Order fulfilment is a vital function in any ecommerce business. Once customers have purchased a product from your online store, you need to be able to complete the process by delivering the order to the customer. It goes beyond printing a label, sticking it on a package, and handing it over to a courier for delivery to customers. Successful order fulfilment is essential to customer satisfaction.
Failure or delays in delivery can have a huge impact not only on your brand reputation but also on your bottom line. Statistics reveal that 69% of customers are less likely to purchase again from a retailer if a purchase is not delivered within 2 days of the date promised. Successful order fulfilment can lead to a positive customer shopping experience and boost the likelihood of repeat purchases. On the other hand, a botched order fulfillment process can cause financial and time constraints. Here are 10 order fulfillment mistakes you should avoid to ensure customer satisfaction.
- Lack of Communication
- Poor Inventory Management
- Complicated Payment Process
- You Don’t Anticipate International Shipping
- Manual Order Management
- Excessive Shipping Costs
- Wrong Choice of Courier
- Inadequate Customer Service
- No Coordination with Suppliers
- Lack of Integration
1. Lack of Communication
Communication with your customers is very important in order fulfillment. You need to keep them updated with the status of their order from packaging to shipping, courier pickup, and finally delivery. You can provide them with a tracking number so they can monitor the location of their order.
At the onset, you should have constant communication with your customer regarding the status of their orders. There should be seamless communication between your sales team and your warehouse. They should be informed about delivery schedules to avoid any delays with customer orders.
When sending a tracking code to your customers, make sure that you sent the correct one. Sending the wrong tracking code can create confusion. Test the code yourself before sending it to the customer. Allowing them to track their order can help improve communication with customers.
2. Poor Inventory Management
Nothing can be more frustrating to a customer than purchasing an item only to learn that they can’t have it or they would have to wait. According to statistics, 34% of businesses have shipped an order late because a product they sold was out of stock. This could eventually impact customer satisfaction. The buyer could just leave a negative review on your website due to your failure to deliver on your promise.
Effective inventory management will help keep your customers updated if the products they plan to purchase are in stock before they can order. In addition, it will also help you identify which items are low in stock so you can restock them with new items. Having an inventory management strategy will help keep you track of every item in your inventory.
Investing in an inventory management system can help you prevent human errors. It will immediately notify you if a customer has an issue that needs to be handled as soon as possible. Small issues about your inventory management need to be addressed right away as it will cause you to lose customers and damage your brand.
3. Complicated Payment Process
Your customer is already committed to buying your product but when they are about to pay for it, they cannot complete the payment because of a complicated process. Statistics from Invesp reveal that 11% of shoppers will abandon their cart due to a complex checkout process. If your payment process requires more than the needed steps, it can become a source of frustration for your customers and they will decide not to move forward with checkout.
Customers have different preferences when paying for their purchases. If their preferred payment method isn’t available in your online store, they would simply abandon their cart and buy somewhere else. Some are not that at ease with paying with their credit or debit card so give them another payment option. It can be PayPal, Payoneer, or even Bitcoin if that is their preferred option.
Also, it can be tempting to lead the customer to another website to handle the payment processing. These websites know the process and will be able to help the customer complete the payment. However, by redirecting them to another website, the customers might think that you are giving away their money to another store and may no longer trust you. As much as possible, keep everything on your website.
4. You Don’t Anticipate International Shipping
If the product ordered by the customer comes from overseas, it may take weeks or months before they receive the item. While they don’t expect the product to be delivered overnight, chances are they will look elsewhere if they have to wait long. Statistics reveal that 53% of customers would not buy from a retailer if they don’t know the shipping date while 54% say that they would buy again if the online store can provide the delivery date.
International shipping can become a problem if you don’t devise a system for handling overseas orders. Studies reveal that 24.4% of most businesses report that international shipments are one of their biggest fulfillment challenges. Not anticipating international orders can cause delivery delays and eventually become a source of frustration for your customers. If orders don’t arrive on time, it will not only turn your customers away from your business but also damage your reputation as a business.
Allow your customers to have a range of shipping options. In addition, you can provide them with shipping notifications so they will have an idea when their order will arrive. In addition, make sure that international orders should be integrated into your order processing system. Finally, work with a partner who has experience with international shipping.
5. Manual Order Management
When you are just starting out with your ecommerce business, it might be understandable to be hands-on with order fulfillment. However, as your volume of order grows, manually handling orders can become overwhelming and the possibility of human error increases. Manual order management can open your processes to a 10% to 30% error rate.
Manually managing orders may lead to common mistakes like spelling or tallying mistakes and errors in sequence. It may also result in wrong product delivery and an increase in returned orders. Order fulfillment should have little or no room for error because customers expect to receive the right order without any issues.
