Time is everything when it comes to the world of eCommerce. When customers make orders, they want them to be delivered as soon as possible, and any business that can make this happen wins their loyalty. The year 2020 presented significant challenges to small businesses. Still, it also unlocked new opportunities for eCommerce businesses flexible enough to adapt to the times, and now the time that small businesses should learn to thrive on the ecommerce platform. In an impatient world, time is a lot more valuable than any other resource, and the trick is to use efficient order management processes and reliable, quick delivery methods.
Order management involves the process of receiving, tracking, and fulfilling orders made by customers. This process starts when a customer places an order and ends when he or she receives their package. Automating and streamlining this process through an order management system is vital in scaling up a business.
The importance of inventory accuracy
Accuracy helps a business to keep away from understocking and overstocking. Overstocking translates to sinking cash you cannot afford on unused products, while understocking means a business risk making customers wait, losing easy sales to your competitors, and splitting shipments. It also helps businesses to avoid fulfillment mistakes when shipping a few orders a day. Proper order processing methods can help mitigate these issues for you.
Let’s review the basics. Order processing is the method that you follow from when customers place orders to delivery. This is a vital element of retail order fulfillment, and it is where accuracy and reliability build trust with your customers. Steps in order processing include picking, sorting, shipping, and tracking. This process can range from manual processes like a handwritten log sheet to extremely technological and data-driven processes built around the business’ specific operation.
For smaller operations, processing and inventory can be tracked manually using very accessible tools and inexpensive software like Microsoft Excel. Unfortunately, these methods lack in scalability, since all the processes rely on manual input. Tracking and scanning technology is more accessible now to smaller businesses than ever before, and it is worth investigating for your business as it pivots to eCommerce. Imagine being able to scan and track items in your inventory in a way that automatically updated your database and tracking stock real-time on your website, while also keeping a backup copy saved to a cloud drive. How much time would you save if all you had to do was scan a barcode to a status and all of this happened?
While replicating the efficiency of large-scale companies like Amazon isn’t doable for a small business, entrepreneurs can scale this concept down to suit their business needs.
Deliveries are crucial moments in order processing. Getting the product into the consumer’s hands is the aim of the whole operation, and if you are doing eCommerce on any scale then you need to know how and when your products are going to arrive. There are many kinds of tools that can help you with this process whether it is the shipping and tracking tools offered via delivery companies, or you use a tool to do real-time vehicle tracking.
The right answer will depend on your business’ size, but effective uses of the technological tools available can not only save your time and anxiety over where and when your deliveries are going to happen but are also useful from a loss prevention standpoints as well. Being able to show customers data of delivery timelines builds trust. Accurate delivery reporting helps your customers be there to pick up packages before delivery thieves can strike, or at least arm you with the information you need to prove to an upset customer that their package did get delivered.
After handing over the order, a retail business should send an email asking the customer for a review of the product they purchased and assessing the customer’s satisfaction with the product and the services involved. Customer feedback is the pathway to improvement. By paying attention to your customers’ wants and needs, you can tailor your service and your methodology to better facilitate the transaction, build customer loyalty, and maintain retention.
Apart from having great products and phenomenal customer service, any small business needs a logistics system in place that can handle day-to-day business affairs smoothly. An automated order management system is the best system that a business can use to thrive in ecommerce and gain customer loyalty over its competitors.