What Are Split Shipments In eCommerce Industry? Reasons, Benefits, Challenges In Frequent Split Shipping and Ways To Avoid Split Shipping in 2024

Global retail eCommerce revenues were anticipated to reach $5,2 trillion in 2021. By 2026, this amount is anticipated to have increased by 56%, to be around 8.1 trillion dollars.

Split shipments in the eCommerce industry are a clever way for an online retailer to handle orders that include numerous products. With this tactic, the buyer receives many deliveries on various days while only placing one order. It is also a key component of a reliable shipping procedure.

Split shipments are an essential component of distribution logistics, whether because a product is too big to fit with the other items in a single package or because the customer changed their mind and added something else to the order.

As a consumer, you’ve presumably also been there before. Have you ever placed an internet order and received many boxes?

The reality is that trying to keep track of each package’s precise location and predicted arrival time is different from a walk in the park. Because they were unaware that a shipment was on its way or that there were several items they should have been anticipating, clients frequently missed deliveries.

This procedure can be significantly simplified with order tracking solutions for split shipments. As a result, customers may receive their things as promptly as possible without encountering any delays because it is simple to monitor where each box is and when it is anticipated to arrive.

What Are Split Shipments In eCommerce Industry?

process of split shipping in eCommerce_wareiq

As the name suggests, a split shipment is when an order includes multiple things dispatched in different packages.

For instance, when dealing with a backorder scenario, you might ship a portion of the order first, followed by the other. As a result, the end-to-end processing time may be sped up. A competitive edge may be maintained by shipping packages separately or delivering in-stock and out-of-stock items afterward.

However, suppose your present tracking software does not offer precise, in-the-moment updates, delivery notifications, delivery exception alerts, etc. In that case, it may increase customer assistance requests.

This is particularly true when clients contact the customer care center after receiving only a portion of the things they ordered and needing to be made aware that their order was divided into many packages. In addition, nobody wants consumers to complain or for deliveries to go wrong.

Use technologies that can handle all sales under one roof while easily tracking split shipments in one dashboard to eliminate customer irritation, boost customer LTV (lifetime value), and reduce some of the load on your customer care team.

What Causes Split Shipments To Occur?

reason for split shipment

Even though split shipments are not a recommended practice in the industry. Mailing separate shipments for a single purchase may occur for the following reasons. However, firms shouldn’t intentionally split shipments unless they exclusively offer huge things that couldn’t fit more than one in a box.

Inventory Is Spread Out In Several Locations and Unavailability of All SKUs From the Nearest Fulfillment Center

Every SKU may have varying stock levels between facilities when an eCommerce business has inventory in more than one place.

A single order comprising various products may need the usage of multiple warehouses if a single fulfillment center needs more inventory to complete the order. For example, the first item might come from one fulfillment center, and the second might come from another.

Separate shipments from each fulfillment center will eventually deliver the products to the customer with faster delivery times than waiting for one fulfillment center to receive more inventory.

Occasionally, when sending cargo or freight, there might need more space on a single truck or airplane for a complete order, necessitating the transportation and arrival of individual boxes. In addition, you must make sure that each cargo has the required documentation because overseas shipping might be challenging with customs forms.

Similarly, only partially prepared inventory may be transported in segments, beginning with any components prepared for delivery.

You May Read: 5 Easy Steps to Find and Choose a Fulfillment Center for eCommerce Sellers in 2023

Consumer Requires The Product To Be Delivered At Several Locations

A consumer may desire to break particular items from a large order into several shipments, so they are shipped to various addresses, even though this is different in eCommerce. Most consumers will create distinct orders for each new shipment. Still, it might be simpler for customers to buy gifts for a single charge, especially around the holidays.

You won’t see the split shipments option at the checkout on the typical web store. Still, for bulk orders of pricey items, it would be helpful for someone to enter a different address for each item or each shipment.

Suggested Read: 15 Important Strategies for Checkout Page Optimization

Goods Would Not Fit In a Single Package

Whether you must split shipments for a single order depends on the number of your items.

For instance, purchasing four T-shirts should fit and be delivered in a single container. In contrast, if you ordered four huge pieces of luggage, you would anticipate receiving something other than one enormous package the size of a couch; instead, you would receive four separate boxes because each item requires a lot more space. Additionally, you must provide space for dunnage and packing supplies, especially if you are transporting fragile goods.

eCommerce businesses should be aware of the impact of dimensional weight on shipping costs and utilize appropriately sized packaging (not too big, not too small). There are additional fees for heavy-weight and excessive shipments, and smaller, lighter loads are less expensive than large, heavy shipments. Separate shipments, however, are equally pricey.

