How to Handle Delivery Exceptions for your eCommerce Store

Everything you need to know about turning problematic delivery issues around for your Shopify brand

Problem Orders Hero

How to Handle Delivery Exception for your eCommerce Store

If you run an ecommerce store long enough, you’re bound to run into delivery exceptions. Delivery exceptions in ecommerce refer to any unexpected events or issues that occur during the shipping process, causing a delay or disruption in the delivery of a package.

Handling delivery exceptions promptly and effectively is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction. This often involves proactive communication with customers, resolving issues with shipping carriers, and providing alternative solutions when possible. There is nothing more frustrating for a buyer when an issue arises with their package being delivered and the merchant doesn’t address it effectively. Remember, a customer isn’t just paying for the product, they are paying for the product to arrive on their doorstep safely and in a timely fashion based on the delivery expectations that were set.

Some common examples of delivery exceptions

There are a variety of reasons shipping issues can arise. Here's the list of the most common delivery exception causes:

  1. Address Issues: This could include incomplete or incorrect address information provided by the customer, which leads to difficulty in delivering the package.

  2. Weather Conditions: Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, snowstorms, or floods can disrupt transportation routes and cause delays in delivery.

  3. Failed Delivery Attempts: If the recipient is not available to receive the package when delivery is attempted, it may result in a delivery exception. This could happen due to the recipient not being at home or not providing access to the delivery location.

  4. Restricted Areas: Some locations may have restrictions or limitations on delivery access, such as remote areas, military bases, or high-security facilities.

  5. Damaged or Lost Packages: Packages may get damaged or lost during transit, leading to a delivery exception. This could occur due to mishandling by the shipping carrier or other unforeseen circumstances.

  6. Customs Clearance: For international shipments, delays may occur during customs clearance processes, including inspections, documentation issues, or customs duties/taxes.

  7. Carrier Issues: Issues with the shipping carrier, such as mechanical problems with vehicles, labor strikes, or technical glitches in their systems, can lead to delivery exceptions.

  8. Route Disruptions: Unexpected road closures, accidents, or traffic congestion can disrupt delivery routes and cause delays.

  9. Holiday/Peak Seasons: During busy holiday seasons or peak shopping periods, such as Black Friday or Christmas, increased shipping volumes can overload carriers and lead to delivery exceptions.

  10. Regulatory or Legal Issues: Shipments may be delayed or blocked due to regulatory compliance issues, legal disputes, or other legal constraints.

As you can see, stuff happens. But it's how you handle it that separates you from other brands.

How to handle delivery exceptions and wow your customers

  1. Provide Real-Time Tracking: Offer real-time tracking information so customers can monitor the progress of their shipment themselves. This helps manage expectations and reduces frustration if there are delays. Pro tip: branded order tracking elevates this experience 10X.

  1. Proactive Communication: Keep customers informed about any delivery exceptions as soon as they occur. Send automated email or text notifications with updates on the status of their shipment and provide clear information about the reason for the delay. Malomo’s Problem Orders feature makes this especially easy. You set up the thresholds for what constitutes an exception, we track your data and enable you to easily alert your customers via email or SMS–before they alert you! This is a major help in reducing WISMO tickets related to exceptions too.

  1. Fast Resolution: Act quickly to resolve delivery exceptions and minimize delays when this happens. Your customers want answers and quick remediation. Work closely with shipping carriers to expedite the process and ensure that packages are delivered as soon as possible.

  1. Compensation or Apology: In cases where the delay is significant or results in inconvenience for the customer, consider offering compensation, such as a discount on their next purchase or a refund of shipping fees. A sincere apology can also go a long way in maintaining goodwill. And always make sure they get what they paid for!

What to do when delivery exceptions become a pain in your backside

If delivery exceptions start happening enough that you view this as a problem, it’s time to start digging in. Here are a few things you can consider:

  1. Evaluate Root Causes: Regularly review and analyze delivery exceptions to identify any recurring patterns or underlying issues. Addressing root causes, such as inaccuracies in address data, carrier performance issues, or warehouse inefficiencies, can help prevent future occurrences.

  1. Optimize Logistics: Continuously optimize your logistics processes to minimize the risk of delivery exceptions. This could involve improving inventory management, optimizing shipping routes, or partnering with reliable shipping carriers. Malomo’s data and analytics make it easy to stack your carriers against each other and figure out who your worst offenders are when it comes to delivery issues.

  1. Consider Offering Alternative Delivery Options: Provide customers with alternative delivery options, such as rerouting the package to a different address, holding it for pickup at a nearby location, or scheduling a new delivery time.

If you find yourself running into enough lost or stolen packages that it’s eating into your revenue, it’s likely time to consider shipment protection. Malomo recommends Corso. We know there are a lot of shipping insurance and shipment protection options out there, but Corso is the one that our merchants have had amazing experiences with. We have since partnered with them and offer new customer incentives. Here’s how Suitshop uses Malomo + Corso.

Want to keep learning? Check out these related resources...

Examples of Delivery Exception Notifications

If you're a visual person, check out our resource library with some examples of email & SMS shipping notifications!

Halfdays delivery attempted email

Halfdays sends their customers a personalized email to let their customers know that a delivery was attempted but could not be completed.

Epic gardening delay email

Epic Gardening sends their customers a personalized, branded email to let them know that their order has been stalled in transit.

Epic gardening return to sender email

Epic Gardening sends their customers an email to let them know that the carrier could not deliver their package and it is on the way back to their headquarters.

Mudwtr out for delivery sms

MUD/WTR let's their customers know their order is out for delivery through the Malomo x Klaviyo integration.

Want to see your brand's custom shipping email & SMS notifications

Our experts have your back, schedule a time today ➡️