A Whole Bunch of Shipping Delay Email Templates (To Help You Figure Out Just What To Say)

Here’s the scenario - you hold a massive sale. The year end blowout event. 

Success! An influx of purchases from your amazing marketing and promotional efforts has you filling orders faster than the fry cook at your local In N’ Out (mmm - animal fries). 

Then— the kicker. COVID has interfered with your shipping schedule and unfortunately, you’ve been hit hard with delays.

michael scott the office no meme

Credit: Vulture

Suddenly, you're wondering — how do you inform your customers of a shipment delay while at the same time keeping your cool as a cucumber support team, well… cool as cucumbers?

Save you and your team the collective stress headache of responding to irate patrons by developing the tools to minimize overwhelm ahead of time to just be... whelm? Offering a *chef’s kiss* customer experience through a transparent shipping delay email is a great  tool to anticipate and prevent these little fires and reduce overall stress.

10 things I hate about you whelmed meme

Image: Tenor

Incredible customer service is one of the key pillars to making sure your business is in the top tier of ecommerce brand experiences (and remains there). With everyone leaving Google and Yelp reviews left, right and center these days, you ought to, no, need to, dot your is and cross your ts to make sure you are fully supportive and prepared when addressing your customer’s concerns. This includes using pre-established ecommerce email templates.

We’ve included steps on how to address upset customers amidst shipping problems and how to apologize for the delay, along with a number of customizable shipping delay email templates. The next time there’s a delay, or mistake, you’ll be smizing with confidence through your computer screen (or, more realistically, letting out a big sigh of relief that you’re not starting from scratch) knowing you and your team have the processes in place to tackle the issue at hand. 

How Do I Apologize For A Shipping Delay?

Knowing how to write a proper apology letter to unsatisfied customers can be one of the hardest parts of running a business. However, having a standard email format for customer support will be your safest bet when addressing a potentially upset customer and giving your support team a breather. 

So how do you write a delay letter for shipping?

The first step is to be sincere: admit to your mistake or the concern at hand, demonstrate transparency to your customers that you’re aware of the situation, and take ownership of the delay.

Next, explain the reason for the delay (without making it sound like an excuse!), how you will handle it, as well as any new status updates, or up-to-date timelines regarding the order. From this moment on, you should be overly communicative regarding the status of your customer’s order (the best time to ghost customers is never). It’s important for building trust  that you don’t make promises you can’t keep, nor guarantee specific delivery dates or risk losing customers to other brands for future purchases.

Lastly, provide contact information if the customer needs to reach out to your support team (i.e. chat, email, phone), as well as estimated response times. Customers may wish to speak with a team member or return their item due to the delay. 

Addressing potential delays by advising (read: encouraging, pleading, incentivizing) customers in advance to shop early during surge seasons and having signage on your website that they may be met with potential delays, is one way to get ahead of the shipping delay curve. This is especially important if you have repeat customers who shop frequently with your business.

Read to send some really nice shipping updates via email? Learn more about Wonderment + Klaviyo’s branded order update emails —> 

7 Shipping Delay Apology Email Templates

The following customer service email response templates will assist you in maintaining consistent shipping delay correspondence with customers. Customize these templates to fit your brand’s tone of voice, style, and personality!

Template 1. Formal

Subject Line: [Item] is delayed until [date]

Preview text/intro: Thanks for your patience, we apologize for the inconvenience.

Body: Hello [first name],

We are writing to let you know that your order has been delayed. We are experiencing shipping delays due to volume and carrier availability. We apologize for any trouble this has caused.

Please reference your order status page and stay tuned for updates from our team. Our customer service team [is available via chat, email, phone] or [is experiencing high call volumes] so please be aware that wait times may be increased.

Thanks for being a valued [company name] customer, we appreciate your patience.

As a reminder, please visit your order tracking page for updates: [Link to order tracking page]

Template 2. Punny

Subject Line: Ship happens...Your item is delayed

Preview text/intro: [First name] Thanks for sticking with us, it’ll be here soon

Body: Hi [first name],

Today wasn’t the person driving that boat’s day.

