paint-brush
Why Automated Ecommerce Fulfillment is the Next Big Step for Online Sellersby@rituraj15
308 reads
308 reads

Why Automated Ecommerce Fulfillment is the Next Big Step for Online Sellers

by Rituraj SengarDecember 20th, 2020
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Ecommerce Giants will rule the roost but implementing Automated Ecommerce can make your startup stand a chance in a post-covid online era.
featured image - Why Automated Ecommerce Fulfillment is the Next Big Step for Online Sellers
Rituraj Sengar HackerNoon profile picture

There is no denying the fact that online sellers have had their hands full in the post-pandemic era, courtesy of the increased reliance of individuals on doorstep deliveries. However, this period also segregated the best from the average online sellers, based on the quality and speed of services.

While the eCommerce giants, including Amazon, Alibaba, and more continued to rule the roost, a majority of smaller players and new startups had to bear the brunt of slower deliveries and a host of other restrictive offerings.

Why Bigger Players Had the Lion’s Share of Success in the Post-Covid 19 Era

The best thing about the bigger eCommerce players is their willingness to provide what the customer actually desires.

For instance, 80 percent of online shoppers prefer same-day deliveries but only 53 percent of the global sellers actually have the machinery to offer the same, which includes the bigger players.

Besides, eCommerce giants are also good at facing the fulfillment challenges head-on, courtesy of the diverse chain of warehouses, insanely active workforce, and automated system that minimizes reliance on manual labor for certain repetitive tasks.

Moreover, buyers hardly resort to cart abandonment at checkouts if the delivery timings are in sync with their expectations.

While every aspect requires a detailed analysis, we shall be restricting our discussion to automated eCommerce fulfillment as it is probably the first step that smaller online sellers must take to compete with the giants.

Why Automated Fulfillment is an Era-Appropriate Move

Before we move into the technical aspects of fulfillment automation, we need to understand the challenges that it might just help certain sellers mitigate, both in the short and long run.

  • Market competitiveness
  • Diverse product SKUs
  • Need to expedite delivery requests
  • First Mile challenges
  • Packaging quality
  • Seasonal demands
  • Customer satisfaction

Each of the mentioned aspects can be addressed with precision if you have an automated fulfillment plan in place. This approach takes care of product quality, order accuracy, presentation, delivery timelines, and even traceability at a certain point during the transit.

Software-Driven Operations

In case you are curious about the proceedings associated with eCommerce fulfillment, software-directed logistics is a good place to start. Unlike paper-based product packaging and picking operations which are definitely plagued by several bottlenecks, software-backed solutions are expected to streamline fulfillment in the best possible way.

With paper-based fulfillment, there are chances of inaccurate pickups and operator-based errors. Software-directed operations bring in the likes of Pick-to-Light fulfillment standards into the play, where the bespoke application program segregates packing and eventual pickups, based on nature, fragility, destination, and other metrics, so as to streamline and speed up fulfillment.

Package Tracking

Newer online sellers must consider including RFID Tags, barcodes, and customer-designated product cartons into the scheme of things to increase product traceability, the accuracy of deliveries, and even product quality. As bar codes and RFIDs can be tracked by specific intra-logistics software, you are always aware of the product location and even the way the package is being handled by the operators.

Image Courtesy: Unsplash.com

Bar codes come forth as unifying traceability metrics, which makes multi-point verifications easier than usual. Therefore, if as an online seller you are shipping a product across the state or country borders, this form of automation is less of a luxury and more of a glaring compulsion.

Besides, this form of automated tracking also speeds up product deliveries by eliminating hassles and clutter. Even if the wrong product gets dispatched to a particular location, inventory tracking at a certain point helps you realign the same and divert the package to the desired area.

Item Sorters

2020 has been all about companies reducing manual interventions. Therefore, another aspect of automated fulfillment can and should incorporate robotic item sorters. While these programming entities aren’t cheap and easy to incorporate, they can be of use at warehouses, in case you are invested in truckloads of packages and also concerned about the perils of the pandemic.

Besides, item sorters ‘pick and pack’ at least 7 times faster than the human counterparts, which in turn justifies the higher costs, at some point. While initial training and a certain segment of the manual labor are indispensable, online sellers can usually do with a mere 40 percent of the existing workforce, provided these item sorters are in place.

Image Courtesy: Pexels.com

Warehouse Automation

Warehousing products and packages at certain points during the journey can also be made more productive if online sellers can resort to micro-fulfillment. This approach readily speeds up product deliveries by allowing you to leverage the localized product base, in-store pickups, and certainly the item sorters, as mentioned previously.

Shopping Trends and a Call to Automation

Global shopping tendencies were changing even before the pandemic arrived. As compared to 5.5 in 2012, the average number of preferred waiting days has come down to 4.1 in 2018, which in turn showcases the need for urgency and quicker deliveries.

Moreover, with a larger chunk of the global populace inclined towards same-day and next-day product deliveries, the onus is now on the smaller online sellers to adopt automated fulfillment in its entirety, specifically to make online shopping a productive and rewarding experience.