Ecommerce sales are going to exceed $1 trillion for the first time ever this year. Customers got comfortable with online shopping during the pandemic.
Now, they’re used to shopping without leaving home and they love the convenience of that. Consumers enjoy the process, especially the moment they receive packages.
If you have an ecommerce business, you know that small business fulfillment is important to cut down on sales returns.
It has an even bigger impact on your business. It’s a part of the customer experience. If you want to keep customers returning, you need to deliver the right goods on time.
A bad customer experience means that you’re going to replace customers. It’s a never-ending cycle of just getting by month after month.
Instead of looking for new customers, strengthen the order fulfillment process. You give yourself a chance to exceed customer expectations.
Do you want to find ways to improve the order process? You’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn the top small business fulfillment tips to improve the customer experience.
Choose the Right Fulfillment Model
There are a few models small businesses can use for order fulfillment. Each has its pros and cons.
Dropshipping is the most common way small businesses start. With this model, you sell products that already exist or can get created on demand.
Your job is to sell the order. The dropshipper produces the item and ships it to the customer.
This lets almost anyone start a small business without much overhead. A mark against dropshipping is that you have no control over product quality and order fulfillment.
You have to make sure you choose the best dropshipper.
The third-party logistics (3PL) model lets you outsource the logistics of the order fulfillment process. You provide the products and store inventory at the 3PL warehouse.
The 3PL company handles order processing and shipping. In this situation, you depend on the 3PL provider to tell you when inventory is low. You don’t have control over the quality of the fulfillment process.
Finally, you can fulfill the orders yourself. This is the best solution if you have a small number of orders to process or you work with a lot of volume. This lets you have control over each step of order fulfillment.
Create a System for Order Fulfillment
If your business handles order fulfillment, you need to have processes and systems in place. The four main steps of the process are receiving, processing, sending, and returns.
There should be a checklist of items that occurs at each step. For instance, when you receive orders, they need to be logged, confirmed with the vendor invoice, inspected, and sorted.
Doing this manually can easily turn into an order fulfillment nightmare.
It’s best to use software for order fulfillment. You can manage each part of the process with accuracy.
A good order fulfillment program allows you to automate tasks. You’re able to create detailed shipping labels that contain the right information for the package to reach the customer.
This article explains how shipping labels work and why they’re an important part of your logistics strategy.
Make Order Fulfillment Part of Your Brand Strategy
Do you really want to make customers remember your business? Treat small business fulfillment as part of your brand strategy.
This is a great way to reinforce the values of your company and the brand. For instance, if your company values the environment, you can use eco-friendly packaging.
A fun and exciting brand can make the package fun. The package can get secured with tape with your company’s logo and brand colors.
Inside the box, you can add review cards and marketing materials. Customers make the connection between your brand and a positive experience.
Maintain Accurate Inventory
Accurate inventory levels ensure that products are available when customers want to purchase them. At the same time, you don’t want to overstock items.
You’ll end up sitting on inventory and paying a lot in warehousing fees.
Start by doing an inventory count. You’ll reconcile what you actually have and what you think you have.
Keep your warehouse space organized. Stock products so the ones sitting on the shelves the longest are the first to get shipped to customers.
Accurate inventory numbers also give you an accurate record of your business. You can track sales and product losses. Your order fulfillment software will make inventory management easy.
Collect Data to Make Decisions
Another perk of using order fulfillment software is data. These programs are capable of generating reports so you know where your business stands at any time.
You can see current inventory levels so you know when it’s time to order more stock. You see sales numbers that let you spot product trends.
You’re able to measure your profitability and where your business is vulnerable. Overall, you’re able to make better decisions.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to make decisions based on your gut feeling. Make decisions based on data instead. You’ll make smarter decisions for your business.
The Top Small Business Fulfillment Tips
Small business fulfillment is a critical part of your business. If you deliver orders late or damaged, customers will return them. They won’t return to your business.
You don’t want to spend more time and energy looking for new customers to break even each month. Instead, use these small business fulfillment tips to improve the customer experience.
Your customers will be happy, they’ll spend more, and bring more people to your business. You’ll be able to grow and compete with bigger companies.
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