Top 6 Shipping Mistakes Retailers Make

Is shipping insurance worth it for those shipping a high volume of items?
Is shipping insurance worth it for those shipping a high volume of items?

Retailers understand the hassle traditionally associated with shipping better than anyone else. While shipping is a necessary facet in keeping your business operating efficiently, it can be complicated and expensive if not executed properly.

Here are six of the top shipping mistakes of 2021 and what your business can do to improve its shipping operations just in time for peak shipping season.

1. Sticking with the Same Carriers

With approximately 243,690 couriers and local delivery services in the U.S. as of this posting, retailers have plenty of options for their shipping needs. While in reality, it can be more challenging than you’d think to secure the truck and cargo space you need in such a competitive market. The benefits of using a variety of carriers instead of relying on a small few are significant.

Diversifying your carrier mix will help reduce your expenses, increase shipping capacity, provide additional operational flexibility, and get packages into the hands of consumers faster.

2. Not Keeping Customers Informed

Transparency is key in keeping your customers happy and informed throughout the shipping process, especially since delays have been consistent in the wake of the pandemic. Providing shipment notifications, estimated transit times, and delivery notifications can help build trust and prove that you value customer service — and your customers!

[See also: Evolution of How Consumers Shop]

Tracking tools can also keep your business informed of when shipments arrive and minimize false claims about shipping issues.

3. Miscalculating Shipping Costs

Variables such as weight, distance, and speed all impact the cost of shipping. If the price of shipping is too low, your company may sustain a significant hit in the long term. If shipping costs are too high, it may cause cart abandonment and reduce the demand for your product.

Finding the sweet spot is significantly easier when utilizing an automated parcel management system that chooses the best rate and shipping service to get packages to your customers in the most on-time, cost-effective manner.

4. Inefficient Returns

Sixty-seven percent of online shoppers view the returns page before making a purchase, and 58 percent of consumers want a hassle-free return policy. The returns process is more important than ever, as this alone can determine whether or not customers make a purchase.

Nearly half of retailers now offer free return shipping. If possible, at least aim to include a prepaid shipping label with each package to give consumers access to stress-free returns.

5. Opting Out of Shipping Insurance

Is shipping insurance worth it for those shipping a high volume of items? Consider the fact that 1.7 million packages go missing or are stolen daily, resulting in $25 million lost in goods and services. If packages go missing, the cost of replacing the package is coming out of your pocket.

6. Not Harnessing Data or Consumer Feedback

Big data allows companies to create personalized experiences for consumers. Understanding your customers’ behavior, preferences, needs, and desires around shipping can create lifelong customers.

As we move into late summer and fall, it’s not too early to begin planning for peak shipping season. Correcting the above mistakes can set your business apart from its competitors and catapult you toward future business growth.

Jarrett Streebin
Jarrett Streebin

Jarrett Streebin is the founder and CEO of EasyPost, a technology company that builds APIs to help online retailers achieve Amazon-level shipping capabilities. Jarrett graduated from UC-Berkeley in 2009 and founded EasyPost in 2012.

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