Since 2000—with the exclusion of 2009, thanks to the Great Recession—e-commerce sales have grown every single year in the United States. As if you didn’t already know, online shopping is wildly popular in the good ol’ US of a—if not around the rest of the planet. Recent statistics show that some 51 percent of United States residents would rather shop online than in person. Here’s the major issue with online shopping, however—buying goods online always requires a shipping delay, whereas shopping in person translates to immediate product ownership. As such, here are a few ways e-commerce retailers maintain consistently short shipping times.
Pack on as Many Responsibilities Per Employee as Possible
Overloading employees with responsibilities is a surefire way to result in lower-quality output. However, cutting your supply chain as small as reasonably possible is directly correlated to faster shipping times. Furthermore, cut all distance electronically between your incoming orders and hitting the post office. For example, if incoming orders are first sent via email to you—the owner—instead of whoever fulfills those orders, immediately set up automatic forwarding of such orders to the aforementioned worker.
Turning to Amazon is too Common —but It’s Highly Effective
Amazon is the king of online retailers. Even if your business doesn’t list its products on Amazon’s websites, the company can still fulfill your orders with lightning-fast speed. Unlike businesses smaller than Amazon, the king of online retailing doesn’t ever get slowed down by issues like commercial trucking fleet repair, being swamped with excessive orders, or failing to secure shipping supplies. Some Just because something costs a proverbial dime per dozen—like Fulfillment by Amazon services—doesn’t mean that it’s of low quality.
Always Keep an Overstocked Inventory
There are unfortunately, two major problems associated with inventory maintenance. Having low inventory often results in missed sales and unhappy customers. Overstocked inventory may require excessive spending of free cash flow and product expiration. Securing customers for the long run is difficult when you don’t have their desired products in stock. However, costs of expiration and products becoming obsolete—as long as they’re not excessive—are almost always recoverable on the long-term cost horizon by retaining customers’ long-term interests.
Mid-Sized and Large Businesses Greatly Benefit from Computerized Forecasting
Countless computer programs are used to reliably forecast market demand. By simply plugging in recent sales figures, such programs will even more reliably calculate a minimum inventory level to keep free cash flow balances high and prevent a need for you to borrow money just to satisfy inventory requirements. Sufficient inventory translates to short shipping times, given you take the other three tips written about herein seriously.
As the worldwide field of e-commerce retailers’ shipping increasingly grows faster, customers perpetually expect faster shipping. Practice good business protocol by following these four tips—not to mention every other tidbit of helpful information you’ve picked up along the way.