automate ecommerce fulfillment

How to Automate Your eCommerce Fulfillment Processes

You might be thinking that automation is just for large-scale businesses with thousands of employees. In reality, all eCommerce sellers can benefit from automation. No matter what type of products you sell online, it’s simpler than ever to automate your eCommerce store and keep your customers happy.

Learn why automation is essential to a thriving online business and where you can start making changes to your eCommerce fulfillment. In a few easy steps, you can find areas to save time and money by letting technology and ecommerce experts do the heavy lifting for you.

What Is Automated eCommerce Fulfillment?

Essentially, you’re automating your eCommerce fulfillment anytime you use technology to streamline the packing and shipping process. Just like using a plugin on your website to accept orders and validate payments, you can save time by automating the shipping process that gets the order where it needs to go.

There are several ways to streamline your eCommerce fulfillment, including:

  • Outsourcing packing and shipping to a separate company
  • Using eCommerce fulfillment software to manage and reorder inventory
  • Organizing your warehouse into step-by-step processes

Whether you fulfill orders yourself or make use of a fulfillment service provider, you can cut down on time spent packing and delivering products. Automation reduces the labor necessary for order fulfillment, so you have more time to focus on helping customers and streamlining your operations.

Why Automate eCommerce Fulfillment?

There are many reasons to automate your fulfillment process. Times are changing, and you need to keep up with the latest trends. Here are the top reasons to use automated eCommerce fulfillment:

Faster Delivery

Customers want faster processing and delivery times. A 2017 Temando study showed that customers who abandoned their carts on eCommerce platforms cited shipping cost and time as the reason.

According to the study:

  • 54% of shoppers abandoned their carts because shipping was expensive.
  • 39% abandoned their carts because the retailer didn’t offer free shipping.
  • 26% abandoned their carts due to slow shipping.

By automating your eCommerce fulfillment, you can offer faster shipping times, which keeps some of these potential clients on the hook. Additionally, customers like to track their order status and estimated delivery date, which many automation services also offer.

Keeping Up With Competition

It’s no secret that eCommerce businesses are speeding up fulfillment standards. With companies like Amazon dominating the online market, customers expect the convenience of next-day and 2-day shipping options from other platforms.

If your customers experience delayed or expensive shipping on your eCommerce site, they may become frustrated and move to a platform that guarantees a more convenient service. With so much competition in the online business world, it’s a smart move to automate aspects of your eCommerce fulfillment system to keep up the pace.

Steps to Automated eCommerce Fulfillment

Automating your business is not as intimidating as it may sound. Many software and service options for automated eCommerce fulfillment are easy to implement to your current business model.

Use the following steps to rework your eCommerce fulfillment system. When you automate an eCommerce store, you’ll do less work to maintain your business and gain extra insight on improving the fulfillment process.

1. Order Processing

It’s critical to give your customers quick, timely updates about their order status. Automating the point of sale helps build trust in your eCommerce platform. When the buyer sees payment confirmation and address verification happening in real-time, they feel more secure using your service.

Excellent order processing software shows the customer a range of convenient shipping options to choose the method that works for them. Real-time order tracking keeps the customer in the loop while you get instant updates on your sales.

2. Inventory Updates

There’s nothing worse than running out of stock on a high-demand item when customers are lining up to purchase. Using an automated inventory management system helps you keep track of your store and reorder as needed.

You can use eCommerce fulfillment software to automate your inventory management. When a customer orders through your eCommerce site, the plugin will refresh your inventory to reflect its inventory status in real-time. It’s critical to avoid delays in this process so that customers can always order an available item.

3. Storage and Distribution

With the latest inventory management technology, it’s easier than ever to spread your stock between a network of different fulfillment centers.

Keeping your stock ready and available at regional warehouses makes it easier to get orders to customers faster and cheaper. An automated shipping tool lets you track the order as it’s packed and moved to the buyer’s doorstep.

Using predictive algorithms that study your sales history, you can figure out which locations need to hold more stock than others. Even better, you can pinpoint the cost of a slow-moving product and minimize wasted storage space.

4. Shipping

Finally, automated shipping gets the order to the customer’s door at a faster, cheaper rate. A smart eCommerce portal will match each online customer with the nearest fulfillment center to their zip code. From there, you can check whether the item is in stock and offer the customer a range of convenient shipping options.

An automated shipping tool can show the customer their order status and estimated delivery date. After they place an order, they can track the item as it’s processed and shipped. Meanwhile, the shipping service communicates with your inventory management software to adjust available stock and remind you when it’s time to reorder.

Final Thoughts

Customer expectations are changing, but your business can easily adapt to these changes and stay in step with the market. If you’re ready to explore eCommerce fulfillment automation, many professional services and smart software options make the job easy.

Whether your eCommerce business is large or small, your whole team will benefit from automation. Using the latest technology to organize and streamline your order fulfillment system will reduce stress and open up improvement opportunities.

With an excellent automated system, you’ll enjoy higher customer retention rates, savings on shipping costs, and extra time to focus on the work you love.

I am an experienced logistics and supply chain executive with over 15 years in the global end-to-end logistics field, including retail, direct sales, and B2B. I leverage strong relationship skills, a team-oriented management style, and a focus on talent development to drive results and lead change for our internal team and clients alike.