Businesses shipping packages for the holiday season don’t have the resources to deal with a high volume of lost or stolen packages.
Yet, packages do often go missing – 51% of online shoppers in a recent survey said they had not received at least one package they ordered in the past six months.
There are several ways businesses can reduce the cost of lost packages:
- Create reliable shipping labels.
- Purchase shipping insurance.
- Send items in plain packaging.
- Recommend package lockers to customers.
Create Reliable Shipping Labels
More than half of online shoppers say they’ve had at least one package go missing in the past six months, with nearly one-third (32%) of the missing packages getting lost in the mail, according to a survey from Clutch.
Businesses should ensure that their packing labels are clearly legible and securely attached before shipping.
If you’re printing shipping labels yourself, you should use laser printers with toner cartridges or thermal ink printers.
Labels printed with inkjet printers can blur or smear when touched or exposed to damp conditions, causing scanning or delivery errors.
Problems also arise when people using label software programs make mistakes.
Source: Shipping Fails, eBay edition Imagur
Businesses should manually check shipping labels before handing them off to carriers, to ensure that no software or human error interferes with clearly-labeled packages.
If businesses are struggling to reliably package items for delivery, they should consider seeking help from an outside fulfillment company.
When a package goes missing, delivery carriers are rarely liable for the cost of the package. For example, while FedEx sometimes covers up to $100, the United States Postal Service only covers insured packages.
Shipping insurance provides a solution for some companies, especially those who sell rare or high-value products, but businesses must determine whether the benefits are worth the investment.
For example, Shopify, the e-commerce platform, uses Shipsurance, a company that provides discounted shipping insurance coverage for all carriers.
Even with the Shipsurance discount, domestic insurance rates cost about $0.75 per $100 of coverage.
Seventy-five cents per package may not sound expensive, but if you try to pass it on to customers, you may experience a significant drop in sales.
Clutch found that small differences in shipping costs can have a major impact on how customers perceive your products. For example, 21% of online shoppers say they’re very interested in purchasing a product if the shipping cost is $5.99, but only 13% are very interested when the shipping cost is $8.99.
Shipping insurance provides a viable solution for some businesses. However, companies must determine whether the cost of insurance is worth the investment.
Send Items in Plain Packaging
When flashy packaging shows off what’s inside the box, it can lead to more instances of theft.
Sixteen percent of online shoppers who never received their shipment say their packages were stolen.
Companies should consider using plain brown packaging, sans logo, or promotional messages, when shipping their products. Otherwise, you risk advertising the value of what’s inside, and further tempting porch pirates.
Recommend Package Lockers to Your Customers
Package lockers are a safer way for customers to receive packages at their residence.
For example, BoxLock parcel boxes allows all major carriers to open lockers and place packages by scanning packages addressed to the recipient.
Alternatively, several brands of manual dropbox systems, such as Peelco parcel lockers, are available through Amazon.
Lockboxes provide an extra level of security for customers who are typically away from home when packages are delivered or who live in high-theft neighborhoods.
Protect Your Packages From Theft
As online sales increase, the instances of lost and stolen packages continue to grow.
Businesses should take steps to avoid losses by ensuring their shipping labels are easy to read, considering package insurance, using plain packaging, and recommending lockboxes to customers. When in doubt, consider hiring third-party resources, such as logistics companies, to optimize your packaging and delivery.