Managing and fulfilling orders can be a time-consuming aspect of running a growing ecommerce business. which is often oblivious to the buyer.
From checking inventory to reviewing order details and delivery options, and picking, packing and labeling, a lot of work happens behind the scenes you pass an order off to a carrier or delivering locally. As your order volume increases and your business becomes more complex, it can become even harder to manage.
Not only is this work tedious, it requires you to be on your feet and physically move around. You need to be able to check inventory from the warehouse floor (or wherever you store inventory) and bring it to the place you prepare orders for delivery.
Managing and fulfilling orders on mobile is a great way to level-up this process. Mobile gives you the portability you need to manage and fulfill orders from anywhere, and it makes it easier for you to get orders out the door more quickly.
Here are 3 ways Shopify’s mobile app can improve your ability to manage and fulfill orders more effectively:
1. Use the barcode scanner to keep an accurate count of inventory
In order to meet your obligation of fulfilling an order, you need to have the right amount of inventory on hand. The truth of the matter is products can break, go missing, or be miscounted.
A best practice to ensure inventory accuracy is to conduct regular stock takes, normally about once or twice per month. Stock takes are the retail management practice of taking stock of the current inventory you have on hand. This process requires checking inventory wall-to-wall and verifying the quantity of items.
With the Shopify mobile app, you can do this by quickly scanning the barcode for each product and updating the quantity, directly from the app. Doing this on mobile gives you the portability you need to look through shelves or walk down the aisle of your warehouse floor, so you aren’t tied to your desk.
💡 TIP: Most products come with a barcode, especially products that you curate and resell. Shopify’s system recognizes most of the barcode label standards on the market. When you scan the barcode, it will automatically prompt you to link a new barcode to an existing product. No barcode setup is required. If you make your own products or don’t have product barcodes, you can use one of these apps from the Shopify app store to create and print barcode labels.
2. Keep track of incoming orders anytime, anywhere
As a busy entrepreneur, it’s difficult to be at your desk 24/7 monitoring sales and orders. Shopify’s mobile app makes it easy to keep track of incoming orders, so you can stay on top of your business no matter where you are.
As you monitor orders coming in on your phone, you can better prioritize and plan your fulfillment windows. For example, if you have a large volume of orders, you may want to dedicate a few hours the next day to fulfill those orders. On the other hand, if you have only a few orders, you may be better off working on other things and waiting until more orders come through before fulfilling.
What’s also great about this is you can start to organize your orders as they come in. Every merchant prioritizes and organizes their orders differently. Some merchants leverage tags or notes to add more information about their orders. They might even tag a staff member who will fulfill orders on their behalf. Some common practices are to prioritize based on order date (oldest to newest), delivery method (local vs. expedited vs. standard), order value (highest to lowest), product type, location in warehouse, packaging requirements or customer segment.
For example, if you know an incoming order requires a large box, add a tag for “large box”. If an incoming order requires a small box, add a tag for “small box”. If you want to prioritize repeat customers, add a tag to the order that says “VIP”. If you want to prioritize orders for new customers, add a tag to the order that says “first-time purchase”. When it comes time to fulfill, you can leverage the search or filtering features on the mobile app to find the orders you want to fulfill as a group and in which order.
💡 TIP: Buyers can make mistakes when shopping online. Sometimes they choose the wrong product or want to add another product to their order. Use order editing on the Shopify mobile app to accommodate these changes to orders as soon as the request comes in. Doing this in the moment can help make sure you have the information correct before starting your fulfillment process.
3. Bulk fulfill orders from wherever you store inventory
Being on the move when counting and managing your inventory is important, but you also need physical space when it comes to picking, packing and labeling your orders for delivery. Shopify’s mobile app gives you the flexibility to fulfill many orders at the same time.
When you are ready to fulfill a set of orders, use the Shopify mobile app to bulk select the group of orders you wish to fulfill first. As mentioned before, this could be based on order date, product type or location in your warehouse, packaging requirements, delivery method, order value or customer segmentation. Whatever grouping and prioritization system you use, the goal is to fulfill multiple orders with similar qualities at once, instead of going through each individual order one-by-one.
Once you’ve selected your group of orders, bulk print the packing slips right from your phone. These packing slips have all the details of what products need to be fulfilled and shipped and can be used to collect the inventory required for your orders.
Once you’ve collected the products required for fulfillment and delivery, the next step is to purchase and print shipping labels (US, Canada, and Australia only). With the same list of orders selected, click create shipping labels in bulk. Go through each order to add package details, select shipping service, and print the shipping label. You can even use the mobile app to scan tracking numbers and add to each order.
The next step is to create your assembly line of packing slips, products, packaging, and shipping labels to quickly fulfill your orders. Once all your orders are packed and assembled, click “mark as fulfilled” on the bulk set of orders from your phone. This will automatically update the inventory quantities in your online store. Your orders are now ready to be picked up or dropped off to the shipping provider. If you use USPS, the Shipping Manifest app can be used from your mobile device to create a scan form. This means when USPS comes to collect your orders, they can scan a single barcode, instead of many, to accept your shipment.
💡 TIP: Communicating shipping speeds to your customers at checkout can help improve cart conversion, provide clarity and transparency, and increase consumer confidence. Learn more about how to add shipping speeds directly from your Shopify Admin.
Get started with the Shopify mobile app
These tips and tricks can level-up your order management and fulfillment process. The Shopify mobile app gives you the portability and flexibility you need to check inventory accuracy at any time, manage orders as they come in, and fulfill faster from the place you pick, pack and prepare orders for delivery.