If you’re overwhelmed by the increase in demand, take a breath and focus on these five elements to keep order fulfillment on track.

Georg Richter, founder and CEO, OceanX

Georg Richter, founder and CEO, OceanX

COVID-19 has touched every aspect of our lives, and our shopping habits are no exception. Americans under stay-at-home orders have taken their business online. The result? An ecommerce boom with a 146% increase in online retail orders compared with last year.

We’ve seen a similar increase in demand affect direct-to-consumer brands. At the start of the pandemic, essential items like toilet paper and canned goods made up the bulk of all online orders across the nation. Now, we’re seeing people purchase other items such as hair dye, skincare products, and health and wellness supplements.

If you’re overwhelmed by the increase and struggling to keep your fulfillment on track, it’s a good time to take a breath and focus on these five business elements:

1. Order management

Customers find products in a variety of ways, from ordering directly from a brand’s website to shopping online marketplaces like Amazon. Your order management system must integrate with all of these channels to ensure that inventory data is accurate and you can ship items on time to the correct addresses. According to SymphonyIRI Group, 70% of shoppers will go to a competitor if what they want is unavailable.

2. Customer service

When fulfillment scales, your customer service should, too. The increased tension and anxiety caused by COVID-19 is taking its toll: A Harvard Business Review article describes a doubling in the number of “difficult” calls to service center personnel. Recurring revenue and subscription brands rely on repeat customers, so provide the best experience possible—even after the product is delivered.

3. Data analytics

Gather data from the beginning of the process to the end, from ecommerce capture all the way to doorstep delivery. Many variables are in play today, so knowing the numbers can help you stay on top. Are customers abandoning their shopping carts? Do you consistently have inaccurate inventory data? Are your deliveries delayed? Analytics instantly answer these questions so that you can update your team and pivot accordingly.

4. Fast website speeds

Speed is critical in ecommerce. With the unlimited number of possible purchases online, customers and clients won’t wait for webpages to finish loading. 70% of customers say page speed influences their purchases, according to Unbounce. Make sure that your website can handle the increased bandwidth you’re likely experiencing. Each minute of downtime or additional second of load time represents an easily avoidable loss in revenue.

5. Personalization and fulfillment 

Although consumer demand is high, you shouldn’t forget the importance of personalization. The shopping experience should feel natural and smooth, and every product should be packed with care so that the unboxing experience is exciting for each customer. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed during these difficult times.

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If your ecommerce fulfillment warehouse is struggling to keep up with demand, you’re not alone. By focusing your efforts on these five business elements, you can streamline your operation and provide a great customer experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

OceanX provides a subscription and ecommerce platform.

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