Insights to Help Your Business

A Guide for SMBs Navigating Shipping and Delivery Risks

Explore some of the key shipping and delivery risks faced by SMBs and discuss strategies to mitigate them effectively.

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As we celebrate Small Business Month this May, it’s crucial to recognize the challenges faced by  small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the growing eCommerce landscape. While SMBs strive to provide exceptional products and services to their customers, navigating the complexities of shipping and delivery in a growing can often be a daunting task. From logistical hurdles and supply chain disruptions to meeting growing customer expectations, SMBs must be equipped to tackle these challenges head-on to ensure their success.

Let’s explore some of the key shipping and delivery risks faced by SMBs and discuss strategies to mitigate them effectively.

Logistical Challenges

One of the primary risks SMBs encounter in shipping and delivery is logistical challenges. Coordinating shipments, managing inventory levels, and ensuring timely deliveries can be incredibly complex, especially for businesses with limited resources. Unexpected delays, such as inclement weather or transportation issues, can disrupt the entire supply chain, leading to dissatisfied customers and increased costs.

To help, SMBs should partner with reliable shipping carriers and invest in robust inventory management systems, leveraging data analytics to forecast demand and optimize inventory levels. Additionally, establish contingency plans to address potential disruptions and communicate transparently with customers about any delays.

Customer Expectations

Call it the Amazon effect, but customers have come to expect fast shipping and visibility on every order. In fact, a resounding 92% of consumers surveyed by UPS Capital reported that the shipping and delivery experience significantly impacts their overall online shopping experience. To remain competitive, SMBs must meet these heightened expectations. But SMBs are often operating on leaner budgets, so these costs can significantly impact their bottom line—making it challenging to maintain profitability while offering competitive shipping to customers. Failure to deliver orders promptly or provide accurate tracking information can result in negative reviews, damage to brand reputation, and loss of customer trust.

To get ahead of this, SMBs should set realistic shipping expectations and clearly communicate delivery timelines to customers at the point of purchase. Offer expedited shipping options for those willing to pay a premium and provide real-time tracking updates to keep customers informed about the status of their orders. Additionally, prioritize customer service and promptly address any shipping-related inquiries or concerns to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Supply Chain Disruptions

The global supply chain is susceptible to various disruptions, ranging from natural disasters to geopolitical tensions. These disruptions can result in delays in production, fulfillment, and delivery timelines for SMBs, leading to financial and reputational risks for the business.

It’s best to proactively get ahead of this threat by diversifying supplier bases to reduce dependency on single sources and maintain adequate safety stock levels to cushion against potential disruptions. Also, be sure to establish strong relationships with key suppliers and monitor geopolitical developments and market trends to proactively identify and mitigate potential risks to your supply chain.

All Roads Lead Back to Shipping Insurance

According to a recent UPS Capital report, 95% of surveyed merchants voiced concern that their company’s success hinges on mitigating instances of damaged, lost, or stolen items as well as inventory delays. Through proactive planning and implementing strategic mitigation strategies mentioned previously, SMBs can help lessen these risks effectively. Moreover, investing in comprehensive protection, such as InsureShield® Shipping Insurance, can provide peace of mind about shipping and delivery concerns for SMBs and customers alike. As a result, SMBs can navigate the complexities of shipping and delivery with confidence, ensuring their continued growth and success in the global marketplace.

This Small Business Month, take the time to assess your shipping and delivery risks and implement the necessary strategies to protect your business. By doing so, you'll be well-positioned to thrive in the competitive eCommerce landscape and deliver exceptional experiences to your customers.

Additional Resources

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