Efficient ecommerce fulfillment is possible with the right tools. Read on to learn how to optimize your online shop’s order fulfillment system.
Optimizing Ecommerce Fulfillment
Fulfilling an order is a matter of keeping a customer happy. Shipping and inventory snags can lead to bad reviews and loss of trust. To avoid these pitfalls, explore the following ways to improve ecommerce order fulfillment.
1. Assess Fulfillment Needs: Assess and reassess your current fulfillment needs. In other words, how many orders do you have in comparison to available time and labor?
Are you working alone or with a couple other people? Are you running out of storage for your inventory? Is your lack of resources killing your business’ growth?
Once your business’ growth exceeds your time, labor, and storage resources it may be time to upgrade. Business owners have to wear many hats. Assess whether it’s time to reduce your load.
Consider hiring more people to pack and ship orders. Another option is to outsource inventory, shipping, and packing to a third party. Thoroughly research and interview third-party shipment options to ensure the partnership will enhance your business.
Using either of these strategies will lead to improved order fulfillment. Thus, leading to happy customers, business growth, and optimized order fulfillment.
2. Take Stock: Take stock of your inventory and your shipping supplies. Electronic inventory and order fulfillment systems help to keep track of these variables. While it may take some time to initially input your company’s current data into an electronic system, it will be worth it in the end.
These systems alert you when inventory is low. This advanced alert allows you to order more product before you reach an out-of-stock status.
Knowing how much inventory to stock is an art form. You know your business and your company best, so look at the data.
If you market a product, then expect to order more during the marketing campaign. If you’re building a buzz, then customers will want to receive the item as quickly as possible. Avoid disappointing them and undermining your marketing campaign by having enough product on hand.
As often as needed, check your shipping supplies stock as well. Boxes, bubble wrap, and tape need to be plentiful. Also, take note that printers have enough ink. The last thing you want is a delayed order because a printer needs paper or ink!
Assign one or two people within your company to manage inventory and stock. Ask them to check the status of these elements as often as possible.
3. Organization: A messy inventory storage room is not conducive to business growth. If workers need to sift through multiple shelves and boxes before finding the correct product, that results in a delay.
Clearly mark where each product is located. Organize products by categories such as “beauty,” “home,” and “health supplements.” Put up signs in your warehouse or storage unit, so packers and shippers know exactly where to go.
On shelving units, label each product distinctly. Make it obvious where the product is stored by using large labels and signs. This will also help workers to re-stock items with ease.
Charge one to two employees with organizing the stockroom on a frequent basis. Train workers to clean up after themselves. Impart to workers the importance of a clean storage for safety and order fulfillment efficiency.
4. Prepare for High Traffic: High traffic should be expected during the holidays. Prepare for high traffic times in advance to bypass shipment issues.
Order more product from your manufacturer as far in advance as possible. Your manufacturer will also be dealing with high traffic, which may delay their order fulfillment. Consider ordering your product two to three months in advance to ensure your inventory is ready to be purchased.
Test your inventory systems and website speeds. Bring in an IT professional if necessary. Check in on your website’s page loading times and make improvements. Limit pop-ups, videos, and flash-images.
Customers need to be able to access their online carts at the fastest speeds possible. If your website delays them, it’s more than likely they will seek out another retailer.
Update your website’s product pages and descriptions. Your website needs to match your inventory. If it doesn’t, then you risk disappointing a lot of customers during high traffic seasons.
5. Automate: When possible, automate all aspects of the shipping process. Purchase scanners to use to track inventory levels and notify customers of where their package is in the shipping process.
Connect your systems together to form a cohesive and visible order fulfillment process. The more you automate, the more you know where improvements could be made. Also, the less brain power you have to exert to order inventory and figure out where something went wrong.
6. Plan for Mistakes: Before mistakes happen, have a plan to correct mistakes by exceeding customer expectations. Mistakes happen, but knowing how to correct them in advance means keeping your customer happy.
If a shipment takes too long, offer a reduced price or free delivery. Learn to process returns as quickly as outgoing shipments. Offer coupons and discounts to folks who are unhappy with their order fulfillment.
Remember, it’s easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new one!
Feeling More Confident About Ecommerce Fulfillment?
Ecommerce fulfillment improvements take time and dedication. They are always well worth the effort! Continue learning, growing, and correcting mistakes as you go.
Keep your customers happy, your inventory stocked, and your system well-oiled!
Want to outsource your eCommerce fulfillment? We can help! Contact us today to receive a quote!