Nowadays, people are used to next day shipping. That’s why it is imperative to have a streamlined and consistent order fulfillment process. If not, this can hurt your business.
Understanding Order Fulfillment
According to Lauren Koppelman, order fulfillment is the process of receiving, processing, and delivering products to your customers.
It can be a simple or complex process, depending on what method you are using.
Some ecommerce business does its order fulfillment in-house. And some outsource their fulfillment.
But we cannot deny that putting an effective order fulfillment process in place can be challenging. That said, we have listed down seven common order fulfillment mistakes that you should avoid:
1. Poor Inventory Management
As mentioned earlier, customers now prefer swift delivery. So if you are unaware of your current inventory level, you will never know whether you can fulfill today’s orders.
Whether you are using in-house or third-party order fulfillment, inventory management is vital. This includes knowing whether it is time to replenish your stocks. Doing so ensures that you can meet consumer demand.
On the flip side, poor inventory management could also lead to an overflow of products. It is restocking too many items because you were unaware that there is still ample supply. Thus, it can increase your operating costs.
2. Failure to Deliver On-time
As mentioned earlier, online customers nowadays are used to next-day shipping. But that does not mean that you need to expedite everything.
What’s important is that you fulfill your promise.
So, if you say that the product will arrive in five days, your customer will start counting the days. Hence, you should fulfill it. If not, you are inducing anxiety in your customers. And you are risking them to mistrust you.
Meanwhile, it would help if you also prepared your team for an increasing demand for expedited delivery. This usually occurs during holidays, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas.
And when we say “prepare your team” it could mean any of the following:
- Filling your inventory in various warehouse locations
- Hiring more deliver staff
- Hiring more crew to handle orders during the holiday rush
3. Incorrect Order Information
Incorrect order information can kill your ecommerce business in many ways.
Wrong product description can lead to angry customers and low customer reviews. It can also lead to customers no longer trusting your business since you set false expectations.
Incorrect order information can also skyrocket your returns or canceled orders. Thus, you might end up burning money for your business.
This mistake can also deteriorate meaningful business relationships. That’s because carriers do not appreciate this kind of hassle either.
4. Lack of Communication
Mistakes happen, and we get that. But what is unacceptable is not communicating with your customers.
Keep in mind that a day of delay can be anxiety-inducing. It is also possible that your customers have questions regarding the item they are buying. That’s why communication is vital.
Luckily, you do not necessarily need a line of a customer support team to establish a line of communication. There are ecommerce tools that can help you ease customer service like chatbot and live chat.
These tools can serve as your “first line of defense” when resolving customer issues. And when the chatbot cannot resolve the case, it can automatically forward the concern to the human customer support crew.
Mind you; there are customers who prefer to talk via chat than the phone. Meanwhile, these tools also help you unclog your customer support team.
5. Manual Tracking
As ecommerce technology evolves, customers become more impatient. They would want to know when their orders will arrive.
Hence, you are doing your customers and your business a disservice if you still send tracking information manually.
This process is both time-consuming and prone to errors. Thus, it would be ideal to look for an e-commerce platform that allows you to automate this process.
Doing so reduces the risk of error. It also allows your customers to opt-in and receives a delivery notification via email or SMS.
6. Wrong Warehousing Space
Having enough warehouse space for your inventory is vital when starting an ecommerce business. But this also has something to do with the order fulfillment method you are using.
If you are using an in-house order fulfillment method, that means you need to manage your warehouse. But if you will outsource it, that means your warehouse partner can help manage your space as per 3PL definition. The same thing goes if you are running a dropshipping business.
Nonetheless, it is essential to some thought on your warehousing space. That’s because space can determine how many goods you can hold.
7. Lack of eCommerce Reverse Logistics
Without proper ecommerce reverse logistics, it can be challenging to handle product returns.
In an ideal world, here is how you should handle canceled and return orders:
- Review the items
- Check for damage and tampering
- Add them back to your inventory
- Process refund
Without this logistics, you risk delivering a damaged good to another customer. And this can lead to another product return.
The key here is making return handling integral in your inventory and warehouse management. Plus, it would be ideal for automating your refund process.
There is no denying that we now live in a fast-paced world. So much so that there is growing popularity in work-from-home guides because people want to start a home business. Hence, we also need to move fast in running our ecommerce business.
The problem is that speed can lead to mistakes.
This explains why you need to layout your order fulfillment process. Identify which part you can automate or outsource. Doing so can help you determine what factors you should consider.
This includes the following:
- What order fulfillment method you will use
- Knowing how much warehouse space you will need
- Identifying what ecommerce platform you should use
Keep in mind that time is a valuable resource. Hence, it would be ideal to use it to take a step back and look at the big picture. That way, you can prevent committing the order fulfillment mistakes listed on this post.
After all, order fulfillment is not a throw-away ecommerce task. It is integral.
For further assistance regarding your ecommerce projects hire a professional team present at a reputed ecommerce development company.