Many things are important in the world of ecommerce, but few apply so uniformly across all ecommerce businesses as the importance of having speedy shipping. Nobody is expecting a single eBay or Amazon user to provide as vast a selection of products as, say, a major clothing chain with its own website. Nor are they expecting them to provide the same degree of customer service. They will, however, expect that single user to provide shipping just as speedy as any other ecommerce company.
Shipping and Handling of Texas, an ecommerce fulfillment service out of Houston (you can visit their website here), say that the main reason for this phenomenon is, fundamentally, that speedy shipping is possible for all ecommerce companies, regardless of their size – and customers have come to expect it.
The Stages of The Order Fulfillment Process
To understand this better, it is worth setting out the various stages of the order fulfillment process:
Where do your goods come from? In order to ship them, you need to have them! Accordingly, it is wise to have your most popular goods ready to go even in the absence of orders. If you need to receive orders, you need to make sure you can do so quickly.
Order Processing and Picking
This stage is, these days, dominated by logging and inventory software that helps you coordinate order picking the moment you receive an order. A top tip is to integrate it with the basket feature on your ecommerce site. This way you can begin order processing the moment something is selected.
This is what happens after orders have been identified and picked out of your inventory. It is when things really get moving. At this point, it’s all about route planning and allowing the customer to somehow track the order. Goods need to move from where you are to a transport hub and then to the recipient.
Top Tips for Boosting Speed
So, if you are familiar with the order fulfillment process and have put a system in place, here follows some useful tips for speeding it up:
Same Day Picking
As briefly alluded to above, you should aim to begin order processing the moment an order is placed, and it should be picked out and prepared to be sent to the transport hub that same day. The reason why this “same day” timescale has become important is that it is fast becoming industry standard. To keep up, you should have same day picking.
Fulfil From Multiple Locations
Once you have the funds, this is the best way to truly level up your shipping speed and convince your customers that you are competing with the big boys. A single order fulfilment route can be ineffective, as some recipients may be much further away from the transportation hub than others. However, if you have multiple transportation hubs…
Delayed notifications are all about when your customer is informed about the various stages of the order fulfilment process. If two orders take three days to arrive, but one customer was notified that it was out for shipping whereas the other received an earlier notification that it had been picked. It is the customer who got the delayed shipping notice who will perceive the entire process as being faster. This tip therefore doesn’t actually speed up your shipping, but it makes it seem faster to the customer.
Such is the importance of fast shipping in today’s ecommerce world. It is so important, in fact, that investing in fast shipping isn’t really a way of gaining the edge – it’s a way to not be left behind!