Improve Your eCommerce Delivery in 7 Simple Steps

As an eCommerce business owner, you know that fast, reliable delivery is essential to keeping your customers happy and coming back. When customers place an order on your site, they expect their items to arrive on time and in perfect condition. If you fail to meet their delivery expectations, you risk losing their loyalty and business. The good news is that with some strategic improvements, you can optimize your eCommerce delivery and turn it into a competitive advantage. By implementing the following seven simple steps, you’ll be able to reduce delivery times, cut costs, improve the customer experience, and boost satisfaction and retention rates. With a few operational changes, you can transform your delivery from an operational headache into a key driver of growth and success.

Offer Free Shipping

To improve your eCommerce delivery and gain a competitive advantage, offering free shipping is a must. According to studies, nearly 90% of online shoppers consider free shipping an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

Providing complimentary delivery for all orders, regardless of price point or location, allows you to:

  1. Increase conversion rates. When customers see that shipping is free, they are more inclined to complete their purchase. Free shipping reduces the perceived total cost of an order and alleviates concerns about unexpected fees at checkout.
  2. Build loyalty. Offering free shipping, especially for repeat customers, fosters goodwill and brand loyalty. Customers will continue shopping with you simply because they appreciate the convenience and savings. They may even spend more to qualify for free shipping.
  3. Gain an edge. Free shipping has become an expectation for many online shoppers. Not offering it when your competitors do puts you at a disadvantage and causes you to lose valuable customers and revenue. Matching free shipping policies levels the playing field.
  4. Reduce cart abandonment. High shipping fees are a leading cause of abandoned shopping carts. Providing free shipping, at least for a limited time or on certain orders, decreases the likelihood of customers leaving their carts before completing a purchase.
  5. Simplify the checkout process. Free shipping means no shipping options to select and calculate, speeding up the checkout experience for your customers. The faster and more seamless the checkout, the more likely customers will complete their orders.

By offering free shipping, you make shopping more convenient and affordable for your customers. While it may reduce profit margins slightly, the long-term benefits to your business can be substantial. Free shipping is a proven strategy used by successful eCommerce retailers to improve delivery and gain ground on the competition.

Provide Accurate Delivery Estimates

Providing accurate delivery estimates is crucial for customer satisfaction and building trust in your eCommerce business. Customers want to know when they can expect their orders to arrive so they can plan accordingly. As an eCommerce store owner, it is your responsibility to give realistic estimates and meet or beat those estimates whenever possible.

To determine accurate delivery estimates, first evaluate your fulfillment process from start to finish. Account for the time required for payment processing, order picking and packing, and shipping transit times based on your carrier contracts. Build in some buffer time in case of any delays. Clearly display your standard delivery estimates on your website, during checkout and in post-purchase communications.

For expedited shipping options, guarantee specific delivery dates and times to set proper expectations. Only promise dates and times that you can reliably achieve based on your current fulfillment operations and carrier performance. Under-promise and over-deliver.

Monitor your delivery performance regularly to identify any issues causing delays. Look for trends related to specific products, locations or carriers. Make adjustments to your delivery estimates and fulfillment procedures as needed to improve accuracy.

Stay up-to-date with your carriers’ transit time performance and any service changes. Renegotiate contracts as needed to maintain or improve delivery speeds. Consider offering alternative carriers for some shipping routes if it will enable faster, more precise delivery.

Providing accurate and reliable delivery estimates is essential for high customer satisfaction and repeat business. Following these steps will help ensure your eCommerce store meets or exceeds your customers’ delivery expectations on every order.

Optimize Your Packaging

To optimize your packaging and improve the delivery experience for your customers, consider the following:

Use High-Quality, Protective Materials

Invest in durable, protective materials like bubble wrap, packing paper, and sturdy cardboard boxes. These help prevent damage to products during shipping and handling. For fragile items, double-box them or use extra padding. High-quality packaging gives customers a good first impression and helps ensure their order arrives intact.

