A well-oiled e-commerce company is one that has well-defined processes. You need a solid idea of your supply chain, your e-commerce fulfillment processes, and even your reverse logistics management under control.
To do all of that well, a key aspect is your e-commerce pick and pack process. Are your times lacking? Are you not getting your product to your customers fast enough? Is your customer satisfaction waning?
The key to smooth fulfillment processes is ensuring your customer service goals don’t get lost in the process, especially when it comes to your e-commerce pick and pack times.
E-Commerce Growth Continues to Impress
Early estimates for online sales for 2021 are starting to come in and showing impressive growth. Reports from DigitalCommerce360 indicate that online sales accounted for 19.2% of all retail purchases. Amazon’s sales made up over 40% of all digital revenue in the U.S. Year-over-year growth in online sales stood at 14.2% for 2021, which is less than half of the growth in 2020 when the pandemic changed the way many businesses operate.
The bottom line here is that online sales are becoming the norm in many industries. Experts anticipate even more growth in the coming years as new companies (and competitors) come online to dive deeper into a global economy and digital market.
Recognizing the sheer volume and growth of online sales, companies need to make the transition to selling online. Yet, as they do, they also have to meet the needs of consumers. And, with that comes the demand for speed.
Consumers Expect Increased Speed in Delivery
According to Retail Dive, one of the most important trends in the retail industry for 2022 is speed. The customer expectation is that when they buy products online, they should have them shipped to their door in virtually no time.
Gone are the days when it was acceptable for shipping to take a couple of weeks. Every type of retailer is facing the same challenge. They all need to find ways to get products to the doors of the consumer as fast as possible.
For large companies like The Home Depot and Ford, e-commerce fulfillment easy enough to do. They can pair with services from large organizations. Amazon has its own fleet of trucks, planes, and warehouses to ensure fast delivery. Walmart has its own delivery process, too.
For the small to moderate business owner, finding a way to compete with heavy hitters like this. Relying on current solutions isn’t an option if it is taking more than a couple of days to get the product to customer doors. And that’s if you’re not dealing with any supply chain issues.
E-commerce has become the ideal way for companies to reach a larger consumer base. It’s convenient for the customer to buy from home or while sitting at the bus stop using their mobile phone.
Yet, your sales can start to dwindle if your e-commerce pick and pack times are not up to speed with the competition. In short, if you cannot get a customer order to their door fast, someone else will do it for you.
What Can You Do to Speed Up E-commerce Pick and Pack Times?
Let’s consider some of the ways you can speed up those e-commerce pick and pack times to ensure your e-commerce company is strong. Every situation is different, and your organization needs to consider what works for your needs.
Some suggestions for improving picking and packing times in the order fulfillment process may include:
- Improve warehouse organization and shelving to ensure employees are picking products quickly. Eliminate bottlenecks that slow down the process.
- Organize products to ensure fast-moving products are closest to the packing station. A warehouse management system is key here.
- Consider placing items frequently purchased together near each other.
- Choose the right-size packaging to keep costs down and keep customers happy.
- Ensure you have well-trained and efficient (as well as productive) warehouse staff that are able to meet goals.
These tips may provide a foundation for improvements within your organization if you own your warehouse and have employees managing the picking and packing. If you’ve invested in technology, built training programs for employees, and optimized the layout, and you’re still struggling with picking and packing times, it may be time to consider a more elaborate solution.
For Many Organizations, 3PL Is the Solution
What is 3PL? How can it help your business compete with companies with the capability to deliver incredibly fast? Third-party logistics (3PL) is a solution for many companies. If you are currently relying on your own warehouse of products and employees to pick, pack, and ship customer orders, 3PL may offer a better solution.
It is essentially a fulfillment partner that handles the entire process on your behalf. That means that the 3PL handles the e-commerce pick and pack process, tracks your inventory, and on the whole improves efficiency in nearly every situation. It also helps save your organization an immense amount of money over the long term.
Reducing costs helps, too
Beyond eliminating the cost of warehousing and employees, 3PL also offers another core cost-saving benefit. It allows companies to gain access to better two-day shipping rates than what they can typically get on their own.
That’s because the 3PL is not just working for you but with a larger group of e-commerce companies. That means there’s more volume, allowing for access to better shipping rates.
How to Get Help for your E-commerce Pick and Pack Needs
At the end of the day, you’ll want to find the best process for your company to fulfill all your e-commerce pick and pack needs. For some, that may be outsourcing to a 3PL or a complete e-commerce solution like Tradefull. For others, it may be handling it on your own for now.
No matter what, you can reach out to Tradefull to learn more about the easy transition to our platform.