Are retailers ready for shipping and order fulfillment challenges?

Order fulfillment


The demand for same day shipping and maintaining transparency in the order fulfillment process has surged among customers. From a necessity, it has gone to a must-have rather a mandate. With handy and easy to use order management system retailers can satisfy this necessity seamlessly.

A study by “Dotcom Distribution eCommerce Packaging Study 2016” indicates that Fast Delivery is apparently the only factor that can get you recurring customers to your website.The survey asked 558 million shoppers how the delivery process decided the brand loyalty and the result were startling. The response suggested,

● Almost half (47 percent) of shoppers said they had chosen not to order from a retailer again because of poor order transparency about their package status during the fulfillment and delivery process.

● And 40 percent of shoppers say that looks matter: They would be somewhat more likely or much more likely to purchase from a retailer again if they ordered a package online and it came in a gift-like or premium package.

● The study’s statistics show that 87 percent said the amount of time it took to receive an e-commerce order would influence their decision to shop with a retailer or brand again, and 67 percent said they would be willing to pay more money to get same-day delivery.

Not being able to fulfill the orders can lead to great disappointment. Hence, to avoid such circumstances; retailers are forced to enhance their e-commerce solutions, redefining their prevailing one.



How seamless is supplier integration

While products are usually shipped directly from your factory, there are few sellers who manufacturers goods they sell. But, mostly it is sourced from distributor or suppliers or sometimes brand itself.

In such cases, it is important to sync data which can ease inter-process communication between your order management system and suppliers

Look out for a partner like Orderhive who can help you integrate your suppliers’ OMS with yours so you never miss out in orders, invoicing errors or any other possible hindrances.



Is your inventory visible?

The last thing any retailer wants to face is not able to fulfill the order on given date and time. This gets a headache, especially during holiday times. So how do you avoid this pitfall?

One of the ways and the most suitable is, to develop an order fulfillment process through the use of WMS (warehouse management technology).

Integrating WMS with shopping enables to retrieve and sync data on categories, orders, tracking numbers, products from the client’s store.

Retailers who get this right, are likely to be on time and never get an upset customer. Using Omni-channel in a proper way can help you address this shipping and fulfillment segment of product delivery. The order management system is synced in a way that the shopping cart triggers a PO directly with the vendor and enables whosoever in possession of the product, fulfill the product delivery.



Are you keeping a track of your promised delivery?

It is not wise to use the same OMS as your suppliers. The crucial part here is, how much access you have into your supplier’s catalog and fulfillment process.

A majority of the times it does happen that either order is lost in transit or the supplier is running low on stock. Under such a scenario, your preference should be letting your customer know. But how do you ease it up? 



But how do you ease it up?

Syncing your inventory real time and keeping your customer updated for same, increases your brand credibility and enhances the customer experience. According to UPS Pulse of Online Shopper: 58% of shoppers give due importance to inventory availability as they search for products online is important to the purchase decision.


Are your returns “Easy”?

Not all our plans turn out in the best interest.

Around 30% of online orders are returned compared to 9% of brick and mortar sales.

Needless to say how important it is for you to have a strong and efficient process in place to manage inventories and frame better return policies.

You need to craft your own unique policy. See it like this, How much is your average inventory sell-through? For instance, are you done selling in 60 days from the time you receive stock or it goes up to 6 months?

Your inventory turnaround should be parallel to your return policy else you would not be left with any stock if they aren’t synced.

As you move ahead with returns, do not forget it all boils down to how you communicate with them. If your product is being returned that means – it has by some means disappointed your customer and you need to get that straight.

Rather than up selling, make sure your customer wants it or not. Not everyone would want to exchange something. See if they are ready to buy something else and if not, just return without much hassle.

This will give them a seamless return experience that can actually boost your brand value and sales.


Final thoughts

Embracing opportunities that can earn you long-lasting customers, is worth losing a few dollars too. Shipping and fulfillment are such processes, where you end up losing your most valued and potential customer at times due to little negligence as well. It is at the heart of the shopping experience and hence it is extremely difficult to maintain it. To sum it up, the better your order fulfillment the more reliable and trustworthy you are and the more returning customers you gain.

Devarshi Pandya

Devarshi Pandya

Devarshi is an enthusiastic writer, active twitterati and educator offering creative content for effective e-commerce marketing and strategies. She brings along her experience in extensive research and branding. A passionate writer by day and an avid reader by night she packages for a blend of technical and creative write-ups.

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