The E-commerce market is steadily rising in India. In 2021 the market size of e-commerce is $80 billion and is expected to rise at an exponential rate. The Covid restrictions have also caused a massive shift in the customer preference from offline to online shopping. With many e-commerce players in the Market, one of the major aspects that can help the e-commerce company to stand apart from their competitor is the fulfilment process of the goods. Fulfilment is one of the major aspects of the e-commerce shopping experience. However, there are some problems associated with it. Some of the major problems in e-commerce fulfilment are as follows.Managing Inventory
Whenever there is an order for a product the first step that is required is locating the inventory. In the era of 1-2 days delivery commitment, the process of locating the inventory is important for packing the goods and preparing it for outward shipment. However, most of the warehouses suffer from the issue of delay in location of the inventory. Apart from that there are frequent cases of inability to fulfil the demand due to unavailability of inventory. The issue is prevalent for the product where the demand cycle is sporadic.
The solution lies in the WMS (Warehouse Management System), which not only helps in the active inventory tracking and storage but can also help in predicting the demand with use of AI. It provides real time information about the inventory and makes the management of inventory much easier. Most of the advanced WMS software is SaaS based. The efficiency of the inventory management depends upon the effectiveness of the system.Damaged or Incorrect Product
The most infuriating part as a customer is receiving incorrect or faculty products. Sometimes the product when dispatched from the warehouse is in perfect condition but due to improper handling during the shipment process the product gets damaged. Due to damaged or faulty product the return of the product is required. That incurs extra charge to be borne by the company.
To avoid it proper identification of the product along with proper labelling or barcoding is required. The staff needs to be trained to achieve that level of accuracy so that the chance of any error while packaging decreases. To prevent shipment of faculty products a proper inspection mechanism needs to be in place. Also, a proper segregation should be placed for the product according to their level of fragility, so that the necessary care could be taken while shipping the product.Returns Management
In e-commerce business, customers prefer the company which offers them the seamless product return process, so most of the company provides this option to their customers. Many problems are encountered in the return process right from collecting the product, inspecting it, shipping it back to warehousing and finally making it fit to be able to sell it to another customer.
It is important to have certain quick checking mechanisms to inspect the product while collecting it for return from the customer. These would ensure that the product is not in the damaged state or faculty condition. Also, as soon as the product returns to the warehouse, it is necessary to make necessary modifications in the product so that it can be resold to other customers.Shipping Notifications
Most of the customers expect that they are provided with their shipment tracking since they like to constantly check where their ordered product has reached. Hence it is necessary for the logistics provider to have such a system in process which provides live tracking of the customers shipment. It is necessary to have such a system in place otherwise it could result in customers calling the customer care which would cause waste of time and money.Shipping cost
It is the major cost involved in e-commerce logistics. So, it is utmost necessary to optimize it in a way that the customer does not feel the burden due to it and shift to alternative channels. Most of the shipping costs are based on the weight of the product but shipping cost can also be fixed according to price of products. For example, for some high value product which doesn’t weigh much but for that a higher cost for shipping can be charged since even that cost would be meagre in front of the original product cost and customer wouldn’t mind paying higher shipping price for a high value product. In this way the burden of shipping charges on the customers can be managed.
One of the major aspects that is to ensure that there are no major losses, is buying of the shipping insurances so that if any goods get damaged or stolen while shipping the company doesn’t require to bear the full brunt of it.
In order to provide a seamless and faster delivery of the product all the above points are necessary to be kept in mind for e-commerce fulfilment. So, it is rather easier to outsource the e-commerce fulfilment part to 3rd party logistics rather than wasting their resources on it for the e-commerce company or the product manufacturer. So, while selecting a 3pl company for e-commerce fulfilment, all such points are necessarily to be checked. In another blog we will cover how to select a 3PL player and what are the important check points for same.
This blog is written by Mr Shail Shah currently pursuing his MBA from IIM Kashipur.
Godamwale.com a tech enabled warehousing provider is a perfect match for modern day warehousing for both B2B and B2C companies. The company provides flexible pay per use warehousing without long term contracts or space commitment. The company provides on demand warehousing and ecommerce fulfilment in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and 200+ cities in india.