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7 Ecommerce Fulfillment Strategies to Boost Your Business Growth

Explore the top 7 eCommerce fulfillment strategies to optimize your online store's shipping, handling, and customer satisfaction that will drive ecommerce growth

Team Hopstack
January 25, 2024

In this blog

Did you know that the global ecommerce growth rate for 2024 is forecasted at 9.4%, bringing global ecommerce sales worldwide to $6.3 trillion? In such a competitive landscape, for businesses, e-commerce fulfillment is now not just a procedural step but a crucial function that helps them in their growth and success. 

Sadly, knowing only the bare minimum when it comes to eCommerce order fulfillment does not cut it anymore. To stay ahead of the competition and grow exponentially, companies must implement innovative and tech-enabled fulfillment strategies for ecommerce. In this blog, we’ve listed down the seven best ecommerce fulfillment strategies that can help your business unlock increased efficiency and scale bigger. Read on to know more. 

Top 7 Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Strategies

Here are the seven top e-commerce fulfillment strategies that companies can implement to meet the growing e-commerce demand and improve customer satisfaction 

1. Optimize your warehouse layout 

Efficient warehouse layout and organization play a vital role in successful e-commerce fulfillment. A strategically organized warehouse ensures the seamless flow of products and plays a crucial role in reducing errors, speeding up order processing, and enhancing overall productivity. 

To use warehouse space efficiently, you can invest in tall storage solutions to utilize vertical space effectively. This enables higher storage density without increasing the warehouse floor area. Another good practice when it comes to warehouse space is implementing flexible storage systems such as adjustable shelving to accommodate varying product sizes and seasonal inventory changes.

Leveraging technology, you can digitize the warehouse facility and optimize the layout. Furthermore, using a Warehouse Management System, you can set rules and algorithms to distribute products in the warehouse intelligently. It reduces the number of product movements, whether handled by automated or manual equipment.

2. Real-time inventory tracking 

Real-time inventory tracking for order fulfillment provides several significant benefits for businesses and ensures that your inventory levels are continuously updated. This accuracy is crucial for preventing stockouts or overstock situations. A recent study states that businesses can reduce inventory costs by at least 10% by minimizing instances of overstocking and stockouts. 

Also, knowing the exact quantity of each product in real time helps streamline order fulfillment processes. Approximately 34% of businesses have encountered situations where they have unintentionally sold a product that was unavailable in their inventory, resulting in delayed order shipments and poor customer reviews. 

Here are the ways in which you can efficiently track inventory in real time: 

Use barcode scanners and RFID tags 

Utilizing barcode scanners and RFID tags is a modern and efficient method for tracking inventory items. Each product is assigned a unique barcode or RFID tag that contains essential information. When a product is received, shipped, or moved within the warehouse, the barcode scanner or RFID reader captures this information instantly. 

One of the key advantages of using barcode scanners and RFID tags is the reduction of manual errors. Traditional methods of inventory management often involve manual data entry, which is prone to mistakes. Barcode scanners and RFID readers mitigate this risk by automating the data capture process, resulting in a more reliable and error-free inventory management system.

In short, this technology enables real-time tracking, reduces manual errors, and enhances overall accuracy in inventory management.

Inventory forecasting features

Use inventory forecasting feature to leverage past sales data to predict future demand for products. By analyzing historical sales patterns, seasonal trends, and other relevant data, these tools can generate accurate forecasts for upcoming sales periods. 

Automate inventory management tasks and integrate with sales channels 

Automate tasks such as order processing, restocking, and updating stock levels businesses to streamline operations and reduce the risk of human errors. Next, integrate it with your sales channels to ensure that changes in inventory levels are instantly reflected across all platforms when a sale or adjustment occurs. This real-time synchronization enhances accuracy, prevents overselling or stockouts, and provides a seamless experience for both customers and internal operations.

3. Use multiple fulfillment centers

Employ multiple fulfillment centers, especially those strategically located near your target customers, to reduce shipping times and costs, allowing quicker deliveries and improving customer satisfaction. 

Additionally, by strategically positioning fulfillment centers and distributing inventory, businesses can also minimize the impact of unforeseen disruptions in one location, ensuring continuity in their supply chain. 

For example, let’s say your target buyers are from New York, Chicago, and Seattle. It makes sense for you to distribute your inventory, have fulfillment centers in these cities, and deliver your products faster instead of just using one warehouse and storing your inventory there. This will ultimately increase the fulfillment cost. 

