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Regardless of whether your business is a startup or well-established, deficiencies in order fulfillment can negatively impact your profitability and slow down your growth. According to Retail Touchpoints, 63% of customers expect deliveries within three days of their order. This kind of expectation means you will have to put in considerable effort in ensuring that your supply chain and order fulfillment process is optimized. With Amazon setting the industry benchmarks, most online sellers need to continually find methods of improving operations, reducing costs, and improving the customer experience to remain relevant. Inefficient operations can not only cost you significantly by way of lost profits but also your customer satisfaction will decline. Some tips for streamlining your order fulfillment process:
Select a Method of Order Picking Appropriate to Your Business Volume
You can pick orders from your customers in several ways. Perhaps the most popular with small businesses is the discrete order picking method wherein you pick one order at a time. Alternatively, you can choose the pick and pass order picking system where orders are organized into zones to minimize the effort or the batch picking system that is ideal for large volume businesses where multiple orders are processed simultaneously. With each method having its pros and cons, you should go with the one that suits your business.
Increase Access by Customers
Since the only people responsible for giving your business are your customers, you need to make the process of order fulfillment easier, quicker, and more accessible so that you get more orders. All forms to be filled must be available easily, be brief, require minimum information, and must be easy to understand. When customers encounter long and hard-to-understand forms, they will prefer to drop you for someone else. Transaction Heroes offers an amazing option for designing user-friendly forms.
Make the Order Forms Easy to Fill Up
Since most customers detest forms that are long and require detailed information, where ever possible, you should use auto-fills and give the option of multiple-choice to make the process of filling out orders simpler and faster for customers. Pull-down menus are also a good method of getting more accurate information because the responses are standardized. The less information a customer has to fill in, the more accurate the information will be and the more the chance of their completing the process.
Keep Your Inventory Current
If you have a product catalog, you must ensure that the items are available since customers find waiting for out-of-stock items frustrating. However, since stock-outs cannot be prevented in the real world, you must have a system that prevents you from offering items not available. It entails your inventory management system to be updated in real-time and all records to be correct.
As a business keen on fostering customer loyalty, you should ensure that your customers can reach out to you using multiple channels. Restricting yourself to only forms can discourage customers; you should offer other methods like email, phone calls, and online chat to customers to communicate with you. By keeping multiple channels open and maintaining an easy returns policy, you can build trust that will keep the orders flowing in.