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4 Ways Online Retailers Can Improve Order Management Amid COVID-19

Inspired by our recent Tips in Ten collaboration with Linnworks, we’ve rounded up four ways that ecommerce merchants can optimise and automate order management in order to successfully navigate the COVID-19 retail climate.

Written By
Anna Giles

For the fourth episode of our Tips in Ten YouTube series, Swanky’s UK Head of Growth, Matt Abbott, caught up with Andrew Thomson, Partnerships Manager at Linnworks, to explore the key topic of order management — providing guidance to help retailers manage customer expectations, automate order management and overcome fulfilment challenges.

Linnworks is an inventory and order management system that helps retailers automate their entire online selling process, across their ecommerce platforms and multiple marketplaces. To find out more about Linnworks and the benefits it offers retailers, check out their website.

Below we’ve hand-picked four important tips from Matt and Andrew’s Tips in Ten discussion. Don’t forget to check out the full Q&A session linked at the end of this post!

#1 Manage consumers’ delivery expectations from the start

Communication is of paramount importance to business success in such an uncertain retail climate; it promotes trust, certainty and loyalty. Difficulties within the fulfilment, delivery and courier space are expected right now, but it’s important to manage your customers’ delivery expectations from the start. 

By clearly setting and stating a realistic delivery timeframe, like a 7-day delivery policy, your customer will be well-informed prior to purchase. This will reduce the volume of delivery queries you receive, and improve customer satisfaction

When it comes to communicating delivery information, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Provide delivery details before customers reach the checkout, to avoid any nasty surprises! Consider communicating your delivery policy on your homepage (so that shoppers are aware from the get-go), as well as on pages where customers are making purchasing decisions.
  • Display delivery information in a customer-friendly manner, so that it’s easy to compare the different options available consider using graphics, icons and videos to create a fun and consumable interaction.
  • Use a conversational, friendly tone to reinforce your brand identity and continue building a consistent shopping experience — this will help put new shoppers at ease too, especially if they are new to your brand.

Remember not to over-promise though; you don’t want to under-deliver and risk tarnishing your brand’s reputation!

#2 Automate order management processes wherever you can

In a time of increased demand and staff shortages, automation is transforming the way ecommerce stores of all sizes operate.

Automation can speed up your fulfilment processes and remove the risk of costly human error — saving time, money and mundanity. It also allows you to deliver a fast and frictionless buying experience for your customers — something that today’s modern shoppers hold in high regard.

Linnworks’ Inventory Management tool allows you to maintain full control over your inventory, automating stock synchronisation and warehouse management —  freeing up time for you to spend on growing your business. It provides complete visibility of your stock and warehouse operations for increased efficiency and greater cost-savings — all hugely valuable benefits in such a turbulent retail climate.

Find out more about how automating your logistics can give your ecommerce business a boost in a recent blog post from Swanky’s Head of Growth, Matt Abbott.

#3 Consider selling your products across multiple marketplaces

To maximise your sales opportunities, you should consider selling your products across multiple marketplaces. This prevents you placing all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak  —  whether that be being restricted to just your website, or being held to just one marketplace. 

We saw an example of the dangers of being tied to a single selling channel early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon limited the range of products being sold to only necessary verticals — meaning if you weren’t in one of those central ranges, customers couldn’t buy your product(s).

Another key tip is to do your research into the marketplaces that are available. Not only can you find lesser-known marketplaces with flexible rates on offer, but you can even find niche marketplaces which specialise in your particular vertical!

#4 Monitor stock levels to avoid overselling

As an ecommerce retailer, you’ll know the dangers of overselling: disappointed customers and a dent in your reputation. The key to avoid experiencing these perils yourself? A multichannel inventory management system.

Using a centralised hub like Linnworks to monitor orders coming in from multiple ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, for instance, from Facebook, eBay, and your website, is an excellent way to keep track of your sales and your stock levels.

You can synchronise all of your selling channels, and receive automatic inventory updates after every sale with Linnworks’ Inventory Management Software. Your stock level is then adjusted accordingly, so you can avoid overselling.

View the full Q&A session with Matt and Andrew below!

Stay up to date with our informative Tips in Ten series by subscribing to the Swanky YouTube channel here!

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