Contributed by SUBTA Platinum Resource Partner, Red Sky Europe
With many eCommerce businesses across the globe experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand for their products, it’s easy to lose focus of the critical elements for successful order fulfillment.
COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of daily life throughout the world. As a result of the stay-at-home orders across North America and Lockdown Laws implemented within Europe, one of the silver linings was the propulsion of the e-commerce industry. Data from the United States Department of Commerce reveals that this year, consumers have spent $146.47 billion online with U.S. retailers alone, which is up a staggering 14.5% compared to Q1 2019. Research shows that in April 2020, almost half of the products purchased online were made by first-time digital shoppers, and according to QuantumMetric, online conversion rates increased 8.8% in February, which mirrored consumer behavior usually seen only during Cyber Monday. Trends in items purchased have changed drastically from the early pandemic essentials such as canned goods and toilet roll to today’s demands, which heavily consist of health and beauty products.
If your business is one of the many struggling with demand and keeping your order fulfillment on the right track, it’s ideal for assessing your strategy under these five essential headings;
Order Management System
Consumers can locate products in many ways, from finding them on marketplaces such as Shopify or Amazon to directly visiting a brand website. Wherever they find a product, your order management system must integrate with every channel to ensure that your products are easily accessible and that inventory data is accurate, allowing you to ship in a timely fashion and to the correct address. Research shows that most consumers will go to a competitor if an item is unavailable, so be sure to stay ahead.
As your orders increase, demands on customer service will too. This became particularly apparent during COVID-19, where it has been evident that “difficult calls” received at customer service centers doubled in volume during the pandemic. Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of the Selfridges luxury store, highlighted the importance of flawless service when he reportedly stated, “the customer is always right” back in the 20th century. Still, it has taken over a century to directly link customer experience and that all-important bottom line. Subscription box providers and recurring revenue brands rely on repeat customers, so providing the best possible customer experience is vitally important.
Data analytics is probably one of the most commonly underutilized tools in the eCommerce industry, crucial for the development and growth of a business and to that all-important bottom line. Gather essential data from the beginning of the e-commerce process right to the end, at the delivery point. There is an increasing number of variables at play, so using these numbers will be hugely beneficial. Key metrics on abandoned carts, inventory inaccuracies, and delayed deliveries will make essential data to improve your service, customer experience, and help generate additional revenue in the long run.
In the eCommerce, industry speed is crucial in every part of the process. With so many possibilities in terms of products and purchase options, customers expect a fast and reliable website. According to Unbounce, almost 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer. Every minute of downtime and even second of load time can represent an avoidable loss in your revenue. Ensure your website can keep up with increases in demand and make it a priority to remedy if not.
Fulfillment & Personalization
Customer demand may be at its peak, but do not forget the power of the finer details. Customer experience should remain a top priority. Pack each item with care and attention to ensure the receiver’s experience while unboxing is a pleasant and exciting one. Especially during these challenging times, your efforts won’t go unnoticed, and its an easy win for your brand.
Written by Ken Byrne, CEO & Founder, Red Sky Europe
Learn more at Redskyeurope.com