Three common eCommerce operations hiccups

Industry Insight

By no means is perfecting eCommerce operations easy – there are always unpredictable variables that can affect how operations are run. Fortunately, by raising awareness of some of the common hiccups of operating an online store, merchants may be in a better position to avoid making them in the long run.

1. Packages Don’t Survive The Trek

Packages that don’t survive the trek means the fault of poor packaging or poor handling or the combination of both, and usually results in an angry customer. As a retailer, you must be aware of the risks of the carriers and carrier methods you offer to customers. Once a package is in the hands of the carrier, there is little oversight that can be done by the retailer to ensure the package is delivered as it left the warehouse.

A retailer can ensure the package is appropriately padded and packaged to support a smooth delivery. Especially for perishable items and fragile items, the proper insulation and packaging can prevent any major damage to the contents of the package.

However, even with the proper packaging and a cautious carrier employee, there are numerous opportunities for deliveries to go wrong, ranging from adverse weather conditions to car accidents.

Whether an undelivered or damaged package is the fault of the retailer, mother nature, or the shipping carrier, retailers need to be prepared to make it up to the customer. In the case of a delayed delivery, the retailer should communicate this with the customer immediately. In the case of a damaged product, retailers need to be prepared for these customer complaints and either offer to send a new package or refund.

2. Automation Mistakes

Most retailers rely on automation to improve eCommerce operations. Automated tools improve the efficiency of managing inventory to processing orders and can help retailers avoid having to hire additional employees. While not only saving a retailer time and money, automation also frees up employees to focus on more mission-critical tasks. At the same time, automated tools aren’t foolproof – they still require some oversight.

It’s easy to think of automated eCommerce software as being a set-it and leave-it technology, but it still takes the proper implementation and management.

In the case of automatically listing products to marketplaces, retailers need to be aware of inventory available and up-to-date product information. Practical eCommerce noted a few specific examples of this, when one retailer automatically listed a product with an out-of-date UPC code across multiple marketplaces and eCommerce sites. The manufacturer of the product had changed the UPC code, resulted in Amazon listing the wrong item, which to a $400 item to sell for $80 and many upset customers. In the case of a drop shipper or manufacturer discontinuing a product, a retailer needs to be aware and update the inventory for every product, otherwise a retailer risks order cancellations and an Amazon suspension.

It’s easy to think of automated eCommerce software as being a do-it-all technology, but it still takes the proper implementation and management to make the most of it.

3. Site Performance

People are shopping online more now than they have in the past, in part simply due to the rise of smartphones, which allow them to browse eCommerce sites regardless of where they are. However, this puts stress on servers that host these websites, which may result in slow performing sites, or in some cases, the site crashing. Peak periods, such as end-of-the-year holidays, is when retailers should be aware of this happening, as this is typically when the largest revenue is made from online. Sites that go offline, or even those that are slow to load can significantly hurt a retailer and is sure to frustrate holiday shoppers.

Merchants must learn how to prevent outages, whether they’re caused by an influx of traffic, a cyber attack or any other reason.

With the rise of online shopping, seamless eCommerce operations will keep customers happy, costs low and revenue high. Being aware of how to prevent and manage this scenarios is critical to a retailers brand reputation and customer’s loyalty.  Merchants should look to avoid these three hiccups if they want to be successful in the long run.

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