What is partial shipping?

A partial shipment is the fulfillment of a single order in more than one delivery. In other words, when a customer makes a purchase of multiple products, they are delivered in multiple shipments rather than all at once. Having partial shipping capabilities can improve the customer experience when an entire order is not able to be fulfilled at one time. For example, if certain items are backordered or delayed but not others, or if certain items could be delivered more quickly if sourced from different warehouses, partial shipments allow the customer to receive each item in the order as soon as it is available.

Partial shipping should not be confused with partial truckload shipping or less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipping, which are separate shipping logistics processes.

Challenges of this shipment solution

Though customers benefit from the convenience and speed of this shipping strategy, it can present some challenges on the merchant side. This added complexity can make tracking the individual shipments more difficult in scenarios like sending separate invoices for each shipment and notifying customers of each shipment. Additionally, as the process of fulfilling a single order in multiple shipments requires more packaging materials than a single shipment, some customers may find this strategy concerning from an environmental perspective. 

Clear notifications and communication surrounding partial shipping is crucial to mitigate confusion and frustration on the customer end. Properly setting customer expectations in this way can help streamline the purchasing process, improving trust in the brand.