Written by Starshipit
With shops closed and people staying home, a lot of online retail has seen a global boom in sales. But with restrictions around accessing warehouses during lockdown plus a massive uptake in demand on couriers, many retailers are struggling to keep up with their dispatch processes.
So how do you continue operating your business efficiently when you can’t leave your house, your warehouse staff can’t work, customers are still placing orders, and couriers are delayed?
Before you think about how you can manage your current orders, consider how you can manage future ones. If you know that your pick and pack processes are being impacted by COVID-19 and you know that there are significant courier delays, be upfront about your struggles. Customers appreciate honesty and transparency and unless they’re making an urgent order, chances are that they’ll still buy from you, as long as you manage their expectations.
Think about the touchpoints your customers engage with your business. Banners on your homepage, product pages and checkout, heads-up posts on social media, and emails will keep your customers informed.
If your online store is still open but you’ve recently gone into lockdown and can’t fulfil orders as quickly as before, communication, communication, communication applies here too. Keep your customers informed via email and/or SMS notifications. Be open about the limitations you’re facing. Everyone is in the same boat so reasonable customers should understand that they may have to wait longer for their orders to arrive.
If you’re still accepting orders while being unable to fulfil them, brace yourself for a busy few weeks when you’re allowed back to your warehouse. Demand on couriers will be exceptionally high when lockdown restrictions are lifted so be as organised as possible in the lead-up.
Organise your shelves. Check your inventory levels. Streamline the way you print packing slips, shipping labels, invoices and shipping documentation by using a fulfilment automation platform like Starshipit. Integrate with your couriers so when you can start dispatching, you can set and forget your fulfilment processes.
Your couriers are your knights in shining armour during this time, but they are stretched to beyond capacity at the moment (and probably will be for months to come) so consider offering other fulfilment options.
If customers can leave their homes, contactless pickup and Click & Collect options could be the answer. Work with your existing couriers to provide different shipping options so customers can make a decision based on price and urgency. If your current couriers don’t offer different shipping methods, consider working with others. You need to find the balance between meeting your customers’ expectations, allowing for delays, and keeping money rolling in so if switching couriers is the answer, so be it.
When you start dispatching orders, send notifications to your customers at key stages of the delivery journey to reassure them that their orders are on their way. Sending branded tracking pages will empower your customers to track their own orders too, reducing the number of enquiries your support team has to manage.Read more about branded tracking and notifications
Fulfilment automation software system like Starshipit streamlines the shipping and fulfilment process. It integrates with the eCommerce and online platforms, and courier companies that you’re already using so everything talks to each other at the same time, making it faster and easier to allocate orders to couriers and get them out quickly and efficiently.
Starshipit saves retailers hours of time and hassle, so they can focus their human resources on other things. Batch-print shipping labels, packing slips and documentation; automatically correct invalid addresses so even if your customer entered the wrong details they’ll still get their order; automatically assign parcels to couriers depending on rules you’ve set, and automatically send your customers notifications at every step of the delivery journey.
The best bit? You can try Starshipit free for 30 days and utilise all of our features before you commit. Sign up today and make life much easier as you navigate a new way of trading.