Supply Chain Enabled

eCommerce-beyond the click. Getting your supply chain to deliver on customer promises

Published: February 3, 2021
Author: Keelin Rowan

eCommerce – beyond the click
Getting your supply chain to deliver on your customer promises

When customers click the buy button on your ecommerce store, the process of delivering on your customer promise begins.   Far from being the end of the process, what happens next may make or break that new relationship. Nothing says I want to keep your business, like a late delivery, inappropriate packaging, damaged goods, incorrect invoices or unexpected duty charges.

Some tips below for your eCommerce supply chain, and how to ensure that your customer will continue to have the best experience, and return many times, to buy again.

  1. Map delivery options by region – customer delivery expectations vary by city and by market.  Make sure that your offering is market competitive locally and if possible, give customers choice.
  2. Set expectations and meet them – be clear on product availability, when it should ship and when the customer should expect to receive shipments.  Speed is important but reliability trumps speed every time.
  3. One touch data – systems should enable validation of address data and ensure seamless communication between website, fulfilment and transportation partners.
  4. Stock visibility – visibility to stock levels between website and fulfilment location is critical to managing customer expectations and ensuring that product, once purchased, is secured for the customer order.
  5. Pick and Pack – validate that your warehouse setup is optimised for efficiency, and that your pick and pack workflows ensure that the correct products goes with the correct orders.  Plan labour requirements based on projected volumes, particularly around the holiday season.
  6. Packaging – customers have rightly become less tolerant of excessive packaging with eCommerce shipments.  Give consideration to appropriate packaging that protects the product and reflects your brand experience.
  7. Gift wrapping and customisation – these options can add to the customer experience but can significantly impact throughput.  Consider simple options – branded tape vs boxes – that can add to the experience without making the delivery process more complex.
  8. Proactively manage delivery exceptions – too many companies see their job as complete when the order is handed to the delivery company.  Follow it through to delivery with proactive management of delivery partners.
  9. Returns – plan for a returns process that is customer friendly without encouraging a high level of returns.  Pre printed returns slips or online returns processes can help streamline the returns flow.

Aligning your supply chain to customer expectations will be the success of the eCommerce channel.  Done well, it can be an additional source of differentiation, but of course the converse is also true.

Contact us for a discussion regarding the development or optimisation of your eCommerce channel solution, and the supply chain structures to support it.

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