Online retailers looking to meet the new standard of fast, easy order fulfillment should note these tips to streamline their processes.
There’s no question that making a sale on your online store is one of the best parts of being in the ecommerce industry but getting product to the customer who made a purchase is a different story. It’s a team effort involving multiple members of your business, the shipping carriers who are delivering and sometimes the coordination of the customer to be in the right place at the right time.
Furthermore, the larger your business, the more amplified the process seems. There are a lot of moving parts, but order fulfillment breaks down to a few simple steps: placement, picking, packing, dispatching and delivery.
This is why no matter how large or small your business is, these tips will improve your ecommerce order fulfillment for faster, smoother operations from here on out.
Take Stock of Your Stock
Certain times of year are especially busy, and it’s understandable that some e-tailers get behind on assessing their inventory. Take some time to check every corner of your inventory space—warehouse, spare bedroom or other dedicated area—and make detailed notes of what can be put on closeout sale or what needs to be restocked. This also applies to packing materials, which are crucial for shipping out your products.
There are many options for inventory tracking, but a cloud-based system is the best way to keep your entire team in the loop. Also, digital solutions all but eliminate the possibility of human error for improved accuracy.
Finally, reorganize for efficiency. Do you know you have different best sellers this time of year? Move them to an easily accessible area while putting away items whose sales are slowing down.
Add Dimensions and Weight to Product Catalog
Now it’s time to look at your products within your online store. If you haven’t added each product’s dimensions and weight, you’re missing an opportunity to optimize the packing part of your order fulfillment process. Having those specifications on hand eases both the calculation of shipping costs and the restocking of packing materials.
It can also save you money if you’re using the right shipping software. The software will remember the numbers, making sure you’re not guessing or overpaying to send a package.
Increased communication has two benefits: a happy customer and a more accountable online retailer. It’s no longer enough for a business to notify consumers once and then leave them in the dark until their purchase has been delivered. The modern shopper is looking for more personalized communication and an open dialogue between them and the brand, so e-tailers should keep them updated every step of the way.
This also provides a real-time log for the customer in case there are any issues with their order, such as a storm that prevented delivery on the expected date. It’s easier to see where the fulfillment went wrong if there is a detailed description of where the shipment has been and when.
Communicating with your customers will also keep you accountable to fulfill orders in a timely manner. As e-tailers know, Amazon’s two-day delivery is the new standard, so it’s important to try and emulate their speed. A streamlined fulfillment process is the key here.
Your ecommerce business can always use improvements, and the order fulfillment process is an impactful place to start. Optimize order fulfillment, and the sales will come.