Order fulfillment is the most crucial part for any B2B or B2C business as it directly influences the brand’s image and trust. An order fulfillment process flow determines the extent with which the business can meet its customer requirements.
“According to RSR report, 59% of retailers are aware of viable customer order management systems that can traverse all selling channels”
This data vouches for the fact that a majority of retailers, who are into multiple-channel selling, realize the importance of synchronous order management system in achieving 100% order fulfillment.
So what are the different order fulfillment process steps that helps t fulfill an order successfully?
The lifecycle of a order fulfillment process begins when an order is placed and ends when the shipment is made. Between these extremes, there are a number of processes like stock allocations, billing, invoicing, delivery scheduling etc which need to be perfected to achieve 100% order fulfillment.
Your order fulfillment process begins with inventory so the first thing that has to be set right is your inventory and everything related to it. Let’s begin with how to streamline your inventory management.
#1 Improving Inventory Handling Prowess
Having right inventory at right time is one of the key steps in the order fulfillment process.
Stock level accuracy – Your stock levels have to be up-to-date no matter how they have been used. Apart from orders, scenarios like returns, damages, free samples can have a go at your stock level accuracy. So make sure even the minutest of change is updated into your inventory.
Demand Forecasting – Forecasting customer demands for each sales channels will help reducing dead stock. Know your customer behaviour and be prepared for demands at any given time.
Space allocation – Once you know which sales channels demands the most, you can start adjusting the stock numbers according to it. Try segregating stocks based on sales channels so that you don’t say no to customers coming from any of your sales channel.
Moreover, these processes order fulfillment for ecommerce depend on various other management tasks to be perfect thus not limiting to only proper stock handling. Remember, to choose a order fulfillment software that has a sound inventory handling options.
#2 Better Warehouse Management
More number of orders mean more number of stock and bigger warehousing space. While maintaining multiple warehouses, a demand for warehouse specific details sprouts up making warehouse management itself a daunting task. If warehouse management is not made up to the mark the order fulfillment process in ecommerce will also take a serious hit.
Also Read::9 Impactful Warehouse Management Tips
Stock transfers – Transfer stocks between warehouses to avoid any warehouse becoming stockless at any given time. Sharing stocks between warehouses based on demands helps your business to face surprising demands thus ultimately paving way creating a perfect order fulfillment process.
Warehouses monitoring – Make sure you are able to monitor your multiple stock access points so that mistakes can be avoided or if done, can be located easily. An user activity log can get this done for you.
#3 Inventory Transparency Across All Sales Channels
“More than 90 percent of retailers believe that real-time inventory visibility across the enterprise is crucial to delivering seamless customer experiences”, as per RSR Research, June 2015 report.
Transparency of stock levels becomes important when it you are selling across multiple sales channels. This visibility of inventory keeps you updated on the happenings of all sales channels so that you can be proactive and replenish stocks to meet upcoming demands.
Cloud-based inventory – Adopting a cloud based inventory is the easiest way to gain visibility of inventory across all sales channels. It provides an environment where stock details of all selling channels can be integrated and managed under a single interface.
#4 Improved Order Management
Order status – A keen eye on what’s happening with your order is a beginning towards perfecting your online order fulfillment. Your whole delivery team should be knowing about the status of each order so that there exists no delays in getting the products moved on to the next level.
Order Notification – Notifications will be a complement to the aforementioned statement. Getting to know the status of orders in real-time through an order fulfillment software will help your delivery network keep track of the progresses.
#5 Flexible Order Processing (Flexible Online Order Fulfillment Process)
Delivering orders on time is something any customer would love but delivering it at the time they need it to be delivered is something that’ll make them feel special. Make use of an order fulfillment software with delivery scheduling feature to achieve this feat.
Partial Order Processing – Process orders in bits or in other words, make sure you deliver only what your customer ask for as first priority. A single or any selected number of products can be billed, invoiced can be raised, shipped and delivered based on your customer’s preference.
Multiple Shipping – Delivering it at the venue where your customers demand is a duty to be performed but your customers might demand this to be done at several locations. Several shipping location is often considered a challenge in ecommerce order fulfillment process. Manage different delivery points of your customers in a clutter free manner so that triggering your shipments is no more a nightmare.
#6 Make Returns, Edits Easy
By the time you get ready with your shipment, your customer may come up with changes in his/her order. Flexibility in processing orders helps in bettering your order fulfillment process.
Order Editing – To accommodate the new requirements, be it increase in product number or cancellation or decrease in a quantity, you’ll need a order fulfillment process improvement that allows the liberty of editing orders at any point of time.
#7 Increased Accuracy in Determining Seasonal Sales
Analyzing consumer based orders will let you know the products they prefer. An order management software which can go beyond consumer-based order reporting can help in knowing your sales highs and lows based on time.
Seasonal sales – Insights on seasonal sales are crucial in being prepared to face demands. Compare sales performances based on time to detect which season yields you maximum revenue and which products make it to the top selling list. Seasonal sales analysis can help you better order fulfillment.
#8 Keep Your Customers Informed
While knowing the progress of orders works for accuracy in delivery, furnishing these updates to customers simultaneously fetches you customer satisfaction. Email notification or push notification on mobile phones can be done to inform customers about the status of their order. Once an order is packed and shipped, GPS enabled fleet tracking provides customers the convenience of monitoring the movements till the time it rings their doorbell.
Considering the practical difficulties faced by a business in a day, following these ideas could help in bettering order fulfillment but an order management software in place could make things easy for you in abiding these ideas.
Contalog’s order management software provides a platform through which streamlining all your order and inventory related tasks can be done using a single interface. It is seamless, cloud-based, offers multiple technology and sales channel integration