The modern business world is full of challenges as well as a vast number of opportunities. Ecommerce businesses continue to become increasingly popular, and there are many ways to stand out as an online retailer. Amongst other things, you’ll need excellent content marketing, to gain leads in a crowded market. Besides this, order fulfillment is an important concern for online businesses, but what does it mean?
What does order fulfillment mean?
Order fulfillment refers to each step of the orders process from the time that a customer places an order, to the moment that they receive that order. The process includes various stages, including warehousing, receiving stock, storage, process and order receipts, picking and packing, the tracking process, delivery, and also returns policies.
In our current climate, more people are shopping online than ever before, which is why it is so important to ensure that order fulfillment processes run smoothly. To help you achieve this, try using the following tips.
1 . Order Management System
Order management arrives with many challenges from analytics and reporting, to organizing inventory, or complicated shipping schedules. By using an order management system you can ensure seamless links between yourself and your suppliers. These systems allow you to track inventory, orders, and sales. With an OM system you’ll support the right staff to connect with the customers who’ve ordered each product. Order management systems support various areas of your business including location and inventory levels, suppliers, customer service, sales channels, and so on.
- Choose your shipping company wisely
When it comes to ordering fulfillment, you must choose the right shipping company. If your shipping company does not meet customer expectations and stick to agreed time-frames, this may have negative impacts on your reputation. It’s important to conduct detailed research when choosing a shipping company, including reviews and testimonials from other businesses. Before you begin your search, ensure that you have a clear idea of your needs. Whether you need real-time tracking or the right lost shipment policies, it’s important to choose a shipper that can help you achieve your goals.
- Improve warehouse efficiency
Improving the efficiency in your warehouse can help you to enhance your order fulfillment process, there are several ways you can do this including:
- Invest in training: The better you train your staff the easier it will be to reduce errors and boost productivity.
- Utilize technology: Warehouse technology allows business leaders and staff to access real-time data, on various warehouse logistics procedures. You might use voice-activated tech, radiofrequency, pick-and-label, barcodes, or WM software for inventory management. There are many ways to optimize your warehouse processes using tech.
- Accurate forecasting: Forecasting demand can help you to manage stock levels and adhere to lean manufacturing processes.
- Constant Communication
To improve your order fulfillment processes, it’s helpful to retain constant communication with your customers. The modern customer expects to receive email comms to confirm their order, plus another email once it’s been dispatched. You should make it simple for your customers to track order status at every stage.
- Determine The Cycle Time
To help you to improve, you’ll need to determine the cycle time of your order fulfillment processes. When you do this, you’ll gain useful insights, about how effective your current processes actually are. Companies with fast fulfillment process times tend to have higher rates of customer satisfaction. The idea is to get the lowest cycle time that’s possible though subscription box fulfillment timing is going to be different than fulfilling a one time order. To determine your cycle time you’ll need to factor in your ‘promised times’, ‘actual times’, ‘supply chain times’, and ‘cash to cycle’.
- Offer A Great Returns Policy
The returns policy that you offer is an integral part of your order fulfillment process. Many customers will take a good look at the returns policies before making a purchase. If they don’t like what they see, there’s a good chance you won’t be making a sale! Ensure your return policies are fair and transparent. Items should be easy to return, and the customer should have enough time to do so. When creating returns policies it’s important to consider our current pandemic, and how this situation may impact return time-frames. Customers will need to have a clear understanding of your returns policies, and it should be easy to access this information.
As you can see, many different factors affect order fulfillment processes. It’s important to pay close attention to all of them if you want to boost the success of your business. As the eCommerce industry grows, we can expect to see further tech advances and softwares, which streamline the efficiency of the order fulfillment process.