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Why Efficient In-House Order Fulfilment is Everything in Ecommerce

Ahead of their masterclass at next month’s Ecommerce Unlocked conference in Exeter, the team at ShipStation are here to explain exactly which areas of in-house order fulfilment you need to focus on to save time and money, whilst guaranteeing your customers a great experience …

Order fulfilment is the bread and butter of a great ecommerce strategy and can give you a competitive advantage. Get it right and customers are delighted, you save time and money, and your brand flies.

Get it wrong, however, and not only does your business suffer with costly inefficiencies, but this leaves a bad taste for customers which can lead to reputational damage and churn.

When you’re fulfilling orders in-house, you have greater control over this process to ensure the best experience for your customers. But this also means more responsibility. It's therefore crucial that you have the right technology, tools and processes at your disposal.

Here are five things to focus on for efficient in-house order fulfilment:

#1 Transparency and communication with customers

Having clear, efficient communications at every stage of your in-house order fulfilment process - both with customers and internally - is key.

This begins at checkout when a customer completes a transaction. Here you need to set expectations and let customers know upfront about things like:

  • Items that are out of stock

  • Delivery costs

  • Delivery times

  • Order stages with email / SMS notifications

  • Order tracking options

#2 Fast order processing to meet demands

The desire for fast delivery is still increasing, and 88% of consumers are willing to pay extra for it. With sites like Amazon and eBay offering speedy delivery by default, consumers are getting impatient, and smaller ecommerce brands are under pressure to keep up.

But what does ‘fast’ mean? And how long are people willing to wait?

However, customers are more forgiving with delivery times and delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. A study by ShipStation on customer expectations around delivery options found that 79% of respondents expect shipping delays due to COVID-19. The same study found that 13% even consider delays to be long-lasting and are willing to make permanent adjustments to their expectations because of this.

It can be time-consuming to pack and pick your own orders. To make sure employees can carry out each stage of fulfilment efficiently, without compromising on quality, you need to think about embracing the right technology and automating processes for:

  • Inventory visibility and management

  • Keeping track of orders

  • Multi-channel order fulfilment

  • Shipping label generation

  • Reducing human error

#3 Intelligent carrier service selection

It’s important that your brand works with a mix of different carriers to fulfil orders quickly and meet customer demands. The benefits of using a variety of carriers are:

  • Meeting different customer needs

  • Competitive rates

  • Carrier diversity

  • Better international shipping support

  • Lots of transit time and delivery options

Explore different ways and tools to improve the process of selecting carriers, to make it quick and easy, such as ShipStation.

#4 Providing an excellent customer delivery experience

So you’ve sent the order out and it’s expected to be with the customer quickly. But customers are fickle, and they only really define a good experience when it reaches their door.

Delivery experience directly impacts the decision to shop with a retailer again. And customers expect you to provide multiple different delivery options to suit their needs, such as click-and-collect, locker drop-off, and free delivery. You also need to consider things like packaging options. In fact:

#5 Managing returns quickly and simply

Again, order fulfilment doesn’t stop until the customer is completely satisfied. That means their product has arrived quickly, safely, in good condition, and is what they wanted when they open it and get it out of the box.

So, ecommerce businesses need a way to manage returns and refunds just as well as the initial order fulfilment. Shoppers want quick and simple returns. And according to research:

  • 30% of ecommerce products are returned

  • 66% of shoppers read your returns policies

  • Inconvenient returns deter 80% of shoppers from returning

  • 79% of customers want free return shipping

But it’s not just about customers. Ecommerce businesses also don’t want to be bogged down with inconvenient returns, so they need to have the right processes and technology in place to ensure returns are hassle-free on both sides.

Find out how The Board Basement made improvements to its delivery process with ShipStation

ShipStation is a multichannel order and delivery management platform with 100+ integrations. It helps you fulfil orders efficiently and effectively by allowing you to:

  • Manage your inventory and gain real-time insights

  • View, sort, and filter orders easily

  • Have all couriers in one place and choose the best one

  • Automate time-consuming processes

  • Create a personalised and memorable customer experience with branded shipping and return labels, and a self-service returns portal

ShipStation’s software recently helped The Board Basement, an online snowboarding retailer based in the South West of England, optimise and streamline their in-house fulfilment.

Come join our masterclass at Ecommerce Unlocked to find out exactly how they achieved exceptionally efficient delivery — and how you can do the same!