You know the boat…

Unfortunately that has put us in a bit of a jam and your [product] is delayed.

Stay tuned for updates on your order tracking page and call/text our customer service team if you have any questions.

We appreciate your patience.

Template 3. Humble

Subject Line: Well, this is Embarrassing 

Preview text/intro: We’re Sorry, Your [Item] is Delayed

Body: Hi [first name],

We believe in transparency and honesty - that includes when we’ve messed up. Your item has been delayed due to [insert reason], but rest assured we will be providing you with all the support you need to keep track of your package as it is moved along.

What’s Next? Your order status page here [Link to order tracking page] shows live updates and you’ll receive an email confirmation as soon as your package is on it’s way! The quickest way to contact our customer support is [chat, email, phone] should you have any questions or concerns.

We apologize for the delay, and are working hard to make sure your package is delivered to you. We appreciate your patronage.

Template 4. Our Bad

Subject Line: Our Bad...

Preview text/intro: And I Oop- Your [Item] is Delayed

Body: Hi [first name],

It’s a tad awkward we have to inform you of this (more awkward than most small talk, social situations, or your mom’s stuffed parakeet collection) but your item has been delayed due to [insert reason]. Your [Item] will be delayed until [date], although this is subject to change.

While we’d rather sit quietly in the corner spot at the party, sipping punch and minding our own gosh darn business, your business is our business and it’s important to us that that you know the 411 on your package (where is it, where can I find updates, how can I contact support). 

Your order status page here [Link to order tracking page] shows live updates and you’ll be emailed with further information regarding your package, pronto (AKA as soon as we have the latest information). 

The quickest way to contact our customer support is [chat, email, phone] should you have any questions or concerns.

We apologize once again for the delay.

Template 5. Potential Delays

*Consider the below customer service email template if you think the order might not arrive on time. There can be great advantages to getting ahead of the curve of potentially upset customers by sending an email in advance.

Subject Line: Just A Heads Up!

Preview text/intro: Your [Item] May Be Delayed

Body: Hi [first name],

Potential is a driving force in everything we do here at [company name]. We also believe in anticipating potential too, including getting ahead of any surprises. 

That’s why we’re emailing to let you know there may be a potential delay in your product being shipped to you due to disruptions from [insert reason here] and may not arrive on the originally anticipated delivery date.

As we receive new information, we will update your order tracking page [Link to order tracking page]. Please feel free to connect with us via [chat, email, phone] if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Thanks for being a valued [company name] customer - we appreciate your patience.

Template 6. Offer A Refund

Sometimes a customer might not want to proceed with an order being shipped if it is going to be delayed. Consider offering a refund of their order and include instructions for how to do so in your apology letter for delay.

Subject Line: Your Order Is Delayed

Preview text/intro: We’re Here to Help

Body: Hi [first name],

Your order has not been shipped and is anticipated to arrive later than the originally estimated date. This is due to [insert reason here]. We apologize for the delay.

We will ship to you as soon as possible and keep you updated along the way via your order tracking page [Link to order tracking page]. However, if you wish to cancel your order and receive a refund, please contact our customer support team via [chat, email, phone].

Once again, we apologize for the delay and for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Template 7. Offer A Discount

Subject Line: Your Package Is In A Jam

Preview text/intro: But here’s a treat from our [company name] Fam!

Body: Hi [first name],

Unfortunately your package has been delayed due to [insert reason]. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. 

Stay tuned for updates on your order tracking page [Link to order tracking page] and call/text our customer service team if you have any questions.

As a way of saying thanks for hanging in there while you bear with us, we would like to offer you 20% off of your next order. Use code [insert discount company code] to receive the discount.

We appreciate your support and thank you for your patience as we ask you to hang tight a little longer.

Start today with creating customizable shipping alerts that are unique to your business, brand, and tone of voice! Building trust with customers and developing a transparent relationship that includes proactive updates is a great way to create lifelong customers. 

Upgrade your order tracking notifications using  Wonderment — here’s how.