How E-commerce Moves the Customer Experience Past the Point of Sale
In the competitive online marketplace of 2018, gone are the days of focusing solely on the pre-purchase customer experience to ensure success in the e-commerce world.
While an enticing brand and user-friendly shopping experience can lure customers into a new purchase, your store’s ability to retain profitable repeat customers is dependent on the post-purchase customer experience.
There are many factors affecting the post-purchase customer experience, including:
- Speed of delivery
- Availability of tracking information
- Accuracy and condition of shipment
- Ease of initiating and completing a return
Fast-growing online retailers take advantage of modern e-commerce fulfillment tools that eliminate the headaches stemming from post-purchase customer experience management.
The bottom line is this: for many retailers looking to streamline the post-purchase experience and ensure a high level of customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value, outsourced fulfillment is the answer.
What is Modern E-commerce Order Fulfillment?
To better understand the important role fulfillment plays in the purchasing experience, it’s important to first comprehend what is meant by “order fulfillment.”
Simply put, online order fulfillment is the complete process from placing an order online to delivery to the customer’s doorstep. When busy eTailers attempt to manage the complexity of fulfillment logistics, it can quickly become overwhelming and leave little time to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. After all, order processing and fulfillment is time-consuming and often complex.
The diagram below illustrates key components of a modern e-commerce fulfillment, which becomes a comprehensive solution for the post-purchase customer experience.
Key Components of Modern E-commerce Order Fulfillment
As any online retailer knows all too well, fierce competition in both offline and online retail no longer leaves room for errors or missed expectations. As the e-commerce market continues to grow and prosper, brands must deliver in every aspect of order processing to ensure growth and long-term success.
Incorporate Outsourced Fulfillment into Your Post-Purchase Customer Experience
A successful post-purchase customer experience relies heavily on building a strong partnership with your fulfillment partner from day one. Taking the time to really understand how outsourcing fulfillment can impact your business and allowing your provider to understand the nuances of your operations is vital.
Some of the critical functions of outsourced fulfillment that become an extension of your e-commerce business include:
- System Integration- your fulfillment provider seamlessly integrates into your shopping cart platform (ex. Shopify, ShipStation)
- Freight Management- your fulfillment provider handles domestic and international inventory movements from the manufacturer to the fulfillment warehouse
- Inventory Management- your inventory levels are monitored, and via your order management portal, you are alerted when it’s time to restock
- Fulfillment- your provider receives your order through the system integration, then picks, packs, and ships order to your end customer
- Returns Management- your provider works with you to determine how returns are managed and handle return inventory and re-shipping
Ensure Key Components of E-commerce Order Fulfillment are Met
A successful customer experience begins with choosing the right fulfillment model for your e-commerce business. Depending on your business’ current size and your growth plans for the company, the right fulfillment model can play a huge role in accelerating or inhibiting your business goals.
For today’s e-commerce seller, there are four main outsourced fulfillment models to consider, all which present their own pros and cons for retailers selecting an outsourced fulfillment service. The graph below illustrates the pros and cons of each of the main fulfillment models.
Take Steps to Enhance Your Customer Experience
Retailers looking to enhance their customers’ post-purchase experience should seriously consider taking the first steps in exploring optimized fulfillment to fit their unique needs. With the many fulfillment models available in the 3PL space, it all starts with understanding which model best supports your short-term and long-term initiatives.
Not sure where to start? The team at Rakuten Super Logistics offers a complimentary fulfillment and shipping evaluation to help you determine the right solution to improve shipping speed, order accuracy, and overall customer experience.
This is a guest post by Rakuten Super Logistics, a leader in e-commerce order fulfillment. Rakuten Super Logistics assists leading e-commerce retailers to increase speed of delivery, improve order accuracy, decrease shipping costs, and increase customer satisfaction.