Getting the orders was the easy part, now comes the hard work. Now it’s time to put in the effort to manage orders, fulfil promises and deliver the goods on time.
It may sound simple, just package up the order and get a courier to deliver it, but in reality, it’s never that simple and if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already found out the hard way that managing orders isn’t easy. Lots of things can, and will, go wrong.
There are lots of problems that can crop up when managing orders and the rise of e-commerce has only added to the list. So if you’re looking to improve your order management process try starting with these common problems:
1. YOUR TEAM DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO
Having untrained or inexperienced employees managing orders is a recipe for disaster. If your team don’t know what they’re doing, then they’re more likely to make mistakes.
Anything from not knowing how to operate your systems to selecting the wrong goods in the warehouse can lead to expensive errors. These errors can do damage to both your reputation and your bottom line.
You can minimise this risk by implementing clearly defined processes for managing orders and handling exceptions. Once you have your processes in place, make sure you train your staff so that they understand and use them.
Simple training exercises such as role-playing an order being processed, pairing employees with someone more experienced to shadow or even just showing your team how to work your computer systems can make a huge difference in making sure orders are handled correctly.
2. YOU REGULARLY FULFIL FRAUDULENT OR SUSPICIOUS ORDERS
This is a growing concern for many E-commerce businesses as cyber-crime is on the rise, making it essential that you protect your business. If you don’t have sufficient checks in place to detect suspicious orders then both your business and customer data is at risk.
Deliveroo recently experienced an increase in fraudulent orders when cyber criminals hacked their customer’s accounts however they have denied that any financial details have been accessed. Customer’s saved payment methods were used to make orders for several addresses all over the UK resulting in charges to their accounts for food they never received.
An order management system, such as CaseBlocks, with fraud detection capability could prevent this from happening to your business. CaseBlocks can automatically check the details of incoming orders and assign risk scores using custom criteria. Details such as the name on the order and the card used, order quantity, delivery address and more can be analysed to generate a risk score. The system would notify you of high risk orders to be investigated before fulfilment.
In the case of Deliveroo, it would have flagged that several orders were placed for different addresses across the country on one card. This would be considered unusual and the orders would have been blocked and investigated.
3. TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ON YOUR WEBSITE OR INTERNAL SYSTEMS ARE CAUSING PROBLEMS
Technical glitches can spell chaos for your order management processes. Errors on your website or internal systems can mean orders aren’t received correctly or at all, wrong prices are charged, incorrect items are dispatched, the list is endless.
Online retailer Zavvi experienced an error in their warehouse systems resulting in customers receiving handheld consoles valued at £169.99 instead of a game worth £19.99. After discovering the mistake, Zavvi contacted customers requesting they return the console and threatened legal action against anyone who didn’t. This approach was heavily criticised by industry experts as it risked damaging the brand.
Even internet giant, Amazon, isn’t immune as issues with its fulfilment system resulted in a student receiving packages worth a total of £3,661. Each of the packages had been boxed up with a returns label however an error resulted in the labels being addressed to a student’s home. The incident gained worldwide news coverage as Amazon let the student keep the packages which highlighted the company’s generosity and dedication to customer satisfaction.
Having a dedicated team or employee responsible for testing and monitoring systems can help identify and rectify issues before they escalate. The team should be responsible for things such as updating systems and ensuring there is only one source of the truth for information such as product codes, storage location and prices. They should also regularly test systems to ensure orders are captured correctly and that your systems are integrated properly.
4. YOU HAVE OVER-PROMISED TO CUSTOMERS
This is an easy mistake to make if you don’t have a clear understanding of your maximum capacity. Often companies are so focused on getting as many orders as possible they forget to consider if they have the resources to fulfil them. This is often the case when running promotions which can cause a surge in orders.
Moonpig recently apologised to customers after receiving dozens of complaints about damaged orders and failed deliveries after guaranteeing delivery for Mother’s Day. Moonpig promised delivery for all customers who ordered before the cut-off date which led to a surge in orders. Both their suppliers and couriers were unable to fulfil the number of orders resulting in a lot of angry customers and disappointed mothers.
A great way to avoid over-promising, particularly for smaller retailers, would be to avoid running promotions with a deadline. Try running a promotion based on capacity instead, for example offer a discount or free delivery to the first 500 customers to place an order. This prevents over-promising whilst creating a sense of urgency and provides you with the option to extend the offer to more customers if you have remaining capacity.
Now that we’ve covered a few common order management problems it’s time for you to tackle them head on and improve your processes. Good luck and keep an eye out for Order Management Problems Part 2!