7 Tips to Avoid Common Shipping Failures

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
May 19, 2020

Shipping and order fulfillment mistakes can ruin even the most successful eCommerce business. An efficient fulfillment process results in happy customers that receive their orders correctly and on-time and are motivated to make return purchases. These tips will help you avoid the “Oh Ship" moments that can occur during the most common shipping errors.

1. Anticipate Carrier Changes

Shipping carriers change their prices on a yearly basis. It’s important to be knowledgeable of what shipping will cost for your packages at any given time. You never want to be in the position where you don’t have an estimate of your total cost of shipping. Not only could this decrease your profit, but you could also create customer service issues. Imagine trying to get a package out quickly, but you run out the typical box you typically use. Instead, you grab the next size up. Normally this may be fine, but if shipping carriers have just increased their prices, now you are stuck with eating the extra cost (and losing money) for your mistake.

2. Automate Your Process

If you are using a self-fulfillment strategy, you could be leaving a large room for error and inefficiencies. Spending all day printing and placing labels may not be conducive to the overall success of your company. Instead of spending your time doing trivial tasks, find a way to automate this process. This could be done by purchasing software that populates addresses for labels or offloading the entire fulfillment component by using outsourced fulfillment services to pick, pack, and ship.

3. Audit Your Shipments

Do you know what percentage of shipments are received late or inaccurate? Conducting an audit on your processes can help you understand where the errors are happening. This will help you determine when you have the option of filing a claim to the shipper for mistakes made on their end. Understanding where you can make improvements in your shipping process is imperative to effectively scaling your business. You should be able to follow your packages throughout the fulfillment cycle and ensure they are filled correctly and delivered on time. This can help you prevent shipping errors like delivering the wrong product and then having to process a return later. 

4. Listen to Your Customers

One of the best ways to evaluate how your eCommerce business is running is to talk to your customers. Many customers are happy to give feedback when their packages arrive. If you hear complaints, take the time to listen and analyze where you can make improvements. If you receive positive feedback, use that information to understand what areas of your shipping and fulfillment strategies are working the best. Ignoring this valuable feedback is a sure-fire way to kill your online business. 

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5. Send Tracking Alerts to Customers

Once your customers place their order, they want to know exactly when they can anticipate their package’s arrival. Leaving customers out of the loop can result in major communication failures. Tracking alerts not only let customers see where their packages are, it helps cut down on your customer calls and also lets you see in real-time where shipping errors are occurring. 

6. Track Your Shipping Supplies

Do you know how much packing tape, filler, and boxes your eCommerce business uses to fulfill orders on a monthly basis? Keeping track of your shipping supplies can help ensure your customers always receive their orders without any delays. Are you busiest during the holiday season? Do you have fragile products that need more protection? If your inventory tracking for necessary supplies is inefficient, you could be setting yourself up for catastrophic shipping errors during your busiest times. Identify what shipping and packing supplies you need for every product and make sure they are always in stock.

7. Use Correct Packaging

Packing is just as important as the product itself. Choosing the right packaging can cut down delivery costs, protect fragile products, and build your brand’s image. Sloppy packaging conveys that you don’t take pride in your product and neither should your customers. A box ten times the size of your products tells shoppers you aren’t eco-conscious and didn’t care enough to find appropriate packaging. Avoid wasting money and losing customers by taking the time and effort to utilize the correct packaging for every order.

Whether you use in-house or outsourced order fulfillment, shipping mistakes can happen and be detrimental to your business. Avoid these “Oh Ship” moments by developing an efficient process and working with a reliable partner that can support your goals.


Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce. RSL offers modern fulfillment solutions for leading eCommerce retailers focused on reducing shipping costs, improving order accuracy, decreasing shipping times, and increasing customer satisfaction.