Order fulfillment is a vital aspect of customer service in the Internet age, so much so that many different strategies for keeping online shoppers happier than ever have resulted from the unique sort of demand they drive.
Unlike traditional retail shops, where each store is pretty much the same in structure and operation, eCommerce stores and “bricks and clicks” retailers have approached the problem by first focusing on their customer experience and order fulfillment goals.
Breaking New Ground or Following Proven Models?
Your fulfillment strategy will have a huge impact on how well your company does today and tomorrow.
If you invest a lot of your capital in a strategy that’s counter to your ultimate vision, it’s just going to be a huge waste of money and effort.
Before you get into hot water, consider these tips for building strategies that help you achieve your goals:
- Don’t follow the pack for lack of other plans. Your product and business are unique and unlike other products or companies. Just because Sears is using a national network of distribution centers located near major metro areas doesn’t mean you should or can.
Find your own audience, then determine just how patient they can be. The shorter the trip to the customer’s door, the less your shipping expenses, for sure, but a good 3rd party logistics company can help you deliver the goods fast enough if your customers are the patient type.
- Understand how your business is growing. Are you growing slowly or is business exploding all over? Do you have any history that can help direct you about what’s to come?
Without a historical model to work with, you’re going to have to wing it. That means having a facility that’s flexible enough to support you in the busy times and the slow ones. Scalable resources can be a startup’s best friend.
- Get the tech you need. Whether you handle your own fulfillment or hire it out to a 3rd party logistics company, you simply can’t function with the wrong kind of tech.
Old, slow tools meant for entirely different purposes aren’t going to be easy to integrate with other vendors that may become your support and your staff won’t have what they need to do their jobs well. Software can be a big investment, but it’s one that pays for itself over and over again.
Every bit of your fulfillment strategy, from the tools you use to the path you take, can make a big impact on your current and future success. Be sure to document the process as you go so you know at what point you made big success happen.