Retail fulfillment means the assembling and shipping of a customer order. Instead of customers coming to your store to pick items and purchase them, eCommerce merchants check online orders, package the correct products, and then send it off to the customer.
Why is retail fulfillment important for online businesses?
As an online business, the only way for you to get your products into a customer’s hands is to optimize the retail fulfillment process. You want your customers to be able to place an order online and then receive their package with minimal effort and no complications.
By taking the retail fulfillment process into your own hands, you have to worry about many different fees and costs. If you’re unable to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently, you’re going to lose customers.
What does the retail fulfillment process involve?
- First, a new inventory is received by the company. The number of products you have to order will greatly depend on how many orders you expect. This will involve some inventory forecasting to help you prepare.
- Next, you’ll need to store it so that it’s ready to fulfill customer orders. Ideally, you should have a storage location for each SKU so you can easily process, organize, and document orders.
- When a customer places an order, it will be added to a queue and a picking list will be generated. Your team will then follow this list to fulfill the order.
- They are then packaged in suitable boxes that are just large enough to fit all the items with packaging materials to save on shipping costs.
- Lastly, you’ll follow your store’s shipping policies. Some stores ship on the same day before a certain time while others promise an estimated timeline.
You may need to establish a returns process for customers that aren’t happy with their orders, or in the event that the order was packaged incorrectly. A well-designed returns process can reduce headaches and make things a lot easier for your business.
Steps to optimize the fulfillment process
Choose the right location
Make sure you pick the right location for your fulfillment center. Having it located close to your customers means a much smoother experience with an easier returns process. It can also cut down on shipping costs depending on the location.
Use the right software
Retail fulfillment should be a mostly automated process that is governed by a fully-integrated software solution. Whether it’s enterprise resource management software or a simpler inventory management solution, there are many ways to use software to optimize the entire process. Some eCommerce merchants have all-in-one solutions that provide inventory management, order tracking, and integration with fulfillment providers.
Offering fast shipping times
Fast shipping times will attract more customers. This can be achieved with a strategic fulfillment location, efficient software, and clear shipping policies.
Make retail fulfillment easy with ShipJoy
ShipJoy provides a full retail fulfillment service that will help you manage large orders and save valuable time. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for more information.