Back Office Efficiency for Ecommerce Businesses

Expanding an ecommerce business is more than just expanding product catalogs and opening more distribution centers. The administrative strategy and operational support functions of your back office are vital – and their capabilities need to scale alongside business growth for overall success. In this blog post, we'll cover some fundamental elements to consider when evaluating your current back office's capabilities and ensuring they keep pace with the growth of your business.
    

Customer Relations

You need more than just a well-designed website to provide a great customer experience. Accessible and attentive customer service shape the final perception of unsatisfactory experiences and are a must for long-term success – so it's critical to assess your company's approach to customer relations from multiple angles and improve where necessary. Periodically review customer service call monitoring stats, product reviews, and fulfillment reporting you have in place and look for gaps to fill. If your reporting doesn't identify any ongoing problems, you may be able to find new growth opportunities through customer satisfaction surveys.
    

Taxes & Accounting

Tax laws and financial reporting requirements relevant to ecommerce can be more difficult and time consuming to manage as your business expands. Evaluate whether the software, staff, and strategies you’re using to maintain compliance are "right sized" for your current, and future, business goals.

Billing & Invoicing

Providing multiple payment options for your customers certainly has its benefits, but it can add complexity to back office operations. Verify your level of protection from payment fraud, optimize your chargeback management process, and ensure you are able to efficiently process refunds for all of the payment methods you accept.

Data Reporting & Analysis

Data plays a big role in the decision-making process for product expansions/reductions and is important for growing your audience and sales numbers. You’ll need to make sure your warehouse management solution can provide this data in actionable reports that can provide clear insight into the future of your business.

At Fulfillment Works, we support our clients’ back office operations with Manhattan Active™ Supply Chain software, which provides enterprise-level solutions for all of the above areas (and then some). To learn more about how we can support your business growth behind the scenes, contact us today.

Which Fulfillment Metrics You Should Track, and Why

Well-organized data tracking is not only important for sales and marketing - it's also critical for understanding your fulfillment capabilities. Fulfillment providers track a variety of metrics to help you ensure product availability, accurate shipping times, and operational efficiency. Below, we define some important metrics and explain why you should be reviewing with your 3PL provider on a regular basis.    

Transportation Time & Cost

Shipping times and costs directly factor into your customer experience. Monitoring the average time-in-transit and transportation cost per package enables you to spot opportunities for improvement.

Units Fulfilled Per Hour

The number of units your fulfillment team can process per hour helps determine your throughput. Once you know what your capabilities are, you can proactively provide resources to your fulfillment team during product promotions or peak sales periods.

Average Units Per Order

The average number of product units required to fulfill an order is good information to have, from an operational standpoint. For example, a business averaging one unit per order can usually operate with fewer employees in the fulfillment department than a business that averages 10 units per order. You can use this information to ensure you have the right amount of staff for the holidays, or other peak seasons.

Average Lines Per Order

Lines represent the variations available for each of your product units. As an example, if a t-shirt is a product unit, then each color and size is a different line for that unit. Similar to the units per order metric, tracking the average lines per order is useful for operational planning – a higher average could indicate the need for more warehouse space (to ensure there is enough stock for each line) and more employees to pick, pack, and ship each order.

Tips for Increasing Form Conversions & Signups

It’s imperative to stay in touch with the people who buy from your ecommerce site to learn about their tastes and keep them posted about changes in your product offerings. Ecommerce has lots of options to help you acquire customer information, but user-submitted forms are the most popular and can be the most useful. However, you should ask yourself whether you are making the most of this data acquisition tool. Since optimized forms can lead to a stronger customer foundation, use these tips to make your forms more successful. More...

Email Metrics you should be Tracking

The data analytics behind emails can teach you a lot about your customers and their behavior. The data you can glean from email marketing can help you diversify your efforts, identify weak points, and improve the effectiveness of campaigns. As you prepare your email campaigns for the holiday season, make sure you’re tracking the following metrics. More...