What Impact Do Split Shipments Have On Customers And Retailers?

Retailers incur double the delivery costs when they send different shipments for the same order. As a result, the cost of shipping many products across the country or abroad can rise quickly.

However, this must be evaluated against the urgency with which client orders must be fulfilled. Remember that clients anticipate waiting up to a few days for their order.

Split shipments cause customers to receive their orders on several days, which is typically inconvenient. Additionally, customers must wait for the delivery of the order’s remaining components.

However, it does imply that they get a portion of their order sooner than they would if the store waited until all of the items were in stock and ready to ship the order. Sometimes, a customer may find it more practical to divide shipments.

To guarantee the most significant possible customer experience, all split shipment decisions should be communicated to the customer so they are kept informed, have visibility into, and have ownership over the process.

You may efficiently manage inventory, speeding up your fulfillment process and lowering expenses with the help of a customizable, automated Order Management System (OMS). A smart OMS will choose how to complete each order best and effectively utilize your network.

It can save expenses and make split shipments an option by optimizing orders in accordance with both commercial shipping and logistical requirements.

Benefits of Split Shipments for Online Customers

  • Saves time: Instead of receiving one large package, customers can receive their items in multiple smaller packages, which can save them time when it comes to unpacking and organizing their purchases.
  • Increases convenience: Customers can have items delivered to multiple addresses, such as their home, office, or vacation home, making it more convenient for them to receive their purchases.
  • Reduces the risk of lost or stolen packages: By having items delivered to multiple locations, customers can reduce the risk of having all of their items lost or stolen in one package.
  • Flexibility in delivery schedules: Customers can schedule deliveries for multiple items to different locations and at different times, which helps them to be at home for each shipment and avoid missing a package delivery.
  • Cost-effective: splitting the shipment could reduce shipping costs to the customer, as sometimes single-package shipping costs could be very high.

Benefits of Split Shipments for Online Sellers

  • Increased efficiency: Split shipments allow sellers to send items in smaller, more targeted batches, which can save them time and money when it comes to shipping and handling.
  • Reduced shipping costs: By sending items in smaller, more targeted batches, sellers can often reduce the overall shipping costs of an order.
  • Better Inventory Management: With split shipments, sellers can more easily keep track of inventory levels across multiple locations, which can help them to more effectively manage stock and reduce the risk of overselling.
  • Improved customer service: By offering split shipments, sellers can provide more flexibility and convenience for customers, which can help to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Better Tracking and Control: Split shipments allow sellers to track multiple packages for one order and know where each one of them is, which will result in knowing the exact location of the package and knowing when it will be delivered which is essential for customer satisfaction and better control.
  • Customizable Packaging: with Split shipment sellers can customize the packaging for each package and location in a way to optimize the shipping cost.

Challenges of Split Shipping for eCommerce Sellers

Although split shipments have their own share of benefits for both the customer and online retailer, but it’s not surprising that the real challenges faced with split shipments encountered are extensive:

Increased Shipping Expenses 

You must pay for transportation twice or more per order to the same place. Often, this is an unneeded expense that cannot be avoided.

A lack of insight into your order management system can cause frequent backorders, which may necessitate shipping several products separately and incurring additional transportation costs.

You might not have the option to send products separately if you sell bulky items like lawnmowers or car parts.

Poor Customer Service Management

Your customer care representatives may receive more support tickets due to longer lead times for warehouses to process and ship goods.

Additionally, you don’t allow customers to independently track each shipment from the same order. In that case, they could initially contact your staff. And as the saying goes, if your customers contact you first, there is still time to offer a first-rate post-purchase experience.

Some deliveries might be delayed because of bad weather, backed-up traffic, and other factors beyond your control. To lessen pressure from your consumers, you must offer proactive status updates and delivery alerts to inform them of any shipment delays.

If you want to be successful and keep staff in this challenging business environment, keep clients updated throughout the shipping and delivery process and have all orders under one roof.

