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Most Common Shipment Exception Cases & How You Can Handle Them

You’ve worked hard to create a positive online shopping experience for your customers, and now you have the opportunity to deliver your products right into their hands! But what can you do when something unexpected happens during the shipping process? This article will show you the most common shipment exception cases and how to manage them!

Shipment Exception Cases

When a customer places an order with you, they expect to receive their products as soon as possible. Delivery exceptions are frustrating for everyone involved—customers, carriers, and most of all your business.


Unfortunately, there are times when things take an unexpected turn and the delivery of your product is delayed. That’s just the nature of how things work! And this can be due to many factors including weather conditions, payment issues, or even mechanical problems with the shipping company’s vehicles.


Shipping issues happen more often than you might even think! Fortunately, there are solutions that can help reduce the negative effects before they affect customers and damage your reputation as a brand. Our main goal is to enable eCommerce retailers like you to turn their businesses into success stories, so we put together a guide on common delivery exceptions and how to handle them as effectively as possible!

Everything you need to know about shipment exceptions

Due to an unexpected event, the shipping company might take a longer time to reach your customers’ doorstep or even cause shipping charges to rise. By knowing what causes delays in shipments and how to deal with them quickly you will not only keep customers happy but also reduce customer churn rates by keeping them updated on the status of their orders.


If you’re displaying the estimated delivery date on the product page, make sure you keep in touch with your shipping carriers for better delivery time estimates and real-time information. This way, you will also be able to inform your customers whenever a delivery exception occurs, and the package won’t arrive in time at the recipient’s address. This can happen when shipping within your country’s borders but also when it comes to international shipping due to customs delays, weather conditions, and missing information.


Make sure you update your customers with a delivery exception status whenever necessary to build trust-based relationships and increase the number of repeat purchases!

Common causes for delivery exceptions

Ecommerce businesses have to deal with a variety of delivery exception causes, from an incorrect address to missing documentation and inclement weather. What matters the most is to know how to handle delivery exceptions as smoothly as you possibly can. In order to do so, we’ve compiled a list of the most common scenarios that your business might encounter during the delivery process:

Recipient is unavailable

The package has arrived but you’re not home: it happens to the best of us! However, it is necessary to know how to deal with this kind of situation and be as cost-effective as possible. Additionally, when the order gets to your customer’s doorstep just in time, you’re more likely to win their future business as well! Good timing means improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately an increase in sales.


It’s a good idea to have your customers use an order tracking tool that is user-friendly and preferably branded for a unified experience. In fact, 61% of consumers would go as far as sharing personal data to get personalized offers and promotions in return (source). Create a branded tracking page for your eCommerce business, and let your customer know exactly when the package arrives to be within reach for the delivery.

National and federal holidays

If you plan to ship your items on federal holidays, the carrier may delay delivery. You should plan ahead and account for federal holidays so your items can get delivered on time. If you’re shipping internationally, make sure that holidays in both origin or destination countries fall within these dates as well.


Most importantly, make sure you’re transparent about this whole process and let your customers know where their order is in real-time, using order tracking tools such as WeSupply.

Missing or damaged labels

Shipping labels are an essential part of any shipment. When labels don’t have the required information, your shipment may be delayed and things can get complicated for both you and your customers! Besides experiencing additional costs in terms of shipping, you might even lose your customers or see a considerable drop in customer lifetime value.

Unfavorable weather conditions

Truth be told, there are many variables to consider and several events that may cause the shipping route (and thus timetable) for delivering products to get impeded or delayed in some way – be they natural disasters, accidents, and other transportation issues that are out of your control as an eCommerce retailer.


One way to prepare for the unexpected is by purchasing insurance on all your shipments. You’ll want this coverage in case anything happens that would make the delivery route unpassable.


Another way to deal with this in terms of customer care and satisfaction is to proactively notify them about any changes in routes, delivery dates, and tracking status.

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Customs, regulatory, and security delays

Packages can be delayed or rejected for a number of reasons, and not following labeling standards may result in your package being returned or temporarily delayed. It’s important to provide the proper information if you want to ensure that hazardous materials or forbidden items make their way into any of your shipments and cause a security concern.


Shipping international packages to the destination country is not always a walk in the park. There are many steps that must be taken in order for your shipment to successfully arrive at its destination, and these include making certain preparations before shipping out items.

Moreover, make sure you monitor delays once they occur so you can take appropriate action if needed- like finding out why a package has been held up by customs!


Although preventing delivery exceptions of this sort is often beyond your power, you still need to plan ahead and be proactive about it. Although only 20% of consumers were willing to forgive retailers for delivery disruptions due to supply chain issues in 2021 (source), you can earn their trust back by sending timely delivery notifications and transactional emails to let them know exactly what is happening to their purchases!

delivery disruptions due to supply chain

How to effectively handle delivery exceptions?

Besides keeping an eye on the entire order shipping process, you also need to inform your team and your customers whenever delivery exceptions occur. If you have a late shipment on your hands, make sure you understand what are the causes and act accordingly.


Depending on the circumstances, here are some fundamental but key steps you need to take:

Prepare your support team for what’s to come

Chances are that your customers might try to reach out to your support team or even contact the carrier if their order did not arrive on time. One way to ease their shipping anxiety and take some pressure off your customer service representatives is to expect the unexpected and prepare your team for the most unfavorable scenarios ahead of time. After all, the key to a successful post-purchase experience is responding rapidly and — most importantly — preemptively.

Keep your customers updated

Did you know that the average open rate for emails is 66%, whereas the clickthrough rate is 21% on average? It is clear that sending post-purchase notifications can help you establish a trustworthy brand while driving customer engagement!


Include in your post-purchase notification shipment information, causes of delivery exceptions, delivery times, and any other vital details to win back any frustrated customers!


WeSupply can help you send relevant and timely delivery notifications to all your customers with little to no effort at all!

Order tracking tool for any delivery exception

Why should you use order tracking and management tools? The answer is a no-brainer:

Cut Down Operating Costs

You can save resources and make data-driven decisions for long-term business revenue growth by having all your orders in one place! Tracking tools enable you to have a better understanding of orders, but also returns- so you can save up on operating costs!

Boost Customer Retention

You’ll be able to improve the customer experience and increase the number of repeat customers in the long run by having a clear overview of your orders and knowing exactly what are the friction points your customers encounter in their journey and delivery process.

Significantly Fewer Inquires

You’ll be lending a helping hand to your customer support team by reducing the number of WISMO queries. Your customers can keep track of orders on their end, without having to contact your customer service representatives as often, or at all!


WeSupply offers the order tracking information solution your eCommerce business needs in order to turn one-time buyers into loyal customers!

Last thoughts on delivery exceptions

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with delivering packages. In most cases, the sender is not at fault and it’s due to something outside their control – like national holidays or customs regulations. It may be difficult for your customer service team to tell if they have an out-of-the-ordinary delivery exception on their hands until after the fact so you need a system in place to handle these situations as efficiently as possible.


The most important thing you can do is stay ahead of the problem by preparing your customer service team for what’s to come, and using WeSupply notifications so they know where their orders are at all times.


WeSupply provides notifications when there has been a delivery exception which saves time by giving customers instant notification about what happened instead of having them contact support first. This way, you avoid wasting precious hours from your customer care staff trying to figure out what might be going on behind the scenes.

See how WeSupply can help! Watch our platform in action to convince yourself.

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