s package will most likely arrive when you said it would (or at least improve the odds of it doing so). On the flip side, a longer delivery window can also increase the chances that buyers who need an item quickly won’t order your product.
It’s important to find a “happy medium,” and offer a delivery promise that you believe you can meet confidently. The key is choosing an adequate length of time that buyers feel is reasonable enough to wait for their purchase, but also make sure it’s realistic enough to balance out the delays you’re having.
Examine other alternatives like FedEx or UPS
Other options might be the best choice right now considering the extreme delays from USPS. Amazon Sellers have complained that even if they are sending off their packages on time, it is still affecting their rank and standing in the SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime) program because of the complaints of delays. It doesn’t reflect the carrier being at fault, even though it should, since the issue is coming from them. This can cause serious problems as a seller and even result in losing a seller’s spot in the SFP program if the delays continue.
USPS is undoubtedly the cheaper shipping option in comparison to FedEx and UPS. However, if customers aren’t getting their orders on time (which in turn causes angry customers, bad reviews and loss of a spot in the SFP program), making a change in carriers just might be the best solution in the long run. Reliability wins in this case for sure.
Negotiate carrier contracts for the best rates.
At this point, parcel fees aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Now is the perfect time to negotiate shipping rates with carriers since demand has increased with customers doing more online shopping due to the pandemic. Volumes are only expected to boost as the holiday season comes, so what better time to negotiate rates?
Using your negotiating power is crucial when looking for another carrier. Price haggling is vital in securing a better deal, so it’s important that you’re confident in what you are asking.
One way to do this is to call a shipping carrier, such as UPS, to get information on their pricing. Then, call another carrier such as FedEx and ask their rates as well. Make sure to inform them of the offer you were given by their competitors. Also be certain to inform them of the volume of orders your company fulfills and how you are increasingly growing. This will exhibit your value and the benefit of gaining you as a customer to the carrier. After they offer you their “best deal,” go back to the initial carrier you called, inform them of the offer you were given and haggle the price until you are satisfied and get the best rate. If you have a very high volume and demand for shipping as a company, this strategy will be effective and successful.
- Extend your promised delivery/handling time to account for the delays.
- Consider carrier alternatives to make sure your products are delivered in a timely manner.
- Negotiate other shipping carriers for the best rate.