Get ecommerce-confident: What's actually involved in fulfilling online orders?
In this article we’ll show you how the sales process works from the retailer’s point of view to help you become ecommerce-confident!
Fear of the unknown can stop us doing a lot of things. When it comes to business unknowns, we worry there’s more to it than we can see, that we’ll get it wrong, that it’ll be too hard. So sometimes we think it’s better not to try.
Ecommerce can be that scary thing for some people. Talking about “commerce” on its own can sound intimidating enough, but add the technical element and it’s like an automatic shutdown happens in one’s confidence.
Here at Storbie, we are working to change that. We’ve created a platform that makes building your own website with ecommerce capabilities super easy. And in this article we’ll show you how the sales process works from the retailer’s point of view to help you become ecommerce-confident!
You’ve Got Mail
One of the first questions that many new users of ecommerce ask is how will they know when a purchase has been made. Users of the Storbie platform for their online store will receive an email confirmation to their selected email address each time there is a new order placed.
The email will appear to come from the purchaser with their name showing as the sender, but the related email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org (so make sure you put this on a safe email send list). The subject line will make it clear that the email is an order via your Storbie website.
The email itself provides a reference number, a list of purchased products, the order total, how it was paid for, and what type of shipping method was selected. You’re also provided with their delivery address, and the confirmation email that the purchaser received about their order.
Depending on your payment gateway, you may also receive a separate email from them confirming the payment transaction.
You can also log in to your Storbie website and on the Manage section you’ll see a notification on the right-hand side in the Overview. Here, you’ll be able to see a list of current orders to be processed, with the date and time of purchase, order number, contact name, payment confirmation, and the total amount.
It can take time before your first online order happens, but the moment your Storbie site goes live you should be prepared to fulfil them.
If you also have a physical store, for Click & Collect orders, you’ll need a physical space to put orders that are waiting for collection so that they’re easy for staff to find, and with details on whether it’s been paid for or if additional information needs to be provided.
If you allow payments to be made via bank deposit, have a process in place so that you know when orders have been paid for so that items are not collected or shipped without payment first. This can be as simple as having colour-coded labels or different spaces to put paid-for and to-be-paid orders.
Having courier bags or boxes on hand can make packaging up products easy. Plus have a think about what kind of shipping labels you want to use – are they to be hand-written? Printed? Will your logo be on them?
You may also choose to add personalised notes or discount offers. Set up any offers in advance here.
Getting it Done
Managing order fulfilment and payment reconciliation is easy within Storbie.
Once you have an order, remove it from the shelf to prepare for either shipping or Click & Collect. If it’s being picked up, once the order is ready, send an email to the purchaser to let them know it is available for collection with your physical store’s opening hours, location, and contact details. You may also choose to send text alerts.
Once you’ve packaged up the order and sent it off (or it’s been collected in store), select Process Orders within the Manage section of your website to confirm that this order is complete.
If there is a tracking code from the courier, you should add it to the order. To do this, select their invoice number online and add the tracking number into the Shop Notes section.
It’s important to be aware that while the order and payment invoice will come through Storbie, the physical payment will be made through your chosen payment gateway, such as PayPal, eWAY, Payment Express, Laybuy, Afterpay etc.
All Storbie shops are enabled for Xero integration for easy accounting. Simply connect your Xero account with Storbie and orders will be synchronised between the accounts. All you’ll need to do is reconcile the orders.
Who’s the Boss
It’s a good idea to decide who will own the process of handling online orders. You may choose to focus your time elsewhere and delegate the responsibility to a member of staff, such as your retail manager.
If this is the case, they should have full access to your Storbie site and be walked through the process of how to manage orders, as well as helping promote your website and encourage online sales.
If more than one person is managing online sales, you will need to ensure processes are followed so that it is clear which clients have paid, which orders have been sent or collected, and what special offers are available.
Keeping to Time
With all orders, it is important that they are dealt with in a timely fashion.
Notably once an order comes through, that the products are removed from public sale in your physical store. This is especially important if there is low stock remaining.
On your website you will have chosen various shipping options, including whether you allow Click & Collect. You should also provide an estimate for delivery times and available pick up options.
If your site says a product will be available within a set time frame, then you will need to adhere to that. If you know that there will be a busy period where orders will likely be later, such as Christmas, be upfront about it and set expectations in advance. You can do this in an FAQ section on your site, and at the check out stage.
For shipping orders, you could set a time in which orders made before then will be sent same day (eg order before 3pm and it’ll be with the courier that afternoon) and then set a reminder for either yourself or a staff member to arrange sending the packages out.
If you say on your website that a Click & Collect order is available within two hours of the purchase time, make sure the order is ready when they call in to pick it up. It can be as simple as a quick check on the hour every hour.
Orders will start as a trickle rather than a flood with a new online store. But by having processes in place you’ll form positive habits for when your online orders build up.
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