What we've learned tracking millions of shipments through a year of COVID

Yaw Purple

Yaw Aning

Founder & CEO

We don’t have to explain how disruptive this past year has been, we’ve all lived it. Personally and professionally things have taken a complete 180 since the start of 2020. On the one year anniversary of mass shutdowns across America, the world looks a lot different than it did a year ago.

As people have been quarantining at home for most of the year, ecommerce has skyrocketed in growth as consumers found the ecommerce shopping experience mandatory when purchasing groceries, clothes, home goods, and more. Global ecommerce reached $4 trillion in 2020, growing nearly 30% from the year prior.

At Malomo, we’ve tracked millions of shipments through this time and wanted to shed some light on what we saw, and also what’s to come.

Carrier performance has worsened

Due to the increasing volume of shipments being sent through carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and more, it’s been tough for carriers to keep up with the demand.

At Malomo, we saw carrier performance decrease by 150-600% depending on the carrier, and shipping times were about twice as long as usual.

In what many called Shippagedon, packages were arriving later than usual, experiencing more issues at fulfillment centers, and becoming lost in transit, all leading to the next issues we saw.

Customer’s were checking their tracking more

With more issues with carriers and an increasing number of people shopping online, customers became increasingly conscious of tracking their shipment.

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At Malomo, we’ve seen customers check their tracking 200-300% more than they typically did before COVID (See graph above). This number is also supported by the fact that the volume of customers searching for tracking related terms increased drastically.

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(Shopify’s LinkedIn Post)

Ecommerce merchants experienced a surge of sales, but also a surge of customer issues related to shipping caused by poor carrier performance.

The most successful ecommerce brands communicate with customers

We’ve helped ecommerce merchants handle this surge of shipments and an increasing number of shipping related customer service issues, one key factor in dealing with this chaotic time is communication.

The best brands are getting ahead of issues by being transparent with customers about delays. From the time the customer hits their website to the notifications they are sending customers after they buy, the best brands are letting the customer know that there will most likely be issues with their package as it is being delivered to their house.

For instance, including a brief message to acknowledge delays, like Venus ET Fleur did in their shipping confirmation email, will go a long way when it comes to gaining customer trust.

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Customers appreciate the communication and in a lot of instances simply setting the right expectations regarding shipping can help reduce up to 70% of shipping related support tickets.

The issues will not stop any time soon

Even as vaccines roll out across the nation and people begin to make their way out of quarantine, ecommerce doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Neither will the issues with carriers.

Carriers like USPS are still experiencing major issues from the influx of shipments they’re delivering.

Adobe is predicting 2021's total e-commerce sales to land between $850 billion and $930 billion, with the figure topping a trillion for the first time in 2022.

This combination is going to lead to a continuation of carriers struggling to deliver items on time with ecommerce merchants sending more shipments to customers.

Online consumers’ already sensitive nature towards shipping is going to carry over in the years to come and the type of experience ecommerce merchants provide during shipment tracking will be a key differentiating factor in gaining trust and loyalty from customers.