4 ways to keep your customers from asking “where’s my package?”
As an eSeller, it’s exciting to see orders roll in for your products. However, for the customer, the exciting part is when the product arrives. Long delays and uncertainty between order placement and fulfillment often yield stress and dissatisfaction. Neither is good for your business.
The following are several strategies and tactics you can employ to help guard against customers having to ask, “Where’s my package?”
Automated email replies for shipment
The first critical step in order fulfillment communication is to let the customer know the item has been shipped, and to the extent possible, when it is likely to arrive.
Amazon does an excellent job with this communication. Soon after an order is placed, you receive an e-mail that your order has shipped, along with an estimated delivery date. Even if you cannot provide the delivery date estimate, using a software program that automatically sends the customer a “delivery alert” is a great help.
You can also offer your customers access to live-tracking updates through the shipping company or via a mobile app. The United States Postal Service, for instance, offers simple, affordable tracking numbers that allow customers to track where the product is in the process. All you need to do is have a system in place to get the tracking information to the customer after sending the package.
If you use a shipper that does not offer a convenient tracking tool, the app Tracktor enables tracking on more than 100 providers worldwide.
The process gets a bit more complicated when your business utilizes a dropshipping system for order fulfillment. In this setup, you rely on a third-party distributor or retailer to fulfill orders received through your site.
While effective follow-through is somewhat out of your control, one step you can take is to only partner with providers that provide order fulfillment information to your customers in one of the ways described. You could also request or access information on typical delivery times on products from the dropshipper, and provide these as estimates for your customers. Some dropshippers may provide you, and your customers, access to delivery time tables via e-mail following orders.
Even more frustrating than uncertainty while waiting for a product to arrive, is finding out after a lengthy wait that the product is out of stock or on back-order. Let your customers know as soon as possible when a product is out of stock or when a delay is expected on the initial delivery projection. There are apps available to help facilitate this communication, such as the Out of Stock Notifications app. Better yet, make sure your site is constantly updated in a way that reflects the current status of the items you sell, to prevent this type of occurrence altogether.
Don’t risk losing long-term customers and revenue because you fail to keep shoppers in the loop during the order fulfillment process. Successful eSellers have a well-established and organized system for keeping customers updated throughout as to when a product will arrive. When partnering with a third-party, ensure a system is in place that allows your customers similar access to delivery dates and updates.