Does your business have a reputation for delivering your products on time? If your customers get their orders on time, it increases your business reputation, and customers will always come back to buy your goods.
To ensure that your eCommerce fulfillment is always completed on time and that you meet customer expectations, ensure that your order-fulfillment process runs smoothly.
Order fulfillment is critical in determining customer satisfaction. As a result, to please your clients, you need to adopt an efficient approach or consider eCommerce order fulfillment by Rakuten.
But do you have any idea what it is? And how do you put that into action? Not to fear, here’s a guide that explains the intricacies of the process and the best solutions on how to improve.
What is order fulfillment?
Order fulfillment is a procedure that encompasses a series of actions, from receiving the customer’s order to delivering the product to them. The entire fulfillment process also impacts the delivery time for customers. Similarly, it determines how effectively your company can provide quality products.
Companies should constantly prioritize order fulfillment strategies because just 34% of consumers are ready to wait more than two days for an item to be shipped and delivered, according to Statista. To retain clients, you need to improve your order fulfillment process.
Importance of improving your order fulfillment strategy
Consumers are growing more impatient than ever in today’s digital age. According to a Digital Commerce 360 survey, 44 % of consumers who did not finish the transaction canceled the order because the goods didn’t arrive on time. So it’s essential to improve your order-fulfillment service to deliver on time.
If you start by changing a few things, you can improve how fast you deliver and even order accuracy. This results in shorter waiting times, happier customers, and more orders and income generating for your company. The order-fulfillment process, in particular, is the backbone of every eCommerce business.
What entails the order fulfillment process?
The order-fulfillment consists of five major functions. All of the procedures are carried out in a fulfillment center or warehouse. The following is the complete process explained in steps:
- Receiving inventory by the fulfillment facilities.
- Warehousing: Merchandise is cataloged and strategically arranged in the warehouse for sale once received.
- Order processing/picking and packing stage: The product needed to complete the order is selected, assembled if necessary, and securely packaged.
- Shipping: The item is delivered to the consumer by a reputable shipping carrier.
- Returns: If an order is returned, it is processed in the same way at the fulfillment company through the order processing management system.
Tips to improve your order fulfillment processes
Find the order fulfillment model that works for your business.
Order fulfillment may be optimized in several ways, including in-house fulfillment, third-party logistics company, drop shipping, and hybrid. Determine which one works best for your company. The fulfillment options you select are also determined by the size of your firm and the order volumes you execute each month.
In-house fulfillment is ideal for firms with low order volume, whereas third-party fulfillment is appropriate for organizations aiming to expand fast.
Maintain inventory management accuracy
The accuracy of the inventory system is crucial to the health of storage operations. A real-time inventory tracking system always helps preserve inventory accuracy, and you stop your client from buying out-of-stock goods, protecting your brand image.
An innovative inventory management system should always reduce too much inventory and save you from running out of supplies. Furthermore, updated inventory indexing and sorting are critical for simplifying the complex process, which speeds up the entire order-fulfillment strategy.
Communication is essential
Communication that is clear and direct is always essential for a seamless process. Ensure your employees are performing their everyday activities efficiently and per the customer’s specifications. Keep an eye on what your suppliers are doing with your items.
When connecting with your customers, choose the appropriate medium and create the tone for your company. Share shipment tracking information with them, and sending ‘Thank you for your purchase’ emails are always beneficial in developing long-term relationships with your consumers.
Location of your warehouse
The location you ship your items from matters a lot for a successful order fulfillment process. Customers want product delivery in a timely manner and at affordable prices.
To ensure that you deliver as per your customers’ expectations, try to minimize the stops your packed goods take from your warehouse to the customers’ location. This way, the shipping charges reduce, leading to happier customers.
Various fulfillment companies have strategically placed their warehouses at multiple locations to reduce shipping time and cost. This method is known as micro warehousing. Consider storing your inventory in various warehouses according to the destinations, as it is an economical choice.
Enhance end-to-end supply chain visibility
End-to-end supply chain transparency refers to tracking the process from product receipt through shipping. This openness in the supply chain, enabled by real-time tracking, assists both the seller and the manufacturer stay up to date and planning ahead of time.
Transparency in the supply chain execution promotes customer service and satisfaction after shipping. Ensure you integrate with your suppliers so you can maintain track of day-to-day operations and suppliers can stay up to speed on restocking.
Use a smart warehouse system.
Automated warehouse management solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent. These systems use many interconnected technologies to improve efficiency and accuracy and eliminate errors.
Smart warehouse systems manage your incoming inventory, work on processing orders, track customer orders across various warehouses, break down invoices and provide real-time inventory updates.
Furthermore, extensive data assist you in fulfilling customer wishes and increasing future sales. Implementing a smart warehouse system is thus a viable technique for accelerating the growth of your eCommerce fulfillment.
Partner with a tech-driven 3PL
It is always better to outsource your fulfillment operations concerns to a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to avoid customers complaining of a negative delivery experience.
They are technologically interconnected to facilitate order fulfillment. Their warehouses are strategically located to save transportation costs and increase delivery speed. Furthermore, they collaborate with other shipping companies to ship orders and offer better shipping costs.