How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping? Key TIPS

If you’re interested in starting a dropshipping business but getting frustrated by thinking “How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?”, don’t worry at all. I’m here to help you out.

Dropshipping can be an awesome way to get your online store up and running without needing to stock inventory.

But there’s one big obstacle that gives many new drop shippers headaches – long shipping times.

When you’re sourcing products from overseas suppliers, delivery can take 2-4 weeks on average. For customer used to getting their stuff super fast with Amazon Prime, waiting can seem like forever.

The good news is that with the right strategies, long shipping times don’t have to sink your dropshipping dreams.

Take it from me – it is absolutely possible to run a successful e-commerce business even when working with suppliers that have long processing and transit times.

In this playbook, we’ll explore key tips for overcoming this shipping time obstacle, including:

  • Communicating transparently about timelines.
  • Optimizing your shipping methods and carriers.
  • Providing awesome customer service.
  • Making small product selection tweaks.
  • Leveraging automation to improve efficiency.
  • Branding your packages to “wow” recipients.

Let’s dive in.

How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping

Be Transparent About Shipping Timelines

When it comes to managing customer expectations around shipping, transparency is key. Don’t try to hide your delivery timelines. Being upfront and honest will go a long way towards keeping customers happy.

Here are some tips for clearly communicating shipping timelines:

  • Disclose timelines prominently on your website – Add expected processing and transit times on product pages, cart pages, FAQs, etc. Provide a time range (e.g. 7-14 days in transit) rather than a fixed number to account for variability.
  • Set expectations in confirmation emails – Remind customers of processing and transit timelines in their order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails. This helps set expectations even if they miss the information on your site.
  • Explain the full shipping process – Describe the process, including supplier processing time and the transit time with carriers. This helps customers understand why delivery may take longer than Amazon.
  • Be realistic – Don’t fudge timelines to try to promise faster shipping. It’s better to pleasantly surprise customers with early arrivals than anger them with late deliveries.
  • Highlight your refund policy – If orders are severely delayed, assure customers you’ll make it right according to your refund policy. This provides peace of mind.
  • Proactively communicate delays – If you’re aware orders will be delayed due to holidays, supplier issues, or other factors, share that info upfront via website banners, emails, etc.
  • Share tracking numbers – Once you have a tracking number, share it with customers so they can monitor the shipment’s progress themselves.
  • Automate communications – Leverage email automation and tracking apps to share timeline info and order status without manual effort.

Being transparent about shipping timelines demonstrates respect for your customers. Of course, you might lose a few impatient customers, but the trust you establish will bring you lots of benefits in the future.

Optimize Your Shipping Methods

While you may not be able to radically speed up shipping times, optimizing your shipping methods can save a few precious days from delivery. Every day counts when customers are anxiously awaiting their orders.

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Here are some tips for choosing the best shipping carriers and options:

  • Research carrier options – Compare popular carriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. Look at average delivery times and costs for your supplier’s typical package weights and destinations.
  • Consider faster domestic options – USPS Priority Mail often provides a good balance of speed and affordability for lightweight U.S. packages. UPS Ground can also be quicker than standard overseas mail.
  • Use ePacket for China – ePacket can transit from China to the U.S. in 12-20 days typically. Much faster than 30-60 days for standard China Post.
  • Compare rates across suppliers – One supplier might have negotiated better ePacket rates than another, so compare shipping costs when vetting suppliers.
  • Consider expedited shipping – Offer customers expedited shipping options like DHL Express or UPS Worldwide Express at an added cost for urgent deliveries.
  • Work with local suppliers – If you can source any items domestically, you can significantly reduce transit time since orders won’t clear customs.
  • Qualify for shipping discounts – Negotiate for better carrier rates once you hit certain order volumes. Pass the savings to customers.
  • Absorb shipping costs – If shipping margins allow, offer free shipping to increase satisfaction. Just ensure you can still break even.
  • Set up shipment tracking – Leverage tracking software so customers can monitor packages en route without bugging you.

Don’t just choose the slowest, cheapest delivery option. Look at it as an optimization problem. Find the best combination of affordable rates and reduced transit times.

Delighted customers are worth paying a few extra dollars for shipping when it comes down to it.

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Leverage Automation Tools

Running a manual dropshipping operation can quickly turn into a customer service nightmare. Who has time to manually send shipping confirmations, address questions, and provide delivery updates for every single order?

