How to Minimize the Risk of Lost Packages?
As a shipping carrier, we at GoFreightHub know that packages get lost every day. Usually, it is not a big issue since the shipment does eventually show up on the customer’s doorstep. However, if you are selling your products online through Amazon, eBay or any other Ecommerce platform, losing a package will have severe consequences for your business. Even worse if you lose an expensive product such as laptop or Apple watch! As of Dec 2015, According to data provided by eBay about the total sales on the site in 2015 – $79 billion- 14 million pieces of packages were shipped through them per day . On Amazon US alone there were 5 billion shipments in 2015 while USPS reports 9 million lost/damaged claims in 2016 . To avoid this problem from happening you should do the following:
- Request Proof of Delivery (POD) for all your packages
If someone actually signs or scans the POD, you should ask your carrier to provide you with a digital copy of it. This will help you prove to eBay/Amazon and even yourself that the package has been delivered successfully in case there is a problem later on. The best time to request a POD would be when you drop off your package at USPS or any other carrier’s branch office. If they say they cannot provide you with one due to privacy issues, ask them if they can scan the package right in front of you so that you have proof that the package was dropped off successfully. Sometimes even if they don’t want to scan it in front of you, just taking a picture with your phone is enough.
- Use tracking on all your shipments
Tracking numbers are very important when it comes to shipping packages. Many carriers offer this option for free so in general there should be no reason why you shouldn’t use it! For instance, in the US, USPS offers up to 4 free package tracking per shipment while FedEx provides 15/30 package track per shipment depending on your account type. If you are shipping internationally, China post starts at $0.69 per tracking number but they only support 7 per shipment. However, if you are selling more than 50 products a month on eBay or any other Ecommerce site – I would suggest that you sign up for one of their unlimited plans which starts at $15.95 per month.
- Have a backup plan for your shipping carrier
This is probably the most overlooked step in minimizing risk of lost packages. For instance, if you use USPS as your primary carrier and one day they go under due to bankruptcy or other reasons- you will be stuck with no shipment tracking and no way to prove that the package has been delivered successfully! That’s why I recommend sign up for 2 carriers (FedEx and USPS) and use them equally. Having a second carrier as a backup will help prevent loss of business in case the first carrier goes down again like what happened back in 2013. It also allows you to maximize discounts since both carriers offer volume discounts on their services.
- Always provide your customer with a tracking number
It may sound silly to you, but many sellers forget or overlook this simple step. When you print out an invoice/packing slip for your products, always include the tracking number as well as how to track it on your carrier’s official website! This way if there is any problem with the shipment, you have all the proof that you need and will be able to avoid file a claim later. If possible, print out a hard copy of the receipt and include that into the box as well (since some carriers like USPS do not scan hard copies).
- If it does get lost, don’t accept full refund from eBay/Amazon without fighting back
This is probably one of the biggest mistake sellers do on Amazon/eBay. It is understandable that if the tracking shows that the package has been delivered but customer never receives it, they will file an A-to-z claim or charge back with PayPal if they paid using PayPal. This will potentially leave you in deep waters due to multiple reasons:
- Amazon/eBay automatically side with the customers most of the time (which is NOT RIGHT in this case!)
- Even if Amazon/eBay does side with you – it will take them up to 45 days to refund your money! (that’s like half a year at minimum)
- Having A-to-Z claim against your account may cause Amazon suspend your selling privileges . I know MANY sellers who have had their selling account suspended due to fraud claims even though they were in the right!