Many eCommerce businesses that struggle have one thing in common.
Well, two things actually:
On one hand, they seem to have slick, engaging websites, SEO optimized and with a promotion plan in place. However, they all seem to have poor customer experiences linked to their business. This is evident in the number of poor customer reviews they receive online.
While these businesses focus on creating visually appealing storefronts, they don’t seem to pay as much attention to the customer shopping experience. They assume that it ends when the customer pays for the product. In some ways, that’s when it’s just beginning.
The ‘invisible’ stage between when the customer pays and the product is delivered, is a critical segment in the eCommerce process.
Top retailers know that a complete positive customer experience encompasses the fulfillment stage, delivery and any possible returns.
If the prospect of picking, packing, shipping, fielding calls already fills you with dread, it’s time you outsourced your order fulfillment.
To achieve any success with outsourcing, your logistics partner must understand your business goals.
In our experience as order fulfillment rockstars, we’ve found:
Five trends among companies that fail at order fulfillment:
1. Poor Technology
The speed and accuracy of your order fulfillment depends entirely on the technology that drives it.
While every fulfillment center has some type of order management system, you’ll need to find out if it’s the right fit for your business. It’s important that order tracking, inventory monitoring and addition of new SKUs can be done remotely.
The ability to generate accurate reports can also help when making decisions for business improvement.
When an order fulfillment company can’t offer these options, a partnership with them could lead to disaster.
2. ‘Your Order has been…’
Once a customer makes a purchase, it’s important that they receive a confirmation email as soon as possible. They can also be notified of the progress of their order; from the first email confirming the payment all the way to when it is shipped out to them.
Large retailers already do this, so it’s expected by most customers. A fulfillment provider that can’t update customers in real-time can hinder your company growth.
Find out how to Automate your Aftership Order Fulfillment process with the Aftership + Floship Integration here!
3. Maintaining one Voice
It’s one thing to outsource every aspect of your fulfillment process including your customer service, but it’s another thing to do it convincingly. Your fulfillment partner must be familiar with your products and brand message. This allows them communicate with customers and sound ‘just like you’.
If your fulfillment partner can’t respond to customer requests accurately, it reflects poorly on your brand. While they may not be knowledgeable in your market, having a real-time communications channel with you, will ensure they can get the correct replies ready.
4. Communications and Accountability
The ability to communicate with the company in real-time can prevent the all-too-frequent horror stories of goods getting lost in transit:
This often occurs when an employee uses the wrong shipping address, and the recipient doesn’t return the item. Your business is now out of 2 SKUs as you still have to ship a replacement to the correct buyer.
When this happens, a reputable fulfillment company should be able to hold themselves accountable and have measures in place to rectify such errors.
5. Ease of Processing Returns
Despite your best efforts, a customer can be dissatisfied with a product, and choose to return it.
Making the returns process seamless is in your best interest as any delay in the process will only annoy the customer. A reasonable returns policy coupled with the inclusion of return labels offers them an easy way to return goods.
Your fulfillment partner must be able to process refunds or exchanges. Remember, returns are as important as the picking and shipping process. It simply can’t be overlooked in the overall view of order fulfillment.
6. A Lack of Shipping Options
It looks like Amazon’s drones are grounded,…for now, but that it goes to show how experimental delivery systems are getting.
With options like same day, next day and nominated day delivery, businesses with limited shipping options will lose customers:
By using an order fulfillment company, you can gain access to extras like multiple shipping options, access to freight lanes and volume discounts.
Finding a fulfillment company with the right processes in place, and a professional team is no easy task. But it’s important to do so as choosing the right company, can be the difference between having a rewarding holiday season or an unprofitable one.
To stay in business for the long haul, it’s vital that businesses maintain a satisfied customer base.
- Is your current fulfillment partner showing any of these traits?
- Do you even use order fulfillment?
Contact Floship today — let’s help you finally get it right, Click here.