What is a Missed Delivery and Why Does it Happen?

keyKey Takeaways:
    If a carrier attempts to deliver a package, but the recipient is not available to receive it. Then, it will be called a missed delivery.
  • Missed deliveries can be costly for both customers and businesses, resulting in lost time and revenue.
  • Most delivery businesses are providing flexible options for their customers to get rid of missed deliveries or attempted deliveries.
  • Delivery management software plays a crucial role in streamlining the process and, thus, leaving no chance of missed deliveries.

Delivery businesses and eCommerce stores need to deliver their products to the right customers at the specified time. 

In case of any missed deliveries from the company, customer satisfaction is hampered. Eventually, the brand image also gets spoiled to some extent. 

But what happens when you make a delivery attempt on the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the package, and it gets missed due to the customer’s unavailability or some other reason? 

It is time to find out what missed delivery or a delivery exception is and why it mostly happens.

What Do You Mean by Missed Delivery (or Delivery Exception)?

A missed delivery or a delivery exception means that the driver made a delivery attempt at the customer’s delivery address, but it went unsuccessful. It mostly happens due to the unavailability of customers, but there are other reasons as well. 

Delivery exceptions don’t directly imply delayed delivery. It is a term for any unavoidable situation that causes the package to stall in transit or at the nearest warehouse. 

No one can predict a product’s missed delivery. This is because tracking numbers are provided with every shipment for the customers to check the updates on delivery attempts or any associated updates on delivery exceptions for their packages. 

Most Common Reasons for Delivery Exceptions

As stated earlier, many reasons might trigger delivery exceptions or missed delivery. As a delivery business owner, you must figure out all the possibilities that could create such an instance and try to avoid them. 

Therefore, here are the most common reasons that contribute to a missed delivery:

1. Absence of the receiver

The most common and evident reason for a missed delivery attempt is the absence of the receiver. 

The estimated arrival time of the order is always updated to the customer beforehand. And the “out for delivery” notification is sent hours ago to the client with the details of delivery personnel. 

If the customer is still unavailable at the given address, it is a missed delivery scenario. 

Even today, there are some packages that need physical signatures from the clients upon delivery. Therefore, they cannot even be left with the neighbors without the customer’s consent. 

2. Damaged labels or incomplete address

Every package has on it a shipping label that confirms the address in the destination city for drivers and staff to make a successful delivery. This shipping label helps in the online tracking of the parcel. 

But if the label and its barcode are damaged, and the address cannot be scanned or read properly, the package delivery might get delayed. 

A delivery exception code will be generated if the important shipping details are unscannable over a package. 

Similarly, if the customer has given the incomplete or wrong delivery address over the package, it goes into the undeliverable category and becomes an exception.

3. Weather conditions

Every delivery driver or business tries to deliver the goods within delivery schedule. But bad weather is an obstruction, the intensity of which is unpredictable for anyone. 

This is one crucial reason that might trigger an exception code for delayed packages.

4. Delays due to customs

International shipping has its challenges as the customs demand many regulations to pass the shipment to the delivery location. 

The customers must provide:

  • A copy of a government-issued photo ID
  • A current utility bill for address proof
  • All the fees and duties involved in the shipment

Can Missed Deliveries Affect Your Business?

Every eCommerce store or delivery business wants to deliver the package on the first attempt. But some situations become unavoidable for companies, and the package handling companies have to bear the repercussions. 

Here are a few points that explain how missed delivery can affect your business:

1. Penalty costs

Irrespective of the reason, suppose your business fails to deliver the package at the stated time. In that case, the consumer will demand a refund of delivery costs or request a discount from the eCommerce stores. 

These penalties are considered additional costs that will increase the overhead expenses of the logistics process involved in delivering a package.

2. Damage to the brand reputation

A missed or late delivery is not just liable for monetary repercussions but also hampers your overall brand reputation. 

As a result, it will be complex for you to retain your customers and difficult to convince them to prefer your delivery services for last mile delivery.

3. Poor online reviews

If the parcel is stuck in a specific city or state for a longer time and the delivery gets delayed, the angry customer will be dissatisfied with the services. 

The dissatisfied customer will leave their reviews over the website or your business’s Google listing. It will impact your overall reputation, and it will be hard for you to acquire new clients with negative customer feedback on your sales channels.

How to Tackle Missed Deliveries?

There are defined ways for you to tackle and avoid causing missed deliveries. You can still save your brand reputation and retain the customer if you know how to respond during such exceptions. 

1. Reach out to customer

Suppose the customer is unavailable at their home or has given an wrong address, which delays the delivery attempt. In that case, you should connect with them over a call immediately. 

If they are unavailable at the given address, take their consent to drop the parcel with their neighbor, only if there is no need for a signature. 

If the address is wrong, connect with the customer to clarify the address and deliver the package as soon as possible.

2. Offer a Return/Refund or Replacement

Suppose the delivery attempt could not be made for the package due to serious transit problems. In that case, the customer requests a refund or replacement. Then you should consult the customer and offer them a refund or resend another order with a priority delivery tag. 

3. Get a route planner application

You should get a digital route planning tool with an easy-to-access timeline view to help you get shorter and more accurate routes to deliver the packages. Moreover, the delivery scheduling software will help the drivers to perform scheduled delivery. 

The optimal route planner will also help you with necessary weather updates, traffic jams, accident spots, and other information that might delay the transit.

Switch to Upper and Never Miss a Delivery

Upper Route Planner is a route planning tool that allows you to directly add customer addresses over the route map to find the shortest possible routes to reach them all. 

This delivery route planner app helps to predict the time window and update the estimated delivery time for the customers. 

For the best part, you can also automate delivery notifications for your customers. With it, they will get real-time alerts on delivery schedule and their order status. 

With the addresses embedded over the map, reaching them within the specified time will be easy. 

You can store the customer details over the driver portal so they can connect with the customers before making the first attempt to deliver the parcels. In this way, you might not miss the delivery due to customer unavailability issues. 
Get a FREE 7 days trial of Upper Route Planner and see if it helps your delivery operations.

Avoid Attempted Deliveries Using Upper

Want to get rid of miss or fail deliveries? Let Upper help you with optimized routes to perform faster deliveries. Impress your clients by handing over the parcel in timely manner.


Delivery exceptions cost you a penalty in the form of additional consumption of time, resources, and money. It adds up to the overall cost invested in organizing the transit of that package. So, it is better to try and avoid the exceptions to the maximum extent possible.

Yes, you will still receive the package in case of exceptions, but the delivery time might change due to unavoidable reasons.

Attempted delivery is the delivery status when the courier executive or the delivery person attempts to deliver the product to the customer. The attempt is successful if the customers receive the order and delivery attempt unsuccessful if they don’t.

Upper Route Planner – The Perfect Tool to Help You Avoid Missed Deliveries

Online retail sales have amounted to around $4.9 trillion across the world. And as per the forecast, it is said to grow by 50% in the next four years. This shows the scope of business for delivery service providers across the globe. 

In such a demanding industry, the exceptions might lead companies to bear impeccable losses. But now, it is all avoidable with perfect route planning and optimization. 

Upper Route Planner can help you achieve that with digital automation and outstanding service features. Check out our website to learn more about what we have to offer with our route planning software.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.