Let’s face it: making mistakes can be easier than we’d like to admit when selling on Amazon and eBay. Order processing can be time consuming and lengthy, so it’s easy to slip up now and then, but we don’t want that (and neither do our customers), so here’s a few of the most common mistakes made when processing orders and how to avoid making them.
Items not displayed as out of stock
If you sell on both Amazon and eBay, you might find that items are often out of stock before you’ve realised, meaning that people will go ahead and order, thinking the goods are ready to be shipped to them, when that is not actually the case. This is a great way to annoy a customer before they really are a customer – in fact, they might be so irritated that the won’t want to order from you when the item is back in stock. It’s not a good first impression.
Consider using an inventory management software to constantly check stock and update it in real time and set reorder levels so you don’t have to do this manually. It vastly reduces the risk of human error and will also reduce the risk of your customers ordering stock that’s not there. Online inventory management software will have a purchase order software built in, so you can ensure that your supplies are correctly managed.
Amazon and eBay customers (Amazon more so) are used to fast, reliable shipping, mostly due to ordering items fulfilled by Amazon, so you need to either match this service by providing speedy delivery, or be honest with your shipping dates and consider realistically what shipping speed and price your store can manage. Yes, offering customers high quality service is the best way to win them over, but it’s no good promising delivery within 2 days when it’s more likely going to take 4; all you’re going to accomplish by stating an unrealistic shipping time is aggravated customers who won’t buy from you again.
You could try using an order management software to help automate a lot the shipping process, which will speed thing up, or if you’re selling on Amazon, you could review Amazon’s fulfilment service (FBA) to assist with shipping and making things run more smoothly. Remember to consider the cost of shipping to Amazon, returns and related variables.
It can be tempting, but don’t add marketing materials into the packaging along with your items. Not only will you be violating Amazon’s policies, but you’re also likely to confuse and annoy customers by mixing your branding in with Amazon’s – most people probably won’t know they’re buying from you and will automatically assume they’re buying directly from Amazon.
Getting heated with customers
Bad news – customers can sometimes be demanding and argumentative. But that’s just a fact of life, and you’re going to have to grin and bear it, maintaining a calm and collected – and above all, professional – demeanor. As an ecommerce merchant, you’re almost guaranteed to come across at least one overly needy or irate person, but it’s important that you don’t react in a similar manner, no matter how rude they are. Do your best to mitigate any issues or disagreements with your customers on eBay and Amazon.
Mis-picking in warehouses
Mis-picks are a signifigant and costly customer service issue, with each mis-pick resulting in a retailer not delivering the products needed to satisfy its customers, and each one has to be sent back at your expense. Warehouse mis-picks and quantity mistakes are due to human error. You should implement a set schedule for picking and packing that’s universally recognized so all employees knows it, and be sure to train new employees to use it .
Use a barcode scanner in conjunction with stock control software to help with this to increase accuracy when picking and packing, enhance order fulfilment and reduce quantity errors associated with human slip-ups. However, remember that using a barcode scanner alone is not enough and that integrating an Amazon and eBay inventory management system will help in increasing accuracy.
Need a cloud based inventory management software? Try Veeqo.
The key to your online sales success is better implementation of your knowledge in development of the sales strategy. You can only achieve this if you spend more time on research and less time on routine jobs. You might have found that inventory and order management takes awful amount time. However, I find it very hard to understand why so many small businesses spend time on the routine tasks and disregard sales strategy which actually they should look at more than anything else. This is the only way to go forward and grow your business.
Try to find ways to automate the processes which you already know. If there are recurring questions from your customers, why not make response email templates. I am sure you will find your customer support team finishing their job in half the time they used to! Similar is the case of order management. If you have multiple sales channel why not automate the process of getting invoices and shipping them. Let me introduce “Linnworks Express”, a FREE order management system to suit your need. Yes, it is FREE with no catch. Let’s see what you can achieve with this software.
You will see your orders from eBay & Amazon or your own website at one place allowing you to print invoices, shipping labels and picking/packing list with one click. I don’t disagree with the fact there is learning curve to apply this. However, once you learn the process, the routine order management process becomes quick and easy.
Remember if your business expands beyond online sales, then Linnworks also provides integration with telesales, direct orders and an integrated EPOS (electronic point of sale) system.
Most of the business must have noticed the issue with overselling when you operate multiple sales channels. It is very difficult to be 100% efficient in updating the inventory over multiple sales channels manually. The consequence, unhappy customers with unfulfilled orders! With this software if you sell a product through one channel it updates the inventory level across channels so you know you are not going to oversell it and yet the inventory is visible in all sales channels. You have better inventory visibility with no risk!
Shipping your orders on time is important part of order processing. You would want to let customers know that their orders have been dispatched on time and that they can track their orders line with certain codes. Now, you can do all these with a click. You can generate labels from Linnworks saving you time having to switch to the shipping company’s label printer along with automatic recording of the tracking codes. You have now better informed customers about their orders putting less pressure on your customer support team.
If you are not happy with above free features, Linnworks has more for you.
- You can establish your business brands with customised invoice templates with your company logo. This is very important to promote your own web store.
- You can automate email notifications to talk to your customers as you need. This can be handy when there are issues like delay in delivery due to weather conditions when you tend to get many “where is my order” queries.
All in all, you have a clever system to suit your order processing needs for FREE. The key is to get comfortable with this service and see if you need any extra to help your business. Do you think Linnworks express would do well for your growing business?