Ecommerce Order Fulfilment: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Order fulfillment is the last thing most ecommerce companies think of when it comes to running their business, but it’s one of the most important. Your customers expect the right product on-time and at a reasonable cost. Getting fulfillment wrong can impact all of these areas and quickly lead to anger and lost sales.

So, your startup needs to get it right. While we can’t guarantee that for you, we can help you on the right path by highlighting 5 of the worst ecommerce order fulfillment mistakes and give some help on how to avoid them.


1. Not doublechecking your work

We at Red Stag Fulfillment serve U.S. customers, but we have found a universal truth for ecommerce order fulfillment: Mistakes happen, and they happen more if you aren’t checking orders before they go out the door.

The biggest reason we’ve been able to hit above a 99% order accuracy rate is that we check every order multiple times. When someone picks a product, they record it with a handheld barcode scanner. When finishing a pick, they review it. When it goes to the packing station, a new person checks the order as they package it.

It’s a proven system that we recommend to every single ecommerce company. No matter where you are, how big your business, or how much tech you’re using at the start or finish of your operations. Always double or triple check orders. And you might identify ways to reduce costs too.

Yes, this can increase time. However, if it cuts down the rate or returns and replacements, you could quickly hit a positive ROI by eliminating just the extra shipping. 


2. Trying to do it all by hand

Software rules the world, so let it lend a hand in running your business. Multiple available systems can help you remove manual tasks that introduce errors. The chief concern is getting your inventory count automated. This will ensure you have the products to fill your orders — stockouts can quickly become canceled orders, which means wasted time and labor hours.

When you pick up an inventory counting tool — whether it is part of your ecommerce software or separate warehouse system — it also collects a range of data that you can use to set predictions. Look for automation options that give you this added win, and you’ll be ready for sales now and in the future.


3. Confusing your audience

Fulfillment is part of customer service.

When a customer tries to buy from you, and they’re not sure how you ship things, how long it takes, or how much it costs, you have a significant risk of losing the sale. They’ll abandon shopping carts faster than you’ve ever seen. This is especially true for growing ecommerce segments in Argentina, including electronics and housewares.

So, your website and sales materials need to state how much you charge for shipping clearly. And — on the back end — these prices should help you cover shipping as well as some of your storage or warehouse maintenance costs. Then, if someone wants to pay more for faster shipping, you can charge appropriately.

Look for ecommerce tools to help here too. They can automatically update shipping information based on rules you set — like making shipments only on Tuesdays or setting a three-business-day window — that also adjust based on outside factors such as weekends and holidays. Another good reason to look for platforms that support you is they can automatically notify someone when the order has shipped. You don’t need to worry about doing emails individually or sending text updates. Your system will do it all for you when the carrier comes in and scans out your packages for delivery.


4. Not being ready for growth

Warehouses and fulfillment operations need a lot of space. Your team needs to be able to walk around without risk of tripping or hitting a shelf or overhand. Machinery, especially forklifts, need plenty of room to maneuver and keep away from other staff. Racks must be able to fit your entire stock to avoid damaging goods. Your loading area or dock needs plenty of room to move inventory in and out safely. The people doing this demanding work need a space to take a break.

And just when it feels like you can do all of this comfortably, you’re going to get a big order or new client and have to install more racks and buy more packaging material that needs to be stored too.

Ecommerce is all about being proactive in growth. If you try to force your fulfillment process into an area that’s too small, it can lead to injured people because they’re too cramped to do what they need to safely.

Yes, products can be damaged when stacked poorly, or you have to keep them on the floor. But what’ll keep you up at night is the first time someone is hurt in your warehouse. You won’t forget it. So, expand your space before things get tight, and you can avoid that harm for longer.


5. Ignoring mobile support and sales

Mobile is the main driving force for ecommerce sales growth in Argentina and the rest of South America, notes eMarketer. All around you are some of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world too. This makes it easier for your customers to buy and shop online, reaching you from multiple destinations.

That means there’s plenty of opportunities if your ecommerce store is mobile-friendly. You can use some prebuilt websites and ecommerce platforms to help. They can be especially helpful for managing payment and initial orders — which enables you to get paid while also avoiding having to do a lot of the processing yourself.

At the same time, this opportunity presents additional requirements for your business. You’ll want to have a customer support system that works with mobile devices. That means testing to verify that someone can click on the support button. If you use something advanced like on-site chatbots, ensure they’re smart enough to detect when a mobile can support it or if it should automatically push them to email or phone support.

Mobile growth helps break down borders, which is amazing for sales. If you start seeing growth in new countries or regions, focus your investment there. This not only means ads on mobile sites and social networks but also making sure you have the right linguistic support. It can be a great way to celebrate heritage while opening up your store to more people.

Ask for help when you need it

The hardest ecommerce lesson of all is to ask for help when you need a hand. 

Look for online communities, shipping partners, ask about carrier discounts, find additional manufacturers, or just ask what a brand you like is doing. There are plenty of resources available once you start looking.

The ecommerce world is a community, and we all thrive when sharing lessons and working together.

Lisa Besserman, Founder and CEO of Startup Buenos Aires, has been named as Business Insider’s “Top 100 Most Influential Women in Tech”, and the 2014 “Business Innovator of Latin America” by the Council of the Americas.

Lisa moved to Buenos Aires from New York City to create Startup Buenos Aires, the organization that represents the startup, tech and entrepreneurial community of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Startup Buenos Aires has been one of the main catalysts for strengthening the tech ecosystem in Latin America, by bringing global startup initiatives, development projects and investment opportunities to the region.
Under Lisa’s leadership Startup Buenos Aires has been credited as “Top 3 Growing Startup Cities” by CNBC and “5 Emerging Global Tech Hubs” by Entrepreneur Magazine.

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