Achieving scale for your business – Part 2
Last blog, we started a look at what it takes to achieve scale for your business in 2019 because chances are your business is quite different today from when you originally set things up. And sometimes, you need to stop, rethink and rejig things in order to allow your business to grow and achieve greater scale.
We’ve already looked at production and sales and marketing, so today we thought we’d continue on with the next part – getting out of your own way when it comes to fulfilling those orders.
The final and often most bottlenecked aspect of your e-commerce business is fulfilling your orders.
When you make a great product, your ideal customer buys it once, but then never buys again, the problem isn’t the product, it’s the experience. Slow or poorly managed delivery changes the customer’s entire impression of your business, regardless of the fact that your business actually did their part right and the product is wonderful.
When you manage fulfillment internally, you’re essentially trying to run a second business inside your first. Shipping is complicated both practically and economically. You need to be across international customs laws (if you’re shipping overseas – which more and more e-tailers are tending to do), you need to know how to get things sent out fast, your products need to be packed well to avoid breakage and often, you need to know a whole lot of stuff that you don’t have time to learn on the fly. One bad order is all it takes to sour a customer’s enthusiasm for your product. Not to mention the impact that kind of tedious work has on your own motivation and mental state.
So there’s a problem, now what?
Okay, you know there are some issues. It might even all seem pretty scary all of a sudden – gosh where to even start – but rest assured, they can all be easily fixed. Start with thinking through the kind of experience you want your customers to have. Do your products need to be picked and packed, have their packaging designed to enhance the experience or shipped quickly (aka same day) in standard outers?
Broadly speaking, you’ve got two possible approaches; either you do everything yourself/hire a staff member or you outsource.
Doing everything yourself can sound tempting, after all, it’s less expensive right? Maybe it is – if you also have a 24-hour workday and don’t have anything pressing to do like running your entire business. Just because you’re the one that’s paying yourself doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about your billable hours. The opportunity cost of you trying to do everyone’s jobs is that no one does your job.
You might look at hiring a staffer to look after shipping and fulfillment and that might be what you need. But let’s not forget, that you’ll then also need to plan on them taking leave, getting sick, etc and then it will be back onto your shoulders to get done – in addition to everything else on your plate – which now includes managing staff.
Or you can outsource. A great fulfillment house can be worth their weight in gold. Not only will they go through your entire process making suggestions for improvements as they go, they’ll take all of that extra admin off your plate, help you manage your inventory and your returns processes – essentially making stuff ‘just happen’ as if by magic. You ship your product directly to them, send order information and voila – done! It arrives at the customer without you having to go anywhere near a post office or a courier.
If you feel like 2019 is the time to claw back your own time to be able to scale your business by outsourcing your logistics and shipping, we’d love to help you. You can give us a call on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.