Having a thriving ecommerce business is so much more than just having products to sell online. Building trust with your customers, streamlining your order fulfillment process, securing your website, creating and following a content marketing and SEO strategy are just some of the key requirements for running a successful online business.
With stiff online competition in every niche these days, you need to do a good job impressing potential customers up-front. There are a few simple but effective ways to develop trust with your website visitors - displaying your address and phone number, pictures of your staff, and customer testimonials. A blog can also help build trust.
Beyond these simple, initial trust-building tactics you need to deliver if you want to win customers over and keep them long-term. For online retailers, this means being excellent at how well you fulfill orders and how quickly you process returns, exchanges and refunds. Customer expectations are high, so to satisfy customers, order fulfillment needs to be fast, reliable and convenient.
Order fulfillment is not complicated, but it is nuanced and there are logistics involved. Different products will need to be packed in different boxes. Some couriers will be better than others. Shipping logistics will not always be obvious.
Customers today expect fast order fulfillment. If you don't have your picking, packing and shipping process down to a science, you are going to risk having unhappy customers and getting negative reviews.
To make sure order fulfillment is handled most efficiently, you will need to provide warehouse staff with checklists that are easy to follow to get products out the door. Then you will need a way to manage and track your inventory. And finally, you will have to choose the right shipping partners and map out efficient delivery routes and estimate costs. Each step in the order fulfillment process needs to be monitored and managed to ensure the most expedient shipping possible.
How quickly you process returns, exchanges, and refunds is just as important as and integral to order fulfillment. Your order management, packing and shipping process may work really well, but if you don’t have a good system for handling returns, exchanges, and refunds, you will risk losing customers.
A solid return policy is key to bringing the customer in the door, but delivering on that policy seals the deal in winning over the customer. According to a study by SaaS consultancy Granify, in many retail categories, customers find a strong return policy and positive customer reviews more important than price.
A recent survey on ecommerce fulfillment trends revealed that US online retailers are not fully meeting customers’ fulfillment demands. In the same survey, only a small percentage reported having a “totally automated process.”
There are tremendous opportunities in ecommerce, but more retailers fail than succeed because they are unable to scale and grow. To be successful, retailers need to deliver on all fronts of the order fulfillment process and that means using the right automation tools to operate at an optimal rate to ensure a stream of happy, long-term customers.