Overcoming Shipping Challenges: Strategies for Handling Lost or Delayed Packages

Strategies for handling shipping delays and lost packages.
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Last update:

October 11, 2023

When you’re in a business where you deliver products to your customers' doorstep, one thing you may have struggled with is delivery. There’s always a chance that the product may get delayed, or worse, lost. 

The problem is, that even one delayed or lost delivery can make you lose a potential customer, which is why one has to emphasize ensuring timely delivery

In this article, we’ll discuss our top strategies for handling lost or delayed packages and also share how you can handle the customer in case of an issue. 

Strategies for Dealing with Shipping Delays

Despite all your best efforts to ensure timely deliveries, it’s impossible to avoid a few late deliveries from time to time. Here are some of the best strategies that’ll hopefully help you deal with the delays better. 

Track the Shipment 

No matter which shipping service you opt for, the chances of them offering real-time status tracking are high. In fact, you shouldn’t opt for a service that doesn’t offer this. Tracking the shipping status will help you calculate the estimated delivery date better. This will help you set realistic expectations. 

Furthermore, you can also share the tracking link with the receiver. In most cases, this keeps the customer assured, and they won’t even mind a late delivery unless it’s a matter of urgency. 

Communication is Key

If you predict a potential delayed shipment, which you can do by tracking the shipment, you should contact the customer at once. A lot of businesses tend to avoid communication altogether in such cases, but this needs to be more professional and will make you lose a potential client.  

So, instead, we recommend proper communication, as it’ll reassure the customer that the parcel is on its way. In most cases of late deliveries, the customer either figures that the shipping has lost the parcel or that the business hasn’t sent it in the first place. Communication can help straighten this out and build trust, which will also help in turning the customer into a long-term one. 

Partnership with Local Suppliers

If you want to streamline your supply chain as much as possible, you can consider partnering up with local suppliers. This works best if the distance between you and the receiver is too great. By partnering up with local suppliers, you can simply inform the supplier, who will be able to deliver within a day or two.  

However, in some cases, it can cost less to use a long-distance mover, but not necessarily in terms of money. If the product you’re shipping is unique, then using local suppliers will mean that the customers will receive products of lower quality. This will put a stain on your brand reputation. 

So, using long-distance movers will be a better option despite the longer shipping time and added expenses. 

Free Shipping Does the Trick

If you’re certain that there will be shipping delays, then you can try offering free shipping. How does this help? Free shipping lowers customer expectations as they aren’t paying for the shipping process. So, they won’t have much to complain about even if there's a delay. 

Free shipping lowers customer expectations, but that shouldn’t keep you from trying. You should try your best to ensure as fast shipping as possible. This will help you gain a competitive advantage over your rival businesses, making you the go-to choice for customers. 

Send Backup Vehicle

In some cases, the vehicle you’ve sent the package on might be experiencing technical issues. To solve this, you can request the shipping company to send a backup vehicle. Also, notify your customer about the unexpected situation so they can wait until the problem is resolved. 

Offer Discounts

Last but not least, you can try offering discounts and gift cards. Such offers can help ease the mood of the customer. Also, it’s a great way of showing that you really care about the customer. 

Yes, offering discounts or gift cards will require some investment on your part. However, that won’t incur as much loss as getting bad reviews or losing that customer. So, it’s a worthy investment that you should definitely consider. 

How to Deal with Lost Deliveries?

Dealing with lost deliveries is very complicated, and there’s no certainty that you’ll be able to recover the package if it’s really lost or stolen. In these cases, it’s important to maintain your composure. Here are some strategies that may help you out:

Check with the Shipping Company

First off, you should check with the shipping company about the success of the delivery. If the delivery wasn’t successful, they likely have the package, which you can send out again. Some of the shipping companies will also notify you in case of an unsuccessful delivery. 

Check with the Neighbors and Carrier

If the delivery was successful, you should check if anyone else has received the package or not. If the customer doesn’t know about it, you can contact the carrier and the neighbors. In certain cases, misdeliveries end up with the neighbors getting the package instead. 

File an Insurance Claim

Lastly, if you face the worst-case scenario where the shipping company can’t help you locate the lost package, you should file an insurance claim. This will help you cover the cost of both the lost package and the shipping. You will need the tracking number of the package, proof of the value of the item, and proof of insurance. 


Dealing with delayed or lost shipping can be challenging, but once you are equipped with the strategies we just shared, hopefully, you’ll have an easier time. Remember, whatever decision you end up taking, you must put the customer first. The main goal is to retain the customer in any way possible, so focus on alleviating the frustrations of late or lost packages as much as possible. 

Written on:

October 11, 2023
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