Order fulfillment is a critical component of every modern e-commerce firm. It is the process of delivering your products to your customers as cheaply, effectively, and quickly as possible, making it an important piece of the logistics equation. This is especially critical for newly established e-commerce enterprises looking to expand. Choosing the correct distribution model when your business is still in its early phases, will help you develop a supply and distribution chain that satisfies both your present and predicted future demands.
It is critical for long-term development and success to ensure that your order fulfillment plan corresponds with both your e-commerce operation’s physical restrictions and your consumers’ desires. Since knowing your choices is critical, we provide this article with 10 great order fulfillment strategies that you can employ to ensure your competitiveness in today’s ever-changing e-commerce environment.
Developing A Strategy For Fulfillment
Setting up or changing a fulfillment strategy is a sensitive process, regardless of whether you opt to maintain your fulfillment strategy in-house using a CRM system or outsource at least a portion of it. Because you cannot shut down the company while switching gears, the transition must be as seamless and rapid as feasible.
The most effective strategy to assure success is to plan thoroughly as possible. It includes the following steps:
Choose A Strategy
You have tried various CRMs and researched some 3PLs, now it is time to make a decision. Which solution will operate best now and grow the most easily in the future? Determine what will be done in-house and what will be outsourced. Look through the fulfillment procedure from beginning to end, making sure that every step is covered.
Layout The System
Whether it is software or business alliances, it must be in place and employees must be familiar with it before it can have an impact on the firm. Determine if internal staff are adequate for system setup or whether contractors need to be employed on a temporary basis to get the system up and operating.
Select And Apply KPIs
Be ready to assess performance from the outset. Which metrics you prioritize will be determined depending on what the C-suite wants to see as well as the challenges you are attempting to solve. In addition to factual data, consider doing customer satisfaction surveys to determine if the new approach is meeting consumer demands in comparison to the old one.
Implement the new system with a single product line and closely monitor success. Work out the kinks and ensure that clients are satisfied before moving on to the next procedure or product line, and so on.
Resources For Order Fulfillment Strategies
Customer satisfaction is the foundation of B2C firm success, and there is a no-size-fits-all method. What actually works for your business may be a wholly unique combination of personnel and business partners, but if you are not sure, describe your problem to a trustworthy 3PL partner and ask what they have done in comparable scenarios.
Begin by going through your fulfillment procedure, truly analyzing your needs, and devising a plan that works best for your company and its consumers.
10 Excellent Order Fulfillment Strategies You Should Implement
Below are some of the most frequent order fulfillment strategies employed by e-commerce organizations.
Use An Alternative
This will be critical for your firm throughout the COVID-19 period when transportation companies become overburdened and a lot of orders grow. Therefore, buyers may have to wait for their purchases for several weeks, which is significantly longer than it used to be, resulting in a decline in customer satisfaction with their shopping experience.
Luckily, you may use alternate methods to make delivery easily and quickly, particularly when fulfilling consumer demands around the holidays. Dropshipping your items, for instance, using your supplier’s shipping network is another fantastic option. Alternatively, you may outsource order fulfillment to a third party and split the workload.
Accept Last Mile Delivery
This method is unsurprising, regardless last mile tracking is in the old days or in today. Customers may follow the exact location of their cargo and predict when it will arrive throughout the holiday. Therefore, there is less danger of parcel theft, along with consumer frustration and confusion.
Adopting last-mile tracking will dramatically increase your consumers’ perceptions of your brand and increase the likelihood that they will return to you in the future.
Distribute Inventory Appropriately Throughout Your Business
Is your stock kept in a single place from which all items are transported? If you have a large number of orders around the holidays, you will almost certainly be in problems since your clients from different addresses will extended periods of time, which is undesirable to most consumers.
You can accurately forecast future orders and hunt for the best storage locations for your inventory. Hence, you will be able to complete the delivery step more quickly and successfully, and your consumers will be pleased with receiving things on time.
Streamline The Process Of The Reverse Logistics
When there is an increase in online orders, there is also an increase in the return rate. Therefore, your reverse fulfillment logistics should run like a well-oiled machine. Meanwhile, your internal operations would be slowed and inventory management will be disrupted.
