As a growing business it’s easy to get stuck in a perpetual order fulfilment cycle that never seems to end. Orders are coming in – which is great – but the mechanics of order fulfilment can eat into the time available for other crucial activities such as sales and marketing.
If you’re locked into customer service and distribution by simply picking, packing and posting but not growing your business, this can damage your chances of growth.
Outsourced fulfilment is, for many ecommerce businesses, the obvious solution. No more warehousing, goods-in, picking, packing, posting.
But what should you actually do with the time you free up once you no longer have the burden of fulfilment?
Here are some suggestions on what you can do with the time you free-up to build your ecommerce business.
Scale your business through digital marketing
Whatever market you’re in, whether it’s reselling or selling your own products, the best way to build your business is by scaling-up.
Selling from your own site, or from one channel isn’t necessarily going to get you the traffic and profile you need to achieve long-term growth.
The answer is to make sure your presence is felt and seen throughout a range of channels, and, via good SEO and online advertising.
Good SEO and customer nurture takes time. SEO tends to work over three to six-month cycles, so you need to be thinking ahead. Working on SEO for Christmas in December is not going to work!
Online advertising such as PPC, Facebook advertising etc. can deliver results much faster. It can take just a few weeks or even just days to set up and get going. However, the upfront costs are higher, and the risk of losing money is substantial.
All this does take time and patience, it’s not something that can be rushed if you want to get the best results. Having removed the burden of order fulfilment you should be able to dedicate far more of your attention to these marketing activities.
Not only that, but ecommerce is a highly competitive space, so it’s really important you’re doing the same, if not better, than other businesses. It’s not just about great customer service at the point of purchase but is also about being able to reach current and future customers.
Time vs growth
With all the focus on packing and posting, have you thought about your growth strategy? Do you have a 2 to 5-year plan in place? Have you even had time to plan, or have you lost sight of your plan?
As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to take a step back from your business and take stock of where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
If you’re a medium-sized business, then freeing-up staff from processing orders means they can focus on growing other parts of the business, such as customer engagement or refining logistics processes.
Even as a fast-growing startup reseller, more time on your hands gives you the freedom to look at and assess better product offerings and areas of growth. While your competitors are wading through boxes and processing customer orders, you have the space to develop the next phase of your business strategy.
Staff productivity and retention
Outsourcing your fulfilment can have a positive impact on your business, and can be done at any stage, but you will get better ROI when your order numbers reach a tipping point. If you’re processing 1-2 orders over the course of a week, and it’s more a of hobby-based business, then it’s probably more cost-effective to keep it in-house.
However, if you’re seeing a rapid increase in orders, then it’s time to act and get outsourcing. This is when you’ll really start to see a better return. If you start to add up the hours and you notice the hours spent packing and posting is outstripping the focus on growing your business, then it’s really time to find a fulfilment partner.
As we all know, especially with growing businesses, when times get busy it’s all hands on deck, no matter where you work within an organisation. This inevitably means you lose time, and some of your team, to tasks that distract from their day to day jobs. Not only will this have a knock-on effect on employee workloads, deadlines and objectives, but it could also have a long-term impact on staff retention.
If you already have a warehouse team in place, but you still need to grow, then outsourcing fulfilment can be more flexible and cost-effective than extending the inhouse team.
Staff shortage, or dealing with sales spikes, will no longer a problem as this is all seamlessly taken care of by your partner and immediately takes the pressure off your existing staff.
Great customer service
Imagine what you can do with the time saved from outsourcing your fulfilment!
Not only do you have time to grow your sales funnel, but you also have time to focus on customer engagement or service.
Customers expect rapid responses to their enquiries. With more staff time dedicated to customer service, your customer satisfaction should go up.
What does this mean in return? It means happier and more engaged customers, who will become repeat customers, increasing their lifetime value and therefore reducing churn due to slow response times or missed emails.
It all seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? why not get in touch and find out how we can help free-up your time to be the business you want to be.