How to Reduce the Likelihood of Incurring Shipping Fees and Penalties

As an eCommerce merchant, shipping is an integral aspect of your online business. Consumers everyday, everywhere, abandon checkout due to high shipping costs, a trend that has only risen as postal prices continue to soar. To combat this eCommerce nightmare, retailers have employed tactics designed to minimize consumer shipping costs, such as free or low, flat-rate shipping.

But what happens after you ship an order? What happens if a customer contacts you with a claim that they never received their order? Or what if a customer entered an incorrect address and consequently didn’t receive their package? In either case, as the shipper and store owner, the penalty of such scenarios will fall on you.

Fortunately, there are a few services that you can implement to ensure that shipping-related fees don’t negatively impact your business’s bank account.

Ensure you’re using an Address Validation Tool

Everyone is in a rush these days, so it’s no surprise that shoppers often make typos with their own address at checkout. Of course, this isn’t the only reason incorrect addresses are often provided, but it is an issue that can easily be avoided altogether.

With an address validation add-on, a shopper’s address is always verified in real-time during checkout. Whether a shopper enters a bad ZIP code, forgot to enter their suite number, or simply typed in the wrong street address, an address-validation tool can instantly identify an invalid address. In cases where the add-on is able to detect an incorrect address, a shopper will be prompted with the correct shipping address, with typos and formatting issues automatically corrected.

If you’re looking to save yourself the fee associated with a returned package, this is the easiest and most efficient tool that can prevent carrier-imposed penalty fees. Moreover, as address typos are typically genuinely accidental, you’ll find your customer satisfaction rate higher than ever. After all, who wants to wait an extra couple days for a package to be re-delivered? Save yourself time and money by making sure packages are delivered to the correct destination the first time around.

Offer insurance and tracking for high-value orders

While it’s always a good idea to offer order tracking regardless of an order’s value, many online merchants find the implementation of insurance unnecessary. However, if you’re a small to medium sized online retailer selling high-valued goods, a lost order claim can have a serious impact on your business’s finances.

Shipping insurance and tracking provide you and your shoppers with a great deal of security that is often times undervalued and unappreciated – until the first time you get a lost order claim, that is. It’s important to keep in mind that some shipping services include insurance, so take a look at what carriers and methods you’re offering to determine if you need to charge an additional insurance fee at checkout.

Some customers may be put off by insurance fees, so carefully decide which products or qualifying conditions need to met to require insurance. You may want to specify that insurance is required for specific items or for an order total that amounts to X+ number of dollars.

Require signature confirmation

Worried that packages may be shipped to an insecure location? For customers living in an apartment or similar establishment, leaving a package with a lobby attendant or at someone’s doorstep can lead to lost/stolen packages.

Offering signature confirmation at checkout is a great way to ensure that shoppers receive their package securely and without fear of theft. If a shopper selects signature confirmation and a package is left without the carrier acquiring said shopper’s John Hancock, then the carrier is typically responsible for any undelivered packages (rules vary from carrier to carrier).

You may want to look into offering insurance in conjunction with signature confirmation for ultimate security, especially in the case of a high-value order.

Moreover, having signature confirmation is a great way to combat potential fraud. Having proof a shopper received a high-valued order provides many merchants with much needed peace of mind in a time when cybercrime is on the rise.


Shipping is a challenging eCommerce aspect for small and large businesses alike worldwide. Developing and implementing shipping solutions that best meet your business’s needs is essential to continued success and customer satisfaction. As you continue to strategize and formulate your shipping solution to meet growing customer demands, ensure your own business is equally safe, secure and protected with any and/or all of the above services.

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