The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to the global business sector, and some of the things that leaders are fearing the most currently are shipping delays, missing cargo, and angry customers. Right now, it is more important than ever before to avoid shipping delays and deal with such setbacks properly in order to minimize any damage, prevent financial loss, and preserve your brand’s reputation. That said, this can be a difficult task during the COVID-19 crisis that is putting a strain on the global supply chain and making it difficult for carriers to do their job properly.

Fortunately, there are several effective tactics you can employ right now to minimize risk and up the chances of safe and efficient delivery of products to your customers in your country and even around the world. From various perks and logistics tips, all the way to effective communication with customers and leveraging the right software, here are the things you need to do to avoid and handle shipping delays during the pandemic. 

Offer free shipping to extend delivery time

There are many perks to offering free shipping for domestic orders and even international ones. While sometimes it just doesn’t make financial sense to do so, you should try to enable this feature for your customers to generate more sales, but most importantly, to incentivize the customer to be patient and allow more time for their parcel to arrive. Free shipping might be slower, but it gives you the time you need to optimize your shipping processes and avoid any potential delays.

Free shipping also fits perfectly into your shipping offers and allows you to capitalize on a variety of customer types. Some will pay extra for expedited shipping and some will choose the free version, but it’s important to provide parcel tracking information to all customers to help them keep track of their orders and put their minds at ease. 

Make sure you meet the carrier cut-off time

As an experienced leader handling orders from around the world, you’re probably working with various carrier companies. If you’ve been in this business for any amount of time, you probably know that all carriers have a specific cut-off time for order fulfillment. If your warehouse is late with its order fulfillment and misses the loading and shipping times, then your orders are going to get delayed for a day at least.

Even if your trucks arrive at the pier or the airport the same day, they might not make the loading time and miss the departure. Now the orders are stuck at the loading bay until the next shipping time. To avoid this scenario that can damage your brand’s reputation and cause your orders to be delayed, you should always make sure to make the cut-off time. Prep your parcels early and deliver them to the carrier as quickly as possible. 

Use the right software to avoid order processing mistakes

Of course, one of the biggest risks right now is poor order processing and human error, especially for companies operating on a multi-channel sales structure. Multi-channel sales include the use of various sales touchpoints to maximize conversions from all online and offline channels, but while this can boost orders, it can also cause poor inventory management and tracking.

The manufacturing industry is a prime example where multi-channel sales are keeping companies afloat, but only through cloud-based manufacturing software that allows for seamless inventory management and real-time order processing from multiple channels. The last thing you want is for customers to place their orders only to discover days later that the product is actually out of stock, so no matter the industry you’re in, make sure to use a centralized platform to track and process all orders efficiently. 

Communicate with customers to fix any issues

Delays and setbacks are bound to occur no matter how much you try to prevent them, simply because some things are out of your hands. When this happens, you want to communicate with your customers promptly and notify them of any new developments.

You will need to let them know that it is not your fault that the order got delayed, let them in on the current state of their order, and provide them with a new estimated delivery date. Use a personalized approach and go the extra mile to call the customer to show them that you truly appreciate their business. 

Keep your supply chain running smoothly

Lastly, to prevent shipping delays, you should always work on making your supply chain more efficient. Work closely with your supply chain partners to identify potential risks early on and implement solutions before problems occur. Keep the lines of communication open between your company and all partners in your supply chain to minimize the risk of error and act on relevant data quickly. This will not only minimize financial waste but will invariably impact your bottom line in a positive way. 

Wrapping up

The shipping industry has suffered greatly during the COVID-19 crisis, and while setbacks are inevitable, there is plenty you can do to avoid delays and minimize the damage to your brand. With these tactics in mind, you can safeguard your company’s reputation and provide a stellar service to your customers around the world.

Posted by Raul Harman