Choose the Right Size Box

Select a box size that fits your products snugly with minimal empty space. Too large of a box is inefficient and leaves more room for the contents to shift around, increasing the chance of damage. An oversized box also requires more filler material. Measure your products and choose a box size just slightly larger for the best fit.

Use Tamper-Evident Seals

Place tamper-evident seals, tape, or stickers on your packages to indicate if the package has been opened or the contents disturbed. This adds an extra layer of security for customers and deters theft or tampering. Tamper-evident solutions provide peace of mind that their order will arrive safely and securely.

Include Return Labels

Include pre-paid return shipping labels in all of your orders in case the customer needs to return part or all of their order. This makes the return process simple and convenient for customers by eliminating extra steps to print a label or pay for return postage. Offering free, easy returns is a sign of great customer service and can encourage future purchases.

Track Your Shipments

Use a shipping carrier that offers package tracking and insurance, especially for high-value items. Share the tracking information with your customers so they can monitor the delivery status of their order. Tracking also allows you to see the location of all in-transit orders and be aware of any delays before customers contact you about their shipment. Insurance protects you financially in the unlikely event an order is lost or damaged during shipping.

Following these best practices for optimizing your packaging and delivery process will improve the overall experience for your customers and encourage repeat business. Satisfied customers who receive their orders promptly, intact, and as expected are more likely to shop with you again.

Improve Your Warehouse Management

To improve your eCommerce delivery, optimizing your warehouse management processes is key. An efficient warehouse setup and workflow can significantly reduce costs and ensure faster, more accurate order fulfillment.

Implement Warehouse Management Software

Warehouse management software helps automate and optimize warehouse operations. It can track inventory, manage shipping and receiving, direct put-away and picking, and provide insights to improve efficiency. Look for a system that integrates with your eCommerce platform to automatically update inventory levels and shipping information.

Optimize Your Warehouse Layout

An intuitive warehouse layout makes it easy for staff to locate and pick items quickly. Group products by type, popularity or season. Establish clearly marked aisles and zones. Position fast-moving goods in the most accessible areas. This logical organization will minimize search times and picking errors.

Streamline Your Picking Process

An efficient picking process is essential for fast order fulfillment. Develop standard operating procedures for pickers to follow. Use directed picking methods like zone picking, where pickers are assigned specific zones to pick from. Provide pickers with the necessary tools like carts, scanners and mobile devices to maximize productivity.

Cross-Train Your Warehouse Staff

Cross-training staff allows for flexibility and continuity of operations. Train pickers in receiving and put-away, and vice versa. Teach warehouse managers and supervisors how to perform picking and packing duties. This cross-functional knowledge will enable staff to fill in as needed and help during high-volume periods.

Audit and Improve

Regularly audit your warehouse management processes to identify areas for improvement. Analyze key metrics like pick accuracy, packing efficiency and order cycle times. Observe staff to see where bottlenecks occur. Get feedback from pickers and packers on what’s working and not working. Then make changes to layout, technology systems, training and procedures to boost performance. Continuous improvement is key to optimizing your warehouse management and eCommerce delivery.

Invest in Reliable Shipping Carriers

To improve your eCommerce delivery, investing in reliable shipping carriers is essential. As an online retailer, the carriers you choose to fulfill customer orders directly impact the customer experience and your business’ success.

Research Reputable Carriers

Do thorough research on carriers that service your location and the areas you ship to. Look for carriers with a proven track record of on-time delivery, competitive rates, and quality customer service. Some highly-rated options for eCommerce stores include:

  • UPS – United Parcel Service is a leading carrier that provides domestic and international shipping services with tracking and insurance.
  • FedEx – Federal Express is a reputable carrier that ships millions of packages each day with a range of express shipping options.
  • USPS – The United States Postal Service offers affordable shipping within the U.S. and to international destinations. While slower, USPS provides tracking and insurance for many services.

