Like everything else in 2020, holiday shopping will be much different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to social distancing measures, customers are making a shift to online shopping.
Now that the holiday season has arrived, online sales have continued to grow. Customers spent a record $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday, which is up 15% compared with 2019.
The surge in online purchases is a challenge for many businesses. Even large retailers, such as Amazon, warn that orders could take longer than usual to arrive since millions are shopping online. Shipping companies also emphasize that they have experienced package volumes since the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly, online buyers are not fond of shipping delays. Statistics show that 69% of buyers are less likely to purchase from you again if their purchase is not delivered within two days of the promised delivery date.
That is why you need to mitigate shipping delays during the pandemic.
Communicate with your Customers
Honest and transparent communication with customers is critical for business success. If orders are late, you should contact customers and explain why they will not receive their orders on time. They should know that a delay is not your fault.
You can interact with customers in many ways, such as sending out emails, publishing announcements on your website, or using social networks. Making direct calls is also a good option since it allows you to provide personalized solutions to the problem. Customers will appreciate the extra efforts you made to call them.
Centralize Company Data with an MRP System
Keeping track of inventory can be a challenge for businesses that still use spreadsheets or on-premise inventory monitoring software. By investing in cloud manufacturing software (MRP), you will streamline all aspects of your supply chain, from inventory management and order management to sales and manufacturing.
The real benefit of cloud MRP lies in its flexibility and transparency. Data is updated in real time. It is accessible to all teams, no matter if they work remotely or side-by-side. That way, your business can manage orders more strategically and ensure they are distributed on time.
Cloud MRP also offers many integrations with other digital tools your business uses. For example, by integrating them with your e-commerce platform, you can display inventory and order changes and keep customers informed. Integrations with shippers let you control, organize, and print labels.
Focus on Meeting the Cutoff Time
Most couriers have strictly defined shipping times. If your warehouse does not meet them, the carrier will not pick up your orders for the next delivery day.
That results in inconsistencies in deliveries and can harm user experiences. To avoid that problem, focus on preparing the parcels earlier so you can meet your carrier’s cutoff time.
Stay on Top of your Supply Chain
Logistics issues top the list of the reasons for delayed shipping. Procurement difficulties, manufacturing problems, and delayed material deliveries are just some of the numerous issues that may harm your supply chain and customer service. These problems usually arise due to the lack of capacity to store goods or process orders.
To resolve them on time, you need to communicate with all players involved in your supply chain. When collaborating consistently, you will stay on top of the market trends and find solutions to supply chain problems faster.
Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping benefits your business in multiple ways. Apart from serving as a powerful customer incentive and a FOMO trigger, it can lower customers’ expectations for faster shipping. Namely, your customers may be eager to wait longer, knowing they are not paying the carrier bill.
For example, you can offer free shipping as a pandemic offer to show that you understand customer needs and expectations.
If you cannot afford to offer free shipping for all orders, make your deals more flexible. For example, you could set a lower free shipping threshold. You could also offer flat-rate shipping or offer time-sensitive deals.
Prepare for the Holiday Season
During the holiday season, e-commerce sales experience huge spikes. That also means a massive growth in shipment volumes that may exceed both your company’s and couriers’ capacities. Also, keep in mind that many courier services do not ship on public holidays.
Keep these factors in mind when preparing for the holiday season. Ensure that all pending shipments are resolved before the holidays start. Keep your communications with customers honest, too. Motivate them to make purchases on time by providing incentives.
Boost Transparency with Shipment Tracking
In addition to communicating with customers openly, let them track shipment information in real time. For eCommerce businesses, that is an opportunity to gain customer trust. It reduces anxiety and frustration, especially during shipping delays.
All you have to do is share the tracking number with your customers. That way, they can track the shipping status on their own instead of calling your customer support center.
Over to You
The pandemic prevents companies and carriers from operating normally. To adapt to the growing number of online buyers, especially during the holiday season, you need to reinvent your supply chain. Invest in an MRP solution to track inventory and stay on top of customer communications. Be honest with your customers and inform them about potential delays on time. Above all, analyze market demands during the pandemic and adapt to them fast.
How do you manage shipping delays amidst the Coronavirus pandemic?