When it comes to e-commerce fulfillment services, the margins can be razor-thin, and the difference between profit and loss on a given delivery can come down to a few simple decisions.
E-commerce fulfillment companies often face many challenges. Understanding those challenges and how best to overcome them is one of the fastest ways to boost profits at your business. As a top e-commerce fulfillment center, we know what it takes to maximize profits and how to avoid common pitfalls.
To that end, read on to discover some of the most common fulfillment challenges and how you can prevent them from affecting your business.
Delays in Shipping
Speedy and on-time deliveries are practically a given in today’s e-commerce industry. So, when a shipping delay arises, that can alienate customers and impact your potential future sales. And in a market where speed and reliability is king, even a few stories of delays can cause deep reputational (and as a result financial) damage.
Having multiple warehouses and an efficient enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place can help accelerate your shipping times. Adding tracking and adopting industry-standard pick, pack, and shipping best practices can help to prevent shipping delays.
Shipping Location Limitations
While having multiple warehouses is always ideal, it’s not always feasible for a business. Having a warehouse close to the customer reduces shipping times, but it’s also costly to maintain.
Have your e-commerce fulfillment warehouse(s) be strategically placed to reach the maximum number of customers in the shortest period of time. You can also benefit from e-commerce fulfillment services from a third-party that can store your goods at their warehouses and handle the shipping and logistics, often saving your business large sums of money in the process and increasing sales margins.
Not only can poor inventory management result in a delayed delivery, but it can also lead to mix-ups and inaccurate shipping, as well as products becoming damaged. That said, managing hundreds, thousands, or maybe even tens of thousands of orders at once poses a severe challenge.
Take advantage of industry innovations like automated inventory tracking, picking, packing, and more. With the proper ERP or e-commerce fulfillment services from third-party logistics (3PL) providers you can significantly reduce the likelihood of inventory mishaps occurring.
Perhaps only second to shipping times, customer service needs to be excellent if you want to compete against other e-commerce fulfillment companies. Your e-commerce fulfillment center needs a staff of affable, informative, and resilient customer service representatives (whether in-house or outsourced is up to you—just know that e-commerce businesses live and die by customer service). They need to be able to handle an influx of calls during busy times, be fast and efficient in how they deal with disgruntled customers, but also able to provide real solutions so that your customers aren’t turned off by their customer service experience. In other words, it’s a very tall task.
There are several answers to the customer service question. Having an in-house team is a great way to guarantee quality but can get very expensive and add to your management load. Outsourcing can be a great solution, so long as the company you outsource to has a strong staff. Chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) can help streamline the process as well.
Available Branding Options
With so many e-commerce fulfillment services available these days, it can be hard to stand out from the pack. Branding offers one opportunity for diversification from the competition, but it can be quite difficult to execute a successful and memorable branding campaign.
Customers love to feel cared for and acknowledged; try developing or giving the sense that there’s a personal touch to your business that larger competitors lack. Promoting brand loyalty through promotions is another great solution. You’ll want customized packaging, so you can leave an impression on your customers as well.
Inadequate E-Commerce Returns
No matter how well you plan, there are still bound to be mistakes. And when that mistake occurs (or a customer simply doesn’t want the product any longer), you need a well-developed, easy-to-understand return policy for customers. Customers will be quick to flee your business for the competition if they have a hard time dealing with a return.
The simpler the better. Make things clear to understand, so there’s no ambiguity when customers go to make a return. What’s more, make the process as fast and effortless as possible. While it may be a revenue drain on the initial return, a solid return policy can pay off with huge dividends down the line by nabbing a lifelong customer.
Overcome E-Commerce Fulfillment Challenges with APS Fulfillment, Inc.
When it comes to e-commerce order fulfillment, there are a lot of things you need to be mindful of in order to maximize your potential returns.
Rather than be overwhelmed and potentially commit one of the above errors, get support from expert e-commerce fulfillment services with APS Fulfillment, Inc.
We feature state-of-the-art warehouse management software (WMS) that makes inventory management and goods tracking easy. We’ll also support your business and automate the warehousing, prepping, shipping, picking, and packing of your orders!
With APS Fulfillment’s real-time processing, we can confirm your order, have it picked and packed, and shipped with one of our trusted partners, in just 24 hours.
There are a wide range of benefits to working with a third-party logistics company that uses the best-quality software systems to manage your warehouses. Other product fulfillment companies may offer a similar set of services, but APS Fulfillment, Inc. goes the extra step. We take great pride that our quality control procedures are state-of-the-art, and we guarantee 24-hour turnaround times for our service orders.