Unpacking the Full Spectrum of Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment extends far beyond picking and shipping an order. For over two decades, the Capacity team has embraced an approach focused on the full spectrum of order fulfillment.
From setting up pick-pack systems that seamlessly blend human expertise and robotic automation to designing/implementing creative packaging that enhances a brand and delights customers, our fulfillment services influence so many aspects of the customer experience.
In the video below, our CSO Thom Campbell covers the creative approach that's required to achieve this breadth of service. And in this article, we'll unpack some of the ways that full spectrum of order fulfillment can be used to enhance a customer's experience with your brand!
Packaging Encapsulates Full Spectrum Fulfillment
Packaging has become synonymous with customer experience. There is a wide spectrum of customer experiences you can choose from.
On one end, there is cheap and cheerful. Amazon drops a product in a nondescript box, tapes it up, and sends it off to the customer. Cost-effective? Sure. Exciting for the end customer? Not so much. They just open the box and put away the item, which is absolutely fine for some product categories but a missed opportunity for so many others.
On the other end of the packaging spectrum, there's a curated experience that makes the customer feel special. The enormous amount of care taken in the presentation of their order, added to the fact that the physical package is aligned with their online experience and overall sense of the company, combines to build an affinity for - and sometimes greater loyalty to - the brand in question.
The surprise and delight of that experience is driven not only by the product but also the small details that some overlook. These include:
- how carefully you put it in the box,
- the type of packaging materials used,
- how tightly the product is packed and how secure it feels,
- little extras that are included, such as personal notes, free samples, and discounts on future orders.
Those little bespoke touches are critical to the identity of brands at the curated end of the spectrum.
It’s no bad thing to be cheap and cheerful when that's the cornerstone of your brand, but if you're in the business of building an experience and want your customers to order again and again, you should be able to offer something highly customized that brings them genuine delight!
How is Packaging Optimized for Curated Fulfillment?
We optimize packing presentations for our clients in three main ways:
- By giving feedback on customer presentations -- We work very closely with clients to give feedback on their customer presentation. This includes everything from operational efficiency, cost implications of their choices, impact on customer experience, as well as the overall value proposition of what they do now and what they could have.
- By lending operational efficiency without sacrificing brand experience. There are always opportunities to improve operational efficiency that don’t detract from brand experience. You can make boxes manually, for example, but it will add a lot of labor. Integrate an automated box erector and you can make hundreds of branded boxes automatically, without removing any customization from our customer’s brand experience.
- By offering a wide variety of pack-out experiences. We give our customers all kinds of materials to choose from so that they can craft a suitable pack-out experience. From efficient and inexpensive to super bespoke and customized, which obviously costs a bit more.
How do basic materials impact customer experience?
Well, we can give them any kind of packing paper: shredded, stretchy Geami, papillon paper, and tissue paper in every color of the rainbow. That means that the packaging that protects that all-important item can also match your brand colors or the emotions that you want the product to evoke. Put in the thought to align fulfillment operations with your brand and Capacity can make it happen.
We can also do any paper padding or give them recyclable air pillows. Sustainable materials are an increasingly important consideration as brands move to show customers that they are environmentally aware and making responsible choices for the world around us.
Ultimately, the choice of materials depends on the brand: what you want to show your customers and what they expect from the experience.
Everybody has their own thing, and everybody should have their own thing. That’s at the core of what we offer. We help our clients to understand that the customer's long-term value and potential for repeat business - is typically lower on the cheaper end of the fulfillment spectrum than it is on the curated end.
Kitting and Assembly Experts Can Help
When your packout is no frills, you can get it done with folding tables, basic materials, and a few hard-working folks to put the process together. That's actually a good idea, early on, when you just need to define the process and crank out the orders.
What brands fine as they begin to scale - and their packouts become more sophisticated - is that they need to both enhance and accelerate that process, which is no small task when you're talking about tens of thousands of orders a week.
We know this because we've walked that path and helped brands at every level improve their position on the spectrum of order fulfillment, not least through our expansive kitting and assembly expertise, which falls under the umbrella of value-added services. More on this again from our CSO Thom Campbell in the short video below.
A third-party partner often proves to be the most effective way to add this level of care and curation to your order fulfillment without recruiting an entirely new arm of your business. 3PLs with value-added services, such as dedicated assembly teams and packaging experts, offer a solution that adds both experience and operational efficiency to this aspect of your business in one move.
We have also worked with Nulogy, a Canadian company, to implement bleeding-edge software capability that allows us to take a bill of materials and create the same finished goods or saleable products thousands or millions of times over.
That replication of a well-defined, highly branded fulfillment process is one of the qualities that sets Capacity apart from most 3PLs in our sector.
The Fulfillment Spectrum: Where Should Your Brand Be?
Even when you understand that this spectrum of order fulfillment exists, there's no guarantee that you know where your brand should be on it. That takes bringing together your marketing, eCommerce, retail, and operations teams to
A fulfillment partner with decades of experience can also help, which is where Capacity comes in! If you could use some assistance, whether it's fine-tuning your existing logistics or reimaging your entire operation to move further up the spectrum of order fulfillment, we're here to help.