This post first featured in the Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment November 2019. To read the full ebook click here, or scroll to the end of the page to view on page-turning software.
Implementing a packaging and shipping process which is both effective and efficient works to create a fantastic customer experience, as well as cutting costs down.
Speaking exclusively at eCommerce Live, Matt Simmons of Fulfilmentcrowd spoke about the ways in which retailers can streamline their processes to cope with large volumes of sales and deliver a consistently impressive service all year round.
Navigating spikes in sales
Spikes in traffic can happen at any time, sometimes with no warning. The perfect example of this is an item which suddenly gets publicity, whether it’s a dress worn by a celebrity which makes the news, or fidget spinners becoming a craze. An overload of purchases can result in selling out, or even websites crashing, making it vital to act quickly and stop customers leaving… after all, it’s much easier to keep a customer’s attention than to recruit a new customer. While these peaks in sales and shipping can be unpredictable, there are ways to be as prepared as possible.
Matt said: “If your infrastructure isn’t organised and you suddenly get an order of 5,000, you can’t handle this, which is why it isn’t worth most retailers having their own warehouse. You need to make sure you have the infrastructure for any large spikes. Retailers need to think about how items can be shipped cheaper, packaged differently or scaled up, streamlining the process.”
Communicating with fulfilment partners
For a fulfilment process to work successfully, there cannot be misunderstandings or gaps in communication. Planning ahead and having close communication with fulfilment partners enables collaborative planning to take place, making sure you don’t struggle to fulfil orders at busy times.
Matt explained: “We view ourselves as an extension to the operations team, whichever business we’re working with. It’s important to have that close relationship and communicate effectively. For example, we work with retail businesses’ marketing teams and understand what they’ve got planned, from campaigns to sales, helping us to predict busy times around this.”
Making the most of innovation and tech
Advancements in technology have enabled fulfilment and shipping processes to be made more simple. Some forms of technology enable customers to make more informed purchase decisions, or choose from a list of options when returning a product. This takes a lot of strain off retailers and their fulfilment processes.
Matt added: “To avoid the cost of returns, a lot of this comes down to customers’ expectations of an item. Augmented reality is being used to see what products will look like, and some clothing retailers are now featuring different sized models so customers can better judge purchases they make. There are also drop-off points for returns, for example, at ASDA, helping to reduce the CO2 emissions produced.
Read the full Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment November 2019 below.