You know you can make money online selling, you know where to source, where to sell, and how much time and money it’s going to cost to get started, but what do you do when your sales start to come in? Order fulfillment and great customer service are crucial pillars of your reselling business – and you’ll want to make sure those pillars remain standing strong by ensuring that orders are fulfilled in a timely manner and all customer service needs are met.
Set fulfillment expectations
Customers never want to experience any surprises during their online buying experience. This means that top-notch resellers will always set clear expectations upfront. Many customers will often decide whether they’re ready to make a purchase based on a combination of what they need and what they want. Perhaps they’ve found that perfect dress on your site. If they’re on a budget, additional shipping costs might be a deterrent. Similarly, if they’re hoping for overnight shipping, and your site doesn’t offer that option, they’ll likely move on to the next seller.
It’s therefore critical to clearly define what all fulfillment options are for your customers. Some questions to ask yourself before listing an item include:
- Will I offer free shipping?
- What fulfillment options will I offer my customers? 1-day? 2-day? Standard? International?
- Will I offer returns?
- What is the return period?
- Will I refund shipping on returns?
While this list is by no means comprehensive, be sure to take some time to determine what the additional costs may be for these options and whether these costs are in line with your short and long-term business plans.
Great Customer Service Translates to Increased Sales
Studies show that 78% of consumers are likely to walk away from buying because of poor customer service. What’s worse, 89% of consumers who experienced bad customer service are likely to turn to a competitor. So, how can you be sure that you’re not losing any customers during your reselling journey?
The key to retaining customers and attracting new ones is to achieve a great customer service experience. Successful resellers know that every customer interaction counts, but there are a few surefire ways to take your small business to the next level.
- Timelines matter: Respond to all customer inquiries in a set time-frame – and advertise it. It goes without saying that a quicker inquiry turnaround will make your customers happier. A seller who responds to a customer’s inquiry in just a few hours will definitely stand out against other competitors who might be lagging on their responses.
- Always communicate with the customer: While customers value a quick turnaround, people are usually understanding if something comes up that might cause a delay. If this is the case, be sure to communicate with your audience if things will be delayed (fulfillment, shipping, deliveries, communication).
- Document: To save yourself time and also to ensure a consistent customer experience, document standard responses when responding to regularly asked questions.
- Plan ahead: Things don’t always go as planned. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for those instances when something goes wrong. Perhaps a customer isn’t satisfied with her order, or a package gets lost in the mail. Whatever the issue may be, have a plan and be sure to communicate the resolution to your customer in a timely manner.
- Monitor all feedback: You might think that you’re off the hook once an order has been fulfilled. However, it’s essential to continue monitoring and responding to customer feedback post-purchase. Customers will often times reach out once they’ve received their purchase if there are any issues. It’s also likely that a happy customer will post her feedback publicly. These ratings and reviews are just as important. They’re what other interested buyers will see when browsing and what ultimately differentiates a good seller from a great one!
- Make it a delightful experience for your buyers: It’s the details that count! Receiving a handwritten note in your package would certainly make your day. So, why not do the same for your customers? Thoughtfully package your item as well. We’ve heard from Ebay power sellers that tissue paper and twine are just 2 ways that smaller scale apparel, accessories, and health and beauty operations can go the extra mile in delivering excellent customer service. All of these gestures are quick and easy and have the potential to convince your buyer to come back for more!
Now that you know how to source inventory, manage your costs, and deliver exceptionally great customer service we hope that you’re feeling ready to take your online reselling business to the next level.