E-Commerce continues to be the fastest growing sales channel anywhere in the world. E-Commerce globally has been growing at over 20% per year and will continue to grow at that rate for the next several years. (Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/288487/forecast-of-global-b2c-e-commerce-growt/ )
With these ever-increasing order volumes and changes in online shopper expectations there is enormous pressure on E-Commerce company Supply Chain distribution and fulfillment operations.
What are the keys for E-Commerce companies to be successful in fulfilling all of these orders and demands from online consumers?
Online shoppers want to buy what they want, wherever they are, on whatever device they choose to use, and have it delivered to any location of their choosing, at whatever speed they like, and with a choice of shipping cost options (including free).
The cost of the item itself, shipping costs (including free), and delivery options (eg. location, speed) are key factors for a consumer in determining whether they will actually place an order or whether they will abandon their online shopping cart. According to Big Commerce, Inc. as many as 66% of consumers have decided not to buy something due to shipping costs alone.
This is increasingly important when you consider that in 2016 E-Commerce in the U.S. totalled $394 billion in sales (as compared to total U.S. Retail sales of $4.8 trillion). Again the E-Commerce market is growing at over 20% per year.
On top of that Big Commerce, Inc. reports that 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly and 80% shop online at least monthly. These are big numbers!
So how do the companies that are selling all of these goods keep up?
E-Commerce Seller Capabilities
The number of companies selling online is equally staggering. There are 2-3m e-commerce companies in the world, excluding China (Source: http://blog.pipecandy.com/e-commerce-companies-market-size/ )
While large companies like Amazon, Alibaba and Walmart all have advanced capabilities the majority of these companies are small with little infrastructure and expertise.
Still anyone selling online must be able to meet their customer’s expectations. If they do not it is very simple, and quick, for a customer to find a competitor on line and buy their items elsewhere.
Sellers must be able to receive, fulfill and deliver orders at the lowest possible cost, and the fastest possible speed, and with the greatest flexibility.
How do companies make that order fulfillment expectation a reality?
The Keys to World Class Order Fulfillment
You do not need to be a billion dollar company with virtually unlimited cash flow to create the distribution and order fulfillment capability necessary to meet the demands of the E-Commerce marketplace.
You do however have to deploy a set of key principles in your order fulfillment operation to make it successful. Theses keys apply whether you are doing the order fulfillment activity within your own operation or whether you have outsourced this activity. In either case you must ensure that this part of your operation is working at the highest possible level of efficiency and effectiveness.
Based upon our experience we have developed a list of those keys. In application we have seen these keys deliver an order fulfillment capability that has resulted in a “4 Minute Click to Ship” capability. That is from the time a customer order is received within a warehouse it can be picked, packed and on the dock ready to ship within 4 minutes.
In this video we discuss what these key principles are. Please watch our video:
Keys to Success – Conclusion
You may be a small company working out of an equally small facility, a medium sized company struggling with the growing pains of managing an ever more successful business, or a large company wrestling with whether you should be doing your order fulfillment in-house or through outsourcing.
Regardless of your situation the keys to success in fulfilling your online customer orders are within your reach. Careful, thoughtful and conscious application of the warehouse process techniques we have described here will enable you to meet your customer demands and your financial imperatives.
The keys are proven techniques and principles that you can apply to help your business succeed!