Running an eCommerce store comes with plenty of challenges alongside the potential rewards, and many owners can struggle to contend with storage, shipping and supply issues, such as mispicks.
Using an order fulfillment service can help you to resolve and prevent mispick costs, and there a number of potential solutions to consider, if you want to give your eCommerce the best chance of running smoothly and profitably.
Shipping is an integral part of the customer experience
You always have an element of control over how your business is perceived by your customers, from the moment you write the advert and continuing from responding to their enquiries and processing their order.
The one aspect where you could potentially lose an element of that control is when your shipping partner does not provide the same level of service that your customer has experienced up to this point.
There are a number of eCommerce enterprises who simply don’t give enough thought to the fact that shipping and fulfillment are an integral part of the customer experience, and all of the hard work you have put in up to that point, could be quickly undone by a poor shipment experience.
It doesn’t have to end that way. You simply have to find a way of ensuring that you create a shipping strategy that matches your own customer service goals.
Getting that final step right
Fulfillment is that last piece of the jigsaw and the final part of the customer experience journey.
It is not overstating the importance of getting that final step right by saying that the majority of customers will quickly forget how well they have been treated as a customer and how enjoyable the experience had been up to that point, if the fulfillment process fails to live up to expectations.
A good number of eCommerce businesses have concluded that it is more cost-effective to outsource their fulfillment needs to a third-party partner, so that someone with the right level of expertise can handle those vital steps to completing an order, namely storage, packaging and finally, delivery to the customer.
The problem of mispicks
This third-party relationship can be highly productive to both sides, as finding a reliable and efficient fulfillment provider will help you to grow your business without the associated warehousing costs, but there is one issue that is a problem regardless of whether you operate an in-house shipping operation or outsource, that issue is mispicks.
The term itself requires little explanation, as it accurately describes what has happened, which is that the wrong item has been picked.
Once a mispick has occurred, it needs to be corrected before shipping takes place and the result is not just a potential error that will frustrate the customer, but wasted labor and administration costs that eat into your profit margins.
Not a small problem
It is estimated according to some industry surveys from sources such as Pcdata USA , that the annual cost of mispicks is close to $400,000 for each major distribution center, which equates to an average cost for each mispick of over $20.
If you were handling 10,000 units a day and had a mispick rate of 3% (estimates suggest that 52% of companies had mispick rates of at least 3%) then that could be costing the business more than $6,000 per day, which is going to impact the bottom line.
It is going to be extremely difficult to completely eliminate mispicks entirely, but there are definitely ways to ensure that the rate is minimal.
If you are running a warehouse picking operation that is relying on mainly human endeavor, there are going to be some elements that need to be addressed if you want to avoid mispicks.
Lighting levels within the warehouse are important, as this will help pickers to identify the products as accurately as possible. A chain of command where the accuracy of the picker can be checked on a regular basis will also help to eliminate human errors.
Investment in technology
There is a persuasive argument that an eCommerce fulfillment company might provide a viable solution to the problem of mispicks.
A company that has invested in the technology to provide an automated solution, will normally be able to store and retrieve items with a greater degree of speed and accuracy, compared to a manually-operated warehouse facility. You can learn more about technologies used to bring down mispick costs and that provide high pick accuracy.
If you want to ensure that your customer gets the right level of service from start to finish, it will pay to address the issue of mispicks and order fulfillment in general.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Business Development for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment company with integrations to Magento, Shopify, and Big Commerce, as well as over 50+ additional ecommerce platforms. Check them out on LinkedIn and keep up with the latest tweets on Twitter.