E-commerce order fulfillment allows you to impress your customers by providing quality service. On the flip side, shipment order fulfillment mistakes also make a lasting impression.
This means that your front-end and back-end processes can impact what customers think about your brand. Moreover, this can make or break your business’s reputation, should the customer speak about his experience online.
That said, you have to be mindful of how you set up your e-commerce order fulfillment. Otherwise, it can hurt your business.
We have listed the common e-commerce fulfillment mistakes you need to avoid so your business will thrive:
Not tracking real-time data
Nobody wants to feel disappointed when their order goes out of stock after they’ve already paid for it.
The adverse effects of having out-of-stock items don’t just affect your customers, too. In fact, out-of-stock items, along with overstocks, are costing retailers $1.1 trillion in lost revenues.
Usually, the cause of this is manually tracked inventory. Sometimes, when you leave inventory management to people, items can stay online, even after these items are sold out in the warehouse.
Poor inventory management
Customers these days want fast delivery. So, if you don’t know your current inventory level, you won’t know whether or not you can fulfill those orders.
So, managing your inventory is essential whether you are doing an in-house or a third-party inventory fulfillment. It means that you should be aware of when is the time to replenish your stocks. This allows you to meet customer demand.
On the other hand, poor inventory management eventually leads to product overflow. You might end up restocking items because you don’t know that you still have ample supply. This increases operational costs in the long run.
Thus, it would help to work closely with a reputable fulfillment center that provides inventory planning services.
Inaccurate order information
Incorrect information can also hurt your business. When it comes to ordering fulfillment, there are two things that you need to focus on- that is description and orders.
If you have an incorrect product description, you’ll face upset customers, poor reviews, and many returns.
Still, mistakes like these do happen. The last thing you want to happen is not meeting your customers’ expectations about your products. Eventually, these issues will be costing you your sales.
Lack of integration
The thing is, you probably don’t manufacture the in-house goods you’re selling. These goods are often sourced from distributors, stored in warehouses, and shipped to customers.
That’s why you must incorporate seamless connections with your suppliers via an order management system (OMS). Doing so will allow smooth communications between your plans and your suppliers.
A lot of people these days are so used to next-day shipping. However, this doesn’t mean that everything has to be expedited.
The most crucial part is that you’re fulfilling your promise.
Let’s say that you promised your customers that the product they ordered would arrive in three days. They’ll start to keep track of the dates, and you should deliver as promised.
If not, you’re making your customers anxious, and they might mistrust you in the long run. During busier times, like the holidays, it would be best to prepare your team for this increased demand to expedite orders.
No shipment notification
Although this might be just a tiny thing, especially when the item is set to arrive in just a day or two, most people expect them.
Often, people keep track of their packages, checking the location a couple of times per day.
Most retailers provide shipping notifications as well. So, when a customer is not notified, they might think their order wasn’t shipped yet.
This eventually leads to needless calls to your customer support team, which leads to a lot of wasted time, and money.
Deficient customer support
Speaking of customer support, your customers will likely complain about any damaged, delayed, or missing product. Thus, it is ideal to have a well-trained customer support team who can help handle these issues.
This includes finding ways to solve their issues like product replacement or shipping the missing item.
If customer representatives cannot respond immediately, this can also hurt your sales and conversions in the long run. So, make sure that you get quality customer service, even if it means that you’ll be paying more.
That way, you are better equipped to handle any e-commerce fulfillment issues.
No reverse logistics plan
Without the proper e-commerce reverse logistics, you might find it hard to handle product returns.
Ideally, here’s how you can handle orders that are either canceled or returned:
- Review specific items
- See if the purchase items are damaged or tampered
- Add to your inventory
- Process a refund
Without a reverse logistics plan, you risk giving your customers damaged goods. This can lead to numerous product returns that can hurt your bottom line.
The important thing here is that you make return handling critical to your inventory and warehouse management. It would help if you also considered automating your refund process as well.
Inadequate warehouse space
Having adequate warehouse space is also crucial when you’re starting an e-commerce business. This mostly has to do with the kind of order fulfillment method that you use.
Therefore, if you’re utilizing an in-house order fulfillment, you’ll be the one managing your warehouse. Your warehouse partner can help you manage your space if you want to outsource it. The same thing applies when you’re working a dropshipping business.
Over to You
An order fulfillment process starts as soon as a customer places an order. However, it will end beyond receiving the products.
Still, it would help if you gave your warehouse space some thought. That’s because this space will let you know how many goods you can hold.
While we cannot guarantee a foolproof process, at least you know the common mistakes that you should avoid. That way, you launch your online business to a good start.
Want to know how you can further improve your e-commerce growth and enjoy the benefits of an inventory management system that is customized just for your business?
Thus, a lack of optimization in your e-commerce fulfillment process can hurt your business. So much so that you risk losing money if you choose to ignore the issues head-on.
Don’t worry if there’s still something you’re unsure of, we will never leave you in doubt!
By Jake Rheude:
Jake is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, a reliable provider of Los Angeles fulfillment services. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.