5 Common E-commerce Fulfillment Mistakes That Are Costing You Sales

E-commerce has revolutionized the way we shop. Increasing customer demands and shipping standards require many to find excellent e-commerce fulfillment partners.

While e-commerce is a lucrative segment of retail, it presents some unique challenges. Customers want their orders to be delivered quickly and without difficulty now more than ever.

In this article, you’ll learn the 5 most common e-commerce fulfillment mistakes, and how you can avoid making them in the future.

Why is high-quality e-commerce fulfillment non-negotiable?

E-commerce order fulfillment is one of the most critical components of a good supply chain. Without it, you risk shipping mistakes, disgruntled customers, damaged items, or, worst of all, a lost customer.

As a company owner who outsources e-commerce fulfillment, you may be unaware of the errors that are costing you money and keeping you from delivering on your customer’s expectations. Any recurring errors made by your fulfillment provider are damaging to your brand’s reputation and future sales.


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft

common e-commerce fulfillment mistakes

5 Most Common E-commerce Fulfillment Mistakes

We’ve highlighted five essential things to consider when evaluating your existing fulfillment provider to ensure success for your brand and company’s future.

1. Inventory

Inventory management becomes more difficult as your company grows and handles more shipments. The ability to correctly plan and manage your inventory is fundamental to running a successful business. It’s why many scaling companies use an e-commerce fulfillment service provider to help manage their inventory. However, businesses frequently make the mistake of selecting a fulfillment provider without a detailed inventory system.

It is essential to find a fulfillment partner who can offer inventory metrics such as items in stock, ready to ship, and the number of units left for sale. To keep your inventory in check, your fulfillment partner should provide you full access to these data points. Fulfillment providers should also follow inventory management best practices, such as high accuracy, fast dock-to-stock times, and essential warehouse management strategies (FIFO, FEFO, LIFO). Fulfillment companies have a lot to juggle, but the information contained in their systems is what allows them to do it all.

Tip for success: Monitor your business’s inventory carefully to verify your products are in stock and ready for shipment as needed.

“Communication is at the heart of e-commerce and community.”
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard

2. Communication

Many companies fail at communicating with both their suppliers and their customers. Successful communication ensures costly mistakes are avoided. We’ve outlined some tips for success below.

First, ensure your fulfillment partner is transparent and communicative. All too often, companies are unable to get responses from their third-party logistics provider, and when they do, care and attention to detail are lacking. In the long run, finding a fulfillment partner with dedicated account managers, per order billing transparency, and customizable services are priceless. Maintaining a shared link between you and your fulfillment partner is the best approach to assure accuracy.

Second, communicate with your customers and surpass their expectations. Retailers have a responsibility to their customers. Products must be delivered on time and budget, whether fulfillment is done in-house or through a 3PL. As a result, keeping in touch with customers is a priority throughout the ordering, packing, shipping, and delivery processes.

This means giving customers regular updates on where their order is and how close it is to being delivered. It also includes tracking numbers, easy returns or exchanges, and excellent customer service to improve your client’s overall experience.

3. E-commerce Fulfillment Providers

It’s a common mistake to assume that e-commerce retailers can save money on fulfillment by keeping it in-house.

To effectively manage online sales, a company must first address a real-time inventory challenge that involves transporting, tracking, and identifying large quantities of physical goods.

To do this, you have to rely on software and reliable fulfillment providers to get the job done for you.

Your e-commerce fulfillment process is the lifeblood of your business. Yet, fulfillment is often served by providers who lack the right data and experience with your brand.

That’s why you should take the time in choosing a partner who will help you deliver your best product.

All third-party logistic companies are different. Each handles various transactions, such as retail, wholesale, Amazon FBA/FBM, direct to consumer, and freight/import.

Lack of flexibility may eventually harm your business if the provider you’ve chosen can only handle individual direct-to-consumer orders and not bulk shipments.

Using a 3PL that can work with your existing and possible future channels is important.

When choosing a 3PL, look for one that can handle D2C sales as well as retail, wholesale, freight/import, and kitting while minimizing expenses. This way, you can prepare for future growth and scalability without having to worry about fulfillment or inventory speedbumps.

“We’ve been using Falcon for over a year and they are fantastic. Their team is extremely responsive and always up for new and creative solutions for the needs of our company. Most importantly, though, they are deeply concerned about our customers and getting them their products as quickly as possible.”
Chaz Shively, Co-Founder at Legendary Ventures

4. Damage Control

Once you have a customer, the best thing you can do is ensure they stay happy. This means working hard to provide each buyer with exactly what they purchase, at the time they expect to receive it.

Making your customers feel valued can be as simple as giving updates when problems emerge.

When problems do arise, there are two main ways to handle such situations: communicate with the client as soon as possible and provide quality damage support.

You can do this by offering replacements, refunds, or even a credit on their next purchase. Of course, this isn’t always easy, but it’s better to try and resolve things directly with the customer than risk losing them and damaging your reputation.

If you want your company to do well, it’s crucial to get it right the first time. That’s why it’s important to know your company’s damage control measures.

If you have issues with your shipping carriers or refund attempts, this can help you determine exactly what went wrong and how to avoid it from occurring again. It also helps identify potential issues early on, avoiding excessive stress that might harm your company’s reputation.

5. Inadequate Customer Service

Customer service is a critical component of any organization.

Poor response times, long wait periods, and complicated refund and shipping processes are just a few of the pitfalls to avoid when communicating with customers. Customers will complain and leave negative reviews if ignored or support was unhelpful.

The purpose of customer service is to reduce these “errors” and create raving fans for your brand. Consider customer service as though it were your most important sales channel and place a premium on it.

Having excellent customer support can result in greater sales and retention rates. Unfortunately, not many organizations have the means or personnel to maintain a continual stream of incoming calls or respond to emails in a reasonable timeframe.

With that in mind, improving your customer service should be your top priority.

In conclusion, no matter how good your product or service is, if your customer service is consistently poor, customers will inevitably turn to others.

Beginner’s Guide to Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

The world of e-commerce is always changing, therefore understanding the roll of Third-Party Logistics is integral to keeping up. In light of this our beginner’s guide to third-party logistics (3PL) will delve into the essential aspects, offering insights into fulfillment services, warehousing, and much more.

Read More…

Falcon Fulfillment is the right choice for your business.

It’s easy to make these costly e-commerce fulfillment mistakes. It’s easy to be unaware of these mistakes, but they are avoidable by identifying them early on. What matters is to learn from mistakes along the way and use them to improve your business’s future path.

Falcon Fulfillment is dedicated to helping e-commerce companies scale. It’s why clients choose us for e-commerce fulfillment services. You will gain more revenue per shipment, total billing transparency, customizable packaging, and a better customer experience.

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