5 Tips to Handle Shipping Delays

Shipping delays can negatively impact your brand reputation and sales

  • Written by Matt Holman
  • Published on August 21, 2020
  • Time to read 9 minutes

Shipping delays can negatively impact your brand reputation and sales.

If your item doesn’t arrive on time, customers won’t feel they can trust you with their money and won’t return to your store for more.

Even worse, they can post negative reviews and spread the word to their friends and family. It doesn’t take long for bad reviews to spread.

Why do Shipping Delays Happen?

Even if you think everything’s under control, no one can truly predict what happens to your package once it leaves the warehouse. Your item’s delivery could get delayed for various reasons, which include:

World Events

World events can have a significant impact on shipping operations. Just take a look at what happened this year with COVID-19 — with new social distancing measures put in place and thousands of business shutdowns, many stores had a hard time making sure their package got into the hands of customers.

With more e-commerce orders than ever, all major carriers are struggling. The USPS has had the most challenging time since they have the most significant volume.

Unexpected Weather and Natural Disasters

Sudden weather changes can prevent your orders from arriving on time to the customer’s doorstep. It’s something that’s unfortunately beyond your control, but there are tactics you can use to handle the situation (which we’ll get into later).

Domestic & International Customs

Your package can get held back if it doesn’t respect customs procedures. For example, if you’re trying to ship ivory products to Italy (where the material is banned), your package might even get destroyed. That’s why you need to do your research on customs before shipping the item to the customer.

Shipping insurance protects you from any drastic financial loss and takes extra stress off your shoulders


E-commerce sales tend to skyrocket during holiday seasons or important dates. As a result of record items being ordered, carriers can’t consistently deliver to your customer on time, which is not practical when everyone expects to receive their gift quickly (or by a specific date).

Poor Inventory Management from Your 3PL

Your item’s shipping delay could also result from poor management of your 3PL.

While investing in a logistics provider can provide you with many benefits in the long term, choosing the wrong one can be detrimental to your brand. Check our blog post on picking the right 3PL for your business to avoid making this mistake.

The Best Tactics You Can Use to Handle Shipping Delays

Get Shipping Insurance

Preparing yourself in advance goes a long way. Before shipping the item to your customer, you should consider investing in shipping insurance to protect yourself from any trouble during delivery.

Shipping insurance protects you from any drastic financial loss and takes extra stress off your shoulders. If the customer demands a refund because of the delay in delivery, you’ll have the means to give it to them without hurting your profits.

Be Upfront With The Customer

When your shipping is delayed, you’ll need to let the customer know what’s going on, especially as the world still battles with COVID-19.

Make sure to follow up with them via email, social media, and SMS. Apologize, explain the current situation to the customer, and how you plan to solve it. Holding yourself accountable proves to the customer that you’re someone they can trust.

Offer Order Tracking on the Delayed Item

Not having an order delivered on time can cause a lot of anxiety for the customer. To give them peace of mind, you can give them a tracking number to monitor their package.

With eHub, each item you ship comes with order tracking to get updates as they happen for your customers. We can also provide insurance if your package doesn’t arrive or is stolen during delivery.

Offer Special Discounts and Deals

Shipping deals can be an unpleasant experience for the customer. To make up for it, you can offer them special discounts and promotions on future orders.

Giving customers discounts proves that you value them and take their satisfaction seriously. For example, if your package doesn’t arrive on time, you can offer free shipping for their next order or a 20% discount on future items.

Use Multiple Shipping Carriers

Regarding shipping, it’s essential not to put all your eggs in one basket. Using multiple carriers ensures your package arrives on time if one fails to deliver.

Finding suitable shipping carriers, however, takes a bit of time and search. That’s why we do the hard work for you by connecting all major carriers in one place on our platform.

Offer Multiple Shipping Options at Checkout

Providing transparency into expected delivery times is vital to the ordering experience. Showing customers two options (at least) – one for expedited and the other for slow delivery – lets them choose what will work best for them.

If you’re offering free shipping on the slower service, then the value of the expedited shipping will be improved. While many people expect free shipping, they are willing to pay for faster delivery times when it is essential to them.


Shipping delays don’t have to be the end of the world. Handled effectively, you can still shine in the eyes of your customers and retain their trust.

If you’re looking for a platform covering everything you need to manage shipping effectively, we can help. From inventory management to order tracking, our platform gives you all the tools you need for smooth delivery.

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