If you’re planning to start an e-commerce business or if you have one that has been running for quite a while now, you’re probably gonna say that the order management process is easy. After all, it’s just processing the customer’s order. Where in you just have to confirm their purchase, check it with your inventory, pack it, and then ship it until they receive it. I say, for a few orders, that’s correct. But when your sales grow, channels multiply, and more and more products will build up in your inventory. Not to mention that your customer base expands too. That’s when it’s going to be difficult. And I’m pretty sure those who are getting tons of orders per day would agree with me.
Now, order management should be done correctly and with the extra mile. And it’s not just for handling a huge number of orders but also for the sake of growing your business. So, what do we do?
The Correct Basic Order Process
I know you want the juice already but let’s check first if we have the same order process:
Customer Places Order with Payment Confirmed > Inventory / Warehouse Receives and Order Picked > Item Packed and Shipped > Order Delivered > Feedback Appreciation or Problem Resolution > Measure Efficiency.
We may or we may not have the same order processing, especially if you have Cash On Delivery method. But to manage it correctly, let’s take a look at each step and see for yourself if you may find it helpful.
Customer Places Order with Payment Confirmed
Your customer’s purchasing journey starts here, and keeping track of the orders is the key to get it right the first time. For a few orders, it’s easy. But if we’re talking about a hundred or even a thousand, it is a wise investment to get an Order Management System. This program consolidates orders automatically. It will save you time and prevents errors. Which is important if you want to achieve customer satisfaction.
Another tip is to highlight special orders. Don’t ever ignore special instructions from your customers. You either fulfill it or provide a reasonable response as to why you can’t. If you have an option for fast delivery by paying extra, that should be 100% fulfilled. Lastly, send some appreciation to those who order great quantity by giving freebies, social media shout out, a thank you note, etc.
When it comes to processing payments, you should ensure that you get all of it. Failure to do so will result in sales loss. And that would likely happen when more sales are coming in every day. That’s why it’s important to choose a highly trusted, secure, and reliable payment processor (like PayPal, Payline, Stripe, etc.).
Lastly, the secret to getting it right the first time is speed and accuracy of order fulfillment. Customer loves getting what they exactly bought the next day. But they tend not to order again if it’s late or there’s an issue with their order.
Inventory Receives and Order Picking
The accuracy of receiving the order information to the inventory relies with your order management system. It’s the picking process that would make it difficult when hundreds, thousands of orders, or even more are coming in every day. The best way to handle it is the correct picking method for its size and by assigning a picker. Check these four main methods:
- Single Order – The simplest approach is doing it one at a time. The picker will pick one and bring it straight to the packaging station. This method is good for startups.
- Batch Picking – To use this method, simply assigned a certain number of orders to pick in one go for the picker. This is advisable to use for packing a high volume of products in a single order, or very few items in each order.
- Zone Picking – For this method, you have to assign a ‘zone’ to each picker in the warehouse. Products will be categorized in a certain zone and only a employee from that zone can pick it and deliver it on the packaging area. This is method is the best solution for keeping pickers from getting in each other’s way, organizing the stock storage, and for high volume of orders.
- Wave Picking – This method also uses the ‘zoning’ but all zones are picked at the same time. The orders will be brought to the central packer who will do the consolidation of separate orders instead. It is best for a high volume of orders and multiple items per order with a focus on the speed of processing.
Item Packing and Shipping
It is easy to pack and ship orders when you’re managing a few orders. But for hundreds or even thousands, accuracy, speed, and total care are important. Check these things that you have to consider:
- Verify Order – Before packing it, it’s best to check if you’re sending the right order and if its condition is perfect. A quality assurance checker can be a good investment for high volume of orders. A Barcode scanner would come in handy too to make the process quicker and easier.
- Use standard Box Sizes – Nowadays, shipping companies also charge fees based on the dimension of the boxes. To keep your expenses tracked and shipping price absolute for your customers, have at least 3-5 standard boxes to choose from.
- Use Appropriate Packaging – Packaging material like bubble wrap, shredded paper, air pillow, etc. should be chosen wisely according to kind of the order that is being packed. As some materials give more protection yet cost more.
After packing, it’s ready to be shipped. To keep track of all the orders, make sure to:
- Update your order management system and marked the orders as ‘shipped’.
- Put relevant shipping labels and print out invoice if not yet done.
- Keep the customer informed about the shipping status by sending them an email that includes a way for them to track their order. Note: For choosing an order management system, choose the one that can send notification automatically to the customer.
Your shipping company should notify you once the item has been received. The information can be used for measuring efficiency, and as a signal for you to notify your customer to provide feedback. This is the best time to ask for it.
Feedback Appreciation or Problem Resolution
Delivering the item to the customer is not the end of the order management process. Managing after-sales experience is also crucial for building loyal customers. Resolve problems, inform them that you receive the suggestion and will take action about it, manage returns, and appreciate good feedback with gratitude.
Keeping yourself well informed in the efficiency of all the steps of your order management process is vital. So you can see where you should improve, change, or resolve to keep the whole process fast and accurate. Make everything automated, and use an all-in-one system for everything.