Backorders have existed for as long as supply lines and logistics have existed. However, with increasing competition within eCommerce fulfillment companies, keeping stock on-hand to avoid backorders is essential for meeting customer expectations. Backordered items indicate that your customers will have to wait longer because the product they ordered is currently unavailable. Waiting for a product can quickly turn an excited customer into a frustrated, angry customer. Most online businesses are looking for a print on demand provider to help them reduce and avoid backorders. Preventing backorders is critical for keeping your customers satisfied and buying from you again and again.
WHAT IS A BACKORDER?
Backordered items are currently out of stock but will be shipped as soon as they become available. According to some estimates, 34% of all businesses have shipped an item late due to backorders. When a retailer requests the supplier for the item to become available again, this is referred to as a backorder. This process enables your customers to buy a product now and receive it later when it becomes available. Depending on the reason for the backorder, wait times can range from a few days to several weeks. However, most customers are unwilling to wait for a backorder, which may result in a loss to his competitors.
HOW TO REDUCE OR PREVENT BACKORDERS WITH PRINT ON DEMAND FULFILLMENT?
1. Partner with a Professional Ecommerce Fulfillment Company.
Rather than attempting to manage inventory and shipping alone, it’s more beneficial to hire experienced print on demand service provider. Choose a print on demand provider with distribution centers all over the country and a plethora of inventory management experts who can help you avoid common issues that lead to backorders and other issues. If there is an unexpected increase in demand for an item or a shortage, you can work with the manufacturer or supplier to determine when the item will be available.
2. Openly Communicate with Your Fulfillment Partner.
Thorough communication within your print on demand partner is critical, as it will significantly reduce the need for backorders. Communicating inventory stock levels and how quickly your print on demand products are selling helps to maintain consistent stock levels. It is critical to understand how much you are selling and how quickly you are selling it. Maintaining an open line of communication helps to avoid order inflation or deflation. In addition, it also keeps you from having buffer stock or an excess of stock. If you’re not careful, buffer stock can harm your bottom line. A sound supplier relationship management system will significantly help you in meeting requirements.
3. Have a Modern Warehouse Management System (WMS)
A modern warehouse management system will relieve you of the need to record inventory data manually and will be able to keep up with the volume of your business. You won’t have to guess when to reorder inventory or how much to order if you have an up-to-date data-driven inventory management system in place. Because your inventory data is displayed in real-time, your reorder points will be crystal clear based on product demand. A sound management system also reduces the possibility of inaccurate inventory data because your modern system should accurately reconcile your inventory without question. Having a print on demand provider with a modern WMS will significantly benefit your business.
4. Make Use of Forecasting with Your WMS
Another way to avoid backorders with your WMS is to set up alerts to predict when products are running low and reorder them. Modern systems allow you to set up a notification when inventory reaches a certain point, allowing it to reorder and avoid disruptions or backorders automatically. This alert also helps in the reduction of excess inventory orders. With inventory alerts in place, you’ll be able to see exactly how much inventory is required and how long it takes for products to move off the shelves. It will generate a timeline of when reorder points must be scheduled to avoid backorders.
5. Maintain All Order Channels Up to Date
Your inventory levels must be connected to all of your order channels and shopping carts. You never want your order channels to indicate that a product is in stock when it is not. Keeping your order channels up to date may also help instill a sense of urgency in your products. It not only alerts the customer to the item’s availability, but it can also persuade them to buy right away; “Only four remaining in stock…” creates a sense of urgency. If you have the proper order channel integration with a WMS, you can automate the entire process.
In a nutshell, communicate with your fulfillment partners and use data-driven methods and systems to limit and avoid the need for backorders as much as possible. While some things are unavoidable, such as shipment delays due to unforeseeable circumstances or events such as Covid-19 or weather delays, it is critical to maintain open communication with your partners to reduce the need for backorders as much as possible.
Do you need help and support avoiding the pitfalls of informing your customers that their favorite products are on backorder? Contact Fulfillplex today for more information on our eCommerce fulfillment services and how we handle backorders accurately and promptly, as well as expert logistics support.