When your business needs to provide better customer service through an order fulfillment process, there are a few strategies you should consider. These strategies will help you integrate your existing systems, streamline your order processing and delivery process with a Third-Party logistics (3PL) company, and handle returns with the same level of care as shipping out the original product.
Integrate your fulfillment-related systems
Order fulfillment is a critical step in the sales cycle. Whether an e-commerce merchant or an offline retailer, you’ll need to ensure your process is in order. The process is vital to the customer experience and impacts your bottom line. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to make it better.
You can do this with a sound order management system. It’s a powerful tool that can automatically reorder low inventory levels and create easy-to-read picking lists. Additionally, it can provide you with real-time updates.
A sound order management system should also be able to track the progress of your orders. It can help you stay on top of the orders you receive and can alert your fulfillment team when a customer is looking to return a product.
The number of things you have in stock should be visible, in addition to the ability to track your orders. This information will allow you to plan and keep your inventory in tip-top shape.
Order management systems can also help you with other tasks like payment collection and invoicing. A system that integrates with your suppliers can allow you to replenish your store’s stock as needed. Ideally, you want to have one leading supplier and two backups.
A cloud-based system allows you to adjust your policies to meet your business’s unique needs. One of the most crucial features of a cloud solution is the ability to quickly deploy new features and capabilities without having to worry about your operations getting slowed down.
Streamline your fulfillment process with a Third-Party Logistic (3PL) company
You are undoubtedly aware of the necessity of managing warehouse inventory if you are in the eCommerce industry. When your business grows, handling the warehouse becomes more costly and time-consuming. As a result, you need a reliable solution to help streamline your fulfillment process.
There are several options when choosing a third-party logistics company (also known as a 3PL). Each type has different capabilities and offers additional advantages. The key is to find a 3PL that can meet your specific needs and ensure you receive the highest value from your investment.
Investing in a reliable logistics partner will reduce your costs and help your business grow. For example, a 3PL can consolidate LTL freight, reduce your transit time, and offer faster delivery times. In addition, an experienced 3PL can offer a clear shipping strategy and provide tracking information.
Using a 3PL means you can focus on other aspects of your business while someone else handles the distribution process. A 3PL will also help you scale your supply to be ready for surges in demand.
As an eCommerce business, you need the right technology to streamline your supply chain. Your warehouse and picking team need to be equipped with the right tools to ensure your orders are accurate and that your inventory is readily available.
Place a premium on integration.
Most likely, you need to produce the products you sell internally. Your online products are probably purchased from many distributors, kept in warehouses, and distributed directly to your clients.
Suppose this is the situation for your business. In that case, it is crucial to integrate order management systems (OMS) that enable seamless communication between your methods and those of your suppliers to establish links with them. The terrible “usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks” statement is finally history!
Enable visibility of the entire order
Through your OMS, you are connected to your suppliers in real-time. You must now ensure that everything in your supply chain is visible.
It simply means that the same catalog, inventory fulfillment, and order fulfillment processes should be accessible to you and your suppliers. It will allow you to know exactly what products are available, their quantities, and their locations. Your e-commerce clients who are just browsing should be able to see whether an item is in stock and how many are available, if there are limited numbers or if quantity counts.
End-to-end visibility embodies this clarity and is crucial for precise order fulfillment and customer happiness.
Pick the appropriate shipper.
Now that your product is flawless and your back-end processes are operating without a hitch, it’s time to examine the main snag in e-commerce order fulfillment: shipping. The bottom is that if your shipper is subpar or consistently delivers below expectations, your clients will vent their annoyance at you and negatively impact the reputation of your business. Not that of the shipper.
Enable routine checks of your existing shipper to see if they provide precise, real-time order tracking. Have late, delayed, lost, forgotten, or damaged deliveries increased recently, according to your shipper? If so, you should spend time and money looking for a new, superior shipper who can satisfy your fulfillment needs.
Enable order management with exceptions
While talking about shipments, you can also implement exception-based order management with end-to-end visibility. Why does that matter? You may automatically adjust shipping options to meet your original delivery guarantee by only informing customers that orders are delayed (and risking unpleasant customer experiences).
Exception-based order management will cost you a little more in shipping, but you’ll avoid the hassle (and financial consequences) of displeased consumers and missed revenue. Additionally, this automated approach can foster brand loyalty and increase repeat purchases’ probability.