For retailers with millions of annual drop ship orders, it’s a challenge to maintain high-quality customer experiences across the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of brands they work with.
Incorrect, canceled, or late order fulfillments can quickly tarnish a retailer’s brand. A 1% to 2% increase in cancellation rates might mean hundreds of thousands of upset customers, while late shipments can quickly ruin the goodwill engendered by free shipping. Consumers are also generally quick to tell their friends and family about bad ecommerce experiences, so the damage caused is much greater than its effect on individual customers.
We suggest three things for maintaining a high level of customer experience across your entire drop ship ecosystem:
- Use real-time inventory and order data
- Optimize your shipping around inventory location
- Maintain strong trading partnerships
Real-time data will greatly reduce the number of cancellations your customers experience by preventing stale data from remaining in your system. Optimizing your shipping around inventory location will guarantee on-time delivery while lowering overall shipment costs. Strong trading partnerships, meanwhile, will increase communication and coordination over the entire drop ship process and especially help with exceptions management so customers aren’t left in the lurch when things go wrong.
In short, better data and better partnerships are the secret sauce to drop ship customer success!
(But what about returns you ask? That’s a complicated can of worms I’ll address later. For now, it’s important to point out that the best returns strategy is prevention. That’s why the suggestions I outlined above are so important. Accurate inventory/order data and strong trading partnerships will go a long way in preventing mistakes and guaranteeing that customers receive the products you promised them.)