order fulfillmentIn product fulfillment, failures can and will happen. While they may be impossible to predict, some are more common than others and can be easily prepared for.

Be Thorough

Many product fulfillment businesses think having an e-fulfillment service means nothing can go wrong, but the online aspects of a business are just as prone to error as the offline ones.

Speaking of digital aspects of a business, it’s wise to inspect the materials produced by your machines thoroughly to ensure those machines are functioning properly. For example, some businesses utilize kitting assembly lines, which, when defective, may put together the wrong kits regardless of their programmed instructions.

Similarly, your outsourced help should be up to snuff as well. Any digital printing company you hire must be ready to print your labels, catalogues, and newsletters correctly without fail. If you don’t make sure they maintain a standard of quality, you risk results that could even drive customers away.

Ultimately, your whole order fulfillment process should be inspected regularly, as finding even the smallest problem can be beneficial.

7 Common Mistakes in Order Fulfillment

Ordering online can be convenient and enjoyable when the process runs smoothly, but changes and issues with the process can send customers away from your site in frustration. The underlying structure of your product fulfillment system needs to be solid at all times to keep customers coming back and encourage new ones to buy from you. What are some of the most common errors in product fulfillment to avoid? Here are a few important ones to take note of and work on eliminating.

Communication

Seamless communication between your sales floor and warehouse will benefit your product fulfillment. This can be done through the use of order management software, which ensures that the warehouse knows about new orders in a timely manner.

Inventory Management

In addition to enhancing communication, order management software can connect to your inventory live updates, allowing customers to know if the products they wish to purchase are in stock before they order. It also notifies the warehouse team of items that are low in stock so they can make the appropriate restocking orders or manufacture more items.

Shipping Policies

E-commerce fulfillment heavily relies on shipping policies to deliver goods. Free or affordable shipping makes a huge impact on the desire for customers to follow through with an order. When shipping and handling costs are higher, customers are strongly turned away. Additionally, if an order fails to arrive, it can damage your reputation as a business for that customer and prevent you from having future sales.

Carrier Selection

The right carrier will provide good shipping deals for customers and have a reputation for delivering items on time or, even better, ahead of schedule. This may mean looking for a carrier with local drivers and warehouses to reduce the costs of shipping and handling.

Pricing Issues

One of the problems that turn away customers the most is increasing the price they expect to pay upon ordering an item. Even alterations by a few dollars during ordering or additional and unexpected charges at checkout can lead to a key performance indicator (KPI) spike in the rates for cart abandonment. Be sure to avoid instances of data errors leading to incorrect pricing, failure to honor the advertised price, sudden price increases, and failure to update your ordering system when costs of shipping change.

Lengthy Pick-and-Pack Process

Once a customer orders a product, they expect to receive it within the original timeframe listed upon purchase. Unfortunately, some sites inform shoppers after they have already purchased the items that the shipping process could take even longer. This can deter customers from buying from you in the future. Even worse, there are cases when shipments arrive later than the original timeframe listed without notice to the customer. If your pick-and-pack process takes long because your warehouse is improperly organized, you can waste valuable time and effort and risk losing customers.

Damage Control

Then there’s the matter of clients. Things can go wrong on their end as well, no matter how hard you try to make them happy: they might not receive an order, or the product might be defective. If such problems occur, the customer will likely let you know immediately, especially if payment has already been processed.

Regardless of if you’re a smaller business or a large fulfillment center in Florida, this requires damage control. Outfit your order fulfillment center with protocols to deal with unhappy clients, such as free gifts, to show you are truly sorry for their trouble. Also make sure to have the extra cash and personnel on hand to deal with these sorts of issues as necessary.

Having that solid game plan for when certain problems arise will keep your product fulfillment business running smoothly and your clients satisfied.

Need solutions to your product fulfillment problems? APS Fulfillment, Inc. has the knowledge and services to make your direct mail and product fulfillment ventures more successful. Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. by e-mail at info@apsfulfillment.com, visit their web site at www.apsfulfillment.com, or phone toll-free at (954) 582-7450.