Earning customer loyalty through ecommerce today requires precision juggling. You may be juggling the high expectations of consumers for product availability and delivery speed along with supply chain slowdowns and SKUs out-of-stock. Every gap can translate to loss of revenue. This is where the right people, processes, training, and technology can give your ecommerce business a critical edge.
Ecommerce technologies that deliver speed
Leading with a focus on technology is vital to business success in ecommerce, according to McKinsey. They say that ecommerce operations need to “invest in tech capabilities for connecting the back end of the e-commerce store with the rest of their IT architecture—including warehouse management, inventory synchronization, and order handling—to ensure excellence across the entire customer purchase journey.”
This requires full integration from the website and the shopping platform through to the WMS, CRM, ERP, and other systems. Consider what happens from the moment a customer places an order—the faster order data is communicated to your WMS or your partners, the shorter the order cycle time.
Real-time technology integrations are a hallmark of FIDELITONE order fulfillment services; they’re essential to competing in an ecommerce market. Timely communication of data could make the difference between reaching today’s cut-off time for outbound shipments—versus tomorrow’s, shaving a day off order cycle time for your customers.
Partner for people, processes, and training
For many ecommerce businesses, McKinsey notes, “Having a competitive supply chain and operations function for e-commerce … comes with a price tag, collaboration across functions and management of partnerships with logistics suppliers” (The six must-haves to achieve breakthrough growth in e-commerce D2C). And they contend that the investment is vital to successful revenues. Advantages of a qualified 3PL partner are go-live speed and cost-efficiency in implementing these operational requirements.
It's important to look at big-picture systems and processes, too. The benefits of partnering don’t end with robust technologies for real-time flow of data. You should be able to look to a qualified 3PL partner for deeper consultation:
- Ensuring the right equipment is in the warehouse to boost efficiency and control costs
- Using on-the-job training and supports to ensure the same processes are repeatable and consistent, regardless of staffing changes
- Optimizing related processes like inventory accuracy and inventory visibility as part of inventory management
- Engaging in problem-solving and solutions for your business needs
Metrics & continuous improvement
With customer loyalty and company profits on the line, it’s crucial to define KPIs that align with your strategies and measure them reliably. A customized client dashboard should keep key metrics in easy view, every day. Armed with numbers, you can conduct a continuous review process. Whatever your mark for order cycle time and meeting customers’ expectations, you can analyze and improve. Maybe you will identify kinks in your supply chain or a glitch your order fulfillment process—issues you can address to improve performance.
Ecommerce order cycle time matters
No matter how you go about managing it, know that ecommerce order cycle time matters. In an effort to contain expenses with rising shipping costs, retailers hope to calibrate speed of service (order cycle time) against costs. However, to meet customers’ expectations for fast delivery, there’s not much room for tradeoffs. As noted in a previous blog, “Amazon raised the bar in customer expectations around shipping time for orders…and customers expect to receive orders quickly,” which can be defined in your SLAs for order fulfillment.
What ecommerce customers expect
McKinsey cites the “extraordinary high standards customers expect from an online business today.” Not having a “world-class customer experience” is a “short-term orientation” that can hold back growth, they add. Traceability is part of that experience, too. 30% of consumers who have a bad experience won’t return, according to McKinsey, and “acquiring a new customer can be up to five times as costly as retaining an existing customer” (DTC e-commerce: How consumer brands can get it right).
A benefit of robust, real-time technology integrations for ecommerce is the ability to keep customers closely informed about their order statuses and expected delivery. It’s the ability to earn customer loyalty.
Boost the ecommerce bottom line
Beyond shipping time alone, order cycle time includes many moving parts and players. Information is power, and adapting the right technology solutions can help you orchestrate order cycle time with precision to advance business performance. Learn more about technologies for an end-to-end order fulfillment solution.
To discuss your ecommerce challenges, get in touch with one of FIDELITONE’s order fulfillment experts today.