If you want your eCommerce business to succeed, it’s obvious that getting your products to the customers is key. Developing a basic understanding of fulfillment and getting a popular eComm fulfillment solution is important to properly tailor your business. So what’s order fulfillment?
Order fulfillment majorly has to do with customer satisfaction and a smooth order chain of delivering goods. When the fulfillment process is seamless to the degree that the customer does not notice it, you know you are on the right track.
The Order Fulfillment Process
Receive: Once a customer places an order, 3PL (third-party logistics) will communicate with the merchant to discuss the inventory details. This involves recording the agreed time, quantity, and storage requirements to ensure the second step will go as smoothly as possible.
Pick: 3PLs will then assign a picking team which will be given an order slip containing a summary and details of the inventory. The picking team’s work is to collect the items or goods.
Store: Once the items have been picked up, they’ll be brought to the 3PL’s fulfillment center, where they will be organized, shelved, and indexed.
Pack: Depending on the goods, 3PLs will securely pack the goods in preparation for shipment.
Ship: Once an order has been shipped, the 3PL will provide a tracking code that sellers can forward to their customers.
Key Factors to a Successful E-commerce Order Fulfillment
Here are the key points for you to remember:
An aligned Fulfillment Process
The first step is to ensure that no matter where your customer makes an order from, they are processed just as efficiently. Although the processing might differ depending on their location, all your customers should have a similar experience. Standardizing your workflow prevents orders from being forgotten in the warehouse or lost in the paperwork.
A direct line of communication with the fulfillment center or a quick online dashboard will make it easy for retailers to monitor their operations. Ensuring transparency and clear communication between the sellers and the 3PLs is important, especially if you need to provide order updates to your customers.
Correctly Anticipate Lead Times
Since customers want to know when their order will get to them, you should correctly estimate the lead time. Often, they won’t mind if the package arrives early; however, they’ll not be happy if the order is late. Therefore, it’s important to give the correct estimate to avoid any misunderstandings. Understand your fulfillment process better by knowing how long your courier will take to make the delivery.
Reliable Customer Service
Studies show that 65% of consumers stopped purchasing from a company due to poor customer service. With the online platform providing countless opportunities for real-time interaction, the demand for reliable customer service is increasingly important. This is why online sellers must communicate directly to 3PLs so they are equipped with the necessary information the client might need.
Compared to the past, today, eCommerce is all about consumers. As the customers’ needs increase, you need to ensure your 3PLs provider is flexible regarding shipping. They should be able to meet both the current and the future needs of the customers by providing them with a variety of options. Since most customers’ desire is Instant gratification, find a balance between the most affordable method that can meet the customer’s desires and save money in shipping.
Seasonal Sales Management
You can learn the kind of products your customers prefer by analyzing consumer-based orders through order management softwares. This can also help you understand times sales are low or high. The management software also provides insights on when your sales peak to make proper adjustments. You can compare the sales performance depending on time, so you know which season has more demand.
An organized and well-maintained warehouse should be the icing on the cake for a great fulfillment process. Your staff should know the layout of the warehouse-like the back of their hand, so everything runs seamlessly. Products should be arranged in specific areas, so the workers don’t waste time looking for them when fulfilling an order.
With the increase in the number of channels customers are using to make orders, it’s challenging for eCommerce businesses to manage their fulfillment systems. Given that order fulfillment plays a vital role in building brand loyalty and shaping the customer experience, you need to make it an important cog in your business.