Using automation tools is essential as your business grows, for your own peace of mind and to offer great customer service.

Here are some ways to use automation to improve the post-purchase experience:

  • Email automation – Set up workflows to send confirmation emails, shipping updates, delivery notifications, and more without any effort.
  • Tracking integrations – Apps like Aftership automatically push tracking info from carriers into your e-commerce platform. Customers get updates without you lifting a finger.
  • Chatbots – Chatbots can answer common questions about shipping status, returns, etc. 24/7 so customers always have an “agent” ready.
  • Customer service software – Tools like Zendesk help you scale support by automating responses to FAQs.
  • Returns automation – Generate return labels and process refunds automatically based on your policies.
  • Discount triggers – Automatically issue store credit or coupon codes if an order is severely delayed.
  • Text message alerts – Provide shipping updates via SMS when customers opt in.

The right automation makes it easy to communicate with customers. With the right automation, they feel well-informed and supported, you save a lot of time by avoiding manual tasks, and your business can grow without getting too stressed.

Improve Customer Service

Even with excellent communication and automation, some customers will inevitably require a human touch when issues come up. Providing exceptional customer service is key to overcoming frustrations around shipping delays.

Here are some principles to follow:

  • Respond quickly – When a customer inquires about an order, respond as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have an update, just ‘letting them know you’re looking into it’ eases concerns.
  • Proactively communicate – Don’t wait for customers to reach out. If you notice an order is delayed, proactively send an email with an apology and explanation.
  • Show empathy – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. An “I’m sorry your order is late, I know how frustrating that can be” goes a long way.
  • Take responsibility – Even if a delay is out of your control, take ownership. “I apologize for the delay. Here is how we are working to fix it.”
  • Provide solutions – Be ready with potential solutions – refunds, discounts on future orders, free gifts, etc.
  • Add a personal touch – Use your customer’s name, add emoji, humor, or anything else that adds warmth to communications.
  • Follow up – After resolving an issue, follow up to make sure the customer is happy. Ask for feedback on how you could have handled it better.
  • Learn from mistakes – Analyze delays and complaints to improve processes. Compensation is fine, but work to prevent repeat issues.
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Providing great customer service can turn problems into opportunities. Shipping issues will happen, but how you deal with them decides if you gain loyal customers or lose trust.

Optimize Packaging and Branding

An often overlooked way to make customers happier is to improve your packaging and branding. Even if your supplier uses plain packaging, making it special shows customers that you’re thoughtful and caring.

Here are some packaging and presentation ideas to “wow” customers:

  • Branded boxes or mailers – Design custom boxes, envelopes, or mailers with your logo and colors. This helps build brand recognition.
  • Secure packaging – Double box fragile items or use bubble wrap to prevent damage in transit. No one likes receiving broken products.
  • Unboxing experience – Design the unboxing to be an “experience” – include tissue paper, notes, stickers, etc. Make it Instagram-worthy.
  • Free samples – Throw in bonus product samples to excite customers and possibly upsell additional purchases.
  • Personal notes – Include a handwritten or printed thank you note acknowledging their patience with shipping.
  • Follow-up gifts – A week after delivery, surprise loyal customers with a small free gift or coupon code.
  • VIP Packaging – For repeat or high-value customers, offer upgraded packaging like gift boxes.
  • Contests – Encourage customers to share unboxing photos/videos on social media for giveaways.

By getting creative, you can create an exciting unboxing experience that makes customers look forward to your deliveries, even if they’re not super fast. Unique and personalized packaging makes them feel like the wait is worth it.

Adjust Product Selection

One strategy that can help minimize customer frustration with long transit times is to carefully curate your product selection.

Certain types of products are less impacted by shipping delays than others. Here are some tips:

  • Choose unique or one-of-a-kind products that customers can’t easily buy elsewhere. They’ll be more willing to wait for a special item they really want.
  • Focus on high-demand trending products that customers want right away, even if they have to wait a bit longer to receive them. Capitalize on trends before they fade.
  • Offer bargain-priced products that provide so much value customers feel it’s worth the wait. Big discounts discounts can make delays easier for customers to accept.
  • Feature customizable and made-to-order items that customers are purchasing specially customized for them. The anticipation builds since each item is unique.
  • Target gifting-occasion products like holidays and birthdays. If your product can be positioned as the “perfect gift”, customers are more forgiving of shipping times.
  • Choose consumable products that customers will naturally need to re-order, like health supplements.
  • Focus on durable rather than perishable goods. Fruit boxes that arrive spoiled after lengthy transit times will frustrate customers.
  • Source from suppliers located closest to your customers to shorten processing and shipping time. Localize whenever possible.

