In-house fulfillment has many moving parts, and things can quickly go awry if you aren’t careful. While some mistakes like the occasionally shipping delay can be unavoidable, it pays to take preventative measures to keep things running smoothly. Watch out for these five fulfillment mistakes that can damage your online reputation.
What is In-House Fulfillment?
In-house fulfillment is the process of managing and executing the packaging and shipping of orders placed by customers of a business. This can be done either by the business owner or employees, or it can be outsourced to a third-party provider.
Benefits of In-House Fulfillment
Greater control over the process
When you fulfill orders in-house, you have greater control over the process. You can better manage inventory and optimize your stock to match customer demand. You can even offer customizations and personalized messages with each order. All of this leads to happier customers and a healthier bottom line for your business.
Faster turnaround times
In-house fulfillment also allows for faster turnaround. This means that your product can reach your customers more quickly, and you can get started on your next project sooner.
Fulfilling orders in-house can also save you money. You won’t have to spend as much on outsourcing costs, and you’ll be able to take advantage of volume discounts. what’s more, you’ll have greater control over the quality of your product and the timeliness of your deliveries.
Improved customer service
In-house fulfillment gives you the ability to provide better customer service. With increased control over your inventory and shipping process, you can more easily respond to customer inquiries and address any issues that may arise.
In-house fulfillment gives you the flexibility to change your fulfillment process as needed. If you need to make changes to your shipping process or inventory management system, you can do so without having to rely on a third-party provider.
When you fulfill orders in-house, you have complete control over your inventory and shipping process. This allows you to better safeguard your products and customers' personal information.
Increased brand awareness
In-house fulfillment allows you to promote your brand with every order that you fulfill. By including marketing materials in your shipments, you can increase brand awareness and reach new customers.
In-house fulfillment can improve your bottom line by reducing shipping costs and increasing efficiencies in your fulfillment process. By investing in an in-house fulfillment solution, you can improve your profitability and better compete in today's marketplace.
Related: How to Get Free Shipping Supplies from USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL
5 Pitfalls of In-House Order Fulfillment
1. Improper packaging
When you have a sudden increase in orders, it can be tempting to package them up as quickly as possible. While customers appreciate timely shipping, getting the items to their door safely is a top priority. That means ensuring everything is packaged well to prevent damage.
As the old saying goes, haste makes waste. Poor packaging means damaged products and unhappy customers, which inevitably leads to returns and wasted money. If a product arrives damaged, you'll either have to pay to replace it plus the cost of shipping again or issue a refund. Not to mention smoothing things over with the customer can eat up more of your busy workday. It can put a damper on things when a customer opens a package only to see it arrived damaged.
The lesson? Package products well and don't rush through the fulfillment process, no matter how busy you are. If you're struggling to get orders out on time, offer your workers a little something extra to stay late and pitch in until the job gets done.
Related article: Eco-Friendly Packaging Tips for Ecommerce in 2020
2. Unreliable delivery
The shipping method you choose matters. It's essential to use a reliable delivery service so that orders arrive promptly. Customers hate waiting for late packages. The problem is if the shipment arrives late because of the carrier, it becomes your problem. The customer will contact you to figure out what is going on. As anyone who has ever waited on hold with USPS trying to locate a missing or delayed package knows, it can take up a big chunk of your afternoon. Small business owners don't have that kind of time to waste. Stick with a traceable and reliable shipping method. It will pay off in the end.
3. Shipping orders late
While you can't always control the shipping speed once the package is out of your hands, you can control how long it takes to prep the order for shipment. You've done so much work leading up to a sale, but the job is not over until the product leaves the warehouse.
Keeping a strict order fulfillment protocol makes the process efficient so that orders don't ship late. If you find yourself continually shipping late or barely making it to the post office in time, there are steps you can take to improve things. Perhaps it's time to hire an assistant, or maybe you could work on your time management skills. Either way, customers will appreciate receiving that shipping notification email promptly.
Related: What Do I Do When Sales Spike I Can’t Keep Up With Order Fulfillment?
4. Shipping the wrong order
Imagine you just ran a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, and the day has come where you have to fulfill hundreds or even thousands of rewards. How will you handle it? If you're crowdfunding, it's unlikely that you're a logistics pro. Likewise, you may not have a shipping center, trained workers, or order fulfillment experience. Even more, established eCommerce businesses sometimes have trouble picking and packing orders correctly. Take your time, and be sure to double-check the order slip before sealing the package. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Related: USPS Lost My Package: What Do I Do?
