Proper picking, packaging and smart shipping practices are worth the effort in helping retailers avoid spending too much money, wasting time on order fulfillment, and failing to protect the products you send to your customers.

Improve Order Fulfillment with Efficient Picking, Packing & Shipping

1. Choose the right packaging for your products
Choose boxes that fit your items without leaving unnecessary excess space or adding excess bulk. How much you’ll pay to send your item is determined by the size and weight of your package, and nothing adds to your costs more than paying for superfluous space.
Quick TipTip Test a few different sizes and styles of shipping products to find ones that work for a wide a range of products.
2. Standardize your systems as best you can
Standardize and simplify the picking, packing and shipping process by taking the ‘thinking’ out of the equation from your pickers, packers and shippers by coming up with clear guidelines.
Quick TipTip Create a checklist that breaks down each step of the process so every employee knows the necessary steps — from picking the right-sized box to knowing how items should be placed, and how to properly seal packages before they’re shipped.
3. Organize your warehouse effectively
Organize the area where products are warehoused and packed. Keep best-selling items close to the packing area (or pre-pack them if you prefer) and store them on easy-to-reach shelves. Don’t put heavy items up high – it makes them harder to access. If certain products are often sold together, make sure they’re kept next to one another in your warehouse. Label aisles and shelves with large, clear signs – so no one has to spend too much time searching for items. Finally, set up your packing area so all necessary materials (such as scissors, tape, and labels) are laid out in a logical, orderly fashion.
Quick TipTip Reserve space to store items that have been sold but not packed and clear another spot for orders that have been packed but are waiting to be shipped. The less clutter and confusion in your system, the better off things will be.
4. Prepare for busy sales periods
Every retailer knows the weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays (starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday) will involve serious increases in sales. There will also be other stretches of the year when you’ll be busier than usual. Expedite order fulfillment during peak periods by preparing packaging materials in advance.
Quick TipTip Prior to peak periods, bring in extra staff to pre-build shipping boxes, fill them with packing peanuts or bubble wrap, and attach basic labels. If there are certain products you expect to sell a lot of, pack a whole bunch of orders in advance. The more work you do ahead of time, the easier it will be to ensure your deliveries arrive in time for key holidays.
5. Invest in quality packing materials
Resist the temptation to cut corners when it comes to buying boxes and packing materials, such as foam caps, polystyrene peanuts, and bubble wrap. The extra money you spend on higher quality products will add up over time, but those costs will be offset by avoiding losses from damaged and broken items.
Quick TipTip The added protection you get from using top choice materials lets you ship items in smaller boxes, reducing shipping costs.
6. Communicate your shipping policies and practices to your customers
Don’t overlook the questions and concerns buyers have when it comes to the shipping and delivery of their purchase.
Quick TipTip Build a FAQ page on your website which answers common questions about order fulfillment, returns, and delivery times. Update it to reflect any changes at busy times of year and include contact details for customers who can’t find the information they need.
7. Reduce shipping errors by verify addresses for new customers
From time to time, new customers will input an incorrect or out-of-date address into an order form resulting in a return or lost shipment.
Quick TipTip Before shipping to any new customer, verify their destination address is correct. A proactive few seconds of your time could save you headaches and hassles later on.
8. Use a shipping calculator to help reduce lost sales or shipping costs
Before you set shipping prices for your products, make sure you know what it’s actually going to cost to get your products to your customers. You will lose sales using unnecessary high shipping fees and lose money undercharging.
Quick TipTip The best way to do that is by using a shipping calculator. Enter the dimensions and weight of your package, and the destination, and you’ll get an estimate of the final price.
In Summary
Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to update current procedures, your picking, packing and shipping practices should undergo a review to make sure your processes as efficient as possible. You will save time and money in the long run. Alternatively, may retailers today are moving the order fulfilment operations to companies that specialize in Third Party Logistics providers. This enables retailers to focus on their core business.