For ecommerce customers, nothing is more exciting than finding a big cardboard box waiting for them on their doorstep. Order fulfillment – it’s the last step in ecommerce sales cycle and it is oh-so important. If done correctly, order fulfillment results in a happy buyer and a happy e-store. If done improperly, could result in a dissatisfied shopper, lengthy returns or refund processes, and a lot of work for little or no profit.
Here are a few tips for getting ecommerce order fulfillment right.
Cover Your Shipping Costs
What is the difference between ecommerce and e-business? Ecommerce is the electronic sale of physical goods via the internet. E-business, on the other hand, references the electronic sale of physical or non-physical services. While both engage in the digital transfer of data and money, ecommerce usually fulfills an order via delivery of a product.
As you’d expect, the successful and cost-effective fulfillment of an order is paramount the success of your ecommerce company. Thus, your first consideration is to cover your shipping and packaging costs. Be sure to investigate local shipping companies as well as big-name shippers like FedEx. Similarly look into local and national packaging companies offering discounts or price breaks for ecommerce businesses of your size. Stick with flat rate shipping or regional shipping, if these options are available to you.
Remember to anticipate the number of orders you expect for the month or quarter. Over ordering can be a struggle to store.
Know the Weight & Size of Your Package
Obviously, the weight and size of your package affects the cost. Luckily you can cut costs by reducing the amount of packing you use. Examples include trading hard cardboard for flexible packaging or swapping packaging peanuts for inflatable plastic inserts.
These are also examples of eco-friendly packaging. And since you will likely be shipping a lot of products due to your career, it’s best to pick earth-gentle shipping materials.
Use Shipping Software
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Shipping software is a veritable godsend to many ecommerce vendors. As you might expect, there are a variety of options out there. While this can be confusing at first, it’s actually good news for e-stores on any budget.
You can buy simple shipping software that does little more than print shipping labels at home; much cheaper than your local post office. Or you can buy more expensive software that calculates costs ahead of shipping and tracks orders on your behalf. If you’re just starting out, the better ecommerce platforms, like those produced by Shopify, have the functionality built in.
Do your homework to determine the best option for your store and your budget.
Providing Shipping Options
Switching focus to the customer-side of fulfillment, it’s important to offer shipping options to your shoppers. Amazon and other ecommerce giants provide customers with speedy delivery options. For smaller e-stores to compete, they need to offer a variety of shipping options as well. This includes one-day shipping, ground shipping and the like.
View Fulfillment as Re-Engagement
Did you know that it is more expensive to acquire new ecommerce customer than to retain and re-engage existing ones? By leveraging re-engagement strategies during order fulfillment, you can reinsert buyers back into your sales cycle.
Fortunately, this is easy to do. Examples include inserting flyers and limited-time coupon codes into the delivery package. If a customer receives a “20 percent off” coupon code in their box and it’s only good for six months, chances are you might have the same customer order from you again in the very near future. Similarly, flyers should include information about upcoming product launches or sales in a way that motivates customers to buy.
Brand Your Box
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Our last tip is to brand your packaging materials. This will undoubtedly cost you more in the short term, but it’s another way of pushing your marketing materials and brand name into the customer’s memory.
Be sure to test and tweak the above strategies to match the constraints of your budget and the needs of your customers. With enough experimentation, you’ll find the perfect strategy for getting ecommerce order fulfillment right.