Increased Packaging Waste and Higher Carbon Footprints

Environmental issues concern Generation Z people (those born between 1995 and 2010). 62% of Gen Z consumers said they prefer to purchase sustainable brands and were more willing to spend 10% or more on sustainable goods.

It may not sit well with certain consumers looking for eco-friendly and sustainable firms for sustainable supply chain management and eco-friendly shipping to ship several parcels individually, which is another motivating element for implementing a sustainable development strategy.

How to Cut Down on Split Shipping in 2023?

How to avoid split shipments_how one order us getting split into 3 shipments in Amazon
Snapshot of how one order is getting split into 3 shipments in Amazon

You may need fewer split shipments if your supply chain is optimized.

The following actions can be used to lessen split shipments in the eCommerce industry:

Have Enough Stock of the Products

Keeping stock levels high will cut down on the number of split shipments.

You may monitor the following to make sure you always have enough inventory on hand:

  • The quantity of stock you have at each fulfillment location.
  • How long do you have to place new orders for each product before they run out?
  • Seasonal and sales effects on your inventory.
  • How much will it cost to deliver your goods if you move your inventory to a different fulfillment facility?

Additionally, by suggesting to your customer’s things that can only be shipped from the same place as the main item in their order, you can guarantee that you always have suitable products on hand. Consolidating the packages will allow you to use less packaging, and your shipping prices and times may be improved by distributing your product throughout your fulfillment facilities. In addition, by anticipating needs and monitoring your inventory, you may prevent running out of supply.

Recognize the Trends In Customer Buying Patterns

Understanding your consumers’ shopping habits will help you streamline your eCommerce logistics operation and give your customers a better experience.

Consider the following inquiries:

  • Where are the majority of your clients situated?
  • Can you spread your inventory over several fulfilment facilities?
  • Which goods are frequently purchased in tandem?
  • How often do customers make further purchases?

Understanding your consumers’ shopping habits will help you modify your inventory management and shipping procedures accordingly.

If you frequently buy particular products, you can package them together as bundles to raise the average order value. Or it can be worthwhile to provide a subscription plan if you frequently see repeat consumers buying the same things.

Let clients combine all their ordered items into a single shipment. Customers can delay the delivery of individual shipments in favour of receiving everything at once.

Strategic Stock Management

A robust inventory management plan will reduce the likelihood of out-of-stock items and the necessity for split shipments. To maintain a steady flow of goods, make forecasts based on historical sales data, seasonal demand, and delivery times.

Pick Your Warehouse Locations Wisely

Additionally, you can proactively prevent cargo splitting by carefully locating warehouses close to your suppliers and clients. As a result, fewer split shipments will be required, lowering internal transportation costs and shipping delays.

Inform Your Consumers

Finally, whenever feasible, give your clients a voice. For example, some clients place a premium on quick shipping. On the other hand, if they need to sign for it or want to be home to accept it, some customers would prefer their complete purchase to arrive at once. You can reduce customer service demands and unsatisfied customers by giving customers the option of a timely split shipment or a complete (but delayed) supply.


Split shipments are only sometimes preventable, but you must take all reasonable steps to avoid them to protect your revenue. Your retail supply chain will be more effective, you’ll spend less on shipping, and there will be less waste if you reduce split shipments. You can streamline your shipment process, avoid divided orders, and raise your profit margin by working with a 3PL.

WareIQ Can Help With Split Shipments and Increase Client Satisfaction

WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, provides quick, cost-effective shipping to assist firms in increasing sales and expanding their operations. With the help of our expanding network of fulfilment facilities, businesses can use the areas that best suit the needs of their target audience.

Our programme automatically selects the fulfillment nearest to the customer whenever an order is received. As a result, delivery times are shortened, and freight costs are decreased. In addition, you can avoid putting orders on hold or split shipments by preventing stockouts with our proprietary software.

If one or more goods in your order are out of stock, you can choose to divide the order and have the available items dispatched. The other portions of the order will be handled automatically once the missing item arrives at our fulfilment facility. Let your consumer know that the order has been divided and that they should anticipate receiving two parcels rather than one.

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Split Shipments FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Ali Haider

Ali Haider

Ali is a content marketing analyst at WareIQ with more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing. Ali has a solid understanding of how to provide interesting and educational content that appeals to the interests of the target audience. He specializes in writing and optimizing content related to eCommerce fulfillment, shipping, supply chain, and logistics etc., along with tracking the performance of content using data and analytics.

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