← Customize 440+ templates for your next newsletter

Design Inspiration

How to Craft Late Delivery Emails to Apologize to Your Customers

How to Craft Late Delivery Emails to Apologize to Your Customers

Shipping delays are a common issue for ecommerce brands, especially right now. USPS, FedEx and UPS are all experiencing shipping disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can’t always control how quickly your orders reach their destination. But you can control how you address the situation in your email marketing. Best practices for shipping delays? Send your customers late delivery emails explaining what’s going on. Here are a few strategies that can help.

You can’t always control how quickly your orders reach their destination. But you can control how you address the situation in your email marketing. Click To Tweet

Admit your mistake

The most important rule of thumb when it comes to sending late delivery emails is to just do it! Honesty is the number one thing consumers want from brands. In your apology email, freely admit your mistake and spell out what you did wrong. Crane Stationery accomplished this by sending an “Our Bad” email that apologized for website glitches. Even if your problem is due to shipping delays outside of your control, it’s best to take ownership of the situation and not sound as if you’re passing the buck.

Subject line: Our sincerest apologies

apology email example

Explain what happened

Take a few lines in your email to thoughtfully explain what happened. Don’t make excuses — just spell out the facts. This is another way of being honest and transparent with your customers, and that can pay off big-time down the road as consumers remember your commitment to keeping them in the loop. Baublebar sent a genuine apology email to customers that explained why its website crashed (too much traffic) on Cyber Monday.

Subject line: We’re sorry: 35% off is extended

late delivery emails

Empathize with customers

Recognize how delays will impact your customers’ lives. Empathize with them in your late delivery emails by saying you understand that this is going to disrupt their plans. The Tie Bar, for example, included a simple line saying, “We’re sorry for any inconvenience that this caused.”

Subject line: We’re sorry, let’s try that again…

late delivery email examples

Keep it simple

Your late delivery email to customers doesn’t have to be long or wordy. It just needs to be genuine and real. The point of this message is not your flashy email design. Instead, the focus should be on your sincere apology. In some cases, a plain text email might be a better choice for your late delivery email format. Your message can hit home without the distraction of colors, different fonts or other HTML elements.

Subject line: Sorry for the outage 

plain text apology email

Provide a solution

How are you going to fix this issue? Let your customers know, outlining the plan of action you’re taking to make things right. It can be nice to also offer an extra gift (like a coupon code) to cement your apology. That’s what Milligram did in this cute late delivery email sample.

Subject: We’re sorry!

late delivery email example

Ask for forgiveness

After you explain what happened and how you’re going to fix things, ask for your customers’ forgiveness. There’s no need to get on your knees and beg, but just including a simple phrase in your late delivery emails (“Please accept our apology”) can go a long way in customer relationships.

The best email design, directly in your inbox.

Craft a good late delivery email subject line

The subject lines for your late delivery emails to customers can be simple. In many cases, just “We’re sorry” or “Our apologies” can do the trick. At other times, you may want to explain that the problem is now resolved (“Our website is fixed now!”). And finally, if you’re offering a coupon code or other special perk, mention that in the subject line to entice people to open the message.

late delivery email subject lines

Wrap-up: Late delivery emails

Every e-commerce brand should understand how to craft an apologetic late delivery email when necessary — especially during unpredictable times. If you need a little help getting started, use one of our email templates. The Apologize Email or the Apology Fashion email template by designer Martin Nikolchev can easily be customized to meet your needs.


Share this post with your friends! Pin it on Pinterest 📌

Apologize Email Cover

Our Reader Score:

Total: 0 - Average: 0

Hailey Hudson

Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer based out of Atlanta, Georgia.