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How to improve your e-commerce order fulfillment process
The success of your online operations significantly depends on your e-commerce order fulfillment process –it affects your daily activities, and your customers’ experience.
Enhancing the post-purchase experience for your e-commerce customers can turn order fulfillment from a cost center into a revenue driver for your enterprise. Here are a few tips for improving your e-commerce order fulfillment process.
4 tips for improving your e-commerce order fulfillment process
1. Automate your ordering procedures
The pinnacle of an efficient and reliable order fulfillment procedure is automation. Unfortunately, most e-commerce startups enter data manually into each system. As a result, enterprises end up spending much of their order fulfillment time on repetitive tasks. That, in turn, reduces the efficiency of an entity and its employees, which could also impact the quality of work.
Automation allows you to input data once, which implies that the automatic generation of orders will be possible due to the integration and automation of your order management processes. Automation also allows you to reduce the risk of human error, decrease operational expenses, and create sales opportunities at the same time.
On the other hand, an order and inventory management system will promote increased speed and visibility of your business processes. You can also acquire barcode scanners to shorten the time it takes to enter inventory into your systems as you receive new product batches into your warehouse.
2. Gain an understanding of your order fulfillment cycle time
Working out your order fulfillment cycle time should be a priority. Doing so will help you gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of your order fulfillment process. Note that a fast fulfillment process impacts customer satisfaction rates, which eventually dictates the success of your online operations. The focus, in this case, should be ensuring that your fulfillment cycle time is as low as possible.
3. Classify your inventory
Organizing your warehouse, also known as classifying your inventory, is another way to improve your e-commerce order fulfillment process. Organizing stock according to how fast it moves is a common inventory classification strategy. It helps your business:
- Facilitate faster identification of the location of fast-moving and slow-moving stocks within your warehouse
- Maintain sufficient stock levels of fast-moving items at all times
Classifying your inventory ultimately reduces the time it takes to process orders, thereby enhancing the efficiency of your order fulfillment procedure as a whole.
4. Ensure your returns policy is attractive
One of the essential aspects of your order fulfillment process is your e-commerce return policy, especially since this procedure does not come to an end when a client receives their order. The epitome of a successful order fulfillment process is when a customer is happy with the contents of the order they receive from you, also leading to a positive review.
In that case, an effective returns process will allow you to process returns and issue refunds when necessary. A returns policy will also dictate whether a client will complete a purchase with your business or not.
Adopting the tips above can improve your e-commerce order fulfillment process, but that will be a challenge if you don't have a reliable service.
How do you identify the ideal order fulfillment service for your e-commerce business?
First and foremost, you need to realize that success in the current competitive e-commerce environment will take more than a spot-on brand and a strong product line. Order fulfillment focuses on getting your products from your online store and delivering them into the hands of your clients –this process should be smooth and efficient.
Ineffective management of your order fulfillment procedure will not only bear a negative impact on customer experience, but it will also affect your company's operations. The business strategies you adopt should be airtight and able to handle unexpected disruptions within the supply chain. For that reason, choosing the right order fulfillment service for your e-commerce business is not an option.
a) Identify a fulfillment service that can handle disruptions
Severe labor shortages, unexpected pandemics, fraud attacks, and extreme weather are just some of the challenges that different players in the supply chain can encounter. Since there is no silver bullet for fending off these eventualities, the order fulfillment service you choose should adapt to the disruption of normal operations.
That implies that the fulfillment service you choose should have partnerships and tools for preventing slowdowns and mitigating losses while prioritizing the health and safety of employees.
A potential e-commerce fulfillment partner should share details on their disaster preparedness plan in order to help you understand how they will keep customers informed and product lines moving.
b) Opt for a service that can fulfill your requirements
Several fulfillment firms are available out there, and each claims that they can meet your needs and ship your product without unnecessary delays. However, you should take time to research a fulfillment service that understands your industry's operations. This means that the technology should meet the requirements of your sales channel –both now and in the future.
c) Select a fulfillment service that provides a variety of shipping solutions
If you want to enhance your brand experience, you should get your product where it needs to be on time, every time –cost-effectively and accurately. In that case, you should look for a fulfillment service with relationships with major shipping players because they can deliver creative shipping solutions depending on transit costs and times.
Choose the right order fulfillment process
In order for your operations to run smoothly, you should always be focusing on creating a streamlined and efficient process.
Without a doubt, e-commerce order fulfillment can make or break your enterprise and customer satisfaction. Instead of hiring more employees or signing lengthy warehouse leases to manage your logistics, you should consider engaging a reputable fulfillment service. That way, you will relieve yourself the burden of handling orders, stocking, picking, and shipping tasks, so you can spend more time on the core activities of your firm.
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