Streamlining E-Commerce Fulfillment
Creating an efficient e-commerce fulfillment strategy isn't easy. Here are tips every digital retailer needs to know to simplify the process.
1. Offer same-day fulfillment ONLY if you can achieve it. If you can't deliver same-day fulfillment, offer a different version, such as same-day shipping for orders placed before a cut-off time, or pickup of an online order at a retail location. Make it happen with system-based, accurate inventory levels by location; inventory positioned close to buyers; customized fulfillment that focuses on expedited delivery; and a delivery platform with options that ensure the right product arrives at the right place and at precisely the right minute.
2. Optimize your online user experience. Ensure that your online store's ordering system is easy to use and customers can quickly find the right products. To achieve the right balance, segment SKUs based on what you think customers will buy versus trying to put too much out there and risking the high costs of inventory duplication.
3. Drive down abandonment rates by re-evaluating cart conversion KPIs. Use data analytics to understand where customers are abandoning and how to improve the closing rate.
4. Think big when shipping heavy items. Big items require big solutions and customized delivery options. If you regularly ship heavy items, consider supplementing your service offerings with additional options such as in-home delivery or assembly. Customers are often willing to pay an additional fee for better final delivery service.
5. Use scorecards to tabulate your wins and losses. Smart companies use daily scorecards to gather, compare, and disseminate meaningful, actionable intelligence. Sending a regular performance monitor to company leaders can identify trouble areas today, and lead to future success.
6. Cut costs through economical transportation. Use a transportation management system in your fulfillment process to provide insight into the most economical shipping mode, offer product tracking capabilities, and help meet customer service expectations, including same-day and next-day shipping options.
7. Keep auditing freight bills to lower transport costs. By using an audit process across all modes, companies know the rate they paid so they can hold carriers accountable for accurate billing. This also enables shippers to identify service gaps and improve their ability to make good decisions going forward.
8. Look beyond today's configuration placement. By growing outward in ways that benefit the consumer experience—backed by purchasing data and freight cost audits—your company can better prepare to support increased demand and changes in customers' delivery expectations.
9. React to the consumer, respond to the competition. As consumers look for more information, be prepared to respond to their demands. Making data such as reviews and shipping information readily available gives consumers confidence in your products. Meanwhile, take note of your competition and prepare to move in directions they aren't—giving you the edge when it comes to winning the customer.
10. Don't overlook the details to maintain SKU-level profitability. Measure SKU-level profit by analyzing landed costs of inventory items, making sure you are offering the right products at the right price. After all, selling a $10 item that costs $12 to produce, market, and ship makes no sense.
SOURCE: Rick Brumett, Vice President of Client Solutions, Transportation Insight