Compare Rates and Services

Once you identify reputable carriers, compare their rates and services to find options that meet your business and customer needs at a reasonable cost. Consider things like:

  • Delivery speeds – Do they offer same-day, next-day or 2-3 day delivery options?
  • Package sizes – Can they ship the sizes and weights of products you sell?
  • Tracking and insurance – Do they provide package monitoring and coverage for lost or damaged shipments?
  • Discounts – Are there opportunities to save on shipping costs through volume discounts or loyalty programs?

Streamline the Shipping Process

Work with your carriers to simplify the shipping process as much as possible. Things like:

  • Integrating tracking info into your website so customers can monitor their orders
  • Using shipping software to automatically calculate rates, print labels and track shipments
  • Negotiating custom services like free pickups or deliveries on a schedule that suits your needs
  • Taking advantage of additional services like signature confirmation or hold at location

By investing time to find trustworthy shipping carriers, comparing their services in depth, and streamlining how you work with them, you’ll significantly improve the delivery experience for your eCommerce customers. Satisfied customers lead to more sales and loyalty, fueling the growth of your business.

Provide Real-Time Tracking for Your Customers

Providing real-time tracking information for your customers’ orders and deliveries is crucial for great customer service and building trust in your eCommerce business.

Enable Tracking on Your Website

Allow customers to enter their order number or email address on your website to see the current status and location of their delivery. Provide estimated delivery dates and times so they know when to expect their package. Tracking updates should be available as soon as the shipping label is created.

Choose a Carrier With Robust Tracking

Select a shipping carrier that offers detailed tracking updates, preferably with timestamps and location scans at each stop along the delivery route. Major carriers like UPS, FedEx and USPS provide tracking details on their websites and mobile apps. For the best customer experience, the more detailed the updates the better.

Send Proactive Email and SMS Updates

Don’t make your customers hunt for their tracking information. Send automated emails with tracking details, estimated delivery dates and links to view the latest updates on your website. For an additional touchpoint, send SMS text message alerts about the delivery status. These proactive updates give customers peace of mind that their order is on the way.

Offer Precise Delivery Windows

If possible, provide narrow delivery windows of 2-4 hours so customers know exactly when to expect their package. Some carriers now offer precise delivery windows as an add-on service. While not essential, narrow windows can reduce missed deliveries and improve the overall customer experience.

Providing transparent and proactive real-time tracking for your customers’ orders establishes your eCommerce business as professional, trustworthy and dedicated to great service. Customers will appreciate the updates and feel confident shopping with you again. Continuous improvements to your shipping and fulfillment processes will help ensure on-time, accurate deliveries and tracking for all orders.

Design an Exceptional Post-Purchase Experience

To improve your eCommerce delivery and exceed customer expectations, focus on optimizing the post-purchase experience.

Communicate Proactively

Once an order is placed, send an automated email confirmation with details like the estimated delivery window, tracking information as soon as it’s available, and a link to your store’s FAQ page. This helps avoid confusion and shows you value the customer’s time.

Offer Flexible Delivery Options

Today’s customers expect choice and convenience. Provide options like same-day delivery, next-day shipping, click and collect, and alternative pickup points. Make delivery options clear during checkout and in post-purchase communications.

Share Tracking Updates

Send email updates when the order ships and again when out for delivery. Include the tracking number in each message so customers can check the status themselves at any time. Tracking updates build anticipation and confidence the order is on its way.

Ensure a Seamless Handover

Work closely with your delivery partners to guarantee a smooth handover from your warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. Give delivery drivers detailed instructions for where and how to leave the package. Ask for photos of the delivered goods as proof of successful drop-off. Follow up with customers to confirm receipt and address any issues immediately.

Make Returns and Exchanges Simple

Even with the best intentions, returns and exchanges are inevitable in eCommerce. Create a seamless returns experience by providing a pre-paid return label in the original shipment and accepting returns for at least 30 days. Make the return or exchange process as easy as possible by allowing customers to print return labels at home or drop off returns at a local store. Offer refunds or replacements promptly to maintain goodwill.

