Negosentro | 7 Easy Ways To Improve Order Fulfillment | Ecommerce businesses have obvious fulfillment-related expenses like packaging material, labor and shipping costs. Shifting these costs to the consumer by raising the price of items or charging separately for those shipping costs is an appropriate thing to do. At some point, however, the competition might find a way to do it cheaper or faster. What is the best way to stay on top of the shipping game and always have the lowest rates from carriers? Ecommerce doesn’t reward those who can’t offer something different or better than the next business. Here are some ways to help with shipping costs and also some ways to think outside the box when looking to improve fulfillment efficiency in an ecommerce setting.
1. Improve by Hiring Virtual Assistants
No matter how hard you try, you can’t be in two places at once. Order fulfillment on your social media sites and websites are going to require your time and attention. Offloading that work to a virtual assistant that you can train to help you check off the fulfillment queue every day is going to prove to be the only real solution. Keep in mind, these VAs will come and go and require training. At some point you might only be able to afford training new workers, not doing the actual work.
2. Improve by Paying a Subscription Shipping Service
Services that offer reduced rates for shipping in bulk, such as Shipstation, might help with your strategy to reduce shipping costs. If you have physical warehouses, then checking out services like this one can be beneficial. Speaking directly with the obvious carriers like FedEx and UPS might work out if one of them will charge less if you ship with them exclusively.
3. Improve by Reducing Product Sizes
One of the ancient secrets to improving ecommerce fulfillment efficiency is to shrink the product footprint. If it’s a chair, make sure you can fold it or have the customer assemble it at home. If you’re shipping anything that can be taken apart, folded up, or broken down into separate parts for easy reassembly later, then you might as well do it. Your customer will understand the inconvenience when they can get the item shipped cheaper and faster.
4. Improve by Changing Services
The United States Postal Service actually charges twice as much for priority rate shipping as they do for first-class rate shipping for an item that weighs exactly the same amount and is the same size. The transit time is the same. The goal should be to match your unique shipping needs with the carrier that best accommodates that. UPS might specialize in heavier items, while USPS specializes in more quantity of smaller packages.
5. Improve by Offering Accurate Tracking
Having your website outfitted with a tracking system for customers to locate and follow the shipment process is a necessity. Without this, customers will quickly saturate your customer support queues for simple shipping-related questions.
6. Improve by Geographic Advantage
After being in business for a few years, you might know who your customers are and where they normally live. You’ll certainly want to store your products as close to those customers as you can. If your customer is the general American public, then you have an advantage by locating your warehouse anywhere. Maybe choosing to distribute leases at several warehouses in the country and have pallets of your items at each location is the best method. Use your knowledge of demand-by-location to help make these decisions.
7. Improve by Integrating or Acquiring
Maybe the best way to ensure costs are low for shipping and logistics, in general, is to own the companies that offer those services. Better yet, it can prove beneficial to distribute your ecommerce product completely on your own. While you can’t drive every order to every customer, you can think up ways to have an army of flying drones deliver your products. Companies, such as Amazon and Walmart, are using their own trucks and airplanes to move parcels around.