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Lesson 4: How to improve your Fulfillment process

Best practices to decrease the number of eCommerce returns

The main goal of eCommerce is to satisfy customer needs by offering them top-notch products. By selling a product that is useful to customers, we increase customer satisfaction and our profits. We sell goods to deliver the top quality product and customer satisfaction. To do this, we must plan the whole process, starting with the purchase or production of a good. Then we have to make sure that customers hear about us and find our site. When these processes work well and customers like our goods, we have achieved half of the success. The other half of this success is delivering the order to the customer. This seems simple and straightforward, but when we take a closer look, we see that this process is multi-dimensional and requires planning at more than one stage. At the same time, a conscious eCommerce shop owner is aware that the speed of execution of this process is a key factor. The entire process from placing the order to the delivery of the product to the door should be done as accurately and as quickly as possible. Competition is high, and the customer will not wait. In eCommerce, the series of processes initiated from placing an order is called order fulfilment. This process includes the process of receiving the order, packing it, labelling it appropriately and sending it to the customer. The time taken to complete this process is one of the most important metrics for our eCommerce shop, so we should pay careful attention to it. Nowadays, the standard is to deliver an order within one to two working days. Meeting this standard can be difficult and punishing. Do you have an eCommerce store, but your customers complain about the delivery time and decide to buy from your competitors? Is your business just starting out, and order fulfilment is black magic to you? This article will provide you with six valuable tips to help you improve your order fulfilment process and reach your customers faster and more efficiently..

Table of contents Contents:





Chapter 1: Make sure you have the perfect warehouse

The shopping patterns of the new generations are also important. Representatives of generations Y and Z expect to return part or all of the order more often than other generations when shopping online - 46% of e-buyers aged 18-25 make such declarations (according to State of eCommerce delivery research, 2016). It is young customers who return the most online purchases. Consumers in the 14 to 29 age group send back 18% of their orders. Therefore, more and more online retailers, including the aforementioned Zalando, are asking themselves whether free returns are a business attribute or a growing cost that threatens profits. It's also worth remembering that the propensity to return varies by industry. We most often return clothes and shoes (even 60% of products bought online) and consumer electronics. Next are children's goods, home furnishings and cosmetics. Companies from these industries face the biggest challenges. All the more so as they increasingly have to deal with dishonest customers who return used products. The clothing industry is leading the way, with more and more cases of people buying clothes to take a picture for social media or just to go to a party, meeting, etc. These are only a few examples of returns one can encounter. There are many more. That is why Staying up to date is so important for anyone running an eCommerce store. Know the trends, especially those related to returns.

  • Keep up with the newest eCommerce trends - Do not delay in designing and adapting your warehouse to the needs of your business

  • Ensure that your warehouse has the right office and profound IT infrastructure

  • Automate your storage processes as much as possible using available IT technologies

Chapter 2: Ensure a reliable order picking process

Even the most carefully planned sales process will fail if the shop manager or warehouse does not take care of the correct order picking process. The big challenge for companies is to ensure that the picking and stock issue process is absolutely flawless. Every eCommerce warehouse is different, with different rotation of goods, number of orders processed, location of their supply chains, etc. During the order picking process, costly mistakes are possible to be made. Our staff may make a mistake and send a shipment that does not match the order. The goods may be too few or too many; we may get the wrong models or deliver the goods on a different date than declared. It is essential to minimize these errors. Most of them are caused by an outdated offer or inconsistent stock quantities of products with the information presented to consumers. Without appropriate, often automatic control, it is difficult to protect against all possible errors. The risk is even greater the more extensive the product range of our shop is. Updating the amount of goods is often done manually, which takes a lot of time and is inefficient. The solution to these problems is to use an ERP system for warehouse management integrated with the website. This will give us a mechanism to control stock levels by allowing us to automatically pick orders and automatically update stock levels. This will allow us to complete orders on an ongoing basis, eliminating errors and minimizing the risk of mistakes, complaints, and dissatisfaction of the shop's customers.

