Are You Paying the High Costs of Cheap Fulfillment?

by Gwen Carrington | Customer Satisfaction, eCommerce, eCommerce Fulfillment

Many e-Commerce business owners share a common experience: oftentimes a “bargain” can end up costing far more than purchasing a quality service. Maybe the first time you learned this lesson was with a purchased “prospect list” that generated nothing more than a deluge of SPAM complaints. Or perhaps it was with a low cost software that failed to deliver on the promised solutions or even created more problems than it solved. Fortunately, in most instances, the losses that result from these types of expenditures can be easily recouped. However, selecting the wrong fulfilment and shipping provider can actually cost you your entire operation. Here’s how:

1. You Lose Loyal Customers

The ability to maintain a certain percentage of loyal customers is proof that you’re running your business right. When it comes to the products you source, pricing, marketing, fulfillment and delivery – you’ve proven to your loyal customers that you can meet, or even exceed, their expectations. That’s why they reward you by returning to your site and purchasing again and again. If you’ve really done your job right – they’ll even tell their friends. But what happens when you slip up and get their order wrong? If a mistake happens, the right customer service can often correct it promptly. However, when it comes to wrong orders: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to build and maintain a following of loyal online shoppers is by delivering accurate orders.

2. You Fail to Convert Your Prospects

Studies have shown that online consumers expect two things when it comes to the shipping for their online purchases. First and foremost, they want it fast and, not far behind that, they want it free. With all the media coverage generated by major online retailer promises of same-day delivery and in-store pick-up, the pressure is on for e-Commerce retailers to deliver. In fact, many consumers will quickly abandon a full shopping cart if the estimated delivery times are longer than expected – even when shipping costs were reasonable. To compete in today’s online marketplace you need a fulfillment partner that can help you offer the fastest shipping at the lowest cost.

3. You Lose Revenue Fixing Mistakes

It has been estimated that poor customer service can cost U.S.-based businesses up to $83 billion in annual losses. When your customers are unhappy, the only chance you have of saving their future business and the relationship is with great customer service, often coupled with refunds and freebies. Unfortunately for the e-Commerce businesses that find themselves in this catch-22: low cost fulfillment and stellar service rarely come together. Just like with wrong orders, the best way to avoid a customer service nightmare is by partnering with a fulfillment partner that has the staff, policies and procedures in place that can guarantee expert customer service.

The bottom-line is, when it comes to e-Commerce order fulfillment, you get what you pay for. When outsourcing services, it is understandable when managers shop based on price to try to find a “good deal”. After all, the stakes are high. However, before you sign on the dotted line you should know that lower priced fulfillment houses often cannot deliver the level of service and quality demanded in today’s competitive e-Commerce environment. The right fulfillment provider will help protect your reputation and grow your business. That guaranteed quality and stellar service will pay for itself many times over as your business grows faster than you ever imagined.

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