An exceptional post-purchase experience is key to building customer loyalty and repeat business. By proactively communicating, providing choice and convenience, sharing updates, ensuring a smooth delivery, and simplifying returns, you’ll turn first-time buyers into lifelong customers. Focusing on the customer experience after the sale is what separates good from great eCommerce businesses.

Survey Your Customers Regularly

To improve your eCommerce delivery, surveying your customers regularly is key. ###Ask for Feedback

Send out surveys via email or your website to get valuable input from your customers on their delivery experience. Ask questions like:

  • How satisfied were you with the delivery time of your recent order?
  • Was your item packaged securely upon arrival?
  • How likely are you to recommend our delivery service to others?

Provide a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 for them to rate aspects of their delivery. ###Review Survey Results

Analyze the results to identify any problem areas in your delivery process. Look for trends in low satisfaction scores or negative comments. These could signal issues with delivery times, packaging, item condition upon arrival or other factors that need improvement.

Make Changes Accordingly

Use the survey feedback to make changes to enhance your customers’ delivery experience. You may need to provide more padding or sturdier boxes if items are arriving damaged. Consider offering faster shipping options if delivery times are a concern. Provide additional training for warehouse staff if improper packaging seems to be an ongoing issue.

Continually monitoring how satisfied your customers are with their deliveries and making changes to address their concerns will build loyalty and turn one-time buyers into repeat customers. While an occasional hiccup in the delivery process is inevitable, consistent issues that go unaddressed will only drive customers to shop from your competitors instead.

Staying on top of trends in eCommerce delivery options will also help you keep up with customer demands. As same-day delivery and drone delivery become more widely available, customers will come to expect faster shipping times as the norm. Survey your customers regularly to ensure your delivery methods and options continue to meet their needs. Making delivery a priority and keeping an open line of communication with your customers is key to success in today’s highly competitive eCommerce market.

FAQs: Questions About Improving eCommerce Delivery

To improve delivery for your eCommerce store, you’ll need to address some frequently asked questions from customers. Providing helpful information upfront can reduce confusion, manage expectations, and build trust in your brand.

What delivery options do you offer?

Outline the specific shipping methods you offer, such as standard shipping, expedited shipping, and same-day delivery. Explain the key differences in delivery times for each option so customers can choose what best suits their needs. You may also highlight any free shipping thresholds to incentivize larger orders.

Do you ship internationally?

Be transparent about the countries and regions you ship to. If you only ship domestically, state that clearly on your website and at checkout. For international shipping, list the delivery timeframes and any additional fees that apply to each location. Consider offering a duty or tax calculator so international customers know the total cost upfront.

How can I track my order?

Once an order has shipped, provide the customer with a tracking number and link to the shipping carrier’s website so they can monitor the delivery status. Send tracking information via email and also display details on the customer’s account page or in your order management system. Allowing customers to track their orders gives them peace of mind and helps avoid confusion if a delivery is delayed.

What is your return policy?

Describe your return policy in full, including the number of days customers have to return an item after delivery and any restrictions or exceptions that apply. Explain the return process step-by-step and provide a link to your return authorization form or portal. A generous, easy-to-understand return policy will make customers more comfortable making a purchase from your store.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Prominently display your customer service contact information, including phone number, email address, live chat option (if available), and hours of operation. Let customers know the best ways to reach you for any delivery, return or order inquiries. Providing multiple contact methods and quick response times will lead to an overall better customer experience.


As an eCommerce business owner, improving your delivery experience should be a top priority. By focusing on shipping speed, transparency, personalization, and customer service, you’ll build loyalty and boost sales. While optimizing delivery may seem complicated, by following the seven simple strategies outlined here you can make significant progress. Meet your customers’ high expectations for fast, free shipping and keep them coming back. Your business’s success depends on the overall experience you provide, so invest in getting orders to your customers’ doors as quickly and painlessly as possible. With some incremental improvements to your fulfillment and delivery operations, you’ll soon be exceeding your customers’ expectations and maximizing the potential of your eCommerce store.

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