What does it take to drive the growth of an online store? Some would say design, others high quality products, good prices or stellar customer support. But the reality is that there isn’t a singular, universal key to success and that the only way to evolve is to improve the ecommerce order fulfillment process as a whole. From the moment the user enters the website to the moment they have their order delivered to their door, everything needs to work like a well-oiled machine, because if one step goes wrong, the entire process (and therefore customer experience) will suffer and cost you money. There are many ways to improve ecommerce order fulfillment and the topic in itself is quite vast, but these basic tips will help you avoid common mistakes the lay the basis of an effective and streamlined strategy.
Cloud based inventory
Not being aware of your own inventory is a rookie mistake. There is nothing more frustrating than having a popular product go out of stock because you didn’t know how well it was selling. For customers, it is equally annoying. To avoid such situations, invest in cloud based inventory, which delivers transparency and puts you in control. Cloud based inventory offers real time updates, so you know exactly which product is a best-seller and restock.
Streamlined order management
Order management misunderstandings are one of the most common reasons why order shipping gets delayed, triggering customer dissatisfaction. Today’s clients are always in a rush and want products to be delivered as soon as possible. Most of them expect an order confirmation and shipping notification in less than 24 hours and if it takes more than this they turn their attention to other sellers. You should have modern order fulfillment software that monitors the status of the order from placement to delivery and this information should be available to all relevant departments. This way, you know exactly where each order is, in real time, and you’ll never be disorganized. The package will not get “stuck” between departments and it won’t risk getting lost or delayed.
Choose the right shipping strategy
Shipping options weigh a lot in the eyes of the customer and, unfortunately, many shopping carts are abandoned at this stage, usually because the fee is too high and cancels all other discounts. So, what can you do? One strategy is to offer free shipping on all orders, but this might not always be profitable for you, because you’d have to cover all costs. To balance things out, you can offer free shipping only for orders that exceed a certain amount or, offer free shipping that raise prices slightly, so that they compensate for shipping costs. Customers also want to get tracking on their orders, but this is only justifiable if your products have a certain value. Paying for tracking and selling extremely low-cost goods doesn’t really pay off. Last, but not least, you should try and offer customers as many shipping options as possible. Most people will choose cheap post delivery, but some will prefer to pay for higher carrier costs if that means waiting less and getting guaranteed delivery.