The ecommerce business comprises a series of phases from the moment a customer indicates interest in one of your products to the minute the product is delivered. A lot of challenges can occur between both points. These challenges-known as ecommerce fulfillment challenges-have the potential to damage your business reputation and cost you lots of money and even lead to the collapse of a once-thriving business. Since it is an inevitable part of the business, we have come up with some practices to help you correct such issues if they arise.
A poorly managed warehouse can lead to problems with inventory management. Here is a situation where your products are no longer in stock, damaged, or difficult to locate and package.
How to Fix It
You’d need to develop an inventory management strategy that involves making your warehouse staff aware of the importance of proper inventory. It is also crucial to have real-time data with updates for your online store
If you don’t have a warehouse, you have the option of working with reputable third parties (for example, end-to-end fulfillment or logistics (3PL) solutions). They have the experience and resources to manage your inventory optimally.
A poorly packaged product makes a shipped package more vulnerable to damage and loss.
How to Fix
You must use suitable packaging materials. After the product has been well packaged, you can then seal the carton with premium packing tape that keeps the package tight and all. When moving the carton(s), always ensure that it is stacked adequately on a pallet(s)(plastic or wooden) or in wooden crates depending on the size and number of cartons.
Shipping Notification Issues
Most customers love to monitor the movements of their orders after paying for them. So they expect notifications and updates from you. Given the nature of shipping, it can be challenging to give these, leading to some possible friction between you and your customers.
How To Fix It
Your best bet in such a situation would be to set up a messaging system that alerts your customers of the movement of their orders. To do this, you could opt for automated texts or emails that get delivered to your clients once they have made payments.
Installing order tracking plugins is another way to go as it allows your customers to check the status of their package from your site. Always ensure that you provide accurate tracking numbers or codes from your carrier.
Inaccurate billing information details can be a big problem. So you want to ensure that details such as the weight, freight class, description, payor of the transit of the freight, and accessorials, among others, are always accurate.
How to Fix It
Confirm the billing information details. Cross-check them as many times as possible. If you get the details wrong, call your broker to contact your carrier. You might need a letter of authorization, though.
International Order Fulfillment
An integral aspect of ecommerce is international shipping, which requires paperwork, taxes, and customs fees. There are also complications with ports, customs, and local and foreign inspections. All these make international order fulfillment challenging to manage in some situations.
How to Fix It
You would need to find a way to master international shipping with minimal hassles. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with reliable and seasoned fulfillment partners and shipping carriers with a reputation for delivering products to the locations you intend to ship products.
You can then back these shipping solutions with a reliable return policy and regular updates about any changes in the shipping schedules or pickups.
Damaged Or Lost Packages
There are so many phases in the process, and at any given point in time, a customer’s package can get lost or damaged.
How To Fix It
The best way to fix this issue is to ensure your shipment will cater to problems that might arise. You could get insurance from a third-party company if you cannot find a carrier that provides insurance coverage.
You also want to offer a return policy that is clear on issues of damaged or lost packages. The idea is to tackle this issue head-on as soon as possible.
Order fulfillment is tedious in itself, and efficient and professional customer service often smoothens it. However, there are some situations where poor customer service becomes an obstacle itself.
How to Fix It
Constant training of your customer service personnel will go a long way in fixing any customer service issues. Regular training is essential because there is a myriad of things that could go wrong with an order. It prepares them for the worst-case scenarios. The better trained they are, the more likely they are to manage any fulfillment problems that might arise.
Fulfillment challenges are part of the ecommerce business, so you are better off getting ready for them because they are inevitable. This article has described solutions to some of the most common fulfillment challenges that might arise in the course of your ecommerce business.
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