5 reasons why your orders are still processing
For many retailers, the new point of contention is order delivery. Merchants are trying to get online purchases to customers as quickly as possible and at the lowest cost possible. This has led to the rise of free two-day shipping or, in the case of some retailers, even same-day delivery.
However, there is more to getting packages to customers than simply expediting shipping. The other half of the equation is order processing – if it takes merchants hours or even days to process an order, then a retailer may not be able to offer expedited shipping.
Order processing has traditionally been a core challenge for many retailers, particularly smaller merchants, and the transition to omni channel business models have only made it worse. Customers are now empowered to place orders from a variety of different avenues whenever they want, so businesses must be prepared to process those orders quickly and effectively, regardless of time of day or where the order is coming from.
Here are five hang ups many merchants face with their order processing efforts:
1. Fraud checks
Retailers deal with fraud in a number of different capacities. Sometimes, people try to return products that were not purchased at the merchant. Other times, they may accidentally or intentionally chargeback items purchased from a retailer. Perhaps the most common type of fraud occurs when a customer makes an unauthorized purchase using someone else’s card. According to one study from LexisNexis, online merchants are paying $3.10 for every dollar lost to fraud trying to deal with these ordeals.The threat of fraud has resulted in retailers performing more in-depth fraud checks to ensure payments are legitimate. Unfortunately, this is one of those scenarios where the honest customers receive the short end of the stick because of the dishonest ones, as this can result in longer order processing times.
2. Stock inadequacies
With merchants stocking inventory across a number of locations, it can be difficult to track how much inventory they have and where it is located. If their inventory and order management solutions are not in sync, this may result in a product that is out of stock being sold to customers.
This obviously creates numerous issues when it comes to processing – retailers cannot process an order with out of stock inventory. However, there can be other issues as well. For example, perhaps an order is sent to a distribution center that does not actually have that item in stock, and then needs to re-route the order to a location that can fulfill it. On the other hand, maybe a single order has to be split among multiple distribution centers, but these distributors do not have the communication required to fulfill the order quickly.
3. Waiting on purchase orders
Without proper planning, orders can easily back-up because inventory has not been received in the warehouse yet. Knowing what inventory is out on purchase order will help provide better communication to the customer. However, retailers should work towards understanding the lead time and re-order thresholds that allow enough time for purchase orders to be received with enough units so that out-of-stocks can be prevented.
4. Updating inventory
At the other end is updating inventory when a purchase order is received. Once inventory arrives in the warehouse, it must be accounted for. If inventory updates are completed by manually entering SKU numbers into a system or working with spreadsheets, it may take a long time for warehouse operators to determine which inventory needs to be allocated towards a pending order.
5. Product data issues
Accurate product data has become the name of the game for many merchants. However, if this information is not up to a certain level of quality or is inaccurate, it can create problems when store product data doesn’t match the product data in the order management system. The order will be stuck processing because the system will not know where to route the order.
So, what can retailers do to expedite order processing? There are numerous areas in which it can go wrong, and that can lead to further delays in getting order to customers. Fortunately, there are order management solutions that retailers can use to improve visibility and automation in the warehouse. Combining order management with product management, purchasing and supplier management, and most important of all, inventory management, into one system will help expedite order processing and prevent errors from happening.