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Warehouses, like so many other aspects of the retail world, exist as part of a service industry.

Whether you sell direct-to-consumer or you distribute products to retail outlets at various locations, your customers and recipients need to know they can rely on your warehouse to get them the goods they need, right when they need them.

But in the ever-changing world of ecommerce, it can be hard to tell what your customers expect or figure out what you can do to keep them coming back to you for their next order.

Whatever industry you serve, it’s fair to say that there’s a number of things all customers look for when they need to get their orders fulfilled and delivered. Let’s take a closer look into the mind of the average customer and see what we can do to keep them satisfied and coming back for their next orders:


Was my order accurate?

The biggest way to scare off customers is to send them incorrect or incomplete orders. By enforcing order accuracy at all points of the picking and shipping process, you can reduce the risk of errors (both computerized and human) and provide heightened accuracy for all outgoing orders.

This does, however, require that every step of the picking process be carefully monitored. Review the tagging systems you use on your warehouse shelves, wire shelving, and pallet racks to ensure that all inventory levels are being presented accurately (as this can stop the problem before it starts by giving accurate Out Of Stock warnings in your order portals). Reduce the number of touches your shipments get between the shelf and the packaging area to make sure nothing gets lost, and make sure to have easily-accessible order printouts and reviews before anything gets taped up and put on the truck.


Was my order shipped and received on time?

The rise of Amazon has led a lot of ecommerce customers to get a little…impatient when it comes to shipping times. Even if you can’t quite compete with the big guys, prompt shipping and fast delivery will go a long way towards creating a good first impression (and, ideally, return customers).

By offering a number of different shipping options to fit any need and schedule, you stand a better chance of getting a customer’s repeat business. A common solution to this (when available depending on shipping vendor and geographic location) is to offer a number of different shipping tiers. For example, a flat-rate option for customers that aren’t in a hurry and then their selection of other shipping companies (FedEx for one and UPS for another, for example) for customers that need their items a little faster. Setting expectations and providing different options for shipping speed will help you make fans and retain customers even if you don’t have the same 2-day options of the big guys.


Did my order arrive safely?

Finally, all the speed in the world isn’t going to help if the order shows up damaged or poorly packed. No matter how your customers get their orders shipped or how big (or small) their order, care needs to be taken at all steps of the process.

Train your staff on best item handling practices (especially in the event that special tools are required to help get them back from the warehouse, such as forklifts) and don’t skimp on the packaging materials when the box is ready to go. Find a good balance between ecologically friendly items and durable packing material, and make sure to establish good KPIs with your chosen shipping providers to ensure your items get there safely. Nothing will lose you customers faster than if something is broken along the way.

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