Starting an ecommerce store has become a popular way to make money, especially since COVID-19 hit. With so much retail activity moving online during lockdowns and restrictions, many entrepreneurs decided to join the bandwagon and start an ecommerce endeavor.
However, before doing so, you should understand that it is not a passive money-earning opportunity. The ecommerce business requires long hours, hard work, and dedication, especially if you plan to fulfill all its functions alone. Here is a breakdown of the ecommerce order fulfillment process:
If the idea of taking on responsibility for order fulfillment overwhelms you or is something you lack time for, consider product fulfillment company Red Stag Fulfillment to handle it on your behalf. Such companies specialize in ensuring the ecommerce stores can fulfill orders without any hitches or delays.
Fulfilling an order starts with finding and sorting the items a customer ordered. This can be a challenge when you have large volumes of products in a warehouse or store them in your garage. Keeping track of storage locations is an essential business function for ecommerce companies. A third-party company that specializes in warehousing and logistics will not find keeping track of your merchandise challenging.
After getting a customer’s chosen goods out of storage, it is time to package them. Packaging material should be at hand in the packing area to secure the order and prepare it for transit. This includes cardboard boxes or thick plastic bags that are taped shut as the outer packaging. Interior packaging should consist of bubble wrap for fragile items, especially those loose and not in prepackaging of their own.
Product fulfillment companies perform this function on their clients’ behalf. Trained warehouse staff package goods safely without wasting materials while still ensuring they will not suffer damage during transit.
During packaging, a barcoded sticker with the relevant order and delivery details is affixed to the parcel. This is a critical part of the order fulfillment process as the sticker contains pertinent information that ensures a customer’s package arrives on time at the correct address.
At the warehouse, staff group parcels according to their destination before being shipped. Product fulfillment businesses sometimes have a shipping division, or outsource this function to delivery logistics companies like major courier companies.
As mentioned before, not knowing where things are stored or having a haphazard warehousing system slows order fulfillment down. This delays the delivery of this specific order, which has a knock-on effect on those subsequently placed.
Another aspect of storage to consider carefully is doing without damaging your products. Storing heavy objects on top of fragile ones leads to breakages and having to write off inventory costs.
Plan and manage your storage space before your inventory arrives to have a system that is easy to track. Waiting until your supplier leaves and then trying to rearrange things is a waste of time and effort that should go to other business operational tasks. Professional warehousing operations like order fulfillment companies have professional warehouse managers and software systems that track every item, right down to its location.
How you handle returns may make or break a customer’s decision to shop at your ecommerce store. If you have a complex, unnavigable returns policy or one that demands purchases pay to return a product, some clients might prefer to take their business elsewhere.
Hassle-free returns and exchanges are essential for ecommerce store success. These processes must be handled efficiently and without delay. If you choose to work via a product fulfillment company, ensure that you lock down an agreement on how it will manage returns and exchanges.