Running an eCommerce business is exciting.
Shaping your brand and selling your items is an exhilarating feeling and it’s great to watch your business grow.
But with scaling, comes more work in terms of order fulfilment.
So just what is order fulfilment in eCommerce?
Well, in a nutshell, it is the process of taking an order and getting the product in question to the customer. This can be done manually, but the more orders you have, the more work this entails.
Businesses like Diamond Logistics take the strain of fulfilment from your hands, and do the hard work for you, offering you more time to focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing and selling.
But just what are the processes behind fulfilment? And what makes a good operation?
Let’s start at the beginning.
The main goal for an eCommerce business is to make sales. Everyone loves checking their sales channels to find more customers and more revenue have come in.
But keeping track of these orders can be tricky.
In the current eCommerce climate, multichannel selling is essential. Websites such as Amazon and eBay rack up billions of users every year, and if your product isn’t on there, then you are missing out. Nearly half of all buyers now skip personal stores altogether, jumping straight to the marketplaces available to do their shopping.
When selling across multiple channels it can be difficult to keep up with orders. It is time-consuming to constantly check across each channel, and you run the risk of forgetting and missing some sales.
By outsourcing, you know your orders are in good hands, and that every order will be accounted for and processed quickly. Using an order management platform such as Despatchlab, every sales channel is consolidating onto one dashboard, meaning no order can go missing or be neglected.
When people make a purchase and choose a rapid delivery, they expect it to be upheld. This means every minute counts when it comes to getting the orders processed and putting the fulfilment operation into action.
Once the order is in, it is time to go and collect the product.
For a small business, this may be as easy as nipping over to the next room and searching the shelves. When the business grows though, the number of SKUs can rise into the hundreds and thousands, making pinpointing your product feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
Automated picking is a popular choice among warehouse operatives all over the country, as it makes locating certain items lightning quick.
Whereas manual picking often contains a list of products that have been purchased that can be ticked off when collecting, automated picking can go into much more detail, often providing the exact shelf or bin number for the product to be found.
If you can also operate a barcode scanning system, this will let you know that the product you are picking is the right one, hugely minimising picking errors. If you can pick the right product every time, then you can rest easy knowing no customer will be disappointed when their purchase arrives.
When working in a business such as childrenswear, the difference between two sizes can be hard to spot, therefore picking errors can occur a lot. This can be damaging to customer relationships and end up costing your business in returns.
By outsourcing with Diamond Logistics, you aren’t just making sure the right parcel is always selected, you are making your picking much more efficient.
With trained pickers who are lightning quick, you know that you can keep up with the demand for same and next day delivery, and always keep your customers delighted with the service you provide.
Now the item is picked, it needs to be packed.
This can be a long process if you are not prepared.
Firstly, have your different packaging ready depending on the different sizes of your objects. For example, if you are only posting something small such as a pair of socks, you are not just wasting time, but also wasting money if you use large packaging.
You must also assign all picked products to their orders. When people buy online and have to pay for shipping, they often buy multiple products. Knowing which products need to be placed together means you can be quick and accurate when packing.
You must also perform a quick quality check, to make sure that no item is being packed that isn’tup to the standards of your business.
If doing this alone it can be an arduous task which is why many businesses look to outsource.
Instead of spending hours packaging items, you can then be online selling them, safe in the knowledge your orders are being fulfilled efficiently and every care is being made to ensure they are safe.
Next up is to send your parcel on its way. To do this, it needs a label and a courier. Pick who you choose to carry your products wisely, as many different companies are available that offer very different services and prices.
Finding a courier that works for you and your business isn’t easy. Fluctuating prices and delivery times means that having a courier that you trust to get a delivery where it needs to be on time is essential to make sure you’re always maximising efficiency.
If you manually fill out labels and print them, this takes a lot of time and can lead to errors.
Errors when shipping can be hugely costly, as it can cause long delays in getting the parcel where it needs to be.
When shipping internationally, it is also important to provide all the relevant information or else you may find you’re experiencing hold-ups at the border.
Using an automated label printing service such as the one at Diamond Logistics makes printing labels that are always fit for purpose easy and means not a second is wasted getting your parcel out the door and on its way.
Fulfilment for you
This blog isn’t to say fulfilment is impossible on your own.
If you are operating a small eCommerce business that deals with around 100 orders a day, you may be able to manage to go through every process without outsourcing.
When the number of orders gets into the hundreds though, it gets tricky.
An eCommerce business needs to be able to process orders in a quick time and to the right location. These are fundamentals that if not achieved, can be hugely costly to the reputation of your business. 94% of customers blame the brand for a poor shipping experience, so if you’re making a lot of mistakes then this can be really harmful and you run the risk of losing sales.
One thing to consider is opportunity cost. If you are spending most of your day picking, packing and shipping products, then you may be missing out on opportunities to promote your business and build connections with your customers.
You must also be prepared for jumps in sales. Seasonal peaks and sudden interest in your product can mean that your sales velocity picks up speed quickly. If you are trying to control your own fulfilment, this could be overwhelming, and you may fall behind.
By choosing to use a fulfilment business, you are providing your business with a platform from which it can scale without the fear of being overwhelmed.
At Diamond Logistics, we are experts in processing orders and shipping them to your customers in lightning-quick time.
This may feel like you are giving up a bit of control of your business, but in fact, it is the opposite.
With the fulfilment handled, you can take control of every other aspect and devote time to nurturing and growing your business.
For more information on how we can boost your eCommerce fulfilment, why not take a look at our dedicated page here.