Your eCommerce order fulfillment process plays a pivotal role in the success of your online business. It affects both the customer experience and the effectiveness of your operations.
However, by creating an excellent post-purchase experience for your audience, you can quickly turn order fulfillment from a cost center into a revenue driver for your company.
So, how exactly can you improve your eCommerce order fulfillment process?
In this article, we share seven ways to improve your order fulfillment so that you can boost the efficiency of your business and create a more streamlined customer experience.
Understand your order fulfillment cycle time.
One of the first things to do when it comes to improving your eCommerce order fulfillment process is to work out your order fulfillment cycle time.
For starters, it’ll give valuable insight into the current effectiveness of your order fulfillment.
It’s important to track this metric as a fast fulfillment process can affect customer satisfaction rates, which ultimately determines the success of your online business.
In the eCommerce industry, it’s not uncommon to find that the order fulfillment cycle takes days or even weeks. Some things are outside your control, such as international shipping.
That said, it’s important to maintain as low cycle time as possible.
There are many different methods in to calculate this, including:
Promised customer order cycle time
This is known as the expected order fulfillment time that you tell your customers and is a good benchmark to keep track of the following metrics.
Actual customer order cycle time
This is the average time it takes for a customer to receive a product after placing an order on your website, which you should aim to reduce as much as possible.
Cash to cash cycle time
This represents the time taken from spending money on raw materials and supplies to when you receive the money from the products as finished goods.
Supply chain cycle time
Supply chain cycle time is how long it takes to fulfill an order if the raw materials aren’t in stock. It’s the cycle time plus the time it takes to order and receive supplies.
Order fulfillment cycle time – the formula.
The most common formula for working out your order fulfillment cycle time is:
Total order fulfillment cycle time=Source time + Production time + Delivery time
Source time:From the moment the customer makes an order online to your business recognizing that it has the correct raw materials available to start the order.
Production time:The time it takes to manufacture, finish and pack the order.
Delivery time:The timeframe between shipping the order from your warehouse to it arriving at your customer’s specified delivery location.
Once you understand your order fulfillment cycle time, you can start to identify areas for improvement, such as increasing efficiency through automation or similar.
Maintain an attractive returns policy.
Your eCommerce returns policy is an essential part of your order fulfillment process.
But how exactly does this support your business?
Simply put, order fulfillment doesn’t end once your customer receives the order.
Rather, it ends once he or she is happy with the content of his or her order from your company.
Therefore, you need to have an effective returns policy in place so that you can process returned orders and issue refunds as and when needed.
What’s more, a returns policy also has a big impact on whether or not a customer completes a purchase with your business.