How can Online Sellers out do their competitor’s Order Fulfilment Speed?
With the intense amount of competition that you face as an online seller in the e-commerce market it becomes a mammoth task to establish a point of difference. Last year, Amazon India claimed to have crossed 1 lakh sellers registered on their website. The numbers of Flipkart and Snapdeal are not too different from this ballpark. What should an online seller do to move ahead of the pack in such a scenario?
There are a few mentionable strategical options that the online seller has at this point. One is competitive pricing, but it is not a reliable method to make sales. Psychologists tell us that more often than not, when presented with three pricing options, the customer tends to go with the one in the middle, considering it to be the safest bet. Competitive pricing is therefore a risky plan of action, since the price margin in something that has to be carefully calculated so that it doesn’t hurt rather than help in the longer run.
Establishing a brand name and a social media image go a long way into dominating the market share, but they need to be backed by good products and services to really work in your favour. The most important thing that you can do to break away from your competition is to provide excellent service to your customers, and that is where order fulfilment comes in. There is already a move towards lowering the delivery time as much as possible in Indian online retail. Let’s take a look at a few tips with respect to getting faster at order fulfilment than our competition.
Why is Order Fulfilment Important?
It has taken Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal an all out three-way war, hundreds of sales and myriad losses in terms of resources to shift focus on better service rather than competitive pricing strategies. The truth is that competitive pricing tends to be extremely expensive for all the players of the game. As a result, the past year has seen a few radical moves by the big three to hold their sellers more accountable in terms of order fulfilment and customer service, through tighter control over Service Level Agreements. The fact of the matter is that in a market like India where internet penetration and online retail is just starting to hit the tier II and three cities, order fulfilment time is the benchmark to watch out for. The faster you can deliver the product to the customer, the farther ahead you go in terms of competition.
How to Reduce Order Fulfilment Time?
Reduce Prep Time
Instead of starting the fulfilment process once the order is received, you can take preemptive steps to reduce the prep time while processing the order. By pre-assembling a certain number of products in the warehouse with their packaging, you can save a lot of valuable time once the clock starts ticking.
Auto Print Shipping Labels
Automation is a great way to reduce the order processing and fulfilment time. Using a multi-channel inventory management system like Browntape, you can automatically print shipping labels, invoices and other documentation and update the warehouse stock as you go. This saves a lot of time and effort of doing manual work.
Reorganise Your Warehouse
A messy warehouse is the primary reason why orders get delayed and mixed up. As opposed to that, an efficient warehouse allows for fast order processing and circulation of stock. Keep a lookout for the shelf life of your products and find out if there are any bottlenecks in the process that are keeping the products from flowing in and out. Create systematic printing and packing stations within your warehouse to enable faster movement of stock.
Find Trustworthy Logistics Providers
If you are responsible for your own delivery and logistics, as opposed to partnering with your marketplace, it is vital that you find trustworthy logistics providers. Once the product is out the warehouse door, there is very little control that you have over what can happen. What you can do is make sure that your logistics providers have good tracking facilities. The other thing that you need to do is specify your expectations in clear terms in the Service Level Agreement that you sign along with your shipping provider, to make sure that you are covered in case of delay, damage or loss of product.
Communicate with the Customer
Finally, it is always a good practice to keep the customer in the loop while their order is being processed. While this does not have any direct bearing on the fulfilment time as such, it is still an important trust building exercise and will go a long way in establishing your reputation. It also lets your customers know that there are lines of communication that they can use if they wish to do so. Browntape lets you automate certain email notifications to your customers so that they are always updated about their order status.
These are a few things that you can do to drastically reduce your order fulfilment times and move ahead of your competition on the Indian online retail market. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce experts, and we are always happy to help!