This is a guest post from Michael Krakaris of Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your eBay, Walmart and Shopify stores.
Order fulfillment is a crucial part of any eCommerce business. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t deliver quickly and efficiently, your business will fail. Fast shipping has become the standard for shoppers, but due to the rapid growth in eCommerce, there are many new sellers who aren’t familiar with how the fulfillment process works.
Order fulfillment is everything that happens from the moment of purchase to the moment an item gets to the customer. Order fulfillment is complicated, and the advantages of getting it right has spurred it into an industry of its own.
Success on Amazon, eBay, and Walmart requires mastery of the fulfillment process. The best sellers efficiently deliver to customers through extensive networks and distribution systems. But no matter what your monthly revenue is, there’s always room for improvement. So, how do you improve your fulfillment process to increase customer satisfaction?
Here are 4 ways to fool-proof your fulfillment process, avoid late deliveries, keep customers happy, and make fulfillment as easy and efficient as possible.
1) Outsource to a Fulfillment Partner
In order to be successful in any industry, you need to focus on your core business. If you’re a manufacturer or an eCommerce seller, you don’t need to be a logistics expert as well.
Outsourcing your fulfillment will help you focus on your main business, work on growth, and rely on a partner with deeper fulfillment speciality and connections than you have.
Bobsled Marketing has a great list of questions to ask before selecting a fulfillment partner:
- What is your pricing?
- What fast tags do you support?
- What integrations do you support?
- What products can you take?
- Are there capacity constraints?
- Where are your warehouses?
- Do you offer FBA prep?
- If you lose or damage my inventory, what’s your reimbursement policy?
- How quickly can we get started?
2) Automate your Fulfillment Process
Use technology to automate and streamline your fulfillment process, and focus on making it more efficient and effective. This is especially important as you grow, because the more channels you use to market, sell, and distribute your products, the more complex your order fulfillment process becomes.
Fortunately, with the smart use of technology, you can effectively manage omnichannel fulfillment processes while still providing reliable service.
The ideal automation process varies from company to company, so it’s important to do your research and find a system that works for you. If you’re new to the distribution game, then use a consultant to evaluate your operations and advise you on how best to implement an effective automation strategy.
3) Use Technology to Keep Accurate Inventory Counts
Technology has made it much easier to keep track of all your items, even if you sell across multiple marketplaces. Combining a healthy mix of inventory synchronizing tools and multi-channel listing tools ensures you’ll always be alerted before you run out of stock, and will avoid anyone putting in an order for an item you don’t have.
eCommerce businesses are built on inventory and the ability to fill orders quickly and efficiently, and the amount of stock that you carry impacts on your bottom line. Be sure to understand how well your products are selling through all channels, and analyze the business risks of carrying too much or too little stock.
Having multiple distribution centers can help you in a pinch (ie. if you run out of stock in FBA, Deliverr can step in), but it can also make your allocation more complicated. The right inventory management systems and technology will help you decide what to send where (and how many pieces), keep accurate inventory counts, manage and track stock, reduce wastage, and give you real-time feedback.
4) Understand Your Costs From The Start
This tip is Business 101. You can’t run a business without a budget, and you can’t create a budget without knowing your costs. Whether you’re fulfilling in-house or outsourcing, it’s important to calculate your fulfillment cost per item.
Analyze your fulfillment costs when it comes to freight, management, direct labor, indirect labor, and facility costs or overhead. The largest of these is freight (the actual delivering of an item to the customer), usually followed by management then labor.
Once you’ve determined your costs, do regular analyses to monitor potential overspend and regularly renegotiate contracts with your service provider to ensure that their prices remain competitive.
For small- to medium-sized sellers, outsourcing your fulfillment can provide an excellent competitive advantage, but beware of hidden fees. For larger businesses, managing fulfillment in-house can give you more control, but could also cause more headaches.
Order fulfillment is a crucial part of any eCommerce business, and you need to ensure that the process is cost-effective, well managed and runs smoothly, every time.
About the Author
This is a guest post from Michael Krakaris of Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your eBay, Walmart and Shopify stores, helping to boost sales through programs like Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping and eBay Guaranteed Delivery.
Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy on-boarding and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.