Your super simple eCommerce fulfilment system checklist

2022-06-29

Written by Starshipit

Your order fulfilment system could make or break your eCommerce customer experience.

48% of customers are unlikely to re-purchase from companies whose packages arrive late. Slow or inefficient order fulfilment could be costing you customers!

That’s why your fulfilment process is so important to your brand, the different models you can fulfill orders, we’re sharing the different models, and tips for a successful fulfilment process. We’ve also included a handy fulfilment system checklist so you can start processing orders like a pro.



Understanding the eCommerce order fulfillment process

So what is a fulfilment service?

Basically, it is everything you do to make sure the customer is satisfied when their parcel arrives. That means having systems in place to pick and pack orders efficiently, fast and accurate shipping, and keeping communication open.

Your eCommerce fulfilment process covers everything from

  • Receiving and storing inventory
  • Keeping eCommerce site up to date with inventory
  • The system for receiving orders
  • Accurate and timely shipping prices
  • Shipping logistics like labels, addresses and booking couriers
  • Using the right courier service for deliveries
  • Simple returns process

If you are just starting out, you might be doing all of these steps yourself. If you want to simplify and automate your shipping, it might be time to look at the different models you can use to scale order fulfilment.



Pick the right eCommerce fulfillment model for your business

Your fulfilment system will depend on many orders you are shipping and how much capacity you have to fulfill orders yourself. Below is a short guide to choosing fulfilment services to suit your specific business.



  • In-House

In-house fulfilemnt, AKA merchant or self-fulfilment, is where most people start. This is where you, the “merchant”, fulfills orders yourself.

This would be your go to order fulfilment method is you

  • Run your business from home
  • Have a low volume or parcels
  • Want to save costs as you grow

If orders are overwhelming or you get a lot of inquiries about parcels not shipping quickly enough, that is your indicator that it is time to outsource. That’s where the next two fulfilment options come in.



  • Third-party / outsourcing

Third Party Logistics (3PL) takes care of order fulfilment on your behalf. Instead of receiving all the inventory at your house, everything gets shipped and stored with a warehouse or fulfilment center.

If you have a good 3PL provider, orders go out a lot faster. They will have a fulfilment system for storing, picking, packing and shipping. This is perfect if you have your own products but you are scaling and need help fulfilling orders efficiently.



  • Dropshipping

If you want to completely outsource your fulfilment management system, dropshipping might be the option for you. Note that this won’t necessarily work if you have your own unique products!

Dropshipping is similar to third party logistics, except that the products are shipped directly from the manufacturer. Instead of you ordering all the products, customers purchase through your website, and everything is handled by a fulfilment center.

This model is popular as it has a low barrier to entry and doesn’t require you to purchase large quantities of stock that might not sell. It works well if you have a low budget for fulfilment services as everything is handled external to you and your business.



Tips to ensure a successful fulfilment system

Now we know what a fulfilment system is, let’s get into how you can process orders efficiently.



  • Implement quality control measures

Customers want to get what they pay for! Quality control is a crucial step in inventory management, especially as you are growing. When stock arrives, double check that each and every item is high quality and undamaged.

Doing this will save you time when you are fulfilling orders because you already know that each item is ready to be picked and packed.

If you are using a third party warehouse, they should be checking items for you when they add SKUs and store everything. Double check your contract to make sure that quality control is a service they offer! It will save you a lot of customer complaints down the line.



  • Automate where possible

Automating your eCommerce fulfilment process benefits both you and your customers.

A real life example of this is luxury plume brand The Feather. They were sometimes getting over 100 orders a day but were still manually typing out addresses from their eCommerce site. Many couriers will charge penalties for incorrect addresses which means money for you and time wasted for your customers!

Using Stashipit simplified their shipping fulfilment process. This meant 80% less time on each order and less errors on simple things like addresses and labels.



  • Try to offer same-day and one-day delivery options

The faster you can get your orders out to customers the better! 24% of customers will abandon their order if you don’t have an estimated delivery date, and 54% of online shoppers say that delivery times affect who they will shop with. This means investing in efficient fulfilment systems and reliable delivery partners.



  • Optimise your returns policy

Your returns system should be as efficient as your order fulfilment. 92% of customers would repurchase if the returns process is simple.

Starshipit allows customers to arrange returns directly from their branded tracking page. They can arrange return shipping at the click of a button. Too easy!



  • Track fulfilment KPIs

Business is all about following the numbers. If you are doing everything yourself, you can still track important fulfilment and shipping metrics such as

  • Order error rate (e.g. wrong addresses)
  • Delivery times
  • How long it takes you to get an order out for delivery from time of purchase
  • Customer satisfaction rates
  • How any orders arrive in the time they predicted

Tracking these KPIs will show you where you have bottlenecks in your operating procedures and improve them over time.

This kind of data helped online fashion brand HER Empire.

They went from 50 orders a month to over 650 orders per month on average. However, they were still taking just as long to fulfil orders because they were manually entering Shopify orders into their courier services.

By analysing their system and implementing Starshipit as a shipping fulfilment service, they were able to save 3 hours a day on their order fulfilment.

That’s an extra 15 hours a week just by tracking their KPIs!



eCommerce fulfilment system checklist

We have put together this fulfilment system checklist for eCommerce businesses doing everything themselves (whether alone or in a small team!). These steps should cut your order fulfilment in half and keep customers satisfied with their purchase.

  • Efficient process for checking quality of stock when it arrives before putting it on the shelf
  • Simple system for storing stock so that anybody could find and pack orders
  • Automatic, 24/7 online ordering (e.g. simple eCommerce dashboard like Shopify)
  • Easy to use shipping integration app that calculates shipping at the checkout for the customer
  • Simple shipping app that integrates with your courier partners and double checks addresses so that you don’t get charged for undelivered parcels
  • Returns process clearly labeled on product descriptions and confirmation emails
  • Central dashboard for all orders so that nothing gets missed (e.g. no orders placed through email or social media)
  • Black and white printer for labels (use a shipping app to print out multiple orders at once)
  • Clear work space for packing orders, including trays to hold order slips
  • Organised packing materials (keep branded thank you cards, pens, sender address stickers, tape, trash can and packaging easily accessible)
  • Real-time tracking updates for customers (a shipping app like Starshipit does this automatically)
  • Clear instructions for customers on how to track orders, follow you on social media, get in contact and organise returns (can be done automatically through emails or on a branded tracking page.

Final thoughts

Integrating a fulfilment management system with your eCommerce store is the fastest way to build your brand’s customer service reputation. Quality control, automation, order tracking and analysing your fulfilment KPIs will help you deliver a quality post-purchase experience every single time.

Simplify your eCommerce fulfilment system with Starshipit. Book a call with our Success Team to help you ship the smart way, so you can grow faster.



Starshipit

Starshipit

Starshipit is the best practice shipping and fulfilment platform that helps retailers save time and deliver great shipping experiences.

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