As Halloween approaches, so does the peak sales season.
With the sales event sales rush underway, you need to dial in your management strategies to keep every aspect of your sales process moving smoothly. This includes the scariest beast of all: shipping and fulfillment.
Just as trick-or-treaters take great care in choosing the perfect costume, we must be equally meticulous in packaging our goods for a ghostly smooth delivery.
Shipping parts to online customers is fraught with challenges. In the shadowy corridors of shipping, let’s unravel the mummy’s secrets for a curse-free delivery.
A poor shipping experience can negatively impact customer expectations, making it more likely for your customers to go straight to your competitors.
In the vast desert of shipping options, let’s take a leaf (or a bandage) out of the mummy’s book for the safest passage.
Understanding those challenges and implementing strategies to help combat them before they happen are essential to taming the shipping and fulfillment beast.
But what are the biggest obstacles to overcome in your shipping processes? The sands of time have shown us that what’s wrapped well, lasts. Let’s apply the mummy’s age-old wisdom to our modern shipping practices.
Using Safe Packaging Materials
With the variety of auto parts available on the online market, it’s important to have the right packaging materials to properly ship them and protect them from any potential damages. Not all auto parts have the same weights and dimensions or are made of the same material components.
Mummies have stood the test of time, and with the right wrapping techniques, so can your shipments.
Windshield wipers and fluid will require different packaging materials compared to fenders, brake pads, and air filters. Using the right materials can help you minimize potential damage and keep material costs low.
It’s important to have the right packaging materials, but it’s also important to have the right packaging techniques. Drawing inspiration from ancient tombs and Halloween tales, let’s ensure our packages are wrapped tighter than a mummy’s grip.
Avoid making errors like under-filling, over-filling, or failing to secure items within their packaging. This increases the risk of potential damage to the product and to the customer.
To avoid these issues, invest in high-quality packaging materials, quality control your processes to ensure that items are not incorrectly packaged, and outsource your shipping and fulfillment to reliable partners if you can.
Goods Damaged or Lost in Transit
Every mummy tells a story of a time long past. Similarly, the way we package and ship tells a story of our commitment to quality and care.
Let’s say despite your best efforts to ensure shipped parts are packaged well, items still break in transit by the shipping carrier. Alternatively, what if an order never makes it to a customer and goes missing? What then? The key here is not to panic.
More than 42 million packages are stolen or go missing across the U.S. within the average year. As many as 10% of shipped packages are also damaged in transit each year, resulting in a high rate of refunds and replacements among online retailers.
While only so much can be done once orders are out of your hands and in transit, you can take a few preemptive measures to ensure a better customer experience if and when these issues arise.
Use Tracking Information
Better quality tracking information can help you quickly communicate order status updates to the customer. This helps build brand trust in your parts business since you’re being more transparent with the customer. It also allows you to better estimate arrival times, and should orders disappear from the radar, you have a higher chance of recovering those orders when following up with shipping carriers.
Have Contingency Plans
Have backup plans in place to help streamline customer interactions regarding these issues. Have specific customer comms built out ahead of time to help maximize speed. Be sure to reach out to customers in a timely manner, between 24 and 48 hours after a complaint has been made. Work with shipping carriers to reduce procedural time when investigating a delivery issue. Be sure to follow up with carriers repeatedly for clarifications and updates on delivery issues.
Covering Returns and Replacements
Of course, the most notable challenge for online parts sellers in the shipping and handling department is cost. It costs money to refund orders, replace orders, and process returns. All of these cut into your profitability and can lead to overhead costs that could have been avoided. Additionally, they can lead to negative customer reviews and a loss of brand trust, leading to lost sales potential in the future.
To help reduce the negative impact of returns, replacements, and refunds, you can implement a few procedural strategies.
Offer Shipping Protection
Shipping insurance is an eCommerce practice that is rising in popularity. By offering shipping insurance, online retailers can cover damaged items’ costs without cutting into their overall profitability.
Have a Firm But Fair Return Policy
Make sure your return policy is tightly locked down. If incorrect parts are received, make sure that the return process is as painless for your customer as possible. Make it easy for customers to initiate a return, require customers to upload photos of the order, and provide all necessary return information.
If items are damaged, enforce rules that customers do not return them. After all, a broken part is of no use to your future parts buyers. Instead, initiate your replacement part process to help them get what they need quickly and with minimal fuss.
Minimize Carrier Risks
Choose reliable carriers from the start to reduce the likelihood of an increasing number of delivery issues. Negotiate rates with your carrier to help minimize overhead costs should a high percentage of orders be damaged or lost in transit. Taking measures like these ahead of time can greatly benefit your brand and your bottom line.
Ship Better with RP Shipping
As the Halloween season approaches, the challenges of shipping can seem as daunting as navigating a haunted mansion. But fear not, for RP Shipping is here to light the way and ensure your order fulfillment is as smooth as a phantom’s glide.
Just as ancient mummies were protected by their tombs, RP Shipping ensures your shipments are safeguarded from the modern-day perils of damage, loss, and theft. Say goodbye to the ghoulish task of handling tedious carrier claims, restocking items, issuing refunds, and managing customer escalations. With RP Shipping’s automatic protection, your team can focus on what they do best, leaving the worries of shipment safety in the past.
Why pay monstrous rates when you can access competitive shipping rates directly from the RevolutionParts platform? With RP Shipping, printing labels becomes easy. Now that’s some powerful potion! Plus, you can easily share tracking information with your customers.
In the spirit of Halloween, think of this feature as your very own magic broomstick. Need to send or receive local parts swiftly? RP Shipping’s suite of hotshot providers ensures your parts are on the move within an hour. It’s so fast; it’s almost supernatural!
With its trio of powerful features, dealers can rest easy, knowing their order fulfillment is in the best of hands—or should we say, the best of claws?
Don’t Let Shipping Scares Spook You
While shipping and handling horror stories exist, there’s no reason to be afraid of it. You can deliver a great customer experience with fewer roadblocks. With the right processes in place, transparent customer communication, and offers designed for returns and replacements, you can effectively profit from shipping parts orders and expand your business.
Interested in learning more about RP Shipping and its available features? Click below to learn more from a RevolutionParts eCommerce expert!