Order fulfillment services of online marketplaces – A quick look

In our last edition we spoke about the top three online marketplaces in India, namely Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. These three are bleeding themselves dry competing in various categories trying to one-up each other all the time. In fact, many experts believe that the battle of the online marketplaces comes down to who can take the highest amount of losses and still stay in the game the longest. In this situation, what matters the most for these companies then is a loyal customer base. And the only surefire way to get that is with good service, for example, efficient order fulfillment.

Order fulfillment is the whole process, which starts from the point of sales inquiry to delivery of a product to the customer. Thus, it consists of various parts that are related to various arms of a company. Right from the website UI to the warehouse efficiency, everything is tested in order fulfillment. From a seller’s point of view, the better the fulfillment, the higher the sales.

This is a new trend that has been seen for the past year in the Indian market. It is not enough for online retail sites to just be a bridge between sellers and buyers. In fact, to survive in the market it has become a necessity for them to start making sure that the orders coming through their portals are fulfilled correctly. Order fulfilment ventures by these conglomerates are thus a testament to the fast approaching maturity of the Indian online retail market.

So which of these three companies have the best order fulfillment plans? Amazon has Fulfillment by Amazon, Flipkart has Flipkart Advantage and Snapdeal has Snapdeal Plus. Let us look at them one by one.

Flipkart or Amazon or Snapdeal – What do you prefer?

Flipkart

The Flipkart Advantage badge is a hard to miss sight on the website, so much so that there are Chrome plugins for detecting them. It is especially true for buyers who look for the badge so that they can be assured that they can return the product in 30 days if dissatisfied. Flipkart launched its pet stock-and-ship service last year, and it has seen a fruitful response.

This is how it works, Flipkart Advantage merchants will be able to stock their products at Flipkart’s warehouses even before the order is placed. Once the order is placed, quality checks, packing and shipping will be Flipkart’s responsibility. As a result, the merchant will be eligible for Same Day Delivery and Next Day Delivery options, along with the 30-day return policy and order tracking capabilities. Although the exact number of fulfilment centres that Flipkart currently operates is unclear, they are aggressively planning to expand to new territories.

Amazon India

Amazon India offers its order fulfillment services using Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA. Through FBA, Amazon basically provides pick-and-pack centres for their sellers. As an FBA affiliated seller, you just need to send the product across to the nearest fulfillment centre, and Amazon will pack, label and deliver the product to your customer. As an FBA seller, you will be eligible for Free Delivery and One Day Delivery options. Since you can delegate the logistics side of your business to Amazon, you have more time to focus on your business expansion strategies.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by Amazon, 86% sellers who subscribed to FBA saw increase in their profits. In terms of fees, Amazon goes with a pay-as-you-go model. Amazon recently slashed prices for their FBA service, starting 11th August 2015, and the new pricing policy can be found here. Currently, Amazon’s fulfilment centres are located in several places in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal. FBA is also adept at handling customer returns.

Snapdeal

Snapdeal offers Snapdeal Plus – an order fulfilment service for its sellers. Snapdeal has over 50 fulfilment centres across 20 cities already operating around the country, and the number is likely to go to 75 by the end of this year. With this strong network of fulfillment centres, it aims to offer delivery within 4 and in certain areas, even 2 hours after ordering. Snapdeal Plus also allows you to stock your inventory in their warehouses, which means you are completely free of all inventory responsibility. Snapdeal aims for the maximum number of orders to come through this service, so that the order fulfillment responsibility rests squarely on their shoulders.

To know more about order fulfillment by various online retail sites, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

How Browntape Simplifies the Order Processing Procedures for All Your Online Marketplaces

It’s a question most of us don’t bother to ask. It’s like asking how the plumber turns the water on, or the IT guy fixes your computer. We know that Browntape has the capacity to integrate numerous online and offline marketplaces, including your brick-and-mortar store. But it’s definitely good to know what goes on under the hood.

Since each of your sales channels is different, the specific mechanisms and architecture employed to integrate them into your Browntape dashboard also vary slightly. For example, some stores offer shipping assistance and some don’t. Some platforms are purely dedicated to online money transfer and merchant payments, while others act as online mega malls. These differences, small and big, are reflected in their integrations with Browntape.

So it’s good to know the overview of how these integrations work, and what each of them provide, to make the most of all your online and offline investments. This is exactly what we are going to do in this post.

Online Platform Integrations with Browntape: A Closer Look

  • Amazon

Browntape offers a comprehensive and seamless integration with Amazon. Here, you can import your orders from Amazon into the delightfully simple Browntape interface, which is auto synced regularly to make sure you don’t miss out on new information. Apart from that, you can forward product shipping information to Amazon to speed up the fulfillment process. Additionally, your Amazon customer feedback is directly imported to your Browntape dashboard making it easy for you to keep an eye on your performance. All data is secure and yours to use, download and analyze.

