EStore Order Fulfillment Acceleration Strategies

Estore order fulfillment

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EStore order fulfillment article and permission to publish here provided by Carl Torrence.

With the launch of Amazon’s Prime Membership back in 2005, the rules of the ecommerce game changed. Amazon Prime offered free two-day and cost-effective one-day/overnight delivery options; exclusive to their members.

According to a survey conducted by LaserShip, 63% of shoppers expect delivery of their orders within three days and the young shoppers are willing to pay a premium for this convenience.

Needless to say that retailers and ecommerce business owners are having a hard time keeping up with these demands. In fact, meeting customers’ demand for speedy deliveries is among the toughest challenges in the supply chain, as mentioned in MHI’s industry report.

The fact that efficiency in order fulfillment is directly related to customer satisfaction and loyalty has ecommerce business owners looking for ways, ideas, and methods to speed up their order fulfillment and supply chain operations.

If you are also looking to speed up your EStore order fulfillment services and logistic operations, then you are in the right place. We are going to list out 4 effective order fulfillment strategies to win loyal customers.

4 Order Fulfillment Strategies to Win Loyal Customers

Before we dive deep into fulfillment strategies, let’s get a proper understanding of the fulfillment process.

  1. Receiving: Before you start accepting orders, make sure you have inventory. In the case of fulfillment outsourcing, send your inventory to the provider.
  2. Inventory Storage: Having proper inventory storage or warehouse is imperative to keep your products secure.
  3. Processing: While processing orders, make sure to consider the instructions received with the orders. Processing includes retrieving products from the warehouse and packing it from dispatching.
  4. Shipping: Once the order is packed, the merchant or their order fulfillment partner ships the order to the customers.
  5. Processing returns: One of the crucial, and usually, overlooked steps in the order fulfillment process. As an ecommerce business owner, be ready to process any order return.

Once you have your entire fulfillment process in place, follow these 4 strategies to up your EStore order fulfillment game. 

1. Increase inventory and supply chain visibility

Monitor your production process, orders, and delivery to get a proper understanding of your entire supply chain operations. The better the visibility, the better the ability to address any supply chain management concerns that might come your way. The idea is to be two steps ahead of the problems and have solutions ready for any risks that might occur in your order fulfillment process.

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Here’s how you can increase the invisibility of your supply chain operations:

  • Communicate openly and frequently with your suppliers. Forge such relationships that they feel comfortable in communicating any hiccups and needs. Also, make sure to set and communicate expectations from them for optimum performance.
  • Aggregate shipment and order fulfillment data in one place for better visibility and insights. All the major stakeholders in your team should be able to access the aggregate data swiftly to take any decisions.
  • Set up regular reporting from your supply chain team, finance team, operations team, and all the other stakeholders to understand the current scenario. The reporting could be weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, and quarterly. Just make sure it’s regular and ongoing.

2. Opt for micro-fulfillment centers

Rather than going for large warehouse facilities for order fulfillment, many ecommerce businesses are opting for micro-fulfillment centers that are strategically placed in urban areas. Usually, these facilities are a fraction of the size of usual warehouses but because of their strategic placement around the areas where most stores and consumers are, they are more effective in order fulfillment.

Having micro-fulfillment centers allows you to be closer to your customers, reduces overall footprint and last-mile delivery costs, and has better efficiency for automation. 

Our readers found this helpful: How to Start Micro-fulfillment Center in a Matter of Weeks 

3. Partner with 3PL providers

If you are unable to meet your customers’ expectations of speedy deliveries and your current distribution capabilities are limited, then partnering with a third-party logistics provider is the proper strategic move. 

These providers take care of all the order fulfillment tasks, from storage, picking, and shipping to customers. They have prevailing order fulfillment centers in multiple regions that will help in accelerating your order fulfillment process.

Here’s how you can pick the right trusted 3PL partner to scale your order fulfillment operations:

  • Do your due diligence by talking to their affiliated businesses
  • Make sure they are technologically advanced
  • Check for their expertise in the omnichannel presence
  • Ensure their commitment to continuous improvement

4. Include a smart system

Deploy smart and innovative systems to do time-consuming, menial, and unimportant tasks. 

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Such intelligent systems and solutions deployed in warehouses use interrelated innovations to improve the overall efficiency of monitoring and operations and also reduces the workload of your team. This means your team will be able to focus on higher-level activities that have better ROI.

Advanced warehouse systems include smart and innovative systems like imaging and recognition, artificial intelligence, robotics, and RFID (radio-frequency identification).

Let’s see how these innovations help in improving warehouse operations and order fulfillment processes.

Robotics: Robotics in warehouse aim at addressing challenges like complicated fulfillment strategies, decreased labor availability, increasing employment costs and wages, etc. Robots move around product aisles to retrieve or deposit products. They also help in sorting products by using sensors, conveyor belts, arms, and algorithms. Apart from this, robots help in various ways in transportation, replenishment, and packaging.

AI: AI can assess the risk score by analyzing various activities of your current warehouse operation. By deploying various aspects of AI like cybernetics, problem-solving, deep learning, machine learning, and neural networks, you can improve the productivity of your labors, warehouse logistics operations, overall communication, and inventory.

RFID: This technology allows you to transmit the identity of products in the form of unique serial numbers wirelessly. Using this technology, you can improve data accuracy in real-time and also reduces the time and labor required to manage inventory.

On a Closing Note

Improving your EStore order fulfillment operations is not a matter of achieving operational excellence, but it’s a matter of gaining a competitive advantage by leveraging technology and innovative solutions.

Once you meet the growing demands of your customers, you are most likely to gain the necessary competitive advantage to make your business enormous success. Most importantly, you can expect better loyalty from your customers and increased lifetime value of customers.

Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on April 8, 2021.
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