One method to make reverse fulfillment simple for your staff is to employ an order management system that can easily put products back into your main inventory, regardless of whether scanned by barcodes, in-store POS system, or RFI scanners in your warehouse.
Understand The Important Role Of BOPIS And BOPAC
During COVID-19, in-store (BOPIS) and roadside pickup (BOPAC) have been rapidly expanding across all industries. It is because many people are hesitant to buy in shops. It does not look like it is going to disappear anytime soon.
This is good news for online retailers, indeed. BOPIS and BOPAC are the final steps in getting the items into the hands of the customer. This results in considerable reductions in shipping costs and order cycle time. Companies that start offering curbside and in-store pickup will quickly find that it benefits both employees and consumers.
Keep Accurate Inventory Levels
Inventory accuracy is critical to the stability of any warehousing business. Customers’ satisfaction will undoubtedly suffer if they buy an item online just to discover that it is currently stockout and will not arrive for several weeks, if not months. As a result, inventory accuracy is critical for ensuring that order fulfillment runs properly.
Based on real-time cycle counts, products that are either out-of-stock or unavailable for buying cannot be ordered. Creating notifications to protect purchasers from these sorts of transactions may improve consumer satisfaction.
Use Slotting Optimization
Slotting optimization is among the most effective ways for correctly storing your items and expediting the choosing process. One frequent and practical strategy for expediting the fulfillment process is to locate popular items near delivery locations. Keeping these things in areas that do not necessitate lots of bending or reaching can also assist to speed up the procedure.
Storage and choosing items based on weight, dimension, and overall fragility is also a significant aspect of slotting optimization. You may be aware that the most delicate items must be chosen last in order to be packed last and not be damaged by heavier items. Thus, these items should be placed at a location where they will be selected last.
Collaborate With Your Vendors
In reality, just a small minority of enterprises manufacture the things they offer online. On the other hand, they must rely on at least one supplier, if not more, to fulfill requests. However, managing all suppliers’ production processes along with their holdups while working concurrently would be difficult. This leads to disagreements with third-party shipping companies and dissatisfied customers.
And here is how you can solve it: Integrating with your vendors. This method involves the use of technology that allows you to communicate information with your suppliers and maintain daily track of your products and dispatches. Integration with suppliers also helps to reduce communication challenges like missing orders, never-ending supplier coordination, invoicing mistakes, and more.
Include A Modern Warehouse System
The usage of smart warehouses is becoming more common in order to fulfill the high demand for warehousing services. A variety of networked technologies are used in smart warehouse systems. Thus, this aids in eliminating human issues including such higher-level and time-consuming tasks while also enhancing efficiency and accuracy. These technologies are far more successful in locating goods and transporting them to a shipping container.
The benefits of a smart warehouse system are that they are made up of several technical components that help to streamline the warehousing procedure, which leads to more effective order fulfillment. Among these technologies are RFID – a digital counterpart of a barcode that employs radio waves, AI, robotics, WMS, and the Internet of Things.
Increase Visibility Of The Supply Chain
You have discovered the ultimate secret. The final method that might assist you in boosting order processing is to improve your supply chain management. This technique entails tracking manufacturing, product orders, and shipment to get information into the whole supply chain. It is the ability to collect data across your whole supply chain.
When your supply chain visibility improves, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what is making your order fulfillment procedures underperform. For example, you may discover that your delivery vendor takes multiple inefficient routes, slowing down your fulfillment services. As a result, if you increase your supply chain visibility, your order fulfillment process will run smoothly, saving you money, time, and lots of buyer service issues.
Choosing the best order fulfillment strategies for your unique e-commerce business is probably one of the most important decisions you will make for your growing company, as it will serve as the foundation for all of your other systems and methods. As a result, it is critical that you thoroughly grasp your alternatives and choose the best plan for you. It may be difficult since it requires combining a grasp of your present business and consumers, along with your future ambitions, with the technologies and approaches required to be effective in the long and short term. But a reputable systems integrator will help you solve all these problems.