5. Inconsistent packaging
Sometimes you use bubble wrap, other times you don't. Last month you used white paper boxes, but the next time you order packaging materials, those are sold out, and you have to choose a different option. The last order had tissue paper, but the next time the customer receives their order, the product was just placed in the box without it. And one product shipped with protective materials to prevent spillage or breakage, but the next one arrived shattered because you forgot it.
When you are handling in-house fulfillment yourself, things are changing all the time. But consistent packaging is an essential part of branding. With in-house fulfillment, you'll have to manage to buy your own packaging supplies. Vendors can run out of the materials you usually use, which can cause you to switch things up so often that when the customer opens the package, it looks like it came from a different company. There's no connection happening.
The packaging materials you choose convey a lot about your brand. Consistent packaging helps solidify your brand, cementing it into the customers' minds and letting them know what to expect when they order from you.
Related: 7 Sneaky Ways You’re Losing Money by Not Using eCommerce Order Fulfillment Services
Tips to Succeed in Fulfilling Orders Yourself
There are several things you can do to set yourself up for success with in-house fulfillment:
Invest in good quality packaging materials. This will help ensure that your products arrive safely and in good condition. Good packaging will also improve the overall appearance of your products, making them more appealing to customers.
Streamline your packing process: In order to streamline your packing process, it is important to be well-organized. This means having a system in place for how you pack your items. For example, you may want to start by grouping items together by type. Or, you may prefer to pack heavier items first, followed by lighter items. By taking the time to figure out what works best for you, you can make your packing process much more efficient.
Invest in shipping software: Invest in shipping software to automate many of the tasks associated with shipping, including printing labels and tracking shipments. Shipping software can also help you manage your inventory and organize your customers' information.
Is in-house fulfillment right for your business?
In-house fulfillment may not be right for every business. Smaller businesses may not have the resources or space necessary to manage fulfillment operations, and may benefit from outsourcing to a third-party provider. Larger businesses may find that in-house fulfillment is more cost-effective and efficient.
Advantages of Outsourcing Fulfillment
1. Increased Efficiency
When you outsource your product fulfillment, you can take advantage of the increased efficiency that comes with having a professional team handle your shipping and logistics. This can lead to faster turnaround times and fewer errors, which can save you time and money in the long run.
2. Improved Customer Service
Outsourcing your product fulfillment can also improve your customer service. A professional team can provide your customers with tracking information and updates on the status of their orders, which can help to keep them informed and satisfied. In addition, a fulfillment team can help to resolve any issues that may arise during the shipping process, ensuring that your customers receive their products as quickly and smoothly as possible.
3. Cost Savings
Outsourcing your product fulfillment can also lead to cost savings. By using a fulfillment service, you can avoid the need to invest in expensive shipping and logistics equipment and software. In addition, you can take advantage of volume discounts and other cost-saving opportunities that may be available from your fulfillment provider.
When you outsource your product fulfillment, you gain the flexibility to scale your operation up or down as needed. This can be helpful if you experience seasonality in your business or if you need to make changes to your fulfillment process for any reason. A professional team can help you to adjust your shipping and logistics procedures as needed, ensuring that you always can meet customer demand.
5. Peace of Mind
Outsourcing your product fulfillment can also give you peace of mind, knowing that your shipping and logistics are being handled by a team of professionals. This can allow you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing and sales, while leaving the fulfillment process to the experts.
Related: Fulfillment Center vs. Distribution Center: What is the Difference?
Why Choose Simpl Fulfillment?
Simpl Fulfillment is a third-party provider that offers order fulfillment services. We are dedicated to helping our clients grow their businesses by offering cost-effective and efficient fulfillment solutions. We are proud to offer the following advantages:
Affordable pricing: We offer competitive rates that will save you money.
Flexible solutions: We offer a variety of fulfillment options that can be customized to meet your specific needs.
Scalability: We can scale our services to meet your changing needs as your business grows.
Transparent pricing: We believe in being upfront and transparent about our pricing, so you will always know what you are paying for.
Custom, branded packaging: We offer custom, branded packaging that will make your products stand out.
Simpl Fulfillment is the perfect partner for businesses of all sizes that are looking for a reliable and cost-effective fulfillment solution. Contact us today to learn more about our services!
In-house order fulfillment can be challenging. Streamlining your process, checking for inconsistencies, and treating each order with care goes a long way toward building your online reputation. If you need help, consider working with an eCommerce fulfillment company. As order fulfillment experts, they can pick and pack your orders the right way every time.
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