Lost And Damaged Packages Causing Trouble During The Holidays? Here Are 5 Simple Ways To Avoid Them7 min read

The holiday season should be a time for e-commerce businesses to celebrate after making successful sales but not stress about the possibility of your customers holding you accountable for their packages getting lost and damaged in transit. 

On-time deliveries are a critical factor when it comes to e-commerce deliveries but in most cases, an apology paired with a replacement or a discount can make up for the delay. However, certain package issues such as theft or damage are recognized only when the package makes its way to the customer. 

The good news is that you don’t have to face nightmares anymore worrying about customer frustration and churn as a result of these delivery issues. In order to help you provide a smooth and delightful delivery experience this holiday season, we’ll explore the reasons behind and challenges of loss and damage, and provide strategies to prevent them.

What Causes Lost and Damaged Packages And Makes Them More Common During The Holiday Season

No matter how hard a business tries, package delivery issues are inevitable and are more common during times like the holiday season. But a first step to cutting down delivery issues such as lost and damaged packages is to identify its source and try to cut it at the roots. 

Here are some of the reasons why lost and damaged packages occur and are more common during the holidays:

  • High Shipping Volume: With a significant increase in shipping volume and more packages in transit as a result, carriers become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of shipments, leading to a higher risk of packages getting lost or damaged.
  • Increased Handling: From the moment they leave the warehouse to the time they reach their destination, packages often pass through multiple distribution centers, warehouses, and trucks, with each transfer representing an opportunity for mishandling or damage.
  • Rushed Deliveries: The holiday rush often means that delivery timelines are tight. Carriers may be under pressure to make more deliveries in a shorter amount of time. In their haste, packages may not be handled with the care they deserve, increasing the risk of damage.
  • Weather Challenges: Winter weather can be particularly harsh on packages, making them more susceptible to damage. 
  • Theft: Just like deliveries, package theft tends to increase during the holiday season. Porch pirates are aware that valuable items are being shipped, making unattended packages easy targets.
  • Misrouting: With the surge in packages, sorting errors can occur. Packages might be misrouted, leading to issues like being sent to the wrong location.

To help you mitigate the risks of lost and damaged packages during the holiday season, we have come up with a set of actions that you can take to ensure the impact of these issues is minimal on your business. 

Without further ado, here are some ways for you to avoid lost or damaged packages in transit. Also, witness what reduced package delivery issues can do for your business. 

5 Ways To Avoid Lost and Damaged Packages

Reducing lost and damaged packages during transit, especially during the holiday season, is crucial for your e-commerce business in terms of customer satisfaction metrics and revenue. Here are some effective ways to avoid or minimize these issues.

1. Package your items securely

How well your items have been packed plays a huge role in limiting your packages from getting damaged in transit. As mentioned earlier, holiday season packages come through multiple passages toward their destination, and with high shipping volume — there is a huge possibility of mishandling and damage as a result of human error. 

To avoid such incidents, ensure that all items are properly packaged and cushioned to withstand the rigors of transit. If your forte is fragile items, you can use sturdy, high-quality boxes with adequate padding and other protective materials to protect the contents within. You can also consider using double boxes for extremely delicate items. 

During times like the holiday season, if you’re shipping to regions with inclement weather, you can use weather-resistant packaging to protect packages from different temperatures. 

Packaging can also play a huge role in preventing package theft. Porch pirates are more likely to steal packages that they think contain valuable items. By using plain or discreet packaging, you can make your packages less attractive to take away.

Also read: Festive Packaging Ideas To Drive Up Holiday Sales

2. Track your packages in real-time

On average, 1-in-5 parcels shipped face delivery issues resulting in high customer frustration and negative shopping experiences, which can soon lead to customer churn and a bad reputation. 

The best ploy to prevent this from happening is to make use of a post-purchase automation platform that enables you to track parcels in real time. 

Real-time tracking helps you monitor the progress of all your shipments and keeps you aware of any potential delays or issues. 

Using this data, you can take proactive action to resolve the lost package incident (re-routing, etc) and fix the issue for your customers before the incident impacts them.

3. Proactively communicate with your customers

The post-purchase is a phase where customers are anxious about their orders due to the fear of parcels facing issues. 

By staying mum about this issue, you are unknowingly feeding their ‘pre-parcel anxiety’, resulting in lower customer confidence and conversion rates. 

In order to instill confidence in your customers to increase repeat purchases, you need to once again employ real-time package tracking. 

An extension of real-time tracking is your newfound ability to proactively communicate order-related information to your customers. If, say, the lost package issue that you discovered is unresolvable, you can try your best to inform your customer about the incident rather than the other way around. This can help in managing their expectations. 

Damage and package theft are issues that impact your customers first and they come to you with their grievance. Even in such cases, you can communicate proactively by offering empathy and discounts on future purchases to mitigate their frustration levels and ensure they continue shopping with you. 

4. Insure your packages

An easy and affordable option to face lost and damaged packages is to insure your packages via shipping carriers or third-party options. 

Shipping insurance serves as a safety net for e-commerce businesses and their customers by providing financial protection in case of lost or damaged packages. Here’s how shipping insurance helps in such situations:

Shipping insurance helps you with lost or damaged packages by reimbursing you for the value of your items if they are lost or damaged in transit. This offers you financial protection against losses and helps you get your items replaced.

Also, knowing that your packages have been insured gives you peace of mind knowing that your items are protected if lost or damaged in transit. This can allow you to focus on other aspects of your business or personal life.

5. Eliminate package thefts

Package thefts are one of the worst ways for a package to get lost or face an issue in general. Despite tireless efforts from a lot of people, the experience of collecting the parcel in hand is robbed from the customer just because some opportunists thought it would be a good idea to get away with the package on the porch. 

With orders being high in value and attractive outside in terms of package design, theft is a frequent instance during the holiday season. 

Fortunately, some suggestions exist to avoid porch pirates and eliminate package thefts entirely.

For starters, keeping your customers informed of the arrival of their package at all times is a great way to ensure they’re present at the location to collect the package and avoid it being left unattended.

In case the customer isn’t able to stay at the location, you can also offer suggestions such as an address change to ship it off to a different location (say, their workplace) or to an Amazon locker, where they can collect their package later.

Final Word

In the whirlwind of holiday e-commerce, the last thing businesses and customers need is the disappointment of lost and damaged packages. As the festive season approaches, taking proactive steps to prevent these issues is paramount. 

By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, e-commerce businesses can navigate the holiday rush with confidence, ensuring that packages reach their destinations safely and a smoother and more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.

Remember, with attention to packaging, clear communication, and the safety net of shipping insurance, the holidays can be a season of delight and fulfillment instead of worrying about lost and damaged packages.