It’s just enough to sell great products right? Not necessarily.
If your customers don’t receive their orders on time, or if their orders are incorrect or damaged, the best products in the world won’t save your reputation.
If you really want to take your eCommerce business to the next level, you need to provide an amazing fulfilment experience alongside your products. Keep on reading to find out how.
What is the fulfilment experience?
When we say fulfilment, what do we actually mean?
This is an important point. Fulfilment means different things to different people.
If you’re going to provide an amazing fulfilment experience to your customers, you need to know exactly what you should be aiming for.
Put simply, the fulfilment experience refers to the process that takes place between a customer hitting the ‘buy’ button and placing an order, and eventually receiving their product through the post and opening it.
That process involves everything from order processing through to picking, packing and shipping, as well as communication through to the unboxing experience and more.
What does the fulfilment experience involve?
As we’ve mentioned above, the fulfilment experience involves many different stages. But, what exactly are they? We’ll take you through them below.
Just because a customer has clicked the ‘buy now’ button, doesn’t mean that the fulfilment experience is over.
Quite the contrary; it’s only just beginning.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to confirm an order.
Not only should you send an email confirmation that a customer’s order has been received, but you should maintain this communication as much as possible throughout the order process.
So, be sure to provide ongoing updates on estimated fulfilment and shipping times, as well as notifications of any expected delays.
Remember, you’re competing with giants such as Amazon who provide real-time updates. The more you communicate with your customers, the happier they’ll be!
Customers work hard to earn their money. When they spend it, they are inevitably excited about receiving the product they’ve worked so hard to buy.
Therefore, your customers will love you if you are able to provide order tracking information. If they can see the status of their order and know when they can expect their delivery, they’ll be much more likely to shop with you again.
Speed of delivery
Who wants to wait 7 to 10 days to receive their order? Not many people to be frank.
A crucial part of the fulfilment process these days is delivery speed. Thanks to the likes of Amazon, consumers expect to be able to receive their orders within a day or two at most.
If you want to provide the very best fulfilment experience, you cannot neglect delivery times.
Are you going to be excited about opening a tatty, plain old cardboard box? We thought not.
Consumers are increasingly expecting their orders to include an ‘unboxing experience’.
Think of the likes of Apple. Opening their products is almost like a ritual – involving the unwrapping of delicate packaging. The experience of unboxing one of their products is almost on a par with actually using their products!
Returns is a word that many eCommerce retailers would like to shy away from. But if you’re going to offer an excellent fulfilment experience, you really can’t afford to neglect returns.
In short, consumers want a returns process which is easy, quick and accurate.
That’s not just conjecture on our part either. There’s a body of evidence that suggests that brands with good returns processes experience great customer loyalty.
For example, one study found that online brands that invest in a solid returns process see a 12% increase in customer satisfaction.
How to create an incredible fulfilment experience for your customers
Okay, so now that we’ve seen what a great customer fulfilment experience looks like, how can you create one for your own eCommerce business?
We asked the team at 3PL to provide their top tips on creating a great customer fulfilment experience (without breaking the bank).
You’ll find their tips below.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
One of the most common complaints you’ll receive from customers is a lack of communication about their orders.
Gone are the days when you could send a confirmation email and nothing else.
Instead, customers want to know exactly where their order is. Has it left the warehouse yet? Is it half-way up the M6? Is the delivery driver at the bottom of the road?
The more tracking information you can provide, the better.
If you’re worried about trying to provide this level of tracking information, then it can make sense to partner with a third-party logistics provider who will have the technology and software to provide this level of tracking information on your behalf.
Offer affordable, rapid shipping
What many consumers want more than anything, is to receive their orders as soon as possible.
Think of it this way – they want the immediacy of buying something from a brick and mortar store, but without the hassle of visiting one.
If you’re able to offer rapid shipping at a low price (or for free, if you’re willing to absorb the cost), you’ll go a long way to building a base of highly-loyal, repeat customers.
Of course, if you work with a reputable fulfilment provider, they’ll be able to organise rapid shipments on your behalf. As these companies work with multiple couriers on a daily basis, they are able to leverage economies of scale and get the kind of shipping rates that you wouldn’t be able to get on your own.
Use branded packaging
Do you want your customers’ unboxing experience to be truly special? Then consider investing in custom packaging that features your own brand.
Forget about plain, boring, brown cardboard packaging and invest in creating truly unique packaging that stands out from the crowd.
Your customers will thank you for it.
As we outlined in this recent article, there are many ways that you can create a truly-special unboxing experience for your customers.
Oh, and don’t worry if you feel like that’s too much to handle. There are plenty of fulfilment companies who will be able to pick, pack and ship products in unique packaging on your behalf.
Outsource your fulfilment to a third-party provider
What if you want to do all of the things listed above to create the ultimate fulfilment experience, but don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself?
Well, there’s a simple answer.
Outsource your fulfilment to a third-party provider who can do all of those things on your behalf.
Companies such as 3PL offer a complete end-to-end fulfilment solution which ticks all of the boxes that create the ultimate fulfilment experience for your customers.
From providing detailed tracking and order delivery information via our 3PL Fusion software, to providing the most competitive shipping rates around, 3PL is able to take your order fulfilment to the next level.
Remember, if you want something doing well, choose a specialist to do it. Just as you are an expert at marketing and selling your products, 3PL is the expert at fulfilling them.
Want to find out more? Let’s chat…
Speak to 3PL about creating the ultimate fulfilment experience today
For more eCommerce fulfilment, logistics and shipping advice, read the 3PL blog…