Fulfillment is a crucial part of your e-commerce operations. If you're not fulfilling orders correctly, you could lose sales and damage your reputation.
We're highlighting the top fulfillment issues that all e-commerce owners are experiencing today. Then, we'll tell you the exact e-commerce fulfillment solutions to address them.
Follow these e-commerce fulfillment best practices, and you'll be able to streamline your fulfillment process and meet customer expectations.
Problem #1: Fulfilling International Orders
In 2022, over two billion people ordered goods online, and we know you want to have a share of that number. However, the high shipping cost is the first problem e-commerce businesses face when shipping orders internationally.
Shipping costs can eat into profits and discourage customers from placing orders.
There are a few ways to mitigate these costs:
- Free shipping: One is to offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. This encourages consumers to place larger orders, which helps offset the shipping cost for you.
- Flat-rate shipping: Another option is to use flat-rate shipping, which allows you to charge one price for all orders regardless of weight or destination.
Of course, there are other considerations when it comes to international fulfillment. Customs and duties can add another layer of complexity — and expenses — to the process.
That's why partnering with an e-commerce fulfillment company that has international shipment experience is essential.
Maintaining a shipping information database can also help you figure out shipping costs. This information can be used to negotiate better rates with carriers and help you determine which shipping options are most cost-effective for your business.
Working with an e-commerce fulfillment company can take some of the complexity out of international shipping. It's an option worth considering for businesses that want to expand their reach beyond their borders.
Problem #2: Poor Warehouse and Inventory Management
One of the most critical aspects of success is ensuring that your customers receive their orders on time. Unfortunately, poor warehouse and inventory management can lead to delayed shipments, which frustrates 69% of customers and damages your reputation.
In-house warehouse management can be faulty and negatively affect your fulfillment process. In some cases, employees may not be adequately trained to pick and pack orders correctly. This can result in errors that cause delays. Additionally, if your warehouse is disorganized, it will take employees longer to find the products they need to fulfill orders. This can further impact your fulfillment process.
To avoid these problems, investing in a good warehousing and inventory management system is crucial. This will help ensure that your orders are fulfilled correctly and on time. Additionally, it will help keep your warehouse organized so employees can quickly find the necessary products.
If you're unsure where to start, many e-commerce fulfillment services can manage your inventory for you.
This is one of the e-commerce fulfillment best practices in the industry. By outsourcing your inventory management, you can be sure that your orders will be fulfilled correctly and on time. This will help to improve your customer satisfaction and grow your business.
Problem #3: Lost or Damaged Items During Transit
The US parcel volume in 2021 was 21.5 billion. That's a lot of packages, and you don't want your products to get lost among them.
No one likes to lose something they care about, and your customers are no different. If their items get lost or damaged during transit, they'll be disappointed and angry. This will damage your reputation as a reliable supplier, so it's essential to do everything you can to prevent this from happening.
Here are some e-commerce fulfillment best practices:
- Make sure your supply chain is efficient and effective. Do your research and choose a shipping company with a good track record.
- Keep track of your inventory carefully. Use a system that allows you to see where each item is at all times. This way, if something goes missing, you'll be able to track it down quickly.
- Communicate with your customers regularly. Let them know when their order will be shipped, and provide them with tracking information to see where their items are. This will help build trust and keep them informed in case of delays.
This is one of the most common fulfillment challenges. Still, by being prepared and knowing what to do, you can overcome it easily.
By following these best practices, you can avoid the hassle and expense of lost items during transit. Investing in e-commerce fulfillment solutions will help ensure that your customers are always happy with their purchase experience, without having a high supplier risk.
Problem #4: Administrative Errors
When it comes to shipping products, there are many moving parts and opportunities for things to go wrong. One type of error that can occur is an administrative error, which refers to any mistake in the planning or execution of a product's shipping.
Incorrect labels and product code mix-ups can cause these errors. While some administrative errors may seem minor, they can have enormous consequences. After all, when customers place an order, they have certain expectations about when they will receive their purchase.
If an error results in a delay, it can reflect poorly on your business and damage customer trust.
