Looking across the UK retail sector today, there are many examples of online businesses that have successfully scaled from bedroom start-ups to international success stories. Outsourcing can continue to help retailers to grow.
For eCommerce retailers growing at pace, making critical decisions such as knowing when to outsource some or all their operations can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem.
One area that can deliver the biggest impact is outsourcing the picking, packing and delivery of customer orders. In principle, this saves time, frees up resource and delivers a positive customer experience, building loyalty with shoppers.
These were the drivers of fulfilmentcrowd’s app design and development – improving its usability through continuous health checking and push notifications that alert users when action is needed.
Here, Paul Taylor, Chief Operations Officer at international fulfilment provider fulfilmentcrowd, explains why retailers should prioritise outsourcing fulfilment to maximise efficiency and increase growth momentum.
Think More Than Just Fulfilment
For scaling retailers, managing an increasing volume of orders can quickly prove overwhelming and there’s a risk of creating bottlenecks and delays which are detrimental to the customer experience.
Finding a trusted fulfilment partner with robust warehouse infrastructure, technology and efficient processes for the handling and delivery of thousands of customer orders per week, might be top of the shopping list. However, as e-commerce retailers consider a potential provider’s capacity and capabilities, they shouldn’t overlook what will be required of them post-outsourcing.
Retailers need to get to grips with how they will remotely manage their stock inventory and interact with their fulfilment partner to avoid potential issues. They need to know how quickly they’ll be able to access information and answer questions about the status of customer orders. If remote stock inventory management isn’t delivered in real-time and data is not available across devices, it can quickly impede the benefits of outsourcing fulfilment.
The fulfilmentcrowd app has been specifically developed and optimised to overcome these challenges. Using a combination of push notifications and user interface (UI) design, customers can access the information they need anytime, anywhere, on any device. This saves time and enhances customer satisfaction because the retailer can quickly rectify incorrect delivery information or stock issues that may affect delivery times. By proactively monitoring stock inventory for customers, any issues are flagged early, which enables them to be resolved quickly and efficiently before they escalate.
Managing Omnichannel Sales
Expanding sales channels is common practice for fast-growing eCommerce retailers with a rise in consumer purchasing opportunities through social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Many SMEs can leap from hundreds to thousands of customer orders per week by growing their digital footprint. Expansion and diversity of channels mean it’s crucial that, when it comes to outsourcing, retailers determine how easily they can integrate their fulfilment platform with sales channels, customer management systems and any other apps they use. The fulfilment tech should be ‘plug and play’ to reduce integration costs and ensure new opportunities can be taken quickly.
Online retailers should ask potential fulfilment partners about IoT, API and webhook capabilities, what tech expertise the provider employs and how much they rely on external partners. fulfilmentcrowd has an in-house team of developers, who are responsible for designing and developing the customer app. This enables the provision of on-hand technical support to assist seamless integration with customer systems, drive continuous innovation and more effectively remedy any tech matters – saving time for retailers when it matters.
Building Customer Loyalty
The world of eCommerce retail is becoming increasingly competitive, but independent brands have an opportunity to capture consumer interest and build loyalty by offering a unique shopping experience. More and more we’re seeing consumers looking to shop around and support challenger brands for a number of reasons, ranging from sustainability to product value.
A key benefit of choosing a fulfilment provider that has in-house tech capabilities that offer robust, real-time data is that it allows retailers to make informed decisions based on consumer behaviour. This might be expanding a popular range, turning on a short-term promotion for a seasonal event, or simply having the tools to respond to consumer queries quickly and efficiently to keep them informed about the status of their order.
fulfilmentcrowd has had real conversations with customers to properly understand the challenges and opportunities they are facing to develop truly customer-centric solutions. With our in-house capabilities, we have the flexibility to act on these insights to build and refine tools, such as the app, to ensure they give retailers the functionality they require at their fingertips.
Reducing Set-Up Time And Delivering Cost Visibility
There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to fulfilment as every retailer has different needs. This means that set-up processes need to be as quick and painless as possible. Utilising in-house tech expertise and combining this with international fulfilment knowledge and experience, fulfilmentcrowd has been able to create an online calculator that provides accurate, instant quotes without obligation.
This is backed-up by a transparent and straight-forward pricing model, making it quick and easy for retailers to determine the value of outsourcing fulfilment. It means that retailers can immediately see what they’ll be paying per week and per order to manage operating costs.
By streamlining the initial quote and pricing stages, we can significantly reduce any lag between initial contact and the time it takes to get a new customer’s stock into our fulfilment centres. Saving time during the set-up phase more readily provides eCommerce retailers with the solution they need and means they can get on with growing order volumes, without worrying about how they’ll fulfil them.
Outsourcing fulfilment should be quick for fast-scaling eCommerce retailers and knowing exactly what to look for from a time-saving perspective will enable businesses to achieve this and so much more to better support their growth in a competitive marketplace.