According to an infographic from Milo Local Shopping, 38% of online consumers will not proceed with buying a product if shipping will take more than a week. And you might be one of them. But whether you own a small business or you are a customer, it is not surprising to know that ecommerce fulfillment is not an easy feat.
Nonetheless, you should not be afraid to bring your small business online. That’s because these common ecommerce issues can be fixed:
When a customer spends money on your product, it is important to keep in mind that they are expecting quality.
Thus, you need to make sure that what you are shipping is in good condition and not damaged. Otherwise, you are risking to lose your customers to your competitors.
Sure, damaged inventory can happen to anyone. But you can minimize it from happening if you have thorough inventory management. This includes checking your products before packing and shipping it.
This means that you need to invest in high-quality packaging.
But just in case, it is also ideal to have a return policy in place. That way, the process of returning and replacing your damaged product is as smooth as possible.
Locating and Managing Inventory
There is nothing more frustrating than delayed shipping and knowing that your desired product turns out to be unavailable.
This happens because your small business has a poorly organized warehouse. The same thing goes with your supplier communication. Hence, real-time product visibility is crucial.
This includes having real-time data on your inventory and having an end-to-end view of your inventory’s shipping status. Luckily, there are ecommerce fulfillment services that provide inventory management, so you do not have to worry about your inventory and warehousing needs.
Keep in mind that when your inventory is well-managed and organized, you will be able to deliver the product fast. And this can increase the chances of turning a one-time customer into a loyal one.
Determining how much to charge for shipping and making it reasonable are just two of the things that small business owners struggle with.
If you are shipping your products, it is best that you partner with a local courier. For one, it ensures immediate delivery regardless of the size of the product that you need to ship.
Second, you can ask for their published shipping rates. Thus, you can easily figure out the most reasonable shipping fee that you can charge.
On the other hand, you can partner with a 3PL company if you intend to ship your products internationally. That’s because they have an established network of major freight companies. This means that you can rest assured that products will be delivered to your international customers.
Because a customer decided to spend his money on your product, it is just right that you allow them to track it. That said, it is best if you can offer at least basic parcel tracking. That way, they can anticipate when their product will arrive.
You can do this by sending an SMS or email, notifying your customers of the status of their products.
If you are on WordPress, you can install order tracking plugins that allow your customers to track the status of their orders easily. If you are using a different CMS that is ecommerce-enabled, make sure to check that order tracking is part of their feature.
This will not just give your customers peace of mind. It will also reduce follow up from them on your part.
While international customers are aware that they will not receive their package overnight, they will still switch to another service provider if they have to wait too long. This could mean a missed opportunity for your business.
As mentioned earlier, you can solve this issue by partnering with a 3PL company. Doing so will allow you to offer a range of shipping options to your international customers. And you would be surprised how that are willing to pay more for expedited delivery.
In addition, working with a 3PL company allows you to enjoy bulk international shipping rates if you do a large volume of international shipping.
Replacing Lost or Damaged Products
Again, damaged inventory can happen to anyone ‒ no matter how diligent you are with managing and organizing your inventory.
Replacing lost or damaged items can be costly. Thus, it is advisable that you have the shipping insurance for every item that you deliver.
This will not only prevent your finances from taking the blow, but it also gives you the capability to implement a free return policy. You would not want to receive a handful of calls from irate customers, would you?
It is important to make the return and replacement process as easy as possible. What you can do is offer a free envelope and a pre-printed label so customers can return the damaged product with ease.
That way, you can turn a mishap into something remarkable.
Poor Customer Service
Speaking of receiving calls from irate customers, do you know where they go in case a product is missing, damaged, or delayed? That’s right, customer service.
You see, excellent customer service is also integral to the success and growth of your small business. That’s why it is also important you invest in this part of the business.
You can do this by training your customer service representatives on how to properly handle customer calls. You can also coordinate with your suppliers and ecommerce fulfillment service provider to ensure the quality of service.
Keep in mind that inadequate customer service could be the worst ecommerce fulfillment mistake that you will ever make.
Communicating With Suppliers
As mentioned previously, you should coordinate with your suppliers if you want to ensure that your service is of top-quality. After all, it is a no-brainer that most online retailers and small businesses purchase from a third-party supplier.
That said, it is your job to work only with suppliers that maintain open communication. Otherwise, you will be the one paying for their mistakes.
When you own a small business, whether it is online or offline, it is inevitable to commit mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can be costly. Thus, it is important that you can identify the common pitfalls of ecommerce so you would know how to avoid them best.