Consumers expect orders to be delivered quickly and accurately and won’t settle for less. Last year, ecommerce sales increased 44% and, as a result, warehouses and fulfillment centers are now under greater pressure to deliver more orders, in less time, without increased budget. Today’s consumer has many choices, and they have high expectations. They also want more flexible delivery options.
But if you’re relying on manual processes you won’t have the flexibility to provide alternative fulfillment options, such as curbside pickup or drop shipping. Not to mention scaling to fulfill 40% more orders to meet this increased demand. Manually processing orders is complex, time consuming and leads to increased fulfillment costs. Some of the most fundamental challenges businesses face when processing orders manually are:
Inadequate Inventory to Fulfill Orders. A lack of real-time visibility into inventory across different sales locations increases the chances of either overpromising and underdelivering, or just missing out on sales revenue. A customer that places an online order expects to have that item available and shipped to them promptly, and an in-store customer won’t buy what they can’t see. If you aren’t able to trust the inventory levels showing in your system, you won’t be able to ensure that your locations have what they need. Not having the right inventory in the right place at the right time can negatively impact both revenue and customer experience.
Shipping the Wrong Items or Shipping them Late. If you’re relying on manual processes to fulfill customer orders you’re prone to manual errors which can result in incorrect items being shipped, delayed shipments or even double shipments – all of which need to be remedied and end up costing your business more. Even the best employees make mistakes when they have to manually type in items or quantities that are being shipped out on each order. Especially in today’s world, with competitors offering fast, reliable shipping, messing up a shipment can be a quick way to lose a customer.
Excess Shipping Costs. A lot of companies have issues overpaying for shipping when they’re shipping from multiple locations. For example, for a business with a main inventory warehouse on the West Coast with other locations spread out throughout the country, if it’s always fulfilling from that the main warehouse location, it can be paying too much to ship things across the country. Without a system in place to route orders to a location that makes sense based on inventory levels and geographic location, companies are paying more for shipping than they need to.
Unsellable Returns Inventory. Customer returns is also a challenging area. If a company is unable to track items that are due to come in on returns, it can be difficult to attribute returns against a specific order. And if the system automatically puts an item back into inventory as soon as a return is received, that can be an issue as well. We all know sometimes items come in damaged from customer returns. If these damaged goods show up in sellable inventory right away, then inventory levels can be inaccurate. It’s crucial to have a system with the ability to segregate potentially damaged quantities so you can avoid overselling.
NetSuite order management helps businesses deliver the ultimate customer experience, allowing shoppers to buy anywhere, pick up their orders anywhere and return anywhere. NetSuite helps businesses profitably execute a wide variety of fulfillment options, including direct ship from warehouse, store fulfillment and drop shipping so that they can meet the consumer where they are. And using preconfigured fulfillment rules, you have control over where orders are dispatched so that you can ensure orders are shipped in the most efficient way and shipping costs are minimized.
Watch the webinar Deliver the Perfect Order with Unified Order Management to see a live demo of how NetSuite helps businesses improve their order management processes.