The process of order fulfilment is pivotal to the overall success of your ecommerce business. Ultimately, order fulfilment can take many different forms and stages, so knowing the best approach to take can increase the potential of scaling your ecommerce business.
Striking a balance between a cost-effective strategy and overcoming obstacles, such as changes to legislation and shipping tariffs, whilst maintaining excellent customer service levels and customer satisfaction can be a challenge.
So, we’ve put together this guide of the seven best tips you can implement, ensuring your order fulfilment is in tip-top shape to maximise and elevate your ecommerce business.
1. Understanding order fulfilment cycle time
For customers, time, speed and efficiency are the most critical components that determine how satisfied an individual is with a product or service. By having a clear understanding of your order fulfilment cycle time, you will be able to track metrics, measuring the effectiveness of your cycle time and seeing if improvements are required and how best to adopt those.
As ecommerce depends on numerous factors that are uncontrollable, such as rates and shipping times, cycle times can vary between days and even weeks.
Differing cycle times
There are also several cycle times that need to be classified so you can accurately calculate the overall cycle time – so ensure that you account for the following:
- Promised customer order cycle time – Expected time for a customer to receive their goods.
- Actual customer order cycle time – Average time it takes for a customer to receive their goods.
- Cash to cash cycle time – The time taken from spending money on goods to receiving money.
- Supply chain cycle time – The amount of time it takes to fulfil a customer order if items are not in stock.
When examining the order fulfilment and supply chain capacities of your company, each of these methods for measuring order fulfilment has importance.
However, avoid overthinking every aspect, although it is beneficial to understand and monitor as many facets of your business as possible, it can become distracting to the point where your efforts are refocused to aspects that may obstruct your overall operations.
2. Classification of inventories
Knowing exactly what products you have and plan to have is essential, as this enforces reliability throughout your business operation. Scrutinise each category, and the quantity of each item within those subcategories if applicable, so that you know the exact figure for each.
Putting your inventory together based on how quickly it moves is one of the most popular methods for organising your products and also benefits your eCommerce business by making it possible to manage stock effectively.
Equally, by grouping products in warehouses, you can identify which channels are performing and carry out comparative analysis on this to maximise the effectiveness of it.
By partnering with a fulfilment company, all of this can be taken care of, without the need for you to worry about being extremely thorough, meaning you can tailor your business strategy towards scaling your business even further.
3. Choosing the right shipper
Having an order fulfilment process is effective, but it will only run smoothly across your whole operations if your shipping company aligns with your business needs. Choosing an adequate shipper where necessary is fundamental to your business reputation, as delays and waits on goods will incur customer frustration, leading to potentially negative feedback, despite this being out of your control.
Always carry out due diligence on your existing shipper. Do they provide precise, real-time order tracking? Has there been any instances of late shipments, delayed shipments, lost shipments, forgotten shipments, or damaged deliveries? If so, you should spend time and money looking for a new, superior shipper who can satisfy your fulfilment needs.
4. Automate your order fulfilment
Automation is an absolutely essential part of effective order fulfilment if you want to make sure your eCommerce business maintains pace with other merchants.
You can improve the effectiveness of your employees by automating monotonous chores. A warehouse management system, for instance, can plan the best path for picking. You may increase order fulfilment speed and cut costs by doing this.
In addition to increasing your sales opportunities, automation lowers operating expenses and significantly lowers the chance of human error.