Instead of manual order management, consider automating it. Choose a software that can create robust databases of customer information. The system will notify you about delivery deadlines, shipping status, and other order related information. Utilize software that can work with barcode scanners to make order fulfilment a snap. It will also ensure that the correct order went to the right customer.
6. Excessive Shipping Costs
Shipping is one of the biggest challenges in order fulfillment. Statistics show that high extra costs are the top reasons for cart abandonment. When customers have already decided to purchase your product, don’t surprise them with additional fees as it could turn away your customers and cause them to cancel their purchase.
Most online retailers struggle with two shipping related costs namely how much to charge for shipping and keeping shipping costs reasonable. Shipping is often overlooked by many ecommerce companies in their desire to reduce costs and boost profits. Customers expect to pay more when they purchase more but will most likely balk at higher shipping fees.
Work with your shipping provider to implement ways to reduce overall shipping costs. You can consider offering free shipping to entice customers to order from your store again. In addition, you can cover the shipping costs in the product price.
7. Wrong Choice of Courier
Your partner courier will also play a vital role in successful order fulfillment. Sometimes in your desire to cover free shipping costs, you are tempted to cut costs and settle for a low-quality courier. Working with the wrong shipper may cause various problems such as ruptured packaging, delayed processes, and unfulfilled orders.
Compromising shipping quality can lead to unhappy customers and higher churn rates. A study conducted by Convey, Inc revealed that 98% of buyers say that shipping impacts their loyalty to a brand with 84% saying they are unlikely to return to a retailer after just one negative experience. In addition, 87% of shoppers expect brands to rectify their mistakes on a missed delivery.
Do your due diligence in researching shipping companies and choose one that has shown consistency in functions and is an expert in handling different order types. Choose a courier with a reputation for timely deliveries. It would be better if the courier has a local warehouse to reduce shipping and handling costs.
8. Inadequate Customer Service
For missing, delayed, or damaged orders, customers will usually contact the customer service department. But if your ecommerce website is lacking in this aspect where will your shoppers turn for their concerns? You want to make sure that your customer service team is able to quickly and competently resolve buyer concerns. Having inadequate customer service is one of the worst order fulfillment mistakes you can commit.
Ensuring a positive customer experience can help ensure repeat business. Loyal customers can be your best brand ambassadors. Avoiding crucial mistakes like missed delivery time, wrong packaging, misprinted labelling, and others throughout your supply chain ensures brand loyalty. These mistakes may seem small enough for you but maybe enough for your customers to write a negative review of your company.
Invest in customer service management systems to help eliminate human errors. You want to make sure that your customers are nurtured and taken care of to keep their business. Customers have the option to take their business elsewhere so don’t give them that opportunity by providing them with excellent customer service.
9. No Coordination with Suppliers
Communicating with your third-party supplier is vital to the success of your ecommerce business. How you communicate with your logistics providers will determine whether your supply chain will become streamlined or remain stagnant. Not communicating with suppliers could result in shipping incorrect orders, missed shipped dates, or out of stock inventory.
Effective communication with your suppliers is key in ensuring continuous customer service. It is important for both you and the vendor to have clear and quick coordination to maintain the good reputation of your business. Missed shipping dates, out of stock inventory, wrong delivery addresses can turn off customers and may lead them to completely abandon their orders.
Establish a solid communication channel with your suppliers. This will help streamline processes. It is important for the vendor to understand who is their contact person and for both parties to remove any grey area in the communication process to avoid missed deadlines or shortage of inventory.
10. Lack of Integration
Another common mistake in order fulfillment is a lack of integration. This may be due to the warehouse not informing you that the order of the customer is already out of stock or that there may be delays in shipping. These are common instances that can happen when there is no integration. If not corrected, this may have a huge impact on your business and may lead to customer frustration.
By using an integrated order management system, you will be able to establish “real time” connections to your warehouse as the orders come and go. Automating order fulfillment will reduce any potential chance of error. Order fulfillment issues are bound to happen and the only way to correct them is through proper integration. Any hiccups in your order fulfillment process can damage your reputation and hurt your future sales.
You can outsource your order fulfillment needs to a partner who has the expertise, size, scale, and capability to effectively integrate order management issues and smoothen out the entire process.
Avoiding these order fulfillment mistakes is essential to keeping your customers happy and loyal to your online store.
Why Choose airisX For Your E-Commerce Needs?
Being successful in the Ecommerce space is more than just listing some products and hoping the sales arrive. airisX Ecommerce Solutions brings together a comprehensive suite of services to cover all aspects of operating and growing an ecommerce business. This allows our clients to achieve more with less resources to transform their business for the future.
Our solutions build you a dedicated custom team within our organization to provide you with the toolbox to grow, expand, and service your customers without the overhead and headaches of doing it yourself, all at a lower cost.