Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research predicts that consumers will spend over $327 shopping online by 2016, a 62 percent increase from 2011. Not only does this mean that ecommerce is a ripe market for the taking, but that the online shopping sphere will become even more competitive. As an ecommerce business owner, it’s your job to provide excellent customer service–so good, in fact, that even first-time customers wouldn’t think twice about coming back to your site and ordering again.
And while you can build-out various online marketing campaigns to bring in traffic and build an excellent website to convert said traffic into orders, customer service often begins with what happens from the time an order is placed to when it’s shipped. I’m talking about fulfillment: an often overlooked aspect to running an ecommerce business–especially for first-time owners.
Michael Koploy, analyst for the SoftwareAdvice.com website, recently put together a guide to first-time ecommerce entrepreneurs looking to optimize their fulfillment operations and scale fulfillment as an ecommerce business grows.
In The Starter’s Guide to Effective eCommerce Fulfillment, Koploy advises entrepreneurs to do the following:
- Benchmark fulfillment metrics such as order turnaround time, inventory accuracy and return rate
- Invest in technology that can help improve these metrics and improve the operations’ ability to provide excellent customer service
- Build a team of fullfilment specialists as the operation grows and needs to scale effeciently
- Ask your team of specialists to continually look for ways to eliminate waste and improve proceses
- Consider integrating shopping cart software to fulfillment providers for certain merchandise that is difficult to personally pick, pack and ship
- Utilize dropshipping services for merchandise that is either high-volume or high-margin
This is a guest post by Michael Koploy. Michael writes on various ERP topics, with particular interests in supply chain management and retail industries. In his free time he enjoys the food and live music scenes in Austin, Texas. Michael is a recent graduate of the University of Texas with a BS in Psychology.