If you have an e-commerce business, one of the most important things to take into consideration is shipping and fulfillment. A good understanding of how it works is fundamental to running a successful business. A poorly organized system can lose your customers, and attracting new customers is a lot more expensive than selling to existing and satisfied customers.
It can be the make or break of your e-commerce business.
When things go as they should, the chances are you won’t hear from your customers. Get it wrong, however, and you can guarantee they will be in touch. In an age where many people communicate with sellers and businesses across social media, this is the last thing that you want! We’ve already said it, but it’s so important that we will repeat it: if you want a successful e-Commerce business, you need to know how an efficient fulfillment process works and how you can make it pain-free and straightforward for both you and your customers.
Understand Your Costs
If you don’t get to grips with fulfillment costs before you start your online store, you could end up losing money. Before you even launch your website, look at all the different ways of doing it. You will also need to decide whether you are offering domestic shipping only, or whether you will ship internationally. This will have some influence on your costs.
As soon as your customers place their orders in your online store, start the process, especially if you outsource it to a third party. We live in a time where people can have items delivered the next day, or in some cases, on the same day. While this may not be something you can offer, they will still be expecting a fast turnaround from placing and paying for an order to receiving it.
Consider offering free shipping.
Customers love an incentive, and free shipping is one that most people will appreciate, especially if they are intending on coming back and making more purchases in the future. From the outset, it might seem like offering free shipping can hurt your profit, in the long run, it will bring more customers.
There is no point in offering free and fast shipping if the product is damaged when your customer receives it. Many couriers are on a very tight turnaround, and parcels can be thrown into vans and trucks with little care about what is in there. It is your responsibility to make sure that they are adequately protected and packaged up before sending them off.
Keeping your customers in the loop when it comes to the status of their order is essential. Let them know when their package has been dispatched and an estimated date or time of arrival. They can arrange to be at home, or for someone to be there to receive the parcel. It also means if there are any issues, they know about them straight away. Communication can be very reassuring for your customers.