2020 kicked off the e-commerce massive trend and 2021 doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. With this in mind, many brands are looking to tighten up their e-commerce operation to make sure that their 2021 summer and holiday season doesn’t catch them off guard – again.
When looking to improve their operations, brands look at a few things:
The marketing department of a brand’s job is to impress their customers and perpetuate their brand loyalty, but often times their ideas tend to make their fulfillment operation slower and pricier which then translates to a negative Customer Experience. Below we will analyze the most common branding ideas that can hurt your operation if not coordinated well.
Customized Branded Boxes could be a good idea; customers are already receiving so many daily brown boxes that a touch of your brand in between that pile of boring cartons will lighten up your client’s face for sure. The problem is often times, these boxes tend to be hard to put together which takes valuable time of your packers and slows down the process. When designing a customized box, make sure you keep in mind that the harder it is to put it together, the slower your orders will come out. When running a promo with thousands of orders daily, any delay could seriously set you back and increase the cost of your operation.
Gift Messages are a great way of suggesting your potential clients to share your brand with others, also helping you to raise your ticket average or your Customer Lifetime Value. Now, your client will not only represent a one-time purchase (depending of the longevity of your product) but it could be purchased multiple times by the same client with the purpose of gifting. The only issue with personalized gift messages is that they will increase the cost of your order, so you will have to evaluate if the price of the product can really sustain the additional cost that this process will take.
Offers and Specials are a great way to get attention from potential clients that hopefully will buy your product first as an opportunity, and hopefully stay with your brand afterwards. Even if the vast majority of these purchases do not repeat, Promos are a great way to increase your Word of Mouth and create a buzz. As long as your new clients are happy with their product (and the deal they got), your word of mouth will thrive. Make sure to give clear instructions to your newly acquired clients (even if one-timers) on how to help you spread the word. Preferably, offer a discount on their next purchase as compensation, so then you have them hooked for a repeat buy. Remember, Word-of-Mouth is the most effective form of marketing.
I know I just painted a pretty picture of how ideally a Promo will run, in the marketers’ minds, but sometimes the operational realities are much different. Before running any type of Special, your team has to asses the number of orders anticipated from this Sale and evaluate if the fulfillment team can process that volume in a timely manner. For high volume orders at a discount, you might even want to simplify the packing process in order to be able to expedite your orders faster.
When commercializing goods online, brands have to replace the experience that the client would have when visiting a physical store. Online Customer Experience starts from the first moment they become aware of it, to after their purchase and beyond. Back in the day, brands could sell exclusively in their brick-and-mortars and focus their efforts on those 30 minutes the client spent at their store. Even returns were less likely as clients had to do it in person. In these digital times, there are so many points of contact with the client, (through the website, social media, multiple selling platforms, reviews, etc.) that brands need to really put in the work in order to coordinate their omni-channel actions to guarantee a positive customer experience.
The idea to succeed at this is not to get overwhelmed but focus in controlling what is possible:
Those three key points are a great way to get a customer experience strategy started. Once you have these mastered you can jump into a more complex approach.
When looking to improve a brand’s online shopping process, not matter how much we dress it up, at the end of the day, we have to deliver – literary. We can talk the talk with our marketing strategy, but clients will be really focused on if we walked the walk – and in this case, it means if we delivered their products as promised.
Here is where fulfillment comes to play. Is your brand able to ship its orders in a timely manner? How about during promos? Even though you might have offered a deep discount during the sale period, these temporary reduced prices don’t redefine your brand’s value – it just opens the gates temporarily for more clients to know it. Make sure that the fact that you are making a smaller profit during sweepstakes doesn’t interfere with providing your clients the same type of service (and speed) your brand usually offers. Remember, promos are meant to help you raise brand awareness and to grow your customer count, not to recruit one-time buyers.
Another crucial fact to consider when evaluating order fulfillment services is its ability to provide you with specific reports in order to be on top of your company’s KPIs.
As a company, you need to be able to see:
Having access to accurate fulfillment reporting it’s extremely important because it would allow you to assess if your current fulfillment solution is scalable or if you need to start looking for a new 3PL partner that can handle your future growth.
I hope that these marketing and fulfillment insights on how to improve your e-commerce operation can help you to take your brand to the next level. I look forward to your comments and if interested in order fulfillment solutions, don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).