The order fulfillment process is vital for all businesses. Although complex, it should be organized and efficient. The outcome of a good order fulfillment process is satisfying customers. However, if the process takes too much time, you might not meet your goal.
As a result, you might lose customers or slow down the movement of your business funds. You can avoid these issues when you optimize your order fulfillment process by doing the following tips:
1. Hire Order Fulfillment Companies
Fulfilling orders can become stressful and more complicated if you start getting more orders. If you continue an in-house operation, expect to allot more time in picking, packing, labeling, and shipping orders. Doing this may affect you from optimizing your other skills to grow your business.
That’s why hiring a product fulfillment company can lighten your responsibilities. An order fulfillment company has a logistics provider that processes your order requests. For instance, if someone placed an order on your e-commerce platform, you request order processing to the order fulfillment company. Then, they’ll be the ones to pick up your items, pack, label, and ship the orders. As a result, you can focus on marketing and developing your products.
Moreover, hiring such companies will help you reduce operational costs. These expenses include renting a warehouse, hiring temporary workers, and buying new infrastructures. Especially during lean seasons, paying for a warehouse may decrease your profits because you spend more on expenses. You don’t have to hire temporary workers who can cost you during the hiring process for peak seasons. Moreover, you don’t need to build new infrastructure to operate your business.
Hiring an order fulfillment company will not only help you with the process, but they can help your business make a good reputation with the customers. Because they have all the resources to make a smooth and rapid order fulfillment, your customers will be satisfied.
2. Use An Order Management System
You can also use an order management system (OMS), software to manage your inventory and orders efficiently. Overall, you can improve your business workflow if you have an efficient order fulfillment process.
Here are the functions of an OMS to improve your order fulfillment process:
- Places Order From Customers: When a customer places an order, use the OMS to collect your customers’ data. For instance, they’ll need to fill up the standardized form containing personal information like email address and contact number. With this customer profile, you can analyze their purchase history. Then, your OMS will process their payment and send the order to the warehouse.
- Places Purchase Order: When your stocks in the warehouse are not enough, your OMS will place a purchase order. It’s automatic because you can use the software to track and monitor your stocks for every sale you make.
- Records Invoices And Receipts: Also, your OMS will automatically send sales reports to your accounting software. With such, your sales are automatically recorded for easy accounting and auditing.
- Updates And Follows-Up: OMS’s function extends to track where the orders are. It notifies the customer when the order has been shipped. That way, the customer will know when to expect its arrival. Lastly, your OMS will automatically generate a follow-up email to your customer. It contains a short survey of how your customers like the product and instructions on how to contact customer service.
3. Maintain Open Communication
Open communication when it comes to the order fulfillment process means having multiple channels so customers can reach you anytime. Don’t stick to one channel only because nowadays, people use various apps and software to communicate. Instead, include your business’ social media accounts, phone numbers, and online chat as communication channels. Or use tools to streamline your business communication.
Because making a sale is only the beginning of your communication with customers. You should have open communication for the following reasons during the fulfillment process:
- Suggest Personalized Products – Some customers have preferences on how their products should be packed, shipped, or addressed. Hence, they may need to contact you for specific requests. You may need to fulfill such requests so you can avoid complaints when they receive their orders.
- Ask For Clarification – Even with instructions, some customers may find it hard to follow them. For instance, if you require a customer to fill out a form to get a discount, some may need to contact you for clarification. Primarily if it covers their personal information, they may question its importance in placing an order. You can clarify their questions if they can reach you easily.
- Inform Them Of Problems – Although this requires you to contact your customers first, it’s essential to reach them through their personal contact number or email address instead of the chat services in your e-commerce platform. It’s because not all customers are always visiting e-commerce platforms after they placed an order. Your customers will appreciate it more if you send them an email or text message regarding a shipment delay or other issues. Include how you’re dealing with the issue, and they’ll thank you for it because you’ve informed them immediately.
4. Implement A Return Policy
Whether you like it or not, there’ll be times when your customer wants to return their order. Especially if they receive a damaged or wrong item, they’ll insist on returning it. If you don’t accept such, it’ll leave you bad feedback. If it gets out, people might not trust your company.
However, if you have a return policy as part of your order fulfillment process, customers will be more likely to order from you. It’s because they know that they can return it if they receive a damaged or wrong item.
By accepting returns, you can improve your order fulfillment process because your customers are satisfied. You don’t leave them hanging with a defective or wrong item. But with a return, you complete the order fulfillment process because you’ve resolved the issue with your customer.
Fulfilling your customers’ orders can make or break your business. It involves collecting orders to packing until your customers receive them. If you have a good order fulfillment process, you can satisfy your customers and increase your sales.
You can improve your order fulfillment process by hiring a reputable company to help you with the process or you can use an OMS to automate the process. Until the customers received their orders, you should maintain open communication so they can reach you anytime. Lastly, implement a return policy to ensure that your customers will receive the right item they ordered.
Larisa Rector is a business blogger who regularly updates her blog with tips for aspiring entrepreneurs. Larisa also creates videos about business trends and then publish them on her blog. Larisa also submits guest posts to other business-related articles and blogs to reach more audiences.