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7 Steps for E-commerce Fulfillment Optimization
Streamline your e-commerce order process with these 7 simple fulfillment optimization steps.
With an increasing number of people opting to make purchases online, efficient e-commerce order fulfillment is more important than ever.
Today's consumers expect fast delivery times and low shipping costs, and meeting these expectations is a great way to boost customer satisfaction. However, businesses and warehouses still face challenges getting products into the hands of customers as quickly as possible due to supply chain disruptions and rising shipping costs.
A great way to overcome these challenges is by optimizing your order fulfillment to reduce the number of person-hours it takes to fill orders. Learn more about the benefits of e-commerce fulfillment best practices here.
Benefits of Fulfillment Optimization
Recent statistics reveal that as many as 53% of shoppers consider delivery speed an integral factor when evaluating online orders. Additionally, 25% of shoppers cancel orders due to slow delivery speed. This makes a smooth order fulfillment process an integral pillar for success. The following are some of the benefits of optimizing your order fulfillment process:
- Improves customer satisfaction: Perhaps the most important benefit of fulfillment optimization is that it helps you deliver your products faster, translating to a higher customer satisfaction rate. When you optimize your fulfillment, customers can expect to receive their orders in as fast as a few hours up to a few days once they finalize their orders. Your customer satisfaction rates can be easily improved by a shorter delivery time.
- It helps expand your potential customer base: Faster fulfillment could open the market for additional customers. With recent statistics revealing 30% of consumers expect same-day delivery, optimizing your fulfillment could be an effective way to gain e-commerce customers who are speed-sensitive. It also gives you more time to transport strict delivery deadline products and realize a larger geographic reach.
- Reduce expediting fees: Businesses are often forced to expedite some percentage of shipment to meet delivery promises and service level commitment. When you optimize your fulfillment, you speed up delivery which helps you ship orders via cost-effective shipping options and reduce your transportation costs.
- Reduces inventory: More frequent fulfillment reduces inventory. When you are confident you will replenish quickly and ship out orders fast enough, you don't have to keep high inventory levels as safety stock.
- Reduced operational expenses: Optimizing your order fulfillment will save you a lot of operational and warehousing expenses. Faster delivery times mean you won't have to commit limited resources to warehouse and logistics.
7 Steps for Fulfillment Optimization
1. Utilize an Order Management System
An order management system such as ChannelApe ensures orders are filled and sent with accuracy and urgency.
With an order management system in place, you gain greater oversight of your inventory to guarantee orders are filled correctly and shipped within the proper time frame. The system can also offer real-time updates on the status of current orders, so you provide the most up-to-date data to your customers.
2. Improve Order Visibility
Optimizing warehouses and tracking inventory around the clock requires complete visibility into stock levels. As you expand your e-commerce business, you should implement tools and systems to improve order visibility.
This ensures an ability to view and track inventory in real-time with regard to current orders and obtain insights on the existing SKU units at each location and where they are stored within the fulfillment center.
3. Choose Warehouse Locations Carefully
The next step is to choose a warehouse in geographical proximity to where the final customers are situated. Using one or multiple warehouses with geographical proximity to customers is integral to ensuring quick and cost-effective shipping. Consider partnering with a 3pl company that allows you to be as close as possible to your most integral target market.
4. Improve Communication With Customers
Communication is a critical component in the world of order fulfillment. With a proper flow of communication from start to finish, each stakeholder involved in the order fulfillment process is brought up to speed on the key happenings.
Building a culture of transparency and communication into your order fulfillment process ensures your packaging team sends the right product to the customer to reduce return incidences. Additionally, when you are upfront and honest about fulfillment challenges you could be facing, customers find a reason to trust you. Customers often feel deceived if you don't inform them of problems resulting in reputational damage.
5. Develop Returns Processes
Returns can be tedious for online brands, yet they may not be entirely avoidable. Having a robust return policy can be a great way to win over new customers, keep existing ones loyal and increase your profits.
Consider leveraging intelligent logistics technology to implement a return policy and offer a personalized, simple, and convenient return process that meets the needs and expectations of your customers. Make the return procedure as transparent as possible by including pre-paid return labels with each shipment. You can also leverage automation to speed up the returns process.
6. Consider Freight Costs
Transportation costs are often highly uncertain, and it is important to know the freight cost for a shipment beforehand. Today the rising fuel costs, rising wages, competition among carriers for truck drivers, and high demand for freight services may incline operators to sell limited space at a premium. Some ways to cut freight costs include contracting steady lane volume, shipping on off-peak days, and utilizing drop-shipping, among many other methods.
7. Improve Inventory Accuracy
Improving inventory accuracy is a great way to manage rising customer demands across multiple channels. Failure to keep a close eye on your inventory and stock is a recipe for logistical disaster. You will have to deal with customers placing orders you can't fulfill.
Consider integrating an inventory management system that provides high inventory accuracy to remain competitive. Accurate inventory also helps create an organized warehouse while saving you time and money.
How ChannelApe Can Help
Optimizing your fulfillment is an effective way to achieve faster fulfillment to meet your customer expectations. If you are looking for a great platform to help optimize your order fulfillment process, ChannelApe is a perfect fit. Purpose-built for DTC high SKU fashion brands, our solution helps you cut costs, grow revenue, and boost customer satisfaction. All while improving your fulfillment process. Contact us today to learn more.