There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of as an ecommerce brand. Designing your website and sharing your products in creative social media videos may be some of the more fun aspects, but it’s important that you don’t forget the integral role that your supply chain and logistics process plays in your success. The shipping and delivery experience can be one of the first ways a customer interacts with your product in person, so it’s hugely important to prioritize getting your ecommerce fulfillment process right.
To meet your customers’ expectations, your products need to arrive at their doors in one piece, without damage and on time. While customers have largely accepted that one- and two-day delivery might not be their reality again for a while, they still expect to have accurate estimates of when orders will arrive and access to real-time tracking. If the delivery experience is frustrating, it makes for a bad customer experience all around. The way to prevent this is through a strong ecommerce order fulfillment process.
To get the fulfillment process right, there are a few very important strategies to implement. A great way to streamline your entire logistics process is to hire a specialist or a third-party logistics provider who can help you perfect your process. However, if you’re not ready to do that, here are 5 important parts of your ecommerce fulfillment process that are often overlooked.
Proper packaging sizes and the unboxing experience
You want your ecommerce packages to really pop on the inside and provide a great unboxing experience for the customer. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that the box is the proper size for your product, not too big or too small—this can save you money and space. You can also include things like samples, inserts or personalized thank you notes in your packages through a warehouse service called kitting. Think about how you want the unboxing experience to be for your customers and customize the inside of the box accordingly. You can even use things like coupons for $5 off the next customer order to encourage repeat purchases.
Hearty packaging is important
Throughout the ecommerce fulfillment process, as many as 20 to 30 people might handle each box, meaning all kinds of things can happen to your packages in transit. They could be dropped, have things stacked on top of them, be subject to humid, wet or dirty environments, or just handled roughly. Your exterior packaging needs to be strong and hearty to protect your product on the inside and make sure your products get to your customers without any damage.
Use delivery services strategically
Each major carrier has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are better for heavy goods while others might be better for fragile products, and some are faster while others have a larger reach. You also have the option to utilize regional parcel carriers when the larger carriers implement surcharges or are experiencing high volumes and tight capacities. It’s important to strategically choose the carriers you partner with based on pricing, reach, timeliness, and contract terms to best meet your needs. Learn more about carrier negotiation for shippers.
Have an easy returns process for your customers
A great returns process can increase customer loyalty, as many people will purchase from retailers again after having a positive returns experience. 67 percent of shoppers even check the return policy before they even purchase an item, so it could be more important than you think in getting customers to buy your products. It’s vital to make sure returning items, whether it’s in-store or online, is as easy as possible for customers. You can ensure this by sending return shipping labels and packages with the initial purchase, granting store credit instantly, providing a convenient return method and more. There are a variety of ways you can use the ecommerce returns process to your advantage and help solidify brand loyalty within your customers, so consider the steps you can take to improve your returns process today.
Technology is paramount in the ecommerce fulfillment process
Technology is a key factor in delivering a great customer experience. This is because it allows you to offer things like real-time tracking, which is beneficial for customers and can also free up customer service representatives on your end because it means your customers won’t need to call to try and ask for updates. Additionally, a great technology solution will also make your logistics process run smoothly with real-time inventory management, timely returns processing, a more effective pick and pack process, and more. Technology is an integral investment that helps increase efficiency, offer increased customer satisfaction and ultimately save money.
Improve your ecommerce fulfillment process with ITS Logistics
At ITS Logistics, we have years of experience helping businesses fine tune their ecommerce fulfillment and logistics processes. Our team members truly understand supply chain and logistics and work with you to create a custom solution that meets your needs and helps you deliver a great customer experience. Whether you need kitting and assembly, an improved pick and pack process, assistance efficiently managing your reverse logistics, complex storage needs, custom technology solutions, or any other 3PL or fulfillment service—we’ve got you covered. Give us a call to see how we can help you today.