Order fulfillment is the process of warehousing, packaging, and shipping the products to the end-user. Easier said than done, this process can be complicated and stressful. So far as you as a business owner, order fulfillment issues are a common encounter. However, it’s only smart of you to know ways of solving them. Continue reading to discover feasible solutions to some common problems of order fulfillment.
When customers order a product, you need to easily locate or order the product. If your warehouse is poorly organized or your communication with suppliers is mismanaged, you will have trouble locating the right inventory at the right time. And that will cause shipping delays. If customers pay for expedited delivery, they’ll get annoyed at delayed shipping.
To avoid this, maintain real-time data on your inventory. Hire warehouse workers you can trust. The faster you can locate your inventory, the faster your inventory will be delivered.
Damaged or Incorrect Inventory
After a customer has waited for days or weeks for a much-coveted product, receiving the wrong or damaged product can be infuriating. Some entrepreneurs knowingly send out slightly damaged inventory in the hopes a customer won’t notice. Rest assured, they notice. When they do, it costs you money to replace the product. At worse, the customer might think twice about ordering from you again.
Proper inventory management on the front end can prevent many of these issues. House your inventory safely. Ensure it is double-checked before sending. Invest in quality packaging, and always pay for insurance.
International shipping can take a week to several months. While international buyers don’t expect to get their products overnight, they will look elsewhere if they’ve to wait too long. Offer a range of shipping options to your international customers. Don’t be surprised that many are willing to pay a significant premium to get their products sooner. You might also want to consider negotiating a bulk international shipping rate if you do a large volume of international business.
Retailers struggle with two distinct shipping-related expenses: determining how much to charge for shipping and keeping shipping costs reasonable. The simplest way to set shipping expenses is to do so by weight. If you don’t want to or can’t do that, then try establishing shipping costs based on price. Customers expect to pay more when they purchase more. So they’re less likely to balk at a slightly higher shipping fee.
Inadequate Customer Service
Customers would contact customer service if their product is missing, delayed, or damaged. Inadequate customer service may be the worst fulfillment mistake you make. If your customer service representatives can’t quickly and competently respond to customer concerns, why bother hiring them? You might also light your money on fire.
Invest in quality customer service representatives, even if it costs a little more. They’ll be better equipped to manage fulfillment issues, and you’ll have fewer angry customers on your hands.
Poor Inventory Management
There is nothing more frustrating to customers than purchasing a product only to discover that they can’t have it, or that they have to wait long to get it. Without diligent inventory management, you’ll sell out of products before you realize it, forcing you to issue refunds and incentives to disappointed customers.
Create an inventory management strategy to keep track of every product. Then ensure it automatically updates your store. If there’s a chance a product won’t be available, or you know it’s already on backorder, clearly notify customers of this fact in the listing.
Replacing Lost or Damaged Products
No matter how diligently you manage your store, some products will get lost or damaged. Replacing them can be costly. Therefore, consider purchasing shipping insurance for every product. Don’t charge customers for returned merchandise. Otherwise, you’ll have a bevy of irate consumers. Instead, you should offer them a free return envelope and pre-printed label for easy returns. Make the return process easy, and you’ll turn the mistake into a good experience that creates a loyal customer.
Note that encountering order fulfillment issues are inevitable. Now that you are informed, that will give you an edge on having a prepared solution to any order fulfillment issue you might face now or in the future. Luckily, this article has done justice by giving you ways to solve 7 common order fulfillment problems. That will improve your likelihood of turning your one-time customers into your lifetime customers. Good luck!