Cross channel order fulfilment is becoming increasingly popular around the world.
With the largest retailers and fortune five hundred chief executive officers firmly believing in the concept and backing it to the hilt. Cross channel order fulfilment is beneficial for customers or consumers, retailers and manufacturers. Even facilitators in the whole procedure, from logistics to back end support, benefit from cross channel order fulfilment.
There is no doubt that it makes for a convenient shopping experience. However, there are some quintessential requisites to perfect cross channel order fulfilment. Without the necessary components, the whole approach or the strategy can be futile. It may not backfire as such but it will remain ineffective unless planned well. The focus or the end objective should be omnichannel fulfilment and every strategy must be devised to accomplish that.
Here are the three principal or quintessential components of cross channel order fulfilment.
- The first obvious component is eCommerce but with a twist. Consumers should be given the opportunity to buy online. This is regardless of the retail operations or the strategy taken up by a company. It is appropriate for brick and mortar retailers to have an online store. It is also befitting for an eCommerce site or an online marketplace. But that is just what online sales is all about. Cross channel order fulfilment requires a facility of allowing consumers to shop online and to even make the purchases but to pick up the purchased goods from a store. This could be the store selling the stuff online or it could be a partner store. This is where networks come in. The global marketplaces have expanded their networks across most major economies of the world to offer this facility. Some consumers don’t want to pay for shipping and handling charges. Some items are just not suitable for delivery even when they come with great deals online.
- The second component is returns at the store. When consumers are unhappy with their purchases, they will return the goods. Many companies charge for shipping when the goods are returned even when they have offered free shipping to send the goods to the address. But when consumers return via post, there is a likelihood that the company will have to refund. Returns at stores will encourage exchange so the store doesn’t lose out on revenue. Even if the customer returns the item and buys or exchanges something of a little less worth, that too is better than refunding the entire amount for the price of the item originally bought for no exchange or subsequent purchase.
- Finally, cross channel order fulfilment should have the facility of ordering at a store and getting a fulfilment store to deliver the goods when the store taking the order doesn’t have the stock of the particular item. The benefits are obvious.
Amidst phenomenal growth of ecommerce and consistently evolving retail logistics, the significance of warehouse management service cannot be overstated. The very definition of warehouse management service has changed in recent years. While storage and inventory management still remain at the crux of the service along with an efficient warehouse management system, there are other associated services which have now become imperative.
There is no dearth of companies offering warehouse management service but you need to find the right one. Here is a brief guide that can help you in your quest.
- The first attribute many business owners focus on is the infrastructure. While infrastructure is indeed an important factor, the most significant attribute is the expertise. The company offering warehouse management service must have experience in dealing with the specific type of goods that you have. You cannot expect a company specializing in handling textiles to be as adept at handling valuables such as luxury watches. Likewise, food items need a different approach compared to consumer electronics. Even food needs to be classified into perishable and nonperishable. Choose a warehouse management service that is particularly specialized in dealing with the kind of goods you have.
- Technology is another important factor. Technology is not confined to a warehouse management system or software that would automate inventory management, database management and other essential operations. Technology pertaining to security, logistics, returns management, order fulfillment and other aspects of the niche must also be ensured. In a nutshell, you need a state of the art warehouse management service that automates everything that can be automated, thus doing away with the possibilities of human error.
- Cost is obviously one of the most important elements that would influence your choice of warehouse management service. Don’t compromise on technology or expertise to save money. That wouldn’t work out well for your goods or for your customers.
- Focus on convenience when you choose a warehouse management service. Consult with the reps, check out their locations, factor in where they are based and how they cater to the service because the easier it is for you to coordinate with the company or the assigned personnel of the company, the more efficient the whole arrangement would be.
- You may need additional services at times, which could be returns management, packaging, storage for specific periods of time which may vary for different products, shipping or order fulfillment service as a whole. Check out if a company offering warehouse management service can cater to all other needs of yours.
Whether you have an ecommerce business or intend to ship your products far and wide across the country from your retail location, you will need order fulfilment service. The phenomenal saving is the primary reason why people don’t opt for conventional shipping options. Also, order fulfilment service would make your life simpler and easier so you can focus on the core aspects of your business.
Finding the best order fulfilment service is not challenging but you have to make a few smart calls. You need to find the right company, one that understands your needs and can deliver. Here are a few tips that can help you to find the best order fulfilment service.
- Determine the scope of the service you need. It is possible that you would need a complete solution. That may involve packaging, shipping, doorstep delivery, returns and warehousing. You may not need all of those services and may be fine with just shipping. Your need will determine the type of companies you must consider. It is futile to consider a company that doesn’t offer all the services when that is what you need. However, hiring a company that does offer all the services even when you don’t need them is better. You wouldn’t pay unnecessarily more and you would have the scope of expanding the order fulfilment service if and when you need to do so. That wouldn’t be possible with a company that doesn’t offer all the services.
- You must know for sure if the company offering order fulfilment service specializes in the type of product you have to deliver. Your product can be small, medium or large in size and weight. Your product may have some specific packaging requirements. The handling, depending on fragility and value, is a quintessential factor. You should not hire a company that doesn’t specialize in the type of product you are dealing in. This checkpoint should be enough to discard many companies and to consider a few. Using the reductionist approach, you can easily zero in on the few companies that are relevant for your needs.
- Finally, you should only consider credible companies that have a proven track record and a substantial presence. A very small company offering order fulfilment service, which doesn’t have much of a clientele, will not be an ideal choice. It may not have the infrastructure, trained manpower and the outreach that you need.