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How Fulfillment Makes the Sale: Order Appearance & Accuracy

This blog is part three of a four-part series about how order fulfillment impacts customer satisfaction. To download the complete guide “4 Ways Fulfillment Can Make (or Break) Your Next Sale”, click here.

Have you ever been so excited to receive an online order that you tracked it from the retailer’s warehouse to your front door? Then raced home hell-bent on opening that box the first thing when you got home, but when you finally saw the package, it was just a water-stained brown box that looked like it’d been kicked down a flight of stairs? Or maybe the package looked fine on the outside, but as soon as you excitedly tore it open, you were bombarded with packing peanuts, or a product that looked like it’d been living outside? I bet that didn’t make you fall madly in love with that retailer, did it?

Sadly, that experience has probably happened to anyone who shops online at one time or another. So much of the post-purchase experience in ecommerce is about perception – how an order looks to the customer tells him how much you care about your brand, your products, and most importantly, your buyers! Don’t make people think you’re a sloppy mess when you’re not! (Unless sloppy mess is your brand’s ‘thing,’ which, in that case, by all means, stick to your branding!)

How are your fulfillment operations making you look from your customer’s perspective? Consider these factors:

  • Set accuracy goals – then exceed them. Develop strict standards for your fulfillment operations, whether with your outsourced partner or your internal warehouse staff. Identify any processes that might interfere with accuracy (like comingled bins or items with similar SKU numbers or attributes stocked next to each other) and fix them to reduce human error. With today’s technology and customer demands, a fulfillment accuracy rate under 99.6 percent is considered less-than-stellar.
  • Jazz up the post-purchase experience. How an order looks when it arrives at your customer’s doorstep can make or break a sale. Make it an exciting experience using custom packaging, special inserts, or a personalized touch on the package to engage customers with your brand before they even open their order! And make sure that you’re monitoring your carriers’ package handling performance and documenting customer complaints about outer appearance if they arise – and make a change if necessary.
  • Make what’s on the inside count. Warehouses are not the most immaculate places on Earth, but that’s no excuse to send out a product that’s dirty, dusty, or damaged by the elements. Employ internal quality control during the pick and pack process so that every product that leaves your warehouse looks immaculate – this will ensure customer satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of a return. Don’t also forget to consider best practices when packing orders so that the right amount of protective packaging makes its way into the box.

Download our resource guide with even more tips – and keep checking back to learn other ways that fulfillment can impact customer satisfaction!

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