This article continues our series of looking at services provided by full-service fulfillment companies. Today’s topic is Order Management.
If you are selling a product over the internet, you want it to be easy for your customer to place an order. You also want your customer to feel valued and informed about the status of their order. When done right, your customer’s great buying experience will keep them coming back for more.
Your customer’s buying experience will be largely dependent on the software used by your fulfillment provider.
It’s important to know that not all softwares used by fulfillment companies have the same capabilities. Options vary greatly and depending on which software your provider uses, they may not be able to provide all the services you’d like to see.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a minute. Is it easy for them to place an order? Do they receive an email thanking them for the order?
Can your customer submit an order by phone? By email? By fax?
What about timelines? What happens when your customer places an order through your website? Is the order automatically uploaded and processed, or is it held until there is sufficient volume to warrant processing orders? Is there a regular schedule as to when orders are processed?
Do your customers receive an email letting them know if an item is on back order? If an item is on back order, does your provider immediately send the available portion of the order or do they wait to ship until all of the items are available?
How about shipping—do your customers get an email with a tracking number? If your customers are local to the fulfillment provider, can they pick up the order from the fulfillment company?
As you can see, there are many options for handling orders, and options vary by fulfillment provider. Be sure to discuss your thoughts with your fulfillment provider so that you understand the available options and your provider understands the services you’d like implemented.