If you decide to partner with a 3PL, ensure that you pick a 3PL provider that aligns with your geographical distribution goals, which can lead to improved order fulfillment performance and a competitive edge in meeting customer expectations.

4. Implement an effective returns management process

54% of buyers say that free returns or exchanges are the second biggest influence on whether they buy from a brand or not. That is why businesses must make the e-commerce returns management process more efficient and streamlined. 

You can begin the process by establishing a clear and transparent return policy that communicates the terms and conditions of returns, including eligibility criteria, timeframes, and any associated fees. 

Another customer-focused approach is providing customers with multiple return options, adding flexibility to the returns process and enhancing customer satisfaction. Interestingly, 62% of shoppers are more likely to shop online if they can return an item in-store. Therefore, make sure you offer multiple return choices such as in-store returns, mail-in returns, or even returns through designated drop-off locations. This approach improves the customer experience and helps build trust and loyalty.

Finally, have a data-driven approach towards returns management. Regularly analyze key metrics such as return reasons, return rates by product category, and average processing times. This will help you change your current strategies, enhance product quality, and provide better customer support.

5. Flexible shipping options

Thanks to the influence of e-commerce giants like Amazon, expedited shipping options, particularly 2-day shipping, have transformed consumer expectations and set a new standard for delivery speed. In today's competitive online retail landscape, delivery speed has become a critical factor for consumers when evaluating their online orders. A significant 53% of shoppers prioritize fast delivery, making it a key element in their decision-making process.

To meet the growing demand for faster e-commerce shipping, businesses need to adapt by offering a range of flexible shipping options. This includes not only traditional shipping methods but also expedited choices like same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping. Providing a variety of options caters to different customer needs, allowing them to choose a delivery speed that aligns with their urgency and preferences. This flexibility in shipping choices not only enhances the overall customer experience but also positions a brand as responsive and customer-centric.

In addition to providing multiple shipping options, businesses can strategically use free shipping promotions to entice customers further and boost sales. Offering free shipping for orders exceeding a specified value encourages customers to increase their spending as they see an opportunity to save on delivery costs.

While the allure of free shipping can drive higher purchase amounts, it's essential for businesses to consider the threshold for free shipping carefully. Setting the minimum order value strategically ensures that the additional revenue generated from increased spending covers the expenses associated with providing free shipping. 

Also, businesses can use free shipping promotions strategically, such as during peak shopping seasons, holidays, or special sales events, to create a sense of urgency and drive customer engagement. This can result in a surge in sales as customers take advantage of the limited-time offer.

6. Continuous monitoring and data analytics

Utilizing data analytics is crucial for optimizing order fulfillment by monitoring key performance indicators. Businesses can identify and address operational inefficiencies through continuous analysis of metrics like order processing times and inventory turnover rates. 

For instance, a retailer may use data analytics to predict peak demand periods, adjusting inventory levels accordingly to prevent stockouts and streamline order processing during busy periods. This proactive approach ensures a more responsive and efficient fulfillment process, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.

7. Effective customer communication

Effective customer communication is a cornerstone of successful e-commerce, encompassing responsive customer support and providing clear order tracking information. A responsive customer support system involves promptly addressing customer queries, concerns, and issues, fostering a positive customer experience. This includes utilizing various channels such as live chat, email, or phone support to cater to diverse customer preferences. 

Social media is another important channel where customers express their concerns and grievances. According to Forrester, 31% of customers prefer contacting a company via Twitter, and 33% have used Facebook to communicate.

Another key area to focus on is order tracking for customers. Offer your customers clear order tracking information with real-time visibility into the status and location of their orders. This transparency builds trust and reduces anxiety, as customers can track their shipments from dispatch to delivery.

Top 7 Ecommerce Fulfillment Strategies
Top 7 Ecommerce Fulfillment Strategies

Hopstack for Ecommerce Fulfillment

Undoubtedly, the ecommerce market is rapidly evolving and growing manifold each year. Having a legacy warehouse management system or using Excel sheets will no longer help you meet the increasing demands of the market and customer expectations. 

To scale and grow operations, businesses require powerful fulfillment software that automates tasks, enhances efficiency, and provides complete visibility and valuable insights throughout the order fulfillment process.

Hopstack’s powerful e-commerce fulfillment software is built to handle high-volume order fulfillment with maximum accuracy and speed. The platform helps you achieve precision and speed in high-volume pick, pack, and ship operations, drastically minimizing the likelihood of order returns. 

Modern WMS For Seamless Ecommerce Fulfillment

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