The old publishing adage, "Get it first and get it right, but first get it right," certainly applies to e-commerce. Buyers want to receive exactly what they ordered as quickly as possible. Make that happen, and you're well on your way to high customer satisfaction and lots of repeat business.

Creating a simple, logical system to check and double-check each order as it passes through the fulfillment center will help reduce costly mistakes and increase customer service ratings. And by combining your inventory tracking with procedures to double-check orders, you'll ultimately save on labor costs too.

Create an Order Checklist
The first step is to create a procedural checklist that itemizes each significant step in the order fulfillment process. Put two boxes on the order checklist sheet next to each line item: One box corresponds to the initial inventory pull, the second is a final checkoff box. The employee responsible for each fulfillment stage should initial the appropriate box. This allows management to track orders and determine where mistakes are being made in the process.

Debit Your Database as You Fulfill Orders
By combining your inventory tracking and order checking procedures, you can save on labor costs and ultimately provide a higher level of service to your customers. After pulling the merchandise and completing the order checklist sheet, debit the inventory database next. Careful inventory control will reduce shipping errors, help ensure you have product in stock, boost customer satisfaction, and provide valuable sales information as well.

Double-Check the Order before Sealing the Carton
Before attaching the shipping label and sealing the carton, make one final check that the merchandise being shipped matches what the customer ordered. Place a copy of the checkoff list in the box with a return-shipping label. If all goes well, that label will not be used. But if, for whatever reason, the customer must return part or all of the order, the label ensures that you get the return and the customer faces one less aggravation.

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