As an ecommerce business owner, you probably know firsthand the importance of effective order fulfillment. Even if you have the world’s greatest product, having an efficient fulfillment strategy is key to delivering that great product to your customers as accurately, quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
While fulfilling orders in-house is definitely an option, ecommerce business owners have significantly increased their success by outsourcing fulfillment with top ecommerce fulfillment companies. This helps businesses save time, save money, ship orders much quicker and scale at a considerably faster rate.
Here are some valuable ways you can better manage and optimize your ecommerce order fulfillment strategy:
1. Find the best fulfillment location (for your customers)
When choosing a fulfillment provider, some ecommerce merchants mistakenly select warehouse solutions that are close to them, instead of their customers. While that may seem beneficial to the business owner, that may not be the most cost-efficient way to ship to customers.
Ideally, it is best to go with a fulfillment partner that operates their fulfillment center(s) from a prime location, in or very close to major cities and hubs. By doing so, you will be able to reach more customers in less time. Transit and shipping times will decrease significantly and your shipping and order fulfillment process will be far more effective.
2. Accurate, order fulfillment speed
As an ecommerce merchant, you’ve probably realized that speed is essential to successful order fulfillment. In addition to the fulfillment center location, another thing that plays a factor in getting customers their orders quickly and accurately are the types of services that the fulfillment provider offers. Verify whether this provider offers same-day fulfillment, 2-day guaranteed shipping or both. These services are vital in ensuring prompt, quick delivery.
3. Automate your fulfillment process
By automating your fulfillment process, you are essentially streamlining tasks to save time, save money, increase efficiency and speed, as well as satisfy your customers.
Automation allows you to eliminate repetitive tasks in your fulfillment process like order confirmation emails, shipping label creation and manually printing, taping and shipping labels onto each package yourself. Letting automated technology perform these tasks will allow your orders to be fulfilled faster and delivered to your customers quicker.
By integrating your ecommerce shop platform system with your fulfillment providers’ software, your order fulfillment process will improve significantly. In essence, as soon as you receive a new order it will automatically be sent to your fulfillment providers’ warehouse, and they can start processing the order immediately.
4. Have a simple returns management process
Let’s face it: returns happen. It’s part of every ecommerce business. However, how you manage the return is what could determine whether the customer will spend money with your company again. Have a clear ‘Returns/Refunds’ policy on your site and make it as easy as possible for customers to exchange or return items and receive a refund.
At Fulfyld, in addition to order fulfillment, we also offer returns management services for customers. These services include providing professional customer support, receiving the returns, refunding payments and processing returns in your preferred method (i.e. restock, donation, etc.) Our robust technology has the capabilities to share real-time updates about each return and how they are being handled—involving the date, customer’s name, order number, product and notes whether the item has been restocked, can’t be resold or is damaged.
5. Communicate effectively with your customers
Effectively communicating with your customers goes far beyond a simple “confirmation of order” email. This is a basic requirement at minimum. Keeping in close contact with your customers from beginning to end, providing real-time updates on each stage of their order will not only build trust and improve the customer experience, it’ll also boost customer satisfaction. Communicating with customers as their order moves from order received to processing, shipped and delivered will also eliminate the need for customers to send “Where is my order?” emails, because you have thoroughly communicated about each stage of their orders throughout the entire process.
Even after your customer has received their package, reaching out again and kindly asking for a product review or brief survey about their shopping experience is a great way to gain social proof from customers.
6. Invest time in staff training
Though your customers are a pretty huge part of your business, so is your staff. If we’re being honest, your business wouldn’t be able to run without them. So, it is imperative that your employees are well-trained to execute the tasks assigned to them in an effective manner. By initially investing time and resources to make sure your team clearly understands their duties and responsibilities (no matter their position), this will save you from a lot of headaches further down the road.
7. Ensure seamless integration with a flexible OMS and WMS
This point emphasizes the importance of partnering with a tech-enabled fulfillment provider like Fulfyld, to integrate your store with their software for access to real-time information like order processing, inventory levels, reports and even email alerts from customers.
An order management system allows you to link all of your online shops and sends each order directly to the fulfillment center. Immediately after, your fulfillment provider is notified and can start processing the order without you having to do anything on your end.
Though order management systems and warehouse management systems do work together, they are not exactly the same. A warehouse management system manages your stock and significantly increases the productivity of all warehouse activities like receiving, storage, picking and packing, labeling, shipping and even returns management. Utilizing a flexible warehouse management system is vital to increasing productivity and better managing the movement of products.
Good OMS and WMS allow you to seamlessly integrate your ecommerce store or marketplace. Your fulfillment partner should have the software and resources necessary to scale with your company without any disruptions to your supply chain.
8. Offer speedy shipping
In 2018, 26% of digital shoppers abandoned their carts because shipping times were too long. Speedy shipping is a primary factor to winning in ecommerce, because customers have now established a standard of fast shipping as their ‘new normal.’
Aim to deliver your products in the timeliest, most cost-effective manner possible. Utilizing Fulfyld’s same-day order fulfillment and guaranteed 2-day shipping service, your customers will never have to experience frustrating delays or lags with their packages. We guarantee you in two days flat—your products will be on your customers’ doorstep.
9. Enable E2E order visibility
End-to end order visibility, or E2E order visibility is simply enabling levels of transparency across your entire supply chain. Doing so provides access to you and your suppliers on important information concerning your inventory, ecommerce order fulfillment processes, and it also allows customers to track their orders or see what’s currently available in your inventory.
10. Utilize unique custom packaging as a dynamic branding tool
We’ve discussed the significance of packaging and creating an unforgettable unboxing experience before. Packaging plays an important factor in ecommerce and improving customer satisfaction and can be used as a powerful way to set your brand apart the moment your customer lays eyes on it.
At Fulfyld, we assist with custom packaging design for e-commerce order fulfillment. Our in-house packaging designer will help you create a unique, high-end means of unpackaging product that your customers are sure to love.
Optimize your ecommerce order fulfillment with Fulfyld
Taking measures to improve and optimize your ecommerce order fulfillment strategy can sometimes seem like a frightening task because of all the moving parts of the process. We get it, and that’s where we come in. Let us handle fulfillment, so you can focus on other aspects of business like building your brand. Contact us today to better manage and optimize your ecommerce order fulfillment.