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How to navigate shipping delays as a business?

Running a business with growing customer traffic can lead to delayed shipping, especially during the holiday season when the shipments are already taking longer than usual for a number of underlying reasons. 

As a business you’re always looking for a returning customer and for that, you need to ensure satisfaction on the customer’s end. Navigating a shipping delay and responding to customers’ queries in a timely and professional way can save you from bad reviews.

So how do you protect your brand image and respond to shipment delays in a positive manner so that it does not leave your customer unhappy?

Let’s get into more details on what causes shipment delays, how to combat the possible reasons, and respond to your customers timely.

Common reasons for delayed shipments

When a shipment does not reach a customer on time, there is mostly a reason that the shipper needs to communicate with the customer timely to avoid any unwanted situation. Especially in the case of branded dropshipping where your products are relying on the branding from your dropshipper.

 A recent study shows that 84% of the people who received their shipments after the promised date, never returned to the same seller again.

As an e-commerce merchant, you want to build a chain of customers and not lose them for minor faulty issues. Shipbear allows dropshippers to keep their customers in the loop for all the first-hand information by providing the relevant details on their product’s shipments and possible delays.

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Here are some common reasons for shipment delays that you can avoid or communicate in case of occurrence with your customers.

Global events

Of course, your services are going to be affected by global events. When COVID hit the world in 2019 and early 2020, businesses were affected badly. Services were slowed down and there was a global reason for businesses to have problems delivering services at the same pace as they were before.

Sudden import bans in some countries from certain locations have caused delayed shipments for various sellers and the reason is valid for everyone to understand and cooperate.

As a seller, your responsibility is to keep your customer informed. No matter what the circumstances, let them know what the reason for a delayed shipment is and that you are there for them.

Public holidays

Again, something very much understandable for the customers, a public holiday is going to result in a delayed shipment. But you need to make sure this is notified beforehand and the customer is well aware.

Public holidays are one of the most common reasons for shipment delays but are not taken offensively as everyone is already understanding of the occurrence of the events.

For instance, during Easter and Christmas break in the US, dropshipping suppliers in the USA are actively responsive to customer queries about the shipments. While customers are looking forward to timely delivery, the dropshipping suppliers on the other hand are working day and night to ensure they do get the shipments on time.

Custom requirements

For dropshippers exporting products to other regions, custom requirements can sometimes cause a delay in shipments. International shipments have a shipment time longer than domestic shipments but even then, custom requirements and changes in regulations can cause a delay in shipments.

To avoid such shipment delays, dropshippers are advised to partner up with courier services that are reliable and meet all the regulatory requirements for customs.

Incorrect address

Shipment delays are not always the shipper’s fault, sometimes it can be due to an incorrect address from the customer’s end that leads to a delay in the shipment. 

As a dropshipper, you can ensure the correctness of the address by reconfirming twice and asking the customer to agree upon terms and conditions where they take the authority of any mistake in the postal address.

Communicating a shipment delay with your customer

Once you know there’s a chance of delay in the shipment, your first step is to communicate this with your customer.

As soon as you know it, your customer needs to know it too. While a delayed shipment can straight up cause a bad impact on the customer, proactively dealing with it and communicating with the customer in the right way can actually leave you with a five-star review from the same customer.

How to communicate shipment delays with your customer

Let’s see some effective ways and the ultimate do’s and don’ts of communicating with your customers that can help you create a positive relationship with them.

Do not set unreal expectations

You know there’s a delay in your shipment and you want to calm the customer down, but setting unreal expectations will only lead to further disappointment for the customer. So do not set unreal expectations and keep them as real as you can.

Keep it to the point

A clear and to-the-point conversation between a merchant and a customer is the key to a satisfied customer with a good experience. When you need to communicate a shipment delay do not start from the meaning of dropshipping. That’s irrelevant information and the customer does not need it.

Keep it to the point and tell your customer why the shipment got delayed and what’s the new expected date of delivery. That’s it.

Follow up and offer extra services

Once you’ve communicated the shipment delay and its reason to the customer, try to bring a smile to their face by offering some extra services. Shipbear offers coupons for customers that can be used as an extra favor from you for the customer to make it up for a delayed shipment.

How can you avoid shipment delays?

As a dropshipper, you are looking for ways to make sure you ship products on time. Is it possible to avoid a shipment delay? Well, yes. It is quite possible to minimize the chances of shipment delays, especially in some cases like during the holiday season when the delay is mostly due to product shortage.

  • You can avoid a shipment delay by stocking up on some extra products for the holiday season. When you have products on your hands, it is easier to deal with the increasing demand rather than waiting for the next shipment to reach you from your supplier.
  • Getting help from a third-party supplier can save you a lot of trouble and prevent shipment delays. Shipbear is a reliable third party that is trusted by a lot of dropshippers to ensure timely shipments. The purpose is to make sure your customers don’t face any sort of uneasy situation that leads to cancellation of orders or negative feedback from the customer.
  • Keeping your customers in the loop for tracking the products while they’re being delivered also helps in keeping it transparent and avoiding any unpleasant situation for both you and the customer.


Shipment delays are a part of e-commerce, but how you cope with them is what makes an integral difference for your business.

Dropshippers who choose to keep it transparent for the customers go off better and get things communicated easily compared to those who like to create a certain image in front of the customers regardless of what’s going on for them.

A third-party supplier is always a good idea when it comes to managing logistics for dropshippers and Shipbear makes sure you do not have to face any inconvenience when it comes to product delivery and timely shipments.


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