The order fulfillment process starts the moment your customer clicks “buy” on your online shop. In order to maintain high-quality operations and to ensure your customer receives a fast, accurate, and enjoyable experience, a company must plan accordingly.
For most small businesses and eCommerce brands, the order fulfillment process looks like this:
1. Order Received: Company receives an order through their shopping cart
2. First Notification: Customer is notified of their payment and order processing time
3. Order Management Software: Order is automatically sent to the fulfillment warehouse
4. Pick + Pack Process: Order is picked from inventory and packed based on specific guidelines
5. Shipping: Based on the best available carrier rate, the shipping method is chosen
6. Second Notification: Customer is notified that the order has been shipped
7. Tracking: Order can be tracked through the branded email
8. Arrival: Order arrives at the customer’s home
As you can see, the process includes a lot of steps, and ensuring each step is accurately handled is crucial for your business. Ecommerce owners understand the increasingly high expectations and demands of their customers. A poor fulfillment experience can lead to avoidable mistakes such as returns, errors, or even unhappy customers.
Efficiency Isn’t Enough
For a basic order fulfillment process, it’s relatively easy to get started. After investing in the bare minimum resources and planning for the process (reach out for our in-house fulfillment checklist!), you can be up and running in no time.
For an efficient fulfillment process, companies realize they have to invest in the right software, team, and processes, or else their operations can be significantly hampered by the challenges of shipping and fulfillment. While it can be difficult to realize, one of the most important resources of a company is the founder’s time and how it’s spent.
What’s the Post-Purchase Experience?
At Atomix, an efficient order fulfillment process isn’t enough. That’s why we call it the Post-Purchase Experience which begins with the initial inventory order from the manufacturer all the way through the returns handling process to ensure sustainable and high-quality operations.
Here, let’s take a quick look at how the Post-Purchase Experience fits into the Customer’s Journey and why it requires sufficient time and attention. There are three critical phases:
1. Pre-Purchase: The customer discovers and then begins to explore your brand. They are interested. Your marketing efforts have successfully attracted the customer (Thank Google and all the other internet channels for being able to advertise your product!)
2. Purchase: Now, the customer is on the site. They are ready to buy. Your brand has set up different free-shipping strategies and has made the checkout process seamless. (Thank Shopify and all the other shopping carts and marketplaces for making this easy!)
3. Post-Purchase: At last, the customer clicked buy! They are waiting for the product. The brand successfully picks, packs and ships the order out same-day with no errors! (By setting a strong supply chain with the Atomix in-house fulfillment checklist or leveraging the resources of a fulfillment company, you can turn an average experience into one that increases customer retention and lifetime value).
Here’s the Deal
Unfortunately, most new eCommerce entrepreneurs pay little attention to the Post-Purchase Experience. And when they do, they are often limited by resources. In order to realize the full potential of the order fulfillment process, companies must take a proactive approach. A simple improvement in how returns are inspected can save hundreds of hours a year.
At this point, we don’t feel like we have to recommend a fulfillment center, because at this point you’re well aware of what they can do. If you’re still on the fence, give us a call and we’ll show you how easy the process can be.
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