  • Invest in the eCommerce integrations and ERP systems to control your stock and automate your order picking

  • Control and minimize the mistakes made by your staff

Chapter 3: Improve your packaging

It is said that it is not the clothes that adorn the man. This is not always true. In the case of products, the packaging can reflect not only the product that is inside but also the brand of the shop that sells the product. The most important thing to remember is that the packaging should match the product you are offering. Both the primary packaging (the box the product comes in) and the secondary packaging (the cardboard box that is used to ship the product) must be suitable for the product. If the packaging is too big or too small, we could damage the product.

Furthermore, too big cartons would have to be filled with protective materials in order to protect the product, thus generating unnecessary costs for filling and shipping the carton, as shipping a bigger package is much more expensive than shipping a small package that is adapted to the size of the product. Therefore, you should choose packaging that is as suitable as possible for your product. This reduces weight, costs and the risk of damage. Using the smallest possible packaging will save you money, especially if you run a small business and have not yet signed up to favorable courier contracts. When sending by post, every gram of weight can make a difference. In addition to the economic and protective aspects, the aesthetic function of the packaging is also important. There are many ways in which you can add variety to your product packaging. You can put your own logo on the packaging and turn the packaging into a business card. Use materials that are pleasing to the eye and touch to create packaging that makes your brand memorable and attracts even more new customers.

  • Use packaging that fits the size of your product, minimizing costs

  • Make the packaging the business card of your shop and your brand

Chapter 4: Make sure your parcel labels stand out

E-commerce has seen a growing number of companies using customized promotional labels for their products. A label on a parcel allows a brand to stand out from the crowd and become a brand awareness tool that can become increasingly recognizable to current and future customers. The main function of label printing is to conveniently present shipment information that can be communicated quickly and effectively. The use of a custom label increases the curiosity of the buyer. If the label additionally conveys information about a promotion or product segment. It is not uncommon to see labels (25% off, New product in tock). Curiosity increases the likelihood of similar sales, which contributes to the overall performance of the eCommerce shop. In addition, a package with a custom label has a chance to stand out from the ever-growing competition and become even more memorable to the customer. These labels can be generated with the help of label preparation software integrated into your website as a plug-in or integrated into the ERP system used in the shop. Additionally, labelling is another factor that automates supply chain processes in your shop.

  • Use custom labels that are clearly associated with your brand

  • Use labelling solutions for your parcels and orders integrated with your ERP system and website

Chapter 5: Automate your shipping

Automated shipping is the automation of commercial shipping procedures as new orders are placed, including picking items from inventory, packing boxes, and getting packages in transit to be delivered to customers. The automation aims to speed up the fulfilment process by eliminating the tasks, which are mostly done manually. Shipping automation will reduce the need for human intervention and costs associated with labor in the eCommerce shop. As an owner, you will have more time to involve in a more vital process that will bring more revenue. Automated shipping allows us to reduce the number of tasks we need to do to send the parcel; sorting, counting stocks, preparing the parcels, shipping them to your worldwide customers. This well-

working machine can skyrocket your revenue and optimize your operational costs. You can even use third- party solutions or integrations to create an efficient streamline of preparing, sending, tracking and returning orders. Thanks to this, you will be more reliable to your customers by delivering your parcels effortlessly, precisely and effectively and skyrocketing the reliability of your brand.

  • Automate your shipping process if possible to reduce human error

  • Eliminate the tasks which are time-consuming and disturbing for your business

Chapter 6: Create an unforgettable experience for your customers

You can do a lot to improve the processes of your eCommerce shop, but the ultimate goal has to be the same. A customer opening a package from your shop should open it as if they were receiving a gift. When the customer feels positive emotions and their needs are fulfilled, they will return to buy the next product and recommend your shop to their friends. The entire delivery should be an expected, immersive experience.

  • Make the order an unforgettable experience for your customer

  • Personalize the shipment as much as possible


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