Welcome to the Fulfillment Works Blog

At Fulfillment Works, our experience across multiple industries has allowed us to gain valuable insights into the needs of our customers. We pride ourselves on delivering proven solutions for both B2C and B2B clients. This blog allows us to share best practices in logistics and ecommerce. Read on to learn tips for ecommerce sites, fulfillment solutions, and even more about Fulfillment Works. Check back often, or subscribe to our feed for the latest articles.

Small Ideas to Make Big Improvements to your Checkout Pages

Speed and convenience are the hallmarks of ecommerce. But all too often, these are not reflected in checkout - causing almost 70% of shoppers to abandon their carts at the checkout stage. Any change (however small) that you can make to improve the speed and/or convenience of your checkout guarantees a positive impact on your cart abandonment rates. In this post, we'll go over some easy-to-implement changes to make your checkout process more appealing to customers.
    

Trim the fat

Part of why cart abandonment rates are so high in the ecommerce industry is because, from the customer's perspective, the checkout process is the worst part of shopping online. Filling in forms, creating an account, seeing the bill – surely we can all agree that it's more fun to fill a shopping cart than empty it. From the user’s perspective, the less time and effort they have to spend in the checkout, the better. With this in mind, try to have as few form fields as possible. If your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, you may want to consider adding Guest Checkout functionality.

Add more payment options

Alternative payment options, like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Amazon Payments, are designed to securely store users’ information and drastically speed up the checkout process by eliminating the multiple form fields associated with credit card payments. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can cater to.

Retargeting

When all else fails, you can use remarketing to get shoppers to come back to the cart they've abandoned. Whenever returning customers abandon the shopping cart, you can send out a personalized email asking them if they’d like to complete the purchase or get assistance from your customer service team. You can apply the same strategy to new customers if they've given you their email via any of the sign up incentives you have on your site. You can also use retargeted paid advertising strategies to funnel shoppers back to their abandoned carts.

Tips for Improving Packaging Efficiency & Sustainability

Ecommerce businesses stand to benefit from implementing environmentally friendly business practices – and changing your approach to packaging is a great way to start. It can save you money, improve logistical efficiency, and drive home your brand's commitment to the environment with every single delivery. Follow these tips to start your transition into more sustainable packaging.
    

Choose environmentally-friendly packaging materials

Evaluate your current packaging for materials that can harm the environment - especially those that can't be recycled, take a long time to breakdown (like polystyrene foam and plastics), or that release toxins as they breakdown (like certain inks and adhesives). Can you switch these out for recyclable, eco-friendly equivalents? For example, corrugated cardboard tubes and scraps work well as dunnage and are easy to recycle. Similarly, laser printing, thermal printing, and soy-based inks are excellent alternatives to toxic inks and dyes.

Pack more efficiently

In addition to materials, your packing practices are also important. Larger-than-required packages waste filler materials and take up excess space in shipping vehicles, contributing to fuel consumption. Automated box making machines or custom-designed packaging are both eco-friendly solutions that not only save the earth, they save you money by conserving materials and reducing product damage during shipping.

Evaluate your logistics

Take a close look at how packages move from warehouse to doorstep for opportunities to reduce waste. Depending on your products and customers, there may be more you can do to combine individual orders into bulk shipments. If you notice lots of unused space in the trucks leaving your warehouse, consider co-shipping with other companies to reduce fuel costs.

The Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing

Customer service call centers provide ecommerce businesses with a number of benefits. You need a call center – no question. However, you may not need to manage call center services internally. While an internal call center comes with some nice advantages in terms of flexibility and control, a partnership with a qualified provider also has perks that might be a better fit. In this post, we'll discuss a few of the benefits you can get through call center outsourcing. 

Cost savings

For many small to midsize companies, staffing and managing an internal call center can be challenging and costly. Unless you're selling highly technical products that require in-depth knowledge, the operational expenses may not be worthwhile. Conversely, an outsourced call center helps you avoid the costs of capital investments such as quality call monitoring systems, scheduling software, chat support integration with your website, etc. You can also save on the costs associated with recruiting, training and retaining call representatives – which really comes in handy during your peak season. Speaking of which…

Seasonal flexibility    

Because of their established focus on providing customer service, a good call center should be able to handle the higher volume of calls during your peak seasons without straining your budget or internal team.

Faster growth

If an outside partner is handling your call center functions, you're free to focus on the core components of your business. Outsourcing your call center allows you dedicate more bandwidth to developing products, customer acquisition, marketing campaigns and other growth initiatives.

Choosing whether to manage a call center on your own or outsource will ultimately depend on the nuances of your business. However, it's worth considering the cost-effective benefits of collaborating with call center service providers. To learn more about the call center services provided through Fulfillment Works, contact us today.

Easy Ideas for Customer Retention

Whatever product or service your company offers, keeping customers engaged and coming back to your site is critical for ecommerce success. Customers remain loyal to brands that treat them well, but even more so to companies that implement memorable tactics to keep them happy. Below are some easy ideas that can go a long way toward leaving a good impression on your customers.
    

Educate

You don't need to be pushing a sale every time you communicate with your customers. Sharing content related to your products or industry can provide your customers with helpful information for purchasing decisions. By establishing your company as a source of authoritative information, you also build up your trust and reputation among customers.

Create helpful offers

Go beyond the run-of-the-mill discounts and think of special offers that improve the purchase experience, rather than just trying to make a sale. What sets you apart from the competition? Do your product margins grant you the flexibility to give away free gifts with orders? Are there ways you can simplify the decision to purchase (like offering free returns or special warranties)? To come up with a promotion that works for your situation, consider the interests of your customers, the products you sell, and the logistics of your company.

Be approachable

Keeping a professional tone with your customers doesn’t mean all communication needs to feel scripted. Remember, messages that actually have a “human touch” to them will go a long way toward making your brand memorable and encouraging repeat business.

Say 'thank you'

Sending a thank you welcomes new customers to your site, and is a reminder of your expert service to returning customers. To encourage repeat business, offer a coupon or shipping discount on their next order. Consider also sending thank you emails/discounts when customers complete other actions on your website, like signing up for your newsletter.

3 Ways to Combat 'Shoplifting' in Ecommerce

Theft during the last mile of product fulfillment is a growing problem in ecommerce. According to a report by InsuranceQuotes.com, 23 million Americans had packages stolen from their doorsteps in 2015. Even worse - a DropOff study found that 94% of consumers blame the e-tailer for poor delivery, while only 42% blame the delivery provider. Not only are you losing product from theft, you're also losing repeat customers and brand reputation.

While there isn’t much you can do to directly prevent this type of “shoplifting,” there are things you can do to decrease the likelihood of theft and provide customers with a better delivery experience.

Secure delivery options

Unattended packages are the ones thieves like to target, so secure delivery options can be a major deterrent. Some common solutions are:

  • Signature request
  • In-store pickup (if you also operate brick-and-mortar locations)
  • Delivery to a storage locker (Amazon Locker is a good example)
  • Customer-supplied delivery instructions (for example, you can add a new checkout field where customers write instructions, like “Please leave package on the back porch.”)

Proactive shipping notifications

Most ecommerce sites allow customers to passively check the delivery status of an order. Taking a more proactive approach to this idea can not only make your deliveries more secure, but improve your customers’ experience. Encourage customers to sign up to receive delivery notifications via text message, email, or even app push notifications.

Delivery scheduling

Work with your carriers to offer your customers the ability to select a specific delivery date and time. This can be a value-added shipping option at checkout, or you can offer it for free with a minimum order.