  • eBay

The online marketplace giant eBay is also not a problem for Browntape users. Auto sync your incoming eBay orders on the Browntape dashboard and watch your net inventory auto update to reflect order processing. Receive feedback from your customers and instantly reply right through the Browntape interface. All the relevant shipping information like shipping id, tracking info and other notes can be sent directly to eBay through the interface.

  • PayPal

eBay’s money transfer subsidiary PayPal can also be linked to Browntape. Record all your online transactions done using PayPal and watch them systematically being stored on Browntape. Notes and communication posted along with the transaction can also be seamlessly integrated to your dashboard.

  • Magento

Magento is a highly influential open source e-commerce content management system, and it integrates deeply with Browntape. Not only can you smoothly run all the tasks that Magento is capable of, like order and shipping management, through Browntape, but it gives you the additional power to interact with your customers through auto generated emails and keep an eye on a centralized inventory.

  • Shopify

For Indian ecommerce giant Shopify, Browntape offers some key features. You can auto sync orders, manage a centralized inventory, print shipping labels and send and receive feedback to your customers.

  • Tradus

Adding Tradus to your list of online platforms is as easy as adding your Tradus username and password to your Browntape account. Print shipping labels in bulk, manage orders and study your sales using the comprehensive analytics dashboard that Browntape offers.

  • ShopClues

ShopClues is another big player in the Indian e-commerce sector that can be easily synced and managed through Browntape just by feeding in your username and password. With this you get the full range of services that Browntape offers, like easy order management, centralized inventory, shipping labels and analytics.

  • Brick-and-Mortar Store

Finally, who can forget your offline store? Beautifully syncing your online and offline orders is one of the USPs of Browntape. You can use the Browntape interface as your primary storekeeping mechanism, by punching in orders as you receive them. Apart from that, you can also upload bulk orders from your offline warehouse through CSV and rest assured that your changes in the centralized inventory are accounted for.

Apart from the above channels, Browntape is on its way to integrate many other prominent platforms very soon. With continuous research, development and revisions, you get regular updates and newer features that make your job so much easier.

For more info, get in touch with Browntape, and sign up for our 30-day free trial. We are always happy to help!

How to Cut Down Your Order Processing Time

The ability to process orders quickly and efficiently is a benchmark for a good online retailer. Being able to do this not only means that the customer is left satisfied, but it also reflects upon the sales and profit margins of the retail enterprise. The usual way the system flows is this – the customer logs the order on an offline/online store of the retailer, which is then forwarded to the warehouse where the product is located, packed and shipped to the address supplied by the customer. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Now imagine the same process taking place hundreds of times a day and it will suddenly start seeming much more complicated. Supply chain optimization is the application of various processes and tools to ensure the efficient operation of a supply chain system. We have previously written about the most important steps in the order processing stage. Here we introduce a few important points that you must follow to make sure that your order processing supply chain is thoroughly optimized.

Optimizing the Order

Processing Time

1. Order Transmission

The first step on order processing is relaying the order from the Point of Sale to the warehouse. Doing so in the quickest way possible is the key to optimizing this part of the process. Everyday, the average retailer will end up receiving tens to hundreds of orders. All of them have to be systematically dealt with so that there are no bottlenecks and none gets left behind. The other important issue is that of the individual sources of orders. Let’s talk about that and the solution to both these issues in the next point.

2. Order Consolidation

As a retailer, you might have your products for sale in multiple offline and online stores. Knowing which order comes from which source is very important, but at the same, it is more efficient for all of these orders to be collected in the same compartment for processing. So how do we deal with both these things? The answer is a multi-channel inventory management system. With Browntape for one, all your orders from multiple sources are immediately stacked in the same portal that can be accessed by different personnel in your enterprise, including the warehouse and the logistics. This saves an amazing amount of time and effort and drastically cuts the risk of human error.

3. Inventory Centralization

The next point where we can optimize in processing orders is the inventory. The equation is simple – while the orders fly in from various points to one centralized portal on your Browntape account, it makes sense for the inventory to be dispatched through a centralized process to various customers. With a centralized inventory, you can create your products and variants, link them to your listings and always have a clear view of your inventory, no matter how much the rush.

4. Preventive and Corrective Measures

It is normal for a few mistakes to occur during order processing. What is important is to create and maintain a system that exclusively deals with corrective measures to be taken once a mistake occurs. It is never a good idea to sacrifice quality of work in lieu of speed. As your enterprise grows, it is going to be harder and harder to keep each and every one of your customers satisfied, while maintaining a viable order processing speed. Simple things like creating an easy-access storage system for your warehouse, using simple SKU codes and generally unplugging bottlenecks in the supply chain will work wonders for the overall processing time.

5. Packing the Products

Packing must be done carefully and efficiently. Using Browntape to print shipping labels and invoices can save you an immense amount of processing time. Work out a packing system beforehand so that all products are packed while thoroughly adhering to the safety standards while not wasting any time in searching where the bubble wrap is stored.

These are a few tips to reduce your order processing time. In case of queries or if you need any more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Browntape!