Careful product selection optimizes for items customers are most willing to wait for. Combine that with setting proper expectations and providing exceptional service. Delight them with special packaging, and you can succeed even with longer shipping times.

Key Takeaways – How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?

There you have it. A comprehensive guide on “How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?”. Let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Transparency is king when it comes to setting customer expectations around delivery timelines. Clearly communicate timeframes across your website, emails, policies, etc.
  • Optimize shipping methods by researching carrier options, comparing rates, and leveraging faster methods like ePacket when possible. Shave days off when you can.
  • Automate communications with confirmations, tracking updates, and alerts to improve customer experience without manual effort.
  • Provide exceptional human service with quick responses, proactive updates, and empathy when delays inevitably happen. Go above and beyond.
  • Strategically select products that are unique, in-demand, deeply discounted, customizable, etc. Make customers feel it’s worth the wait.
  • Brand your packaging with custom mailers, notes, and unboxing experiences that “wow” recipients and get them excited for deliveries.
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While you may not match Amazon Prime shipping speeds, you can absolutely run a successful dropshipping business with a bit of strategy and effort.

Long shipping times are not a deal breaker if you set proper expectations, over-deliver on service, and make the wait worthwhile. Now that you’re armed with this guide, it’s time to start executing.

Let’s conclude with responses to some frequently asked questions about “How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?”

FAQs – How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?

What are the average shipping times for dropshipping?

For dropshipping suppliers located overseas, average delivery times are usually 2-4 weeks. This includes 1-3 days of processing time by the supplier, plus 12-20 days for shipping transit given customs clearance and long distances. For US-based suppliers, transit can be as fast as 2-5 business days domestically.

How do I pick the best shipping carriers and options?

Research popular carriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL and compare delivery times and rates. Faster domestic options include USPS Priority Mail and UPS Ground which can shave off transit time. From Asia, ePacket is the best balance of speed and affordability.

What should I do if orders are delayed in transit?

Proactively let customers know about any expected delays and regularly provide status updates. Offer to expedite shipping, provide discounts on future orders, or issue refunds per your policy for excessive delays. Keep communicating even if you don’t have an update yet.

Where should I disclose shipping timelines?

Prominently display shipping timelines on product pages, cart page, FAQs, order confirmation emails, etc. Provide a timeframe range rather than fixed times. Set expectations clearly and transparently across channels.

Should I offer refunds for late deliveries?

To keep customers satisfied, offer partial or full refunds according to your returns policy for orders with excessive delays of 2+ weeks past the maximum stated timelines. Absorbing some losses is worthwhile to preserve customer trust.

How much do shipping times really impact conversion rates?

Research shows that 73% of customers say shipping impacts their shopping experience. However, transparent communication minimizes the negative impact on conversions. Be honest about timelines and most customers will understand.

What’s the best way to handle customer inquiries about orders?

Respond promptly to all shipping inquiries with empathy, even just to say you are looking into it. Proactively send updates, apologize for delays, and offer solutions like refunds or discounts. A customer service focus helps turn delays into a positive experience.

How can I provide shipment tracking information?

Sign up for tracking with your carriers. Use apps to automatically push tracking updates into your e-commerce platform. Share the tracking number with customers and remind them to track their packages.

How can I reduce my supplier’s order processing time?

Ask suppliers about order cut-off times to avoid batch processing delays. Incentivize them to fulfill within 12-24 hours. Request rush processing for a fee on urgent orders. Source items already in local warehouses when possible.

What types of products are least affected by long transit times?

Customers don’t mind waiting as much for unique items, customizable or made-to-order products, deeply discounted items, consumables, gifting occasions, trendy products, and durable goods.

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the article “How to Deal With Long Shipping Times Dropshipping?”. Keep visiting.

Hello, I’m Samuel, and I’ve been in the dropshipping business for the past 9 years. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of helping many novice dropshippers grow their businesses. Based on my experience, I’ve launched this blog to share my insights and knowledge with the dropshipper community.

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