Want better results for your Ecommerce store? Here are some well-rounded tips on how you can ship faster and more expediently while spending less money.
Getting your fulfillment department up to par in today’s busy Ecommerce world is essential to your long-term success. Online businesses that streamline fulfillment have been proven to enjoy the highest customer retention rates, a stronger average order value, and more repeat business.
Need some proof? All you need to do is look to the Amazon Prime model to know that this type of streamlined fulfillment is what gets you new customers and keeps them coming back.
Ready to offer it at your online store? Here are some timeless tips you can use to ensure that you’re on top of every order that comes in, so customers get their orders faster and are ready to order new items sooner.
Organize Your Pick & Pack Station
One of the biggest faux paws that you can make is found in the lack of organization. If you pick and pack station is sloppy, loosely organized, doesn’t have a fulfillment checklist or an integrated process, you’re already scoring too low to be successful.
A well-organized pick and pack station is the key to your fulfillment success, and includes the following:
- A fulfillment inventory checklist with key items and order dates so you never run out.
- A thermal/inkjet/laser printer with backup toner or supplies.
- Enough shipping labels to last you at least one year.
- Bubble package, foam packaging, air packaging, or other protective inserts.
- Boxes, mailers, and any other type of packaging you require for at least 6 months.
- Digital scale or other types of weighing instrument.
Create Your Fulfillment Checklist
What’s on your fulfillment checklist? In most cases, you likely have a shipping clerk that you pay a wage to so you can expedite the fulfillment of your outbound packages as well as the tracking and restocking of your inbound returns. But if you’re just letting them go off sight and sound, then you’re not really optimizing your fulfillment department as much as you could be doing.
Instead, think of a better, smarter approach that is conducive to speedier fulfillment. Consider creating a checklist that you compose yourself, one that follows the guidelines, practices, and standards that you’ve designed over the years to help get packages out the door faster.
Take things a step further by timing your own ability to fulfill packages accurately. Next, modify or update your fulfillment checklist to reflect these efforts. Finally, present this to your shipping clerk or your back-office team, and update their training. Doing so will help you expedite fulfillment efficiency and will create a level of accountability you can depend on.
Upgrade Your Label Printer
When was the last time you upgraded your label printer? If you are unable to recall, it may be time to considering making the investment. Printers become sluggish after a few years and new innovations in technology mean that your next printer not only works faster but also communicate with your internal systems better, too.
Many businesses use lower-end models or thermal printers. But if you truly want to print labels out at blazing speeds, look into making the switch to a more efficient laser or inkjet printer. Certainly, a good printer will set you back a few hundred greenbacks. But at the end of the day, you’ll recoup that investment in just a few weeks due to the increased speed and efficiency it adds to your fulfillment department. Go all-in by getting a backup printer for just in case.
Manage Your Inventory Like A Pro
What sort of inventory management system are you currently using? If you’re still relying on a spreadsheet, or you use the internal system offered by your shopping cart, you’re not going far enough. Today’s inventory management systems work across all your sales channels, updating your inventory levels in real-time from your central shopping cart or from your third-party logistics provider.
For smaller Ecommerce businesses, this may not be necessary. But for medium-sized or larger, it’s an essential addition. There are a variety of different inventory management solutions that you can consider, just make sure that they’re compatible with the existing software solutions that you have in place for managing your forward and reverse logistics.
Combine All Your Sales Channel Data
In today’s modern Ecommerce world, wise retailers are positioning themselves on a multitude of different platforms and sales channels to garner the greatest possible presence. But with a multichannel presence comes another challenge: being able to import data from across all your sales channels so you can tackle fulfillment with greater efficiency.
To do so effectively, you’ll want to make sure that any of your back-office processes and software systems are equipped to handle cross-channel orders. Thankfully, you have an array of candid options when it comes to finding the right Ecommerce solution for your fulfillment needs. Conduct ample due diligence beforehand and make use of the standard free trial usage period offered by most SaaS providers, and you can find a comfortable fit for your business’ needs.
Use Advanced Shipping Software
The most important cog in the fulfillment wheel is the Ecommerce shipping software that you’re using to power fulfillment. Without the right solution in place, accuracy can suffer and your relationship with customers can be affected. If it’s time to upgrade your software or look for a more efficient solution, here are some tips you can use to find the right solution.
Leading SaaS fulfillment solutions, like ReadyShipper Ecommerce shipping software, offer:
- Cross-channel functionality
- Direct integration into your shopping cart
- Multicarrier support for DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS
- Ability to generate and print digital postage
- Automated tracking numbers
- Automated customer updates
- Real-time rate comparisons for postage
- CSV import of any shopping cart/inventory data
- API integration for the instant data import from your shopping cart
- Warehouse and logistics support
- Marketplace support for Amazon/eBay
- Returns support for reverse logistics
- Phone and email customer support
- Built-in shipping savings for USPS Priority Mail
- Custom formulas, filters, and recipes
- Multiple box shipment support
- Error finder and corrector
Practice Makes Perfect
Getting your fulfillment up to speed will take some legwork and practice on your part. But that’s half the battle to creating synergy in your Ecommerce back-office. If you follow the steps that have been outlined in detail for you in this fulfillment guide, you’ll be able to fine-tune your outbound process in no time at all. After that, you can take solace in knowing that your fulfillment is fast, smooth and streamlined—which will ultimately equate to happier customers, stronger retention and improved loyalty.