In a recent article for InternetRetailer.com, Jon Love details the increasing importance of order management for online retailers. As the number of online shoppers increase every year, so does the number of merchants competing for their business.
Shopper expectations are also changing. They expect the same features from a major retailer and they do from smaller businesses.
From Internet Retailer;
“Regardless of the size of a retailer or the type of product they are selling, these savvy online consumers want to receive their purchases fast, and they want options in terms of how they get it and how they pay. Amazon.com Inc. is considered the gold standard for fast order processing and delivery, and the features that Amazon and other top e-retailers offer put pressure on small and mid-size web retailers to keep up, says Michael Kleinman, president of MK Consulting Inc. and former president of underwear retailer Fresh Pair Inc.
“Customer expectations have changed,” Kleinman says. “If the shopping experience is at all cumbersome or unpleasant, you will not have repeat customers.”
With thousands of new web stores emerging every year, no niche is safe. If a customer at a retailer’s site notices something is missing—a 30-day return policy, real-time inventory, an order online/pick up in store option—there is nothing stopping her from checking out a competitor’s site.”
So, what can you do to stay competitive?
*Make sure you have a strong order management system in place. This ensures your orders will be processed and shipped quickly.
*Evaluate how your store handles shipping. Do you use dropshippers or ship from multiple warehouses, how do you calculate that in your store? Have you negotiated special shipping rates? Do you know how much you are paying in the corrected address fees that result when a customer incorrectly enters their shipping address?
*Providing real-time inventory for your shoppers has become a necessity. Not many things are more discouraging to a buyer than thinking their order is being processed, only to be notified that their item is out of stock. Who has time to wait? Chances are, they will cancel the order and find what they need at a competitors site.