E-Commerce Fulfillment Strategy For Your Startup
The most important factor when it comes to your consumer product startup is getting your fulfillment strategy right.
If you don’t do this, then customers will become unhappy, costs will spiral out of control and you will become one of the 90% of startups that fail.
The right fulfillment system is a difficult concept to state.
Every business is different and your startup will need to adopt a strategy and plan that is right for you and not another business. But what are the top tips for discovering the right fulfillment blueprint for your business and how can you ensure that your customers won’t be disappointed by the level of service you provide?
1. Consider Your Brand Values
Consider your brand values in everything.
This is especially true for your business’ fulfillment service. Consider the promises that you have made to your customers and outline a game plan that delivers on those promises.
2. Consider Your Product
Different products require handling and sending to customers in unique ways.
For instance perishable or livestock goods need to be sent quickly, but also securely, while big items can take longer to deliver because of the risk of damage and the limitations of size with some couriers.
Knowing your product and what it needs to be delivered to the customer in perfect condition should be a massive consideration for your fulfillment plan.
3. Consider Your Management Team
One of the top tips for your fulfillment requirements is to hire an experienced logistician.
Your logistician can make or break your business depending on whether they have the skills necessary to organize an effective fulfillment strategy.
The ideal candidate for your management team should:
- Have great interpersonal skills
- Have strong network connections
- Be a motivating leader
- Have strong financial skills
By getting these skills in the right candidate, your startup will grow fast.
4. Understand The Impact
There is a science in creating your fulfillment game plan based on understanding cause and effect.
You need to establish significant understanding of what the results will be if you don’t make a delivery on time.
This should be based not just on your customer, but also on you. Will it make your business seem less reliable? Will it cost you money if products are damaged / unusable?
5. Practice Demand-Driven Logistics
If you want to accurately match the demand for your products to your supply, you have to go beyond reducing your transport costs. When you are first practicing inbound logistics or demand-driven logistics, the costs for transportation can be significantly reduced. However, you need to also consider savings that can be made when replacing inventory. Consider what the true demand for a period is and use historical data from competitors and industry sources.
6. Consider Your Resources
At the same time as creating the perfect strategy for your fulfillment, you need to consider what resources you can utilize in your delivery. If your profit margins are low, then an expensive fulfillment service is not going to allow you to earn much money. Likewise, if you have only one distribution centre, you can’t guarantee that orders from across the country or world can be delivered within a standard time (unless it is really long).
7. What Can Partners Offer You?
Sometimes it isn’t about what you can do but what your partners can do. If a courier prides itself on being the fastest one in your state, then you can offer quicker deliveries; however, if their service is centered on a different aspect, then you have to change how you design your fulfillment strategy.
Speak to lots of partners during this process and ask some of the tough questions such as:
- What are their estimated delivery times on orders?
- What happens when a consignment goes missing?
- How are consignments handled by their team?
Getting fulfillment right for your startup is important:
There are several things you must consider for your strategy to be effective. So consider these elements and then sit down with your senior management team to create a process that will work for your business.
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