Taking your customer’s money is only half of the equation. You have to deliver the goods in order to gain, and keep, good feedback on sites like eBay. Delivery is, of course, part of the order management process. It doesn’t matter whether you deliver through drop shipping or whether you keep inventory stacked in-house. What matters is that you process those orders quickly and efficiently.
You Fulfill Customer Expectations
When you’re getting product out the door quickly, you’re effectively managing customer expectations. If your customers could reach through the computer screen and grab their product immediately, they would. The second best alternative is to get their product to their door ASAP. Overnight shipping might not be financially sustainable, but first-class mail is.
Customers do expect to receive their product within a reasonable amount of time. What’s reasonable? Think about how long it takes for an ordinary letter to arrive via U.S. post. Only a couple of days, right? This is what you must aim for, and it can be done through standard delivery most of the time. If your customers have to wait 3 days before you even ship the item out, your return rates will skyrocket and you might find yourself drowning in negative feedback.
Customers Feel Appreciated
The reason why customers like fast shipping times is because you’re making them feel appreciated. Think about the last time you ordered something from a company and it arrived sooner than you expected. How did it make you feel about the service? Probably pretty good. You probably felt like the company had a good sense of promptness and that you were a priority for them. This is how your customers will feel when you are prompt with your shipping times.
Your Customers Drive Your Ratings and Rankings
If you’re selling on sites like eBay (or some other auction site), your rankings in that site’s search engine might be driven largely by buyer feedback. Feedback is an important data analysis tool for buyers. In many instances, it’s the only means of determining the trust of a seller. Since new customers may have never heard of you, it’s important that you protect your seller rating.
If you start getting poor feedback, you might slowly disappear from the rankings – sales will fall, and so will income. How would you get poor feedback? Obviously, if your product is no good, you’ll get bad feedback. However, not having good order management practices will lead to negative feedback as well. The worst case scenario? Customers accuse of ripping them off due to exceptionally slow shipping times. That’s not good. Not at all.
One of the best things that can happen from having a streamlined order management system in place is repeat orders. People tend to do business with companies they know and trust. Once customers trust you, and can count on getting an order from you quickly (perhaps faster than the competition), you might just earn their business for life. Repeat orders are like steady paychecks – an ecommerce company’s dream come true.
Ted Hosford is a business software consultant. He likes staying on top of the latest developments in the field and passing in his knowledge through blogging. Learn how eBay shipping software can improve your order fulfillment.
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