When new e-commerce businesses start shipping orders for the first time, they tend to develop a very simple and reliable fulfillment process to make sure each order gets out the door. This usually involves printing out paper pick lists or invoices, picking the items for each order one at a time, then setting the orders aside to be packed and shipped later. Variations of this process are how the majority of our customers fulfilled their orders before finding out about our solution.
This order fulfillment method is simple and easy to get started with, which is why it’s so common among e-commerce retailers big and small. However, this process tends to be very inefficient and inaccurate, which can end up costing your business a lot of time and money as it grows.
The problem with order fulfillment
What’s so wrong with printing out slips and simply picking one order at a time? I’m sure it’s no surprise to people that it isn’t the most efficient fulfillment method possible, but at least it doesn’t seem harmful.
The problem is that slow work is harmful. Time is money, and slower fulfillment methods add to the cost of each order that goes out the door. A more efficient workflow can reduce the number of man hours that are spent on each order, resulting in an otherwise free boost in profitability per order.
This style of fulfillment also has a huge risk for costly order errors due to inaccurate picking or shipping. It’s all too easy to pick the wrong item or the wrong quantity, to put a shipping label on the wrong box, or to select the wrong shipping settings when creating the shipment. These mistakes happen every day, and they really add up in cost.
Order errors come with a lot of hidden costs. For example, if you send the wrong item to a customer, you have to communicate the error and remediation back and forth with the customer, often through multiple conversations. You’ll need to pay to ship out a replacement, and you’ll either pay to have the incorrectly shipped item returned or lose the item completely. On top of all of this, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose repeat business if the customer feels inconvenienced enough by the mistake.
Where SKULabs came in
The SKULabs founders have over 25 years of combined experience in e-commerce. We’ve owned or managed online retail businesses from their humble roots to Inc 500 awards. Now we work with e-commerce stores big and small all over the world.
SKULabs was born from our frustration with traditional order fulfillment options. Like any other e-commerce company, we made mistakes on our orders. Picking and shipping errors were difficult to avoid and usually cost our business more than the affected order was worth. We also felt growing pains affecting the time it took us to get orders out the door each day. As we received more and more orders, we spent more and more of our time trying to ship them out within the required time.
We wanted to adopt a picking and shipping solution that is more efficient and more accurate than what we were doing before, but the only services we could find were targeting huge enterprise customers. They required custom software implementation, a lengthy on-boarding process, and expensive setup and licensing costs. There wasn’t a solution out there that was right for us — our businesses were big enough to worry about fulfillment but not big enough for a six- or seven-figure solution.
Our answer to your fulfillment needs
SKULabs makes it easy for you to fulfill orders the same way as top e-commerce giants. We combined barcode-based order verification, discounted shipping labels, and batch fulfillment all in one software solution. Best of all, SKULabs is flexible enough to fit into any workflow and affordable enough to grow with your business.
SKULabs works by automatically importing and sorting all of your sales channel orders into one easy-to-use dashboard. Once imported, you can select one order to start processing it or add several orders to a batch. Batch picking reduces picking time by up to 80% by maximizing pick quantities and minimizing operator walking distances. To ensure each order is 100% accurate, the picker simply scans each item’s barcode and is given feedback for correct or incorrect scans.
After you’ve completed picking your orders, SKULabs guides you through packing the order items and printing shipping labels. Box sizes are suggested based on previous shipments, and the size and weights of your orders are memorized so that you don’t have to weigh and measure similar shipments again. Packing slips and shipping labels are also printed simultaneously for all of your orders. Once shipping labels are created, SKULabs sends tracking information back to each of your sales channels and marks the order as shipped.
We know that SKULabs is the smartest, fastest order fulfillment solution for your business. But don’t take our word for it — see for yourself with our 30-day free trial.