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How Fulfillment Makes the Sale: Order Appearance & Accuracy

This blog is part three in a four-part series about ways that order fulfillment impacts customer satisfaction. To download the full 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 all the way from the retailer’s warehouse to your front door, then raced home hell-bent on making opening that box the first thing you did.. but when you finally saw the package in all its glory, 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 every single person who shops online at one time or another. So much of the post-purchase experience in ecommerce is about perception – the way 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 customers’ perspective? Consider these factors:

  • Set accuracy goals – then exceed them. Develop strict standards for your fulfillment operations, whether it’s 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% is considered less-than-stellar nowadays.
  • Jazz up the post-purchase experience. The way an order looks when it arrives at your customer’s doorstep has the ability to make or break a sale. Make it an exciting experience by using custom packaging, special inserts, or a personalized touch on theĀ  package itself 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, sexy places on Earth (big shocker there, I know), but that’s no excuse to send out 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 not only ensure customer satisfaction, but will reduce the likelihood of a return, too. Don’t forget to also 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!

Miss the first two installments? Read about how order delivery and better shipping options can help make your next ecommerce sale.

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