When it comes to your retail business’ e-fulfillment, you need to consider exactly how you are going to develop an order process that will appear seamless to both your staff and customers:
The right procedures and ecommerce tools, like plugins for your online platform (like Magento, WooCommerce, or Shopify), can be built into your business to optimize order flow and will speed up the delivery of orders to keep customers happy.
Customers who are happy will become more loyal to your brand, increase the frequency of their visits to your store and spend more.
Studies throughout the world have demonstrated common best practices to help your business excel, cut costs and meet customer expectations.
So what are those best practices and how can you implement them into your retail operations for e-fulfillment services?
1. Regularly Test Your E-Fulfillment Order Workflow
Ever tested your ordering system from start to finish?
If not, then why not?
Testing your system by randomly monitoring an order is an excellent way to discover bottlenecks in your business’ ordering and e-fulfillment system. A bottleneck will delay orders, add on expense and can anger customers but can often be solved so easily by adjusting resource allocation or changing the way orders are handled.
Try to ensure those processing the order don’t know you are testing it. Otherwise they might treat it differently and you won’t find the real aspects that need improvement.
2. Stock Level Management
Customers can find it infuriating when you run out of stock:
They want their item then and there and often won’t come back to your store to check if it is back in stock – they’ll just leave for a competitor.
Then you are just giving your rivals a chance to steal previously loyal customers.
So look at your orders and determine the rate at which products are being ordered on average. Then ensure you are bringing in at least 10% more stock than leaves your warehouse within any given period (this helps with seasonal variances).
At the same time you don’t want too much stock within your warehouse. Storing stock costs money in many different ways. If you have a bad month, lower your next order.
3. Keep Channels Communicating
They may think that they are different entities within your retail operations but those who are working on order administration to the packers are all part of the same organization so they should be talking to each other. This will bring cohesion to the whole process, helps with the processing of orders and maintains high morale.
It also helps with staff retention – something that can damage ordering and fulfillment operations.
New staff cost money to hire and train. Some research has suggested it can take up to six months to fully train a new employee, until which time their productivity is lower than it could be.
4. Offer Shipping Options Customers Want
Ensure that you are offering customers the choice in when and how they want their purchases delivered.
Do they want two days, one week or a specific day?
Then have a process in place where each order is fulfilled using the customer’s wishes. This may require you having a special team who can process orders quickly but it will create happy, loyal customers.
5. Stock Labeling & Inventory Warehousing
One of the biggest wastes of time in a retail and fulfillment operation is the location of stock:
The more time your team is looking for a product, the less productive they are and this can jeopardize the fulfillment of orders from customers. To solve this you need to be organized and have a stock labeling and storage plan in place.
The stock storage plan is a cohesive system where stock is placed in specific spots in your warehouse and labeled properly. Ensure staff know the importance of keeping stock in the right place and train them to maintain the system. Not only will this save your packers time but it will also prevent the wrong items being sent to your customers.
Creating an environment in your retail business for the best operations and fulfillment will reduce costs in your business and make customers happy, one of the quickest ways to systematize this is by enlisting the help of a 3PL to do your customer care and delivery for you.
Happy customers are more likely to return and will spend more on subsequent visits. Spending time monitoring orders and assessing the performance of your team is worth the effort in finding bottlenecks and then creating solutions to improve their performance.
What best practices do you recommend? When was the last time your monitored a sale from start to finish?
Take Action and Benefit from the Trends in Online Shopping:
- Monitor an order from the start to the finish or find a logistics company that can do this for you
- Identify bottlenecks, or optimize with a fulfillment warehouse.
- Find a solution for the challenge of logistics services.
- For international shipping you’ll want to go with a company that can deliver true global fulfillment services.
Ready to work with the best in global shipping for online retail, see how Floship’s streamlined solutions can take your e-fulfillment to the next level here>>>
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