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Warehousing & Fulfillment

Why eCommerce Fulfillment Is Just As Important As Sales & Marketing

Warehousing & Fulfillment
January 21, 2021
7 min read
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eCommerce fulfillment is often an afterthought for busy merchants, with sales and marketing taking top priority. However, a sustainable, long-term e-commerce strategy is built on the foundation of a reliable and flexible fulfillment strategy.

What Is eCommerce Fulfillment & Why Does It Matter?

Simply put, ecommerce fulfillment is the phase of your supply chain that happens inside a warehouse or fulfillment center. From inbouding and getting your inventory onto the shelves, to picking and packing orders, fulfillment has the potential to either drive costs or drive revenue depending on how it’s prioritized within your overall ecommerce strategy.

As ecommerce demand continues to rise, customer expectations for speedy fulfillment and delivery have remained virtually unchanged. Understanding how these expectations shape consumer preference and brand equity will help you see your fulfillment operations as an opportunity to differentiate yourself among your competitors.

The Importance of eCommerce Fulfillment: A Brief Case Study

Like 35% of merchants this year, YBell Fitness saw the need to open a new sales channel in 2020 — an ecommerce store. While their original go-to-market strategy was centered on large volume sales to gyms and fitness centers, mandatory gym shut-downs sent them looking for a D2C sales channel to reach the growing number of consumers looking for home workout equipment.

Today, with the rise of user-friendly ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify, setting up an online store is simpler than ever. However, YBell Fitness’ VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Mark Livingston, knew that their new storefront would only be viable if they had a fast and reliable ecommerce fulfillment solution in place first. Mark’s experience in the fitness industry taught him that driving traffic to a site that was unable to meet customer expectations for fast shipping as well as order and delivery status visibility would only damage their brand.

While many merchants may have laser focus on driving sales, a fully optimized sales channel that is not supported by a fully optimized fulfillment strategy will ultimately lead to poor reviews, eroded customer trust, and costly returns. Ahead, we’ll examine how a holistic, end-to-end approach to your ecommerce strategy — beginning with ecommerce order fulfillment — will contribute to your company’s profitability and longevity.

Prioritizing Fulfillment in Your eCommerce Strategy

As businesses enter the e-commerce arena, brand awareness and positioning are almost always top-of-mind. In a world where companies collectively spend hundreds of billions of dollars on media advertising every year, the average consumer is exposed to around 10,000 ads every day. These are the types of figures that keep business leaders up at night and often serve as the driving force for companies to invest significantly in online ads and sales campaigns. However, as the cost of pay-per-click ads continues to rise, business owners with limited marketing budgets must carefully strategize their ad spend to avoid eroding profitability.

Interestingly, recent findings from Google indicate that fulfillment can contribute significantly to ad performance. Tests of its new Fast & Free shipping annotations resulted in 9% higher overall conversions rates for product listings that advertised 1 to 2-day delivery promises early in the shopping journey.

However, while offering 1 to 2-day shipping will draw customers in, actually delivering on that promise will build invaluable brand equity. Satisfied first-time buyers become lifetime customers who leave positive online reviews, recommend your products to their friends, and spend more money on subsequent purchases.

5 Tips for Streamlining the Customer Experience

In addition to prioritizing your fulfillment process, the following five tips will help streamline your end to end ecommerce processes to increase conversions and overall customer satisfaction, driving down your customer acquisition cost (CAC) and ultimately stretching your marketing dollars further.

  • Determine Whether In-House or Outsourced Order Fulfillment Is Best for Your Business. If you’re only dealing with a few dozen new orders per week, it’s probably easy and affordable to manage fulfillment in-house, as the burden of packing and shipping this volume of orders is not strenuous. But if you are dealing with bulky or heavy inventory or your order volume has outgrown the capacity of your internal capabilities, it’s likely time to start considering options for outsourced order fulfillment. Click here to chat with an ecommerce fulfillment expert at Ware2Go.
  • Prioritize Demand Planning. Avoiding stock-outs, especially of your most profitable products, decreases lost sales and increases top-line revenue. However, avoiding the pitfalls of excess inventory carry costs can increase profitability and bottom-line revenue. Striking the perfect balance without the luxury of enterprise level staff like a procurement specialist requires connectivity throughout your tech stack from marketing analytics to shopping cart data to fulfillment and shipping data.
  • Let Customers Unlock Free Shipping After Crossing a Spend Threshold. A common tactic for off-setting the cost of fast shipping is to set a price floor that consumers must pass to qualify for 1 to 2-day shipping. This ensures that the customers receiving faster shipping are qualified spenders and will often entice customers to add one more item to their cart, increasing your average order volume (AOV).
  • Don’t Bog Down Your Checkout Process with Unnecessary Steps. The longer and more complicated the checkout process, the more likely your customers are to abandon their purchase. Email signups for newsletters, referral programs, and promotions are valuable remarketing tools, but save them for after the purchase. 70% of online shopping carts are ultimately abandoned before the purchase is complete, and actually making the sale is far more valuable than growing your mailing list.
  • Provide Delivery Status Updates to Customers. The majority of consumers not only want to track the fulfillment and delivery status of their ecommerce orders online, over 10% admit to checking their order status multiple times per day. This indicates that digital consumers expect a fully digital experience from purchase to receipt of their products. A trusted shipping provider like UPS and even plug-in apps on Shopify offer these types of tracking features at little cost.

Your eCommerce Ecosystem

An effective ecommerce strategy requires looking beyond the front-end sales and marketing functions and spending an equal amount of time and energy on optimizing the check-out and order fulfillment processes. While effective sales and marketing efforts will drive customers to your site, a simple and efficient checkout and fulfillment process is what ultimately results in customers completing a purchase and converting to loyal customers and brand ambassadors.

Our eCommerce Fulfillment Services

Request a quote from Ware2Go.

Ware2Go’s approach to ecommerce fulfillment is to provide a fully flexible and scalable solution that works for merchants of all sizes. Our technology-first approach to fulfillment allows merchants to connect all of their sales channels through a single platform, making inventory management, order management, and status reporting simple and low-touch.

Children’s toy and furniture merchant ECR4Kids needed an ecommerce fulfillment solution that could grow with them. They found that Ware2Go’s transparent pricing and easy-to-use technology platform not only simplified their existing fulfillment process, but could easily be scaled up as needed.

Click here to watch ECR4Kids’ full story.

To learn more about how Ware2Go can streamline your fulfillment process, reach out to one of our fulfillment experts.

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