Ecommerce businesses can be wonderful to run, but they are not without their issues. While there’s a blissful simplicity to not having to actually interact with customers face-to-face, there’s always the chance you’ll be on the receiving end of an unhappy email. No ecommerce business owner likes to have to go through the hassle of supplying a refund or a return, but it does happen– and it’s definitely worth investigating why.
Outside of a customer generally being dissatisfied with your product, the reason behind customer ire is usually a later-than-expected delivery. Customers tend to want items to arrive as soon as possible, and if they feel they have waited too long, they’re not shy about complaining. It’s vital to understand any reasons for delays between the point of sale and the customer receiving their order.
With that need in mind, here’s a few common reasons that ecommerce businesses experience delays…
1) Issues With Your Delivery Company
When you hand a parcel over to a courier, or mail it through the standard system, it’s out of your control. You, as the business owner, have done all you can; the rest is up to the courier. If the courier doesn’t do their job, loses packages or is slow to process, then there’s relatively little you can do about it– but your customers won’t understand that. They want their order and they will hold you, not the delivery company, liable.
If you experience continual issues with your existing delivery method, then switch to another company, even if it’s more expensive. Add a note onto your site to explain why you’ve made the switch, and hopefully your customers will be happy to absorb the additional expense in exchange for a better service. You can always continue to offer the old delivery method as an option, so you’ve covered all your bases.
2) An Inadequate Supply Chain
Any ecommerce business is only as strong as the weakest link in your supply chain; and if the weakest link is particularly weak, then you could have a serious problem.
Every business has a supply chain, albeit not necessarily one that you know much about. Your products have to be produced, sourced, sold, and sent to customers; every aspect of this chain has the potential to cause problems. If one of the links is broken, then you’re swiftly going to find your business suffering.
If you have a supplier who continually lets you down, then either challenge them to improve or look elsewhere. Alternatively, the problem may be internal; you may need to look to the people who work for you. If your employees are unnecessarily delaying orders due to poor productivity, you’re going to want to talk to supply chain recruiters about hiring new employees.
Finally, the problem might also be you, especially if you’re a sole trader. Examine the way you do things, how you process stock, and how prompt you are to process orders and send products to customers. Examining each link in the chain to determine where the problem lies is vital.
3) The Customer Is Being Unreasonable
If your courier is doing their job as they should and your supply chain is in good order, then the only other explanation is… the customer.
Some customers are just unreasonable; every business has to cope with them, though it still feels terrible when you find yourself having to tangle with them. It helps to add a section to your site about delivery timescales, and always keep customers up-to-date if you experience any problems, but ultimately, a complaining customer is always going to be a complaining customer.
If you have one customer in particular who is problematic, always causing issues and making complaints, then it genuinely might be better for your business to ban their orders. Firstly, this might make them realize that they have exhausted your patience, and they may change their ways in the future. Secondly, you have to think about the time you spend on a single customer. If a customer is constantly causing problems that you have to take the time to deal with, eventually, they are more trouble than they are worth to your business. Refusing custom is a big step, but for particularly troublesome customers, it’s one you might want to take.
Getting delivery right is essential for ecommerce businesses. Hopefully, the steps above will help you iron out any issues you’re experiencing, and your ecommerce business will be able to continue to thrive.