Using Online Order Fulfilment to Increase Sales
Online shoppers continue to push retailers to meet delivery expectations when it comes to shipping costs and convenience.
This is a tall order for many merchants. However, those who meet customer expectations are winning more sales. Among a competitive landscape, retailers are realising more than ever that their fulfilment processes can be a competitive advantage. If you haven’t put serious thought into your fulfilment processes yet, now is the time to do so! You could be losing sales because you’re not offering what customers are looking for.
Why Online Order Fulfilment Matters
Delivery speed, price, and location options can dictate where a consumer decides to spend their money. How many times have you abandoned a cart or chose one seller over another because of delivery times and cost?
Sellers are realising that shipping options and price are a big part of the purchasing decision for online shoppers. The issue is that you must be able to balance lowering costs and fast delivery times without destroying your margins. There’s a lot that must go-on behind the scenes to ensure that the correct product lands on that customer’s door by next day.
Revamping your logistics is a big undertaking, but worth it when done right. You don’t want to continue to lose or frustrate customers with long delivery dates and expensive shipping rates.
What Fulfilment Areas to Focus On
Here are key areas to focus on to ensure you improve your fulfilment processes for the long run:
- Inventory Visibility
When it comes to inventory, customers want to know two things: is an item in-stock and how much is left. Real-time inventory visibility gives customers the confidence to purchase. If an item has low stock, it can also entice a customer to buy now. To provide customers that information, your organisation needs visibility into inventory counts across all sales channels, both online and in-store. When you sell an item, inventory counts should be updated immediately for customers. Nothing is worse than overselling and then telling a customer that you can’t ship the item they thought they bought.
How quickly can you get your products into your customer’s hands?
Today’s shoppers expect fast shipping times from same-day to two-day delivery. These demands can seem unrealistic for merchants as they face rising shipping costs. However, merchants, over anything else, should first focus on delivery days that they can guarantee. If a consumer is confident that their order will arrive when the retailer says it will, they might be more willing to wait a few days.
- Accurate Deliveries
One of the most frustrating experiences for an online shopper is receiving the wrong item or never receiving a package at all. Merchants can’t overlook the importance of accurate deliveries to customers. These types of errors often result from data integrity in your organisation. If you’re manually entering shipping address and SKU items from your eCommerce platform to your Retail Management System, it can be easy to mistype data. Or, maybe your warehouse is disorganised and it’s easy to pick and pack the wrong item. Either way, it should be a goal to eliminate these types of errors from your organisation.
- Shipping Costs
Today, many online shoppers consider shipping costs before even getting to your checkout page! Consumers want their items fast, and they don’t expect to pay much either.
How to Improve Your Order Fulfilment Process
Consumers have lofty shipping demands. How do you meet them? Here’s some thoughtful ways to improve your current order fulfilment processes.
- Choose a Retail Management System
If you’re struggling with order management and fulfilment, it may be time to invest in backend system such as a Retail Management System, such as Shopify or Neto. They can drastically help with your fulfilment and financial processes. You’ll be able to track sales, manage inventory, create products, and fulfil items all from a single place.
- Outsource fulfilment to 3PLs (Third-Party Logistics) or fulfilment Companies.
3PLs, or third-party logistics companies, take care of your supply chain processes like warehouse management, transportation of goods, reporting, and forecasting. 3PLs can specialise by industry or a certain area of logistics.
- Instead of specialising in logistics yourself, you can outsource your processes to a 3PL who can leverage their relationships and volume discounts for affordable, fast shipping for your customers. If you think a 3PL might be a good fit for you, check out GetQuickmail.com
- Consider dropshipping your inventory.
Dropshipping is a fulfilment process in which merchants buy goods from a vendor (like a wholesaler or manufacturer) who ships them directly to the consumer for the merchants. The best part is that the wholesaler remains completely invisible to the customer. Dropshipping is an effective way to start an eCommerce business or add new products to your catalogue, without worrying about securing new inventory. With dropshipping, you don’t need to keep inventory on-hand or ship the items yourself. When done right, drop shipping can be a successful fulfilment strategy for online sellers. Learn more about the practice in our FREE Dropshipping Guide.
- Offer Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS).
If you operate brick-and-mortar stores, alongside your webstore, then buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) programs are a must! Using the alternative shipping method of picking items up in-store is growing in popularity among consumers.
If you’d like some more information about how you can use online order fulfilment for your business, contact the friendly Quickmail team today on 08 9493 0477 or submit a query here.