Communicating Fulfillment Delays

Among the many stresses peak season creates, eCommerce brands are being challenged this year more than ever. Every merchant, big and small, is struggling with getting orders to their customers as quickly as possible. At every point in the process, from fulfillment to shipping, people are working as hard as they can to get orders to their rightful place as soon as they can. The reality is that this process is not happening as quickly as many people would like. However, the difference between a positive and negative consumer experience can be made by being forthcoming, so we’re sharing some information to help you set expectations for fulfillment and delivery times. 

Setting expectations during the ordering process is key to mitigating frustration with your customers. We suggest four possible places to add this information to the order experience: website banners, in your shipping services, at checkout, and order confirmation emails. 

Website Banners

Many merchants are setting the expectation for fulfillment time from the moment you visit their site. A banner is a great way to highlight this information. They are easy to implement and update as the shipping climate changes. Below is a homepage example banner that notes a shipping delay of 15-20 days and this, very likely, will save their team from emails requesting updates within that timeframe and also keep their customers from worrying. 

Shipping Service Names 

Many merchants are also updating their shipping method names to include fulfillment time expectations. This way, when a customer is choosing a shipping service they are aware that the transit time does not include the fulfillment time. An example would be: Free Shipping (typically fulfilled in 5-10 days, does not include transit times) 

Checkout Messages 

A banner can be easily overlooked so many merchants are adding the same disclaimers to their checkout experience. You can see that Nike has an order delay notice during checkout and this same message is presented to their customers via banners and email communication. 

Follow-up Emails 

Nordstrom has gone a step further and implemented a follow up email, in addition to their order confirmation email, that advises on current delays. This is a great way to easily remind your customers that you are working hard and their orders will be shipped as soon as possible. 

There are going to be instances where the actual delay is greater than what was originally anticipated. Old Navy has done a terrific job in notifying recipients when their packages are delayed even more than normal. This is not an ideal outcome for any merchant or recipient, especially during the holidays, but being transparent allows recipients to plan new gifts if needed. 

How to:  

Most shopping carts have the ability for you to add an announcement to your checkout experience or to incorporate an email update. We suggest contacting your Shopping Cart partner directly if you are interested in implementing any of these reminders and unsure how to. We have gone ahead and found some helpful resources for Shopify and WooCommerce users, which you can find below:  

Add a delay announcement banner to your Shopify store. 

Add an unfulfilled order notification application in your Shopify store. 

Update your store notice in WooCommerce to announce a delay