How to Drop Ship Successfully Part 8: Managing Fulfillment

Managing Inventory Visibility tells you where the item is, how many there are, and what it costs you as the reseller. Orders are where everything comes together, when a consumer has purchased a product that a retailer was selling virtually. The retailer must send that order and fulfillment information to the supplier, who will ship to the consumer.

How to Drop Ship Successfully Part 3: Suppliers vs. Retailers

In short, the world is continuing to align to the consumer, and that is driving new integrated partnerships, omnichannel experiences such as BOPIS and SFS, and better technologies for seeing and selling all the inventory in a retailer’s ecosystem, whenever and wherever the consumer needs it.

How to Drop Ship Successfully Part 4: Winning Strategies

In Enterprise Drop Shipping Part 1, I discussed how important drop shipping is for brick and mortar stores to be able to compete with online retailers. In Part 2: The Basics, I provided a definition of drop shipping, explored some of the hype surrounding it, and defined its major challenges. In Part 3: Suppliers vs Retailers, I addressed how drop shipping alters the traditional relationships between suppliers and retailers.

In this post, I’ll outline several important strategies for enterprise-level drop shipping operations to achieve success. I’ll start by highlighting one of my favorite drop shipping all-star retailers: Wayfair.

How to build for omnichannel scale

Without robust omnichannel programs, retailers have less assortment, sell less of their inventory, and offer much less customer choice. All of which translates into lower growth and revenue. And yet building a scalable omnichannel program is a labyrinth of financial, technical, and multi-team challenges that can quickly turn into a money-pit with little or no growth to show for it.

Unit-level tracking isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Around the world, companies hold onto stock they know nothing about, or worse, promise products to customers they don’t have. Typically, retailers and brands operate on data that is only 65% accurate, wasting $1.5 trillion of revenue opportunities. 

Retail Is Going All in With In-Store Fulfillment

Even before Covid-19, in-store fulfillment was a big deal for retailers. In 2018, Target fulfilled 70% of online orders through its stores, while 30% of all of Neiman Marcus’ online orders are shipped from stores as well. With all the disruptions to the supply chain and customer behaviors that the Coronavirus has caused, it’s not […]

Better communication for better customer service

Agile retailers are moving fast as they accelerate ecommerce to make up for low in-store sales. But speed comes with its own growing pains. New processes and fulfillment teams are causing late shipments, cancelled orders, fulfillment mistakes, and difficulties handling customer service requests. In other words, a perfect storm for losing customers to Amazon.

Faster Shipping = Better Customer Experience

Many companies are struggling to keep up with higher consumer expectations around shipping. If a retailer or brand can’t deliver products within two days, customers will just hop over to another retailer or marketplace that can (ahem, Amazon). And the window is growing even tighter as next-day shipping becomes the norm. All of which means lots of companies are facing the stark choice of either squeezing margins further to improve delivery times or disappointing their customers.

A Solution for Distributed Order Management

If you’re like a lot of our retail partners you hate being unable to fulfill an order due to limited cross-channel inventory visibility. You also find it frustrating that different channels can’t access the same assortments, leading to higher opportunity and shipping costs. And though you wish there was a way to offer faster shipping, your legacy solutions are unable to efficiently route orders to inventory locations closer to customers.

Hitting “Pause” for Drop Ship Inventory Disruptions

Many warehouses are cutting back or closing operations without advanced warning due to the Covid-19 outbreak. These sudden closures are leading to all sorts of challenges as retailers try to navigate the resulting assortment gaps, unfulfilled orders, lost sales, and opportunity costs. Customer-experience nightmares are occurring as orders for once in-stock items have to be canceled.