The world may not be spinning any faster this year, but consumers expect eCommerce businesses to act like it is. The 2-day shipping standard is now firmly embedded in our culture, and immediate gratification buys consumer loyalty more than ever before. The only way to keep up is for eCommerce businesses to invest in the right tools and processes to continually increase fulfillment speeds to match consumer demand.

Sometimes, it’s not a monumental change, but a small tweak in the materials used or shifts worked that can make a big difference in how orders are processed. Other times, a larger operational change is needed to move the needle. The important thing is to continually track and evaluate fulfillment speed so you can identify weak points and make the right changes before small hiccups become big problems for your customers and brand reputation.

Here are three easy ways to speed up order fulfillment:

  1. Increase inventory. Often, businesses fail to predict and account for an increase in orders and fall behind on inventory. Make an investment in carrying more inventory of both products and shipping materials so you can be ready when orders increase. (Tip: By downsizing from shipping boxes to mailers you can make better use of warehouse space)
  2. Use tools to speed up manual packaging processes. There is a limit to how quickly a human employee can package orders, and hiring more workers adds a significant cost. By investing in better tools and workspaces you may be able to increase fulfillment speeds enough to keep your current workforce busy while meeting your goals. (Tip: For manual packing, wicketed mailers can speed up fulfillment by 20%)
  3. Automate packaging. Even with the right tools, manually packaging each order can be time-consuming and tedious. Consider a packaging automation machine for high volume eCommerce shipments. One PACjacket high speed on-demand bubble mailer system can package 15-20 orders per minute around the clock. (Tip: Automation can decrease labor costs by doing the work of a full team of packers.)

Studies show that retaining a customer costs far less (between 5-25% less) than acquiring a new one. Yet, businesses often spend their marketing dollars on acquisition rather than customer experience. Increasing order fulfillment speed is a key differentiating factor that can help keep those valuable customers coming back to your business and acting as brand advocates well into the future.