Fulfillrite lets us in on their best tips for how Amazon brands can improve their fulfillment process to build brand loyalty and grow their sales.
To say building a brand is necessary to succeed in the eCommerce industry is an understatement. On a very deep psychological level, people feel at ease when dealing with well managed brands. What often goes forgotten is that fulfillment is a critical part of your overall brand experience in eCommerce.
We are keenly aware of the importance of branding at Fulfillrite. As a fulfillment company, we ship a variety of different products. We can safely say that the ones with strong brands do better online, no matter what the industry. We feel a strong sense of responsibility to help maintain these brands. This is because customers often don’t differentiate between a company’s brand and the shipping experience.
With this in mind, we would like to share five observations of ours on how, precisely, the fulfillment process affects your brand. By understanding these observations, you can take specific steps to improve how customers perceive your brand by improving logistics.
1. Speedy Delivery is Hugely Important
The first rule of shipping is “do it fast!” We live in a world where 63% of online shoppers expect three-day delivery. In this world, fast delivery is no longer a differentiating factor but a basic expectation. If your package takes forever to arrive, then it can sully your brand. This simple fact cannot be neglected!
This is so important that we’ve built an entire business out of making sure packages arrive quickly and intact. A lot of your customers, fairly or unfairly, will compare your speed of delivery to large companies like Amazon and Walmart. Nothing says competence quite like keeping up with the biggest companies.
How can you compete with the big companies, though? There are basically two elements to speedy shipping. First, fulfill orders as quickly as possible. That means taking inventory out of the warehouse, putting it in a box, applying postage, and sending it to the carrier. The carrier, in this case, would be FedEx, UPS, DHL, or a country’s postal service. This is one particularly large benefit to outsourcing to a fulfillment company – they can usually send out orders faster than you can.
The second part is very nearly out of your control, and even your fulfillment company’s control. That part is the carrier’s delivery. If you want DHL, FedEx, or UPS to go faster, you have to pay for priority shipping. Thankfully, even their economy shipping is pretty fast, so that first element – fulfill orders as quickly as possible – is the biggest one.
2. Items Must Arrive Intact
Some items you ship will break. The sun will rise tomorrow. Both of these statements are undeniable truths.
Still, how incredibly frustrating is it to open a box in the mail only to find the contents shattered? Indeed, if you ship fragile items, you’ve probably had angry customers call you every once in a while. Whether or not it’s your fault doesn’t really matter – it’s a problem for your brand.
How can you reduce the frequency of breakages during shipment? There is only one way. You must pack fragile items in such a way that they will survive a drop, preferably one of four feet or more. If you ship items on your own, you know this means using a lot of bubble wrap, tightly packing breakable items, and even using thick, corrugated boxes when the occasion calls for it.
Good fulfillment companies are masters are balancing costs with supplies. They know exactly when to use extra materials for breakable items. That way, without needlessly running up your bill with extra supplies, items arrive intact, as does your brand.
3. Your Return Process Must Be Smooth
Sometimes, you just need to return items. I’ve ordered many a shirt online that was an inch or two off in size. I’ve had glassware come to me pulverized in a priority mail box. This isn’t just my bad luck though. Indeed, I’m very lucky when it comes to returns. You see, in eCommerce, return rates are often 20% or higher.
When 20% or more of your customers are returning items, you have to have a clean return process to remain competitive. It looks unprofessional when returns are a pain. At a minimum, you will likely want a return policy and prepaid shipping labels for returns. Making returns easy builds trust in your brand.
4. For International Buyers, Customs Fees are a Pain
Part of the beauty of running an eCommerce store is that you can reach people from all over the globe. The problem with that, of course, is that you reach people from all over the globe! That means when they order your goods, it’s not uncommon for them to be charged with customs, VAT, and other unpleasant fees.
It’s not realistic for every company to have a warehouse in Europe, Australia, Asia, and so on. However, having a defined process for dealing with customs and VAT can save your customers a lot of heartache. That’s good for your brand.
5. Branded Packaging and Marketing Materials Can Set You Apart
Customers don’t differentiate between different parts of the unboxing experience. To them, order fulfillment, shipping, and the packaging/materials they see when they first open the box are all part of the same memory. You want to optimize that experience as much as possible.
We could do multiple posts on the value of customized packaging. We’ve seen firsthand how much of a difference that makes it the immediate perception of a product. What many people do not consider is the value of adding coupons or other marketing materials to the box upon shipment. When people are unboxing your product, they’re likely to be in a good mood. That means it’s a great time to continue building a relationship with your brand!
Branding is built not just through beautiful websites and fantastic products. It’s built through every interaction that customers have with your brand. To neglect the importance of fulfillment in building a brand is to leave money on the table.
Need help filling orders for your business? Contact Fulfillrite today to request a free quote.