The order execution process is one of the most significant stages in the operations of an online shop. For customers, who are waiting impatiently for their shipment, it is certainly the most important stage.
Does this mean that nowadays the warehouse has no opportunities to work fast and effectively without the support of Warehouse Management Systems? Not necessarily. Everything depends on the scale of the sales, the size of the warehouse and the experience of the warehousemen.
In order for buyers to become regular customers, one should focus not only on attracting them to the shop but also on great after-sales service so that they have positive memories regarding our shop and the order execution. What should we bear in mind?
Stages of the order execution
Customers have the first contact with our shop when they choose products and then when their order is completed and a payment for it is made. Right after making a payment, an order is given the unhandled status in the e-commerce system. After, the entire process connected with logistics starts.
The order execution process starts if all data has been completed correctly. When products are in stock, they start to be collected, i.e. a warehouseman who has been assigned a given order collects the products that have been specified in the order.
After that, all products are placed on a packaging table, a packer closes a given package, checks if all the information is correct and then they prepare the package for a courier. At the same time, a label for the courier is generated in accordance with the form of shipment selected by the customers. The ready package waits for the arrival of the courier in a specially designated zone and then it is released to them. Following this, the order status changes to the executed status and the customer receives the package usually after 24 hours.
In this case, it is important to know how long warehousemen work and at what time the courier arrives to a given warehouse, since the later the courier collects packages, the more packages we can prepare and send even on the same day.
Although it seems that the process connected with logistics is not very important, it is in fact very significant from the consumer’s perspective, as customers have already chosen the goods, made payment for them and now wait for their shipment. The time of the order execution, packaging quality and information that customers receive in the course of the order execution have an influence on their experiences related to a given shop and on whether they will place a new order in the same shop again. Therefore, it is crucial that these experiences are positive as a result of the best possible order execution. Everything exerts an influence on the customer’s impressions. Efficient logistics contributes to the fact that customers are satisfied at each stage of the order execution.
The most frequent statuses, which appear in the course of the order execution in popular shop platforms, are as follows:
- Unhandled – customers have placed an order and it is already in our system, but the process of its execution has not started yet.
- Waiting for shipment – this status appears only when a given product is not available in our stock and we must deliver it, for instance, from a wholesale store.
- Executed – products are being collected.
- Packing – products have been delivered to a warehouse and are being packed.
- Ready for shipment – this status means that all products have been collected, verified and packed, and they are waiting to be released to the courier.
- Sent – this status appears when products have been collected by the courier, after which the status of a given order may be checked in accordance with a waybill that customers have received.
How can we manage logistics effectively?
It is worth dividing the logistics processes into smaller stages, as then we will be able to evaluate each step separately and check the results it brings.
According to statistics, apart from the price, customers draw attention to the speed of the order execution, packaging, time of delivery and contact with a seller at each stage of the order execution.
An appropriately packed and secured package, especially when it contains an individual remittance, is an additional advertising medium. Customers are starting to draw more attention to the packaging in which a given product is supplied and if it is an ordinary cardboard box or if it is filled with old newspapers or perhaps brand leaflets. The dimensions of the box must also be adjusted to the product, since too big a box means that the product will move inside while in too small a box there might be too little space for filling materials and protection of the products.
A courier company is also very significant for the customer. Of course, it is the customer who chooses a courier company, but we should ensure that they have a choice. Every customer will draw attention to a wide range of cheap suppliers. As a result, customers will be able to choose a company, which they like. Very often, due to there being no possibility to choose another carrier, customers decide to buy the product in another online shop.
The next significant aspect is the availability of the goods, as customers draw attention to the fact whether shipment will take place that day or in a month. It is good to have a prepared stock of products which customers are most interested in. Thanks to this, the time of the order execution is shorter and we are not dependant on the wholesale store (it may not have all the products in stock).
Personal contact – adding a leaflet with a discount on the next order, a service manual or a return form prepared in an original manner to the package may make customers smile when they open their package. It is also nice to sign the package manually and write for example: “This package has been prepared for you by Jacek”. In such a situation, customers feel that they are not treated anonymously and they know that the package has been prepared especially for them. They also start to associate a particular person with a given shop. It is not an anonymous large company any more. It is Jacek, a warehouseman. This option is also useful when we have problems with our package, as when it turns out that not all elements have been collected or it has been done in a careless manner, we are able to determine who was responsible for the execution of a given order.
After-sales service – customers who have placed an order would like to receive their package on the day of the order placement. In certain cases, after paying an additional charge, this is possible, but it usually takes 1–2 days. It is worth trying to reduce this period of time to a minimum. One way includes taking care that the courier arrives later in the day when we have more time to prepare products.
Customers often call to ask what the status of an order means, where the package is, whether we have obtained money etc. It is, therefore, worth training employees so that they answer all enquires patiently and help customers not only before the purchase but also after the completion of a transaction.
Customers who are satisfied are the customers who will for sure return to our shop. An improved logistics process is also very important for an online shop since due to process optimisation the shop may work faster and handle more orders daily, frequently saving time and money (e.g. on hiring new staff). If you have any problems with it, you can always delegate the logistics issues to specialists and you can deal with what you do best, i.e. sales.