Welcome to the second part of 'The art of fulfilment'.
Preventing fuflilment Issues
Foreseeing and preventing potential issues is also vital around holiday periods. There is no point waiting for something to go wrong when a provider could have done something prior to minimise the problem. Fulfilment providers should liaise with their chosen parcel carrier well in advance of the Christmas rush. A provider should be able to provide information on the predicted sales of products and be able to inform the carrier of what to expect.
Suppliers can also identify any concerns that they can foresee and ensure that the carrier is well aware of any issues that could normally hold up delivery. As purchases are made, and the Christmas rush starts, a supplier should continue to discuss with their carrier how sales levels have been and if this ties in with original sales forecasts. This will enable more accurate predictions to be made for the remaining time before Christmas to ensure that any potential disruption to customers is as minimal as possible.
Finding a balance
Retailers must find a balance between part delivering orders. If a customer orders two things and the first is available immediately but the second product is not in stock, a fulfilment company must find a way to satisfy both parties. A customer mustn’t have to wait outside the agreed delivery period for the product to arrive if it is in stock, but at the same time fulfilment companies do not want to send out two parcels within a few days to the same recipient.
A fulfilment company must therefore be in constant contact with their brand or retailer to ensure they know when new stock is on its way to the storage facilities. From this they can make an informed decision about whether to wait before fulfilling an order or actually needing to send out the first part straight away.
Often the hardest thing to cope with is returns; the way that this process is managed can determine the success or failure of a business. After all, there will always be returns especially at Christmas time. A supplier must not think that once 25th December has passed, that their job is over and the campaign concluded. Many companies don’t think about returns until the last minute but those who see it as a service rather than a cost will be successful. Returns handling must be quick and easy to leave customers feeling confident in dealing with both the supplier and the retailer.
Customers expect their items to be delivered within the agreed timeframe as purchasing from home or online means they cannot physically take them from the store that day. There is always an opportunity to establish a long term relationship by ensuring that every aspect of the purchasing process is successful. Getting fulfilment wrong should not be a reason to jeopardise this.
For more information about fulfilment services, visit Orbital Response today!