While we’ve already discussed both the process of e-commerce fulfillment and some things to consider for your e-commerce ordering strategy in two of our previous blog posts, it’s worth mentioning that the e-commerce fulfillment comes with a set of its own challenges as well. Since it’s not always as straightforward as it may seem, it’s important to know of the problems that can present themselves in terms of scaling and being unable to get an order out on time. So, that being said, here are a few common challenges that e-commerce business owners face when they are carrying out their order fulfillment.
Lack of in-house expertise
Whether you’re just getting started, you possess a stacked inventory warehouse or you’re reliant on dropshipping to satisfy your orders, expertise is a must when carrying out a successful distribution. The core of the competency should come from within the chain of command and while there are complexities that can come within shipping, knowing and understanding the ins and outs are an important part of running the operations. So, if you do not yet possess these skills as a business owner, it would be beneficial to take a few classes, watch some informative videos, read as much as you can about the industry and if it’s in your budget, hire someone to iron out a few of your in-house fulfillment challenges.
Unprepared for the change in volume during the holiday season
As soon as summer is over it’s important for merchants to start planning and prepping for the upcoming holiday season. After all, it can be incredibly challenging to keep up with the supply and demand when you’re receiving an influx in orders. For starters, ensure that your inventory is fully stocked and begin by adjusting your shipping information to contain precise arrival dates and times for your customers. Not only is it incredibly important to make sure that buyers know if an order is not going to arrive on time but it’s also essential for you to have the manpower to help you fulfill those orders. Thus, if you’re receiving triple the amount that you usually get, it’s paramount to have an extra set of hands for packing and shipping. This can also become a problem during a special, busy season for your industry. For example, if you sell outdoor patio furniture online, chances are once springtime rolls around, customers will be in full-swing wanting to design and revamp their backyard oasis. Just be sure that as an industry leader you’re aware of your high-times and that you’re properly prepared to put in the extra work during these periods.
It’s hard to compete with big names like Amazon or eBay
While it’s true that there is a vast majority of people doing some form of shopping online, it’s important to know that many are afraid to expand their shopping experiences. This means that big names like Amazon and eBay may be snatching some of your potential customers, however, it’s important to not see them as competition. While it may be a challenge, being that you can’t provide the same affordable options, what they lack is individuality. Make your mark in the world of e-commerce by focusing your energy on developing your branding and separating yourself from big box shops. After all, the experience should expand beyond the product itself.
Are there any other e-commerce fulfillment challenges that you have personally experienced as a business owner? Please share with our readers in the comments section below.