Customers have higher expectations than ever. They can order a product and have it on their doorstep in mere days, often for free, and they’ve come to expect that level of service from everyone.
If a customer has a long wait time between the order and the shipping notification, or the product gets lost in transit or arrives damaged, they may just move onto a competitor.
The fulfilment and shipping process has a huge impact on customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and brand reputation. The faster and more accurate you can be, the better experience the customer will have.
Here’s how you can create the ideal shipping process for your business.
Make It About the Customer
A lot goes into customer experience, but fulfilment and shipping are high on the list. You must be fast and accurate. Shipping quickly isn’t enough if your processing time is long, and fast processing doesn’t matter if the product is lost or damaged.
Here are the typical steps in the fulfilment and shipping process:
A customer places an order on the website. The fulfilment process begins by finding the product in your inventory, buying it yourself, or sending it to a fulfilment center to be shipped from a third-party logistics provider.
Order processing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the process. You have to verify all the information for the order, including the shipping address and payment details. Fortunately, this process can be automated to not only expedite the time but reduce human error.
Once processing is complete, the product is ready to ship. Most businesses offer the most cost-effective shipping method possible, but you can also offer economy, standard, or express shipping for the customer to choose.
You also have the option to dropship or ship the product yourself, but many businesses choose to outsource shipping to a third-party logistics partner. These companies offer different features for efficiency and productivity, including warehousing, packaging, and shipping.
The other options – dropshipping and self-fulfilment – have pros and cons. Drop shipping means you relinquish control, and self-fulfilment is time-consuming and difficult to scale.
Third-party logistics providers resolve these issues. The fulfilment and air freight shipping process takes away a lot of the time for you, leaving you to focus on mission-critical tasks. It’s vital that you work with the right logistics partner, however, to ensure your brand is represented well.
Goals for the Shipping Process
The ideal shipping process allows you to deliver the product as quickly as possible. Speed isn’t all that matters, however. Customers want a product that’s delivered safely to the right address. No matter how quickly you fulfil and ship orders, you still won’t give the customer a good experience if the product is lost or damaged.
Accidents can always happen, but an efficient process minimizes the risk.
How To Create A Shipping Process
It’s not as simple as calling up a courier or popping down to the nearest parcel depot, you need a strategy. So what do you need to consider when working out your shipping process?
Plan the Verification Process
The verification process is one of the most time-consuming aspects of order processing. Getting it right is what ensures the product is delivered to the proper address. E-commerce management solutions have features built in for this, including address verification to reduce user error.
Purchase Shipping Supplies
If you are self-fulfilling, you need to have shipping and packaging supplies on hand to fulfil orders quickly. Some products can ship in their own packaging, such as televisions and laptops, but you may need supplies to ship multiple products or keep fragile products safe.
In addition, some products need special labels for shipping, such as flammable or restricted products. Make sure you always have these labels available.
Thank you cards or small free gifts are always nice for the customer. They won’t fix a bad experience or inefficient process, but having them on hand could be a “cherry on top” for the customer.
Create The Perfect Shipping Process
Fulfilment and shipping can be tedious and time-consuming, but they play a significant role in the customer experience. By creating a perfect shipping process, you can ensure your customers have a positive impression of your brand.