Are you thinking that the orders in your online store are increasing in a rate that you will not be able to handle promptly? Do you feel that in your business, customer satisfaction may decrease due to non-timely delivery of items? The problems such as the declining seller ratings and negative customer feedbacks can adversely affect the online business.
In that case, it is recommended to implement the required changes immediately and the change in strategies based on factual analysis will help you sort these problems. The following 3 points can be helpful in your thought process. Primary importance is given to “Time and Accuracy” so that you will get quality free time to develop your business and also for your personal life. These fundamentals will assist you to scale your business easily.
1. Business automation
By automating the business processes involved in your business such as selling, ordering, inventory management etc will ensure that unnecessary time wastage is avoided. The routine tasks such as listing creation, order processing, shipping labels printing, inventory management, order fulfillment, stock management and warehouse management can be automated and this will help you free up your time to focus on your business growth strategies. The automation has many advantages over the manual store management such as avoiding human errors in stock management, overselling, etc. The profitability also increases as the tasks as completed in a timely and accurate method.
It is recommended to automate the online business using software solutions that provide all the functionalities of online management. The store can be automated using software such as Linnworks, Channel Advisor, and Channel Grabber.
2. Use a smart picking, packing and delivery process
Order fulfilment process can be the most time-consuming process if not done systematically. The most common method of order fulfilment is discrete order fulfilment where the staff create the order items and process them one at a time and completing the process of that one order is done before going for the next order and this simple process can become the most inefficient one when the orders began to increase, hence it is highly recommended to use the smart picking, packing and delivery process to make your business processes more efficient.
The following methods can be used as a change to a more effective way of order fulfilment.
A) Batch Picking
It works the same way to individual order processing but it is more efficient as it focuses on batch-wise fulfilment of orders. This is also known as consolidated or multi-order picking. As multiple orders are handled at a time the chances of human error increases with this type of fulfilment.
B) Wave Picking
This type of fulfilment also works similar to the batch picking as it involves multiple orders. Like the batch, ordered items are queued and grouped (batched) into combined pick lists. Wave picking is executed multiple times per day (or shift) and it considers more factors than product overlap. In addition to maximizing product overlap, wave picking balances pick list capacities, product weight, shipping schedules, worker shifts and more. This helps to reduce the time fulfilment time. This method is implemented when a large number of products are in the inventory and the number of staff is high.
C) Zone Picking
It is done by creating specific zones within a warehouse and assigning a group of employees to handle these zones. The assigned employees will be picking and packing the SKUs within their assigned zone. Like the wave picking this method is also implemented by large companies where a large number of employees are available.
D) Third-party fulfilment services
There are fulfilment services offered by the eCommerce providers and the products will be packed and shipped by them. Many third-party logistics service providers also offer fulfilment services. By availing the fulfilment services such as Amazon FBA, eBay fulfilment services the seller can rely on their logistics experience.
It is another fulfilment method that works by enabling you to purchase products individually from a wholesaler and ship them directly to your customer. In this method, instead of purchasing large quantities of products, the drop shipping partners product list is displayed in your store. Once an order has been placed, they will then ship the product directly from their warehouse. The major disadvantage of this method is that profit per item can be very low. But many stores are successfully using this method of fulfilment. The ability to list a large number of products without adding them in your stock is the major benefit of this system.
3. Use effective reporting, analyzing and forecasting methods
You should be analyzing the efficiency of the reordering products, the profit you are making on individual orders, return on investment, product return and refunds, channel and product performance, product wastage, etc.
Effective reporting such as low stock alerts and minimum level reports will help you efficiently manage the inventory and to avoid excess stock and stock-outs. These reports also help to effectively manage the product reordering/purchasing. Apart from the stock and sales, you should also be finding your low selling SKUs and the exact reasons for their poor performance. If it is found that it is not seasonal facts that are causing the low sales or no sales then those SKUs may need discount offers to set up for them or you need to find better-suited markets for those products.