“Oh Ship” Moments Series: In-House and Outsourced Shipping Fiascos

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
Jun 9, 2020

Incorrect orders and damaged products can cost you customers. Your shipping strategy should be working to eliminate these excessive errors. However, many eCommerce sellers continuously experience extreme shipping failures at least once. Recently, we had the opportunity to hear from three business owners who shared their “Oh Ship” moments with us.

“My customer received a bra instead of my turmeric beverage.” - Jaka Jamu

Jaka Jamu was growing quickly and needed an outsourced partner to help with fulfillment. As soon as they began working with a 3PL, they received one of the worst (and most unusual) customer complaints in the history of their business. 

A customer who ordered a turmeric and tamarind super beverage received a bra from another retailer instead. Embarrassed, Jaka Jamu Co-Owner Cailtlin Cummings, corrected the customer’s order and ensured it wouldn’t happen again.

The biggest lesson Jaka Jamu learned was to take the time to vet a potential shipping partner for order accuracy and dependability.

“I sent the right item to the wrong customer twice.” - Small Business Owner

Sun Kim was running his own business and trying to keep up with the influx of orders. Between managing his inventory and dealing with shipping carriers alone, he experienced a variety of “Oh Ship” moments. One of his biggest shipping fiascos involved sending out the wrong product to two different customers.

Several orders came in and Kim needed to fulfill multiple orders simultaneously. He misread the first order, picked the wrong item, and sent it out to the customer before he realized there was an error. Then, he misread the next order and did the same thing! Each of his customers received the other’s products. 

This major “Oh Ship” moment led to Kim having to deal with two irate customers and decide how he was going to make up for the mistake. He considered three options: letting the customers keep the wrong item, asking the customers to forward their item to the correct person, or return the item altogether so he could then re-ship the correct order out. All these options were costly and resulted in him losing hard earned revenue trying to get his customers the products they originally ordered.

Many online retailers using an in-house fulfillment strategy have experienced similar “Oh Ship” moments as their businesses have grown. Errors like these are a good indication it’s time to outsource.

“We filled 50,000 incorrect units.” - 3PL Provider

This “Oh Ship” moment came to us from another 3PL provider that filled the wrong product. CEO Jeremy Burton shared his story: 

Burton’s logistics company was working with a baked goods manufacturer and was tasked with storing frozen products to be filled later for summer holiday weekends. When it came time to fill the packages, Burton’s company made a grave mistake. They ended up incorrectly filling hamburger bun bags with the stored hot dog buns! The error was so large that Burton ended up donating 50,000 units to a local food bank because the packages we unsellable. It’s safe to say his baked goods client decided to take their business elsewhere.

As part of our “Oh Ship” moments contest, we’ve been receiving some truly horrific shipping and fulfillment stories from online sellers shipping themselves and working with other 3PLs. These stories highlight the dramatic results of working with unreliable shipping partners or not working with a partner at all. Choosing an outsourced order fulfillment partner that can achieve 100% order accuracy and preserve the quality of your reputation is crucial!

Think your “Oh Ship” moment can top these and is worthy of our $5,000 grand prize? Submit your story to enter. 


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.

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