With any business, there is a level of risk attributed to the basic process of exchanging goods and services. When it comes to ecommerce order fulfillment of orders sold on Amazon, Groupon or other similar marketplaces, the risk of penalties or being permanently shut down could be high if not prepared correctly.
Here are two common issues we see when it comes to selling on marketplaces:
- Getting orders processed and shipped out on a timely basis – each marketplace has strict guidelines on performance of when the orders must be shipped out.
- Updating the marketplace with the order status within the deadline
Example: Groupon’s policy for consumer ecommerce orders – ‘Ensure pick-up of Goods are routed via Goods Central and then, unless expressly stated otherwise in a Purchase Order, deliver the Goods to Groupon’s Freight Provider by 5:00 pm CST two (2) business days after Groupon’s issuance of a Purchase Order to Seller’
Your orders or ‘Purchase Orders’ could arrive that afternoon or evening you or your fulfillment center won’t process that shipment until the next business day, thus giving you, really, one day to process those shipments. More specifically, your order needs to be updated by 4:00 p.m. Central Time with your shipping information and order status. If you’re working through integrations of systems, those cycles have to be timed just right.
After all, you could be working with up to four different systems to pass updates through: the Multi-carrier ship system, to the warehouse management system, to a middleware application or connector system, and back Groupon. If those cycles don’t link up correctly, your update may come after 4:00 p.m. CST – and guess what? YOU’RE LATE! Even if the order went out on time, the cycles didn’t update the order on time!
Amazon is very similar to this Groupon example.
Another key consideration is when orders arrive over the weekends. If an order comes in over the weekend, it is generally expected that the item or items will not ship until the next business day. Since most automated systems allow a 24-hour shipping window, you will not be penalized if the order comes in on a Sunday. If, however, the order is received on a Saturday, or, if, say the fulfillment center reads a weekend order as arriving on a Monday and therefore does not ship until Tuesday, you can be fined for a late shipment. We suggest that you are very clear with the direction given to your fulfillment center, as well as considering the possibility and cost-effectiveness of shipping on Sunday.
- Make sure you understand what the real shipping deadline is
- If working with an ecommerce fulfillment center, collaborate to ensure your expectations are in sync
- If working with automation or manual processing of order updates to the marketplace, follow up on the timing