“Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.” Well, you probably know this famous quote. But do you know that this applies to your e-commerce business and supply chain too?
As an owner of a web store, you are in a crowded multi-channel marketplace. You have your business to expand and competition to deal with. At the same time, there is a growing pressure to retain customers by keeping them happy and satisfied.
So while you more or less offer the same product or service like others in the pack, what is it that makes you stand out? Frankly, it all depends on how systematic you build an online store and how well-efficient are your supply chain processes.
As a business owner, you need to go the extra mile to optimize your fulfillment processes. This may not sound like a big deal, but many business owners end up making silly mistakes. These include ignoring the trending demands or sticking by conventional shipment processes. Such singular mistakes do more harm to your reputation and your business than many others combined. It’s a good idea if you can figure them out early on!
So let’s see what are those big NO-NOs when you go live with your e-commerce store and plan your supply chain.
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“My business is currently very small. Maybe I will think of hiring third-party logistics at a later stage.” Well, we have heard entrepreneurs saying so. But it does not help!
You need to think big and out of the box. It is important to remind yourself that your business is going to grow. Considering this, you can’t go hunting for fulfillment partners at a later stage. And in no way, you can outgrow the benefits of a third-party partnership.
Logistics isn’t just about delivering shipments. Planning means you need to take into account everything from inventory management to training and labor. Besides, do you have the warehouse space or enough capital to invest in equipment, utilities, software and other essentials? We think not! If you are just a budding entrepreneur, investing in all this will only burn a hole in your pocket. And even then, you will not be able to self-handle it efficiently.
Contrary to this, as a fast-growing start-up, you can leverage the existing infrastructure your fulfilment partner has. This will also benefit you in terms of manpower, transportation and other necessities. A fulfillment partner has better contacts in the supply chain than your in-house team. Carriers also have better reach in terms of demographics and expertise in handling product packaging, return shipments and more.
When you hire a third-party courier, you save yourself the bloopers of mishandling logistics. However, make sure you choose your fulfilment partner carefully. Your carrier becomes an extension of your business and will represent your brand in every shipment.
Say you have made a wise decision of hiring a third-party courier service provider. You have also started receiving a good number of orders per day. But what if the orders you receive are from a geographical location where your fulfilment partner wouldn’t supply? Will you let these orders go? Not really!
Likewise, let’s consider another situation where your e-commerce customer orders multiple products but needs some of them urgently? In that case, you need to split the order and provide faster delivery of the said products. Have you thought about how these situations can be dealt with?
Well, these are some of the many scenarios when tie-up with multiple carriers help. Just sticking to a single fulfillment partner is one common mistake that most entrepreneurs do. Remember, you are in a digital age and you need to reach the global market. You need to ensure that deliveries happen on time and customers receive their products undamaged. As compared to multiple carriers, going with a single e-commerce carrier will not help you optimise cost and delivery time.
Days of manual labelling and uploading individual order are a bygone! In today’s world, automation plays a big role to manage your supply chain model. Say for instance when you have too many orders, wouldn’t it be difficult to keep track of them without any adequate software? To tackle this issue, the majority of business owners prefer automated logistics management to carry on smooth processes.
When you have multiple orders to upload in a day, you can’t do it manually. You need a bulk order mechanism that allows you to upload orders together and send them to designated shippers. This way, automation gives you the freedom from processing orders one by one and get better business efficiency.
Now a days most of the important links in the supply chain are automated. You can schedule shipment pickups, integrate with multiple e-commerce carriers and negotiate for good rates. You can also get the benefit of a COD support cycle and real-time tracking facility to check the location of your parcel.
In a way, automation enables faster deliveries. It also helps to avoid delivering incorrect packages. At the same time, you can import orders, customize shipping rates and generate shipping labels for efficient time management. When you rely on automation, there are lesser chances of errors.
When you built your store, you must have set some targets right? You might have taken into account an appropriate range of products to display. You might have thought of a targeted number of customers that would visit your e-commerce store per day. You might have also given yourself some targets in terms of making profit and sales. But those targets were something that was achievable right? The same goes for your supply chain!
When you plan your supply management, you need to realise where you stand. In the initial stages of your business, you might be tempted to offer your customers some freebies. You may attract them with free-shipping, some goodies and so on. But how much cost your supply chain can sustain? To cope with this challenge, you might want to try some intelligent shipping strategies like announcing free shipping on a certain amount of shopping.
You may also want to check with your logistics partner as to how much are they charging you for the packaging. Of course, you need an attractive and good packaging for your products but it shouldn’t turn out to be very expensive.
Not setting realistic targets can lead to miscalculation of costs. And then one fine day you realise that your supply chain is adding too much to the company cost. Such a mistake can lead you to a big-time loss.
As a business owner, you must keep pondering over some important questions. Am I keeping my customers happy so that they keep coming back? Does my logistics chain provide them with a swift shopping experience? If not, what do I do to ensure that there are no loopholes?
Well, online shipping is constantly trending. There are newer, faster and better ways of managing it. An efficient supply chain needs a solid back up in terms of a web platform that integrates your supply chain needs. When you build your online store using a feature-rich ecommerce platform, the majority of your fulfilment needs are taken care of. Shipping becomes automated and error-free which puts you at ease in terms of saving you time, cost and labour!
Also, when you keep up with the market trend, you are in league with the other players in the industry. It also gives you an upper hand amongst your competitors. So while you make silly logistics mistakes, it is important to learn from them, adapt innovative approaches and get going!
StoreHippo is an e-commerce platform that well understands all your logistics needs. Besides providing full-featured services for your website, it provides you with integrated support for your supply chain. Also, you can add any of your preferred shipping partners easily. With its inbuilt tools and solutions, you can easily avoid the above-mentioned mistakes and strengthen your supply chain process further. So with StoreHippo, it is about time to enhance your user experience!
Have you been making these silly mistakes to manage your supply chain? It’s time to make amends and rise above substandarised business practices. Check out StoreHippo’s integrated logistics solution or book a demo to know more!