Your fulfillment processes can be one of the biggest efficiency drains on your business – costing you time, money, and even sales. With stock flying in and out, multiple shipping carriers to pay, different warehousing spaces to ship to, and orders from numerous marketplaces, an inefficient fulfillment process can be deadly to an eCommerce store.
In this article, we go over 7 reasons to unify your fulfillment and how to gain control of the mayhem.
The importance of perfecting your fulfillment
Your fulfillment strategy is your business’ lifeblood, so having a fluid process that allows you to scale and handle thousands of orders is critical.
But the days of simply ordering stock in and sending it out are gone – customers, selling channels, and your profit rely on your fulfillment solution operating at full efficiency.
It affects the availability of your products
Having an accurate real-time figure of your stock levels ensures you know when to order more and avoid selling out or overselling. This will protect your buyer experience, shield you from negative reviews, and keep your customers happy.
It affects how quickly you can deliver products
The smoothness and efficiency of your warehouse layout and shipping process affect how quickly you can deliver products, which in turn affects which fast shipping programs your listings are eligible for.
It affects your overall profits
Finally, the quicker you can deliver and replace your stock, the higher capacity you have to sell more; increasing your profits and growing your business.
Reasons to unify your eCommerce fulfillment
One of the biggest barriers to achieving and benefiting from full fulfillment effectiveness is a scattered fulfillment process – and it affects more online retailers than you think. Say you started out on eBay, fulfilling orders in-house. Then you expanded to Amazon and used FBA for ease. And then, you started out on Walmart, outsourcing fulfillment to get on Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping. That’s three different fulfillment solutions, more than three different warehouses, and multiple carriers.
So why should you change to one unified fulfillment solution?
Different fulfillment solutions offer different speed guarantees. You need to deliver within 4 or fewer days to be eligible for eBay Fast N’ Free Guaranteed, but you might struggle to match the same speeds for the Amazon orders that you fulfill in-house.
Unifying your eCommerce fulfillment solutions gives you access to fast shipping programs across all of your sales channels. This not only pleases your current customers, but it also qualifies you for fast shipping programs to increase visibility, reduced cart abandonment, and make more customer sales.
Free delivery is one of the biggest conversion influencers online, but it can come at a cost to your business. You can offset the cost of free shipping by unifying your eCommerce fulfillment to save money.
Using only one fulfillment solution means that you pay less money transferring your stock to multiple places, and can spend less money on warehousing space and staffing costs. Plus, you also have the freedom to choose the fulfillment solution that offers you the most significant savings on storage and shipping fees.
Imagine how much time it wastes to have to process, label, and ship your packages with separate providers. Having a disjointed fulfillment process can lead to repetition, reduce productivity, and waste time.
A unified fulfillment strategy avoids the repetition involved with sending orders and stock to different warehouses, communicating with different fulfillment providers, and logging into different systems.
The time saved by only doing out these tasks once can be reinvested into business growth and even faster deliveries for your customers.
4. Stock control
A split fulfillment process makes it difficult to view, manage, and organize your stock effectively across multiple sales channels. Not only do you need to log into different inventory management systems to download accurate stock levels, but you must also monitor stock for each sales channel to avoid overselling.
This drastically limits your sales potential on each channel and can be easily avoided. When using one fulfillment process, your inventory can automatically update across all online marketplaces after a unit is sold- maximizing stock availability and preventing overselling or selling out.
Humans like consistency. It’s why we always buy the same brand of washing powder, follow the same holiday traditions, and visit the same Chinese takeout place. Your online store is no different.
Customers expect the same delivery service from your brand, regardless of where they buy from you, and a unified fulfillment strategy powers you to achieve this.
Your deliveries should be sent with the same care, attention, and urgency regardless of the sales channel – helping customers to build trust in your brand and return to buy more.
6. Customer service
When handling multiple fulfillment avenues, it becomes difficult to monitor, control, and improve the service delivered. Missing packages, late deliveries, and damaged items can become a regular occurrence without you realizing – affecting your ratings, customer happiness, and profits.
Using one fulfillment provider gives you greater control over the delivery service your customers receive, helping to impact your online ratings and CLV figures positively.
Finally, unifying your eCommerce fulfillment gives you the unrestricted ability to extend to other marketplaces and fast shipping programs. When using mix-and-match combination of in-house fulfillment and FBA, marketplace expansion is something that you simply can’t manage in-house or afford to pay for through multi-channel FBA.
Unifying your eCommerce fulfillment with a multi-channel fulfillment partner enables you to maintain your Amazon Prime badge through SFP, offload your in-house fulfillment to an expert, and automatically qualify for other sales channels and fast shipping programs on various marketplaces.
Striving for unified eCommerce fulfillment
It’s all too easy to get so carried away with online expansion that your eCommerce fulfillment becomes disjointed, difficult, and ineffective.
While a unified eCommerce solution requires some research into fulfillment providers, some effort to switch processes, and some time to get used to, the benefits significantly outweigh a disjointed fulfillment strategy.
Unifying fulfillment brings more time, happier customers, and sustainable business growth – so get started today!