As the owner of an eCommerce business, you already know there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to running your business. While it may often be overlooked, order fulfillment is one of the most essential parts.
Without effective eCommerce fulfillment, your customer experience and profitability can suffer. But, if you’re not an expert in fulfillment, you may find yourself facing big challenges trying to handle it yourself. Or, you may have turned to a fulfillment provider that that just isn’t cutting it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone—many eCommerce businesses struggle with fulfillment.
Here are some of the most common obstacles other businesses just like yours face all the time, and what you can actually do about it in your own organization to overcome them!
eCommerce Fulfillment Challenge #1: Slow Shipping Speeds
When modern consumers buy from eCommerce businesses, they’re expecting their package to arrive on their doorstep quickly. If you’re relying on an eCommerce fulfillment process that is disorganized and complicated, your shipping timelines won’t be in line with the demands of your customer base—which means next time, they’ll simply go to the competitor that can get them what they’re looking for faster.
eCommerce businesses move fast, so eCommerce fulfillment services need to move at the same speed—if not faster! So, to create a fast, streamlined, and efficient eCommerce shipping process, you need to work with a fulfillment provider who can guarantee the shipping timelines your customers are expecting! How? This brings us to eCommerce fulfillment challenge #2…
eCommerce Fulfillment Challenge #2: Shipping Location Constraints
Just like buying a house, when it comes to eCommerce shipping, there’s one major factor that often rises above the rest: location. Why? The location of your eCommerce fulfillment centers will dictate how quickly your products can get to your customers.
The closer your order fulfillment facilities are to the end customer, the shorter the distance your products have to go to get there—which means faster eCommerce shipping that will satisfy your customers. But, if you only have one fulfillment center, or have multiple fulfillment centers that aren’t strategically located near where your customer base is, it can drastically slow down shipping timelines.
Another common constraint on eCommerce shipping is the lack of reliable global fulfillment. This is a huge problem because in 2018 alone, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online. When your customers are spread across the world, your eCommerce fulfillment needs to be too—and if it isn’t, you’ll be missing out on tons of potential customers!
A fulfillment provider with multiple warehouses can ensure that your products are getting to your customers quickly. It’s important to do market research on where your customers are, then choose a fulfillment provider with warehouse locations that match. Even more importantly, if you sell worldwide, you need to a fulfillment partner that has the capability of streamlining international shipping for not only speed of delivery but cost effectiveness too.
eCommerce Fulfillment Challenge #3: Using a Complex eCommerce Fulfillment Software
Many eCommerce businesses have an amazing product and big, powerful eCommerce platform—but are leveraging an eCommerce fulfillment software behind-the-scenes that just isn’t cutting it. If you’re using a complicated software system that is nearly impossible to implement, difficult to actually use in your daily workflows, or is unable to integrate with your other business apps, it can bring your business processes to a halt, slow down your shipping speeds, and frustrate both employees and customers.
It’s important to understand what your needs and goals for eCommerce fulfillment software truly are. When it comes to eCommerce fulfillment software, each is a bit different and includes various features—for example, some offer more branding potential and additional marketing capabilities, while some are solely focused on speed. So, be sure to select an eCommerce fulfillment software that is easy to implement, use, and seamlessly integrate with any other platforms and apps you’re already using.
eCommerce Fulfillment Challenge #4: Lack of Branding Opportunities
There are millions of eCommerce businesses out there trying to sell products online, which means you need a way to stand out from the competition in the eyes of your consumers. Delivering your products in generic packaging certainly won’t help you out in this area. Boring brown boxes create an un-engaging, boring, impersonal customer experience that does nothing to build brand recognition.
Use eCommerce fulfillment as a marketing tool! Why is this a valuable investment? Modern consumers want to engage with brands who can offer personalization and care about developing a deeper connection with their customers. When a custom-tailored box arrives on their doorstep, it’s fun and exciting! This pleasant customer experience will make them want to buy you from again and again.
Plus, showcasing your brand will help your packaging stand out in a sea of boring brown boxes on doorsteps or in a mailroom, helping to further amplify the reach of your company!
eCommerce Fulfillment Challenge #5: Inefficient eCommerce Returns
In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that eCommerce return deliveries will cost $550 billion by 2020, which is 75.2% more than the cost of returns in 2016. This number doesn’t even include restocking expenses or inventory losses! As an eCommerce business without a brick-and-mortar location, items your customers send back will likely end up back at your fulfillment center. But, if you aren’t prepared to quickly accept, evaluate, and restock these goods, they’ll simply sit in storage and be unrecognized as current inventory. This means they can’t be immediately resold, which prevents you from making revenue from the returned items.
Consumers value a free, simple return process—in fact, free returns or exchanges are cited as the number two reason that makes consumers “more likely to shop online.” But, even if you have a great return policy in place, if your eCommerce fulfillment providers can’t actually carry it out, it won’t mean anything to your customers.
Besides negatively affecting your customer experience, this can also negatively affect your profit margins. Managing the “return and repair” process accounts for 10% of total supply chain costs, but if the supply chain gets stuck due to inefficiencies, it can reduce profits by a whopping 30%. The bottom line? It’s essential to choose an eCommerce fulfillment provider who has the fulfillment processes, infrastructure, and manpower in place to handle a high volume of returns quickly.
Overcome the Challenges of eCommerce Fulfillment with the Fulfillment Lab!
It’s time to say goodbye to simple warehouse, pick, pack, and ship that only presents challenges for your eCommerce business and hello to the future of fulfillment—the Fulfillment Lab. Our innovative eCommerce fulfillment services include:
- Fast, reliable global eCommerce fulfillment
- Expedited shipping options with delivery guaranteed in 3 days or less
- Proprietary, easy to use Global Fulfillment Software™
- Access to our 14 fulfillment centers (2 domestic and 12 international)
- Customized packaging for limitless branding potential when it comes to shipping boxes, coupons, labels, inserts, and more
- Full visibility into the end-to-end fulfillment process
- Dynamic integration with every major eCommerce system
- Options to add white and private label products to your existing line to build your brand and increase the profitability of each sale
With these eCommerce fulfillment services, you can overcome the obstacles of fulfillment with ease. The result? Higher profits, happier customers, and less headaches for you!