Sunday, 27 January 2013

Managing Post In An E-Commerce Business


If you’re managing an E-Commerce business, chances are, you are dealing with a lot of incoming and outgoing mail every day. The larger your business is, the higher the number of mail that you have to manage. Have you ever thought about how this affects your day-to-day office function? You might not notice it but you might be spending too much time just going through your mail. Here are a few ways to manage both your incoming and outgoing mail.

Incoming

If you’re using a franking machine, some models have an incoming mail date stamping feature. This can help you organize your mail and open the ones that come in first.  Separate mail according to date and importance and place them into individual bins. If you have a small office, everyone can easily get their mail as they arrive. The problem comes if you have a staff of 10 or more. Pigeon holes are a great idea. Label each hole with your employees’ names. Assign someone to sort or deliver the mail to the corresponding recipient.
You can also have your local post office sort your mail for you. Inquire if they have a service where they can open, sort and then seal the mail again and deliver it to you. This saves you a lot of time. If you have a high security facility, you can also have your mail scanned before delivering it to you. Ask your local postal office about their services.
Incoming mail is not really a big deal. What an E-Commerce business shouldbe wary about is outgoing mail.

Outgoing

Every day, an E-Commerce business receives several orders. The task of wrapping the item, packing it then shipping it is easy if the orders are 10 or less each day. The problem begins when there are 20 or more and the items require some special wrapping and packing. If you have only a handful of people, you might be sacrificing precious time in fulfilling orders. Instead of selling or promoting your business, you end up preparing order after order. Sure that’s great but there is an easier way of doing things that will give you more time to acquire more business. The best thing to do is have an order fulfilment system in place. An order fulfilment is the process from buying to shipping. When a customer inquires about the product and decides to buy it, the process starts. You and your staff should have a clear picture on how to fulfil an order. They must know exactly what to do in each step. You can automate some of the processes but there is only so much that you can do. If you’re doing this in-house, make sure that you have equipment to make things run faster and smoother. You need a franking machine, a printer, a computer and a computer program to manage your orders.
The next best thing is availing a professional order fulfilment service. Check your local post office if they offer this service. They can store your products for you so you don’t need to worry about renting a warehouse if you have a big inventory. You can integrate your website with their technology and all your clients’ orders will go to them. They will then prepare and ship the order for you. You get a monthly bill and all you have to do is pay it. How easy is that? A lot of popular logistics providers now offer order fulfilment. Even E-Commerce sites such as Amazon have their own order fulfilment service.
Different providers offer different packages. Some can handle customer service, re-order stocks from suppliers and accounts reporting.  Some are flexible enough to fit your budget. If you think that order fulfilment should be done in-house to avoid extra costs, think again. The time you spend preparing packages is already hurting your business. Aside from that, you need to invest in a lot of equipment. Add to that the cost of labels, ink, boxes, bubble wrap, etc. Then there’s the issue of manpower. You need to hire more employees as your orders double or triple. You need to pay them salaries and give them benefits. There are also the overhead costs like electricity, warehouse rental, etc. Add these all up and you will realize how much an in-house order fulfilment system is costing you.
In-house is good for start up companies but as you grow bigger, you need to start thinking about outsourcing your order fulfilment. Ask you provider if they can customize the best one for your E-Commerce postal needs.

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