As a retailer, fulfilment is one of the most crucial components of your entire business process. In fact, that’s one reason people often say that the “real selling begins after the customer has already said yes.” What they mean is that making a sale is just the beginning of the overall consumer experience.
Once a customer has made their purchase, they’re now expecting to have their goods accurately delivered to them in a time-efficient manner. And if your fulfilment process doesn’t match their expectations, you not only risk alienating the customer, but also gaining a vocal critic who will take to social media to blast your company.
So what can you do to ensure your customers always receive an exceptional delivery experience? Quite a lot actually, and below are three great places to start…
1. Provide customers with accurate and reliable order tracking.
While it’s becoming increasingly common, a surprising number of retailers do not provide their customers with any order tracking options. This is a huge mistake, as it leaves them in the dark about when their order will arrive. It also makes them more likely to email or call your support team with inquiries about their delivery, which in turn costs you time and money.
In 2014, there’s simply no excuse for not being able to give your customers order tracking. If you use a third party logistics provider (3PL), they should absolutely have the technology in place to generate tracking numbers. Additionally, they should also have the infrastructure in place to provide accurate, real-time updates on the status of each delivery. And if they aren’t able to do this, it’s a huge sign that you need to start looking for a new logistics partner.
2. Update your CRM systems.
Do your customers receive a confirmation email with their order details? What about an email telling them that their order has been sent out for delivery? Finally, what about a confirmation email telling them that their item has been successfully delivered?
A good CRM or Order Management Software will generate these emails to customers automatically. And if you’re using a 3PL, they should have the technological capabilities to integrate their order management system with your current software. If they don’t, that’s yet another huge indicator that you need to start looking for a different provider.
3. Automate warehousing processes.
Having a highly automated warehousing management system in place means faster shipping times and greater accuracy. Ideally, the system you use should be able to track the current location of any item, update when an item is picked and packed, and notify you again when it has gone out for delivery. Using good warehousing management technology not only keeps you in the loop, it also identifies mistakes as they happen in real-time, thus allowing your team to remedy them immediately. The result is a more reliable and accurate fulfilment process.
Happy Customers Keep Coming Back…
The key takeaway here is that technology has made it easier than ever before to provide a highly satisfying fulfilment process to your customers. In return, they are much more likely to both give you their repeat business, and to refer your company to their friends. Plus, with greater efficiency also comes significant cost savings for your organization.