E-commerce Fulfillment: 7 Smart Ways to Efficiently Fulfill Online Orders

E-commerce fulfillment is one of those processes that look easy at first until you have the chance to actually do it.


Indeed, it does take a lot of time and energy, sapping your resources for other important aspects of your business such as marketing, sales, research, and more.


But what exactly is order fulfillment and how does it work?

E-commerce Order Fulfillment Defined

In a nutshell, e-commerce order fulfillment is the process of collecting, packing, and shipping goods to customers.


It involves everything that is happening behind the scenes from the time a customer places an order until the time when they receive it.


That said, we will be discussing seven smart ways on how you can efficiently fulfill orders online:


1. Integrate seamless connections with your suppliers

It is 2020, and the reality is that you are not probably the one manufacturing the in-house products that you are selling. Chances are, most of these goods are sourced from different distributors, which are stored in warehouses, and drop-shipped to customers.


That's why on your part, it is imperative that you demand a seamless integration with your suppliers via an order management system or OMS. That way, there is easier communication between your systems and your suppliers.


2. Always update your customers

Do you have all of your inventory, photos, and product details? Customers want to know as much as they can about a product before they buy it. After all, they are placing their trust in you for buying a product that they cannot physically touch.


So, it is your job to give them more details and product information than what they would normally ask for.


Remember that it is better to have an abundance of information than not enough of it. It builds your customers' confidence in your brand, letting them put their trust in you.


Throughout this whole process, you should also maintain close communication with your customers. No, a simple "Thank you for your order" email will not simply cut it.


All communications should be up-to-date, on-demand, and should provide customers with real-time updates about the status of their orders. From the moment you received their order, when you are processing it, once you have shipped it, and once the item is on its way to the customers.


3. Optimize your fulfillment operation

Fulfilling your customers’ orders is one of the most crucial factors in meeting their expectations when it comes to the delivery speed and costs.


Because fast and affordable shipping options is crucial to your customers, optimizing your fulfillment option based on where your customers live will help reach more people more cost-efficiently.


4. Offer same-day delivery options

A large number of e-commerce giants are already offering same-day delivery. This compromises your ability to compete with these larger e-commerce stores.


Take Amazon for example. Ever since it rolled out the same-day delivery option to its customers, it was received eagerly by people.


If you want to thrive in today's highly competitive landscape, you have to offer your customers same-day delivery options. But this will only be possible if you utilize an advanced inventory management software and order fulfillment expertise, which you might not have at the moment.


As an alternative, an order processing agency could help you offer same-day delivery to customers.


5. Automate repetitive tasks

After providing visibility in the sales process, the next thing that you need to do is how you can speed up these processes.


You could automate the repetitive tasks in your company. It does not necessarily have to be expensive either. It could be as simple as investing in scanners to quickly scan the inventory and input it in the system as soon as it arrives in the warehouse.


There are even smartphone applications that allow you to automate your sales process inexpensively.


6. Allow end-to-end order visibility

Both you and your suppliers should be able to access the same inventory, catalog, and order fulfillment processes. That allows both parties to see which items are available, their specific locations, and quantities.


Moreover, your customers who are browsing your e-commerce site should also be able to see whether a particular item is in stock, how many items are available, and if the quantities are high or low.


7. Provide a free 2-day shipping

Providing your customers with free 2-day shipping significantly reduces cart abandonment, encouraging more customers to proceed to the checkout page.


For less expensive products, providing for the cost of shipping will help you lose out on revenues. On the other hand, increasing the prices of your products might prompt visitors to turn elsewhere.


However, the main goal here is to boost your sales without increasing the return rate.


Over to You

Order fulfillment is both a goal and a challenge for every company. The promise of completing a sale is often coupled with the pitfalls of order fulfillment.


That's why it is always crucial that you work on improving the process from the placement of orders to the actual delivery.


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