E-commerce businesses face a different set of challenges to those of retail businesses. They typically have lower rents, because they’re often located in industrial areas. However, they’re pressured to perform 24/7-365 because their customers expect delivery almost instantaneously. They’re competing for low and semi-skilled labour, but they’re located in areas less likely to have public transit or simply considered undesirable to work in. This forces them to maximise the productivity of their team without overloading them. Here are 5 time saving tips for e-commerce businesses to improve the productivity of everyone in your organisation.
Follow Pareto’s Law
Pareto’s law is best known as the 80-20 law. Nearly every aspect of human behaviour not covered by the bell curve follows Pareto’s law. In business, this means you want to focus on the 20 percent of anything that are tied to 80 percent of the issue. Focus on the twenty percent of customers who account for eighty percent of your profit or sales. Solve the problems that account for eighty percent of your customer complaints or tech support calls. Consider ending the 20 percent of products that account for eighty percent of customer returns, and drop the customers who account for the vast majority of complaints.
Make Managed Mail Part of Your Operations
A managed mail service won’t pick inventory off the warehouse shelves for you. However, services like The Delivery Group can help you mail out key items. For example, you can let them mail out bills, free samples, and advertisements to customers. This frees up in-house staff to fill orders or handle customers. This also frees up office space.
They can take advantage of shipping discounts for bulk mail, whether they’re sending envelopes or large packages. They might be able to receive customer returns for you, reducing the risk returned items are stolen, damaged or lost. A side benefit of managed mail is that it becomes a standard bill you receive each month instead of a variable labour cost.
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A messy workplace is a distraction. In the case of a busy shipping department, it can be dangerous both to the health of your team and your bottom line. Have everyone take time at the end of each shift to clean up their desks, work benches and assembly stations. More importantly, pay them for this time and give people credit for organising and doing additional work.
Omni-channel means having a single consistent presence across every channel customers may use to connect with you. Have the same design and manner of interacting with clients, whether they book an appointment through your website or comment on a social media post. Use the same scripts whether they call your help desk or write a complaint letter.
One way to do this is to use a single customer relationship management system to track all orders, service requests and complaints. Then customers don’t get handed off between departments and have to repeat themselves. You reduce redundant data entry and ensure that you have an accurate picture of the problems your customers are experiencing.
Standardise Your Supply Chain
Use the same boxes and labels on your products. You’ll save money by buying these items in bulk, and you’ll ensure a consistent brand image with all your customers. Limit your suppliers to one main supplier and a backup or two for every product. This reduces variations in your incoming product while ensuring you have backup sources.