Amazon has made waiting for a package delivery more bearable. The e-commerce giant is now offering one-day delivery which other online retailers will find difficult to replicate.
The biggest retailers in the United States are fighting to gain a bigger slice of the e-commerce market. In 2019, one-day delivery became a thing.
It started with Amazon announcing the plan to spend $800 million to shorten the amount of time a product is shipped to the customer. From two days, Prime members were able to get their packages a day after they placed an order on the website. Soon after, Walmart unveiled its own next-day delivery program for free for purchases over $35.
Amazon and Walmart both have the robust logistics network to make it happen. Shopping online already is quick considering that goods have to travel miles from the warehouse to the customer's doorsteps. Now, expectations are higher. Consumers want almost instantaneous deliveries.
How can online businesses that do not have the same resources fast-track order fulfillment?
Streamline the Warehouse Processes
The time it takes for a certain item to be located and then sent out of the warehouse should be short. Amazon and other e-commerce platforms achieve it by using machines that can retrieve the exact product from the rows of shelves, appropriately package it, and then place it at the back of the truck for delivery.
Not everyone can afford to acquire the expensive robots to enable lightning-speed operations. However, smaller internet sellers can still streamline the processes that take place inside the warehouse to fulfill the order as quickly as possible.
First, improve the warehouse layout. Your staff should be able to move around the warehouse without a problem. The shelving units should not be a barrier to workers. There should be a clear and wide path where people can walk across the floor without bumping into corners.
Next, review your processes. The steps that your crew takes from accepting the order to placing the product on the back of the truck should be simple to reduce errors and to limit time wasted.
Introducing technologies such as a barcode system not only makes warehouse product retrieval and cataloging easier, it would also prevent mistakes. Customers will be sure to receive exactly the products they ordered from the e-commerce platform.
In addition, minimize the possibility of accidents that may disrupt the process within the warehouse and endanger the safety of workers. If you store liquids of any kind, regardless of whether it is hazardous or not, take the precautions and apply bunding strips on the floor. Doing so will limit the spill, preventing it from affecting operations in other parts of the warehouse.
Utilize Available Technology
There are benefits to using robots in a warehouse. After all, Amazon, which started using machines to fulfill orders years ago, is able to push packages out of the warehouse within the day despite receiving countless orders every hour. However, robots would not be the only helper that your business would need. You can start the process of automating order fulfillment by utilizing software to track the journey of the product from the shelf to the recipient's doorsteps.
As your business grows, the humble pen and paper would no longer be sufficient. Even the spreadsheets that many online retailers still use are outdated and prone to error.
Invest instead in an order fulfillment software tool that will automate the issuance of invoices, track inventory, monitor billing, check order pickup, and update when the product has been shipped. These programs can also immediately notify the user if there is a problem. Others have the capacity to locate in which warehouse products that you need are in stock and from which warehouse the delivery will be most efficient.
There will be days when a crisis will arise and threaten the operations within the warehouse. This will only upset consumers and prevent them from supporting the business again in the future.
Prevent it from happening by cross-training your employees. On a busy week, your office staff should be able to go to the warehouse and lend a helping hand. They should be able to fulfill orders to meet unexpected demand. That way, you can increase your operations immediately. Onboarding new employees takes too long. By cross-training your employees, you will have a group of capable people who can step in as soon as needed.
Consumers nowadays are used to getting what they want immediately. With Amazon introducing one-day delivery, customers will become more impatient while waiting for their purchases to arrive on their doorsteps. While smaller online retailers cannot go toe-to-toe with Amazon in terms of speed of delivery, they can push orders out of the warehouse as quickly as possible and satisfy the demands of consumers.