The Pros and Cons of Split Shipments
Split shipments can help save you logistical headaches. But they can also inconvenience and frustrate your customers. Learn how to avoid being forced into them and use them strategically with our tips and tricks.
What is a Split Shipment?
A split shipment is just what it sounds like — when a single order arrives in two or more deliveries. Although the customer submits one order, they receive multiple packages, often on different days.
What Causes Split Shipments?
Most of the time, companies split shipments f0r logistical reasons. You may want to split up your shipments because your products are:
- In different locations or different warehouses.
- Arriving on different planes or trucks at different times.
- Large or vary in size and packing specifications and are best split based on their needs.
The Benefits of Split Shipments
There are a number of reasons for businesses to consider splitting shipments, many of which may benefit the customer as well.
They Save Companies Time & Money
Keeping all of your products in stock in a single warehouse is doable. But once you outgrow a single warehouse, you may find it difficult to coordinate the logistics of stocking multiple warehouses. Splitting shipments can save you transportation costs and headaches when it comes to keeping your warehouses stocked.
Customers Get (Some) of Their Order Faster
If a customer purchases a highly-sought product that is out of stock, they likely recognize that it won’t ship right away. Splitting the shipment will ensure that they get some of their order in a timely manner, even if you can’t ship everything right away.
The Drawbacks of Split Shipments
Splitting your shipments can save you considerable time and money. But before you start splitting shipments at every opportunity, be sure to also consider the drawbacks.
Customer Confusion & Disappointment
Many customers dislike split-up shipments because they are disappointed that their entire order didn’t arrive. Worse, they think the company made a mistake or lost a package and turn to customer service to rectify the situation.
When it comes to split shipments, user experience is key. Be sure to inform the customer that their order will be split before they submit their payment. This will help them make an informed decision and prevent confusion and disappointment.
Excess Packaging & Carbon Waste
Unfortunately, split shipments often aren’t the “greenest option.” They result in additional packaging waste, as well as a larger carbon footprint. If being environmentally-friendly is important to you and your business (or your customers), you may want to consider minimizing the number of split-up shipments you allow.
Higher Shipping Costs
When shipping two different products from two different warehouses, you’ll pay more for shipping than you would for a single package. However, in comparison to shipping both items to a centralized location and then sending them to the customer, you’re bound to save money in the long-run.
How to Avoid Split Shipments
While splitting shipments can be a great logistical strategy, you never want it to be your only option. Avoid splitting up your shipments with these tactics.
Manage Your Stock Strategically
Having a great inventory management strategy will help you avoid out-of-stock products and limit the need for split shipments. Use projections based on past sales data, seasonal demand, and transportation times to keep your stock flowing smoothly.
Choose Warehouse Locations Carefully
You can also proactively avoid splitting up shipments by strategically placing warehouses near your customers and suppliers. This will keep internal transportation costs and shipping times down, and in turn, result in fewer necessary split shipments.
Inform Your Customers
Finally, let your customers have a say whenever possible. Some customers value fast shipping above all else. Others would rather their whole order arrives together, especially if they need to sign for it or want to be home to receive it. By providing customers with the choice of a timely split shipment or a complete (but belated) shipment, you can minimize customer service needs and dissatisfied customers.
Looking for more guidance on shipping and customer service? Brandfox can help. Explore our broad range of 3PL services for businesses on our website.