Order fulfillment is an essential part of the ecommerce customer experience. Customers have high expectations for a streamlined buying experience, and anything can trigger them to opt-out of the purchase. For example, 33% of US shoppers will consider switching companies after just one experience of poor service.
Building an ecommerce business that achieves high growth can only be successful when the top priority is customer satisfaction. That’s why it’s important to think about order fulfillment as a means of delivering your brand rather than a product. Make the fulfillment experience unique and memorable so the value of your brand resonates with the end shopper.
Your most satisfied customers become loyal repeat buyers, who account for a sizable share of revenue. On average, over 40% of an ecommerce store’s revenue comes from just 8% of their most loyal customers. And what makes people become brand loyal? A combination of shared values, quality service, and overall satisfaction with the order experience.
Be Authentic and True to Your Brand Identity
All companies have unique brand identities, and they express those identities in different ways. Some place greater premiums on things like the unboxing experience for their customers with custom-built packaging applied to each delivery. On the other hand, some invest resources into customer service, creating a unique tone of voice and maintaining a single point of contact for brand consistency. Subsequently, this is a great way to enhance your brand identity by building a reputation as a company that genuinely cares about their customers.
Your identity influences everything, including how you store inventory, package products, and ship orders to your end customers. Likewise, it’s how you carve out your niche and establish a unique offer to stand out from the crowd.
Use your core brand values to build an authentic brand identity. Make everything that your brand stands for based around being as beneficial to your customers as humanly possible. Then, express those values throughout the whole order fulfillment process; from the point of transaction where the online sale is completed all the way through packaging, shipping, delivery, and even the return process, if it comes to that.
As a result, this strategy will reinforce the value of your brand, and how those values align with those of your customers throughout each phase of the order fulfillment process.
Plan for the Unexpected
Part of maintaining your brand identity means preparing for what lies ahead. That means being ready for changes you can anticipate and adapting to the most unpredictable possibilities.
To say that the entire world was upended by COVID-19 is an understatement. The past year and a half have been unprecedented, and it’s affected all of us in some form or another. In the early days of the pandemic, we saw some of the logistical challenges of order fulfillment play out in real-time. Organizations struggled to ship inventory like PPE to COVID-19 hotspots across the country.
People struggled to both place and receive orders due to lagging inventory in certain parts of the country. And tracking shipments from fulfillment centers to doorsteps proved especially difficult. On a macro level, the World Economic Forum reported a significant decline in US exports in the first few months of the pandemic, reaching a year over year low in May that left companies unable to deliver the types of buying experiences that customers expect.
The pandemic exposed a lot of these challenges and solving them must be a top priority. Over 50% of shoppers say convenience and value are the top reasons to try new places to shop. Let that be your raison d’etre: make your brand the most convenient and value-added ecommerce provider on the market. Live up to that pledge with order fulfillment that works.
Adapt With New Strategic Solutions
Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, this is a great time for companies to:
- Take stock of current fulfillment processes
- Prepare for the next unprecedented event
- Reassess how to live up to those customer expectations of speed, convenience, and value.
For example, you can improve how you ship orders nationwide by placing inventory in multiple fulfillment centers across the country. This reduces ground to cover between shipments so deliveries can be faster, easier, and done at a greater scale. You mitigate the risk of losing sales if one warehouse is forced to shut down or, for whatever reason, is unable to fulfill orders, which did happen for many companies in 2020.
At the height of the pandemic, companies like Amazon prioritized “essential goods” that left many Amazon sellers boxed in with no options to get inventory shipped out the door. Had they been connected to alternatives that welcomed DTC orders, many brands would have lived up to their order fulfillment pledges for their customers and maintained their levels of service. Selling through multiple channels reduces the risk of order paralysis, enabling more shipments to reach more destinations at faster and more convenient rates. Sticking with one distribution channel, like Amazon, limits order fulfillment, especially during times like the coronavirus pandemic.
With much of those difficulties now in the rearview, this is a great opportunity to look into tailored fulfillment services and expand the scope of your existing order fulfillment processes.
Use Seasoned Order Fulfillment Experts
Managing order fulfillment is a multi-headed process. It’s one of the foundational aspects of ecommerce. Therefore, you need an order fulfillment center with reliable, passionate employees and state of the art technology to ensure you deliver on customer expectations.
The right technology also provides real-time visibility into how orders move from storage, to packaging, to shipping, and delivery. This visibility provides clear and immediate answers about the process. Plus, if you have this information, you can be upfront and transparent with your customers about the status of each of their orders. That degree of transparency cements brand authenticity and improves customer satisfaction.
By choosing the right order fulfillment partner you can:
- Deliver the voice, the look, the feel, and the identity of your brand
- Integrate with any system, including shopping carts, marketplaces, EDI, or ERPs
- Expand your global footprint with international shipping options
- Manage return orders and processing
Collectively, all of the benefits of working with an order fulfillment partner will uphold the integrity of your brand identity, and deliver a satisfying experience to your customers.
Your Shoppers Expect Top-Notch Service; You Deserve it Too
You’re dedicated to providing an exceptional experience for your customer, so why shouldn’t you receive the same dedication from your order fulfillment provider? Our commitment to provide the highest quality customer service is what separates us from other order fulfillment companies, like those powered by Amazon.
We’re not just some middleman that outsources the work to oversee your orders. When you partner with us, you get a designated Account Manager, backed by a team of fulfillment and tech experts, who take the time to understand what you want to do and offer advice on how to best make it happen.
Our mission is to enable greatness in our clients, our community, our company, and ourselves. We genuinely care about you, your brand, the status of your orders, and your relationship with your end customers. That’s why we maintain long-term client relationships; people know what to expect when they work with our teams, and they value the support we offer to each and every one of our clients.
This is a guest post from One World Direct, experts in B2C and B2B order fulfillment since 1994. At OWD, one size doesn’t fit all. You choose the services you need, when you need them. Do you need custom pack-outs? Multiple integrations? Outsourced customer service? They do that. Plus kitting, returns, international shipping, and EDI. Whether you’re big or thinking big, they’d love to help. Visit One World Direct to learn more.