A frustrating experience for an online shopper is receiving an order late, getting the wrong order, or not even receiving it at all. It only takes one bad experience to make sure that a customer won’t shop with you again. Even though the shipping and fulfillment strategy is a very important part of the business, it can often be overlooked. You could be losing sales and money by not improving the fulfillment strategy. In order to figure out the right eCommerce fulfillment strategy for your business, there are some things you need to consider.
Meeting Customer Expectations
If you haven’t already put a lot of thought into your eCommerce fulfillment strategy, now is the time to do so. As customers are increasing their online shopping, so are their expectations. Many shoppers will compare merchants based on cost, options, and delivery time. The fulfillment strategy will play a major role in the experience a customer has so you won’t be able to overlook it. Instead, you should think of this strategy as a competitive advantage. Even though it may seem like a customer’s expectations can be too high, choosing the right strategy can help you work toward meeting these expectations.
Choosing the Right Strategy
There is a lot that goes into order fulfillment. Throughout the process a lot can go wrong and cause troubles for both you and your customers. There are three different ways you can go when fulfilling items. You can fulfill the items yourself, dropship, or use a third-party provider.
Fulfilling the items yourself means you have the product and ship it out when you get an order. If you only have a few orders a week and are just starting out, this can make the most sense. To make the process easier, many businesses will look at shipping software to help manage inventory and print labels. If you have unique or handmade items, it may make sense to ship out these items yourself because you want control of the process.
Dropshipping means that you work with vendors that ship out the product directly to the consumer. Merchants won’t have to keep inventory on hand and this can be a good way to grow your business and offer more products to consumers.
Using a third party can be confused with dropshipping, but it just outsources your fulfillment process. If you are fulfilling more than 10 to 20 orders a day, it may make sense to outsource this process since your growing business will need more attention. There are different types of third parties that will serve different industries or special needs. When using this method, you still purchase your own inventory and then you ship to the warehouse for it to be stored. The third party then takes care of picking, packing, and shipping.