Additionally, administrative errors can ripple through your entire supply chain, disrupting fulfillment for more than just one customer. Given the complex nature of shipping products, it's not surprising that administrative errors are one of the most common challenges businesses face. Some of these errors may be out of your control, but there are steps you can take to minimize them.
One way to reduce administrative errors is by ensuring that your employees are adequately trained. By having standard operating procedures and tools in place and ensuring that everyone on your team is familiar with them, you can minimize the chances of making mistakes.
Additionally, regular check-ins and quality control measures can help catch errors before they cause significant delays.
Problem #5: Poor Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business. Still, it can be incredibly challenging for e-commerce businesses.
In a brick-and-mortar store, customers can come in with questions or problems and have them resolved quickly and easily by staff. But when customers shop online, they often have to rely on service channels that are less immediate and more impersonal, such as email or telephone support.
This can frustrate customers, leading to them taking their business elsewhere. 44% of customers will switch stores just because of poor customer service.
That's why ensuring your e-commerce business has good customer service and support systems is vital. You can do a few things to ensure your e-commerce business provides good customer service.
First, you train and maintain a team of staff dedicated to attending to your customers' needs. This team should be able to handle customer inquiries quickly and efficiently. To boost the effectiveness of your customer support team, make sure to create a knowledge base so that customers can find answers to common questions and issues on their own while your customer reps can focus on more complex issues.
You can also use AI e-commerce fulfillment solutions, such as chatbots, to streamline the process of resolving customer issues. Chatbots can provide quick and easy answers to common questions, freeing your staff to focus on more complex issues.
Finally, you can always use an FAQ section on your website or your customer support system to quickly answer common customer queries. This can save your customers and staff a lot of time and frustration.
Problem #6: Item Is Out of Stock
One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a customer is finding out that an item they wanted to purchase is out of stock. This can be especially true if the item is part of a limited release or is in high demand.
Customers may feel angry or frustrated when they come across an out-of-stock item, which can reflect poorly on your business. Moreover, if customers cannot find what they're looking for on your website, they may go to a competitor's site instead.
This is why it's so important to keep track of your inventory levels and ensure that items are only listed as being in stock when they are. You can consult e-commerce fulfillment companies to see if they offer inventory management solutions. You can also optimize your supply chains to meet customer demands for a product.
These solutions can help you keep track of your inventory levels in real time, so you can quickly adjust your listings as needed. Additionally, you can use software to predict future purchasing patterns and stock your inventory accordingly. This way, you can avoid the issue of items being out of stock altogether.
Problem #7: Disorganized Return Policy
Product returns accounted for $550 billion in 2020. These products will need to go back to fulfillment centers and through inefficient warehouse systems. This is a significant pain point for customers, as they may not be able to receive a refund or exchange promptly.
To encourage customers to shop with your business, it's essential to have a hassle-free return policy with a reasonable time limit (like 30 to 60 days). This way, customers will feel confident that they can return an item if they're not happy with it without having to jump through complicated hoops.
Additionally, ensure that your return policy is easy to find and understand. Customers should be able to find the information they need to make a return quickly.
Having a well-organized and customer-friendly return policy can encourage customers to shop with your business, even if they're not sure about an item.
Problem #8: Shipping Notifications
The last common issue that eCommerce businesses face is providing shipping notifications to customers. Customers need to be constantly updated about the status of their orders, which can be a challenge for companies. There are a few different ways to provide shipping updates to your customers.
First, you can work with e-commerce fulfillment companies to set up your notification system. This way, you can automatically send updates to customers when their order ships.
You can also use software solutions to manage your shipping notifications. A variety of software platforms offer this service, which can be customized to fit the needs of your business.
Finally, you can always manually send shipping updates to your customers via email or text message. This may take longer, but it's an excellent way to provide a personal touch.
By providing shipping updates to your customers, you can keep them in the loop and build trust with your business. This is one of the e-commerce best practices that you should always follow.
If you're not already doing so, start implementing these e-commerce best practices into your business today.
Leverage Your eCommerce Fulfillment Now
E-commerce fulfillment can be challenging for business owners, but using the tips provided in this article can help you overcome these common issues. Following these e-commerce best practices can build trust with your customers and increase sales.
Are you ready to start implementing these solutions into your business? Let us know how we can help!