How To Improve Order Accuracy At Your E-Commerce Store

Because of health concerns stemming from the current pandemic, more consumers are abandoning in-person shopping in favor of e-commerce. This is obviously terrific news if you’re an online merchant. With more incoming sales, you likely have more moving parts to manage. This makes it harder to guarantee the accuracy of your orders, which leads to higher costs, more waste and a worse user experience for customers.

The article below outlines ways to improve order accuracy within your e-commerce store.

1. Establish a baseline

Based on user feedback, you likely already know that some orders are slipping through the cracks. This is why you need to establish a baseline of how many orders are getting lost. Doing so allows you to improve that failure rate. This is especially true if your analysis includes details such as times, locations, employees and the types of errors being logged.

2. Better unit of measure labeling

Unit of measure (UoM) tags allow order fulfillment employees to retrieve the correct number of items for each shipment. However, confusion can emerge whenever boxes contain multiple items. When retrieving “one unit,” for example, should an employee grab the entire box or a single item from within the box?

Using better UoM labeling can help remove this problem — especially if your tags come with well-defined cases of what “each” and “unit” mean within your fulfillment center.

3. Improved product descriptions

Some order mishaps emerge because online customers choose the wrong product. 

This often happens because the product page is heavy on images — but low on specs or tech sheets. This makes sense given how well pictures are at boosting conversions.

However, you should make it as easy as possible for customers to find all the technical specifications they need to make informed purchases. Doing so can help minimize unnecessary return stemming from user error.

4. Automated weights and measurements

Whether you’re shipping a single widget or several at once, the total weight and dimensions of the packaging are “knowable” in advance. With an automated verification system, you can instantly flag any parcels with measurements that fall outside this known threshold.

If an outgoing box is a few ounces too light, for example, it may be missing batteries or a charging cable. Either way, flagging this package allows your team to investigate the problem before shipping that incomplete item.

5. Reduce the number of steps involved

The more steps there are throughout the fulfillment process, the more opportunities there are for error. For example, does your back office really need to receive and relay orders to the fulfillment center if there are already e-commerce solutions that can automate this step for you?

The same goes for using pen and paper, when scannable RFID and QR codes can help eliminate the need to manually record incoming or outgoing packages. Using technology is often much faster — and more accurate.

6. Introduce employee incentives

Many fulfillment mistakes come down to simple human error. You can dramatically reduce failure rates by incentivizing employees to look for areas of improvement. Whether you use cash rewards, time off or some other type of perk — this strategy can help create an army of auditors tasked with identifying bugs and waste within your operations.

Known as “kaizen,” this employee empowerment model helped establish one of the most successful automotive manufacturers in the world. There’s no reason why you can’t duplicate this success in your e-commerce business.

2020 has been a banner year for e-commerce, but with more online shopping, there’s more pressure than ever to get every order right. Use the above list to pinpoint and target those order fulfillment hurdles that might be hindering your e-commerce store.

Author bio: Don Amato is Vice President of Sales for Chicago Tag & Label, which manufactures form labels, labels and tags that deliver solutions to a broad range of industries including retail, industrial, manufacturing, distribution and medical environments.

https://medium.com/centre-for-public-impact/what-gets-measured-gets-managed-its-wrong-and-drucker-never-said-it-fe95886d3df6

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/kaizen.asp#:~:text=Kaizen%20is%20a%20Japanese%20term,a%20gradual%20and%20methodical%20process.https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/still-learning-from-toyota#:~:text=The%20two%20pillars%20of%20the,to%20both%20goals%20is%2

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Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit bfarrell.com