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What should luxury eCommerce brands look for in a fulfilment partner?

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The luxury eCommerce sector is experiencing something of a boom at the moment. Some of the most exclusive brands like  Dior and Chanel, who had in the past been vocally averse to the idea of going online, are now cashing in on the web. With a luxury product comes an expectation of a premium buying experience - the service you provide should wholly reflect your price point from end to end. So what should retailers look for to ensure their fulfilment provider is up to the job?

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Experience

When thinking about outsourcing online orders to a fulfilment centre, it’s important to seek out their track record. Have they worked with, and are they still working with, companies that sell similar products to yours? Perhaps they deal a lot with designer fashion, high-end beauty, watches and jewellery or consumer electronics? A long-standing history of fulfilling these types of items is an excellent sign that they can cater to your customers’ needs and do it well.

 

Security

Luxury eCommerce products often carry a much higher price tag than with your average stock, so may look attractive to thieves. Check that the warehouse(s) your goods will be kept at is safe and secure - pay them a visit if you can. Proper warehouse security should consist at the very least of full coverage 24 hour CCTV and a high-tech alarm system. A restricted access high-value goods area with additional security is also important for those extra-expensive items.

Data security is also important to consider as with fraud more prevalent than ever consumers want to feel reassured that their information is protected. Any third party that your luxury goods business works with, whether for fulfilment or otherwise, should follow strict data protection standards.

Care and accuracy

Consumers who like to indulge in more luxurious purchases generally have higher expectations when it comes to customer experience. For this reason it’s important to avoid mistakes wherever possible. If the customer is going to spend £300 on a designer jacket, they expect the correct item to arrive at the specified time in one piece. Anything otherwise is nothing short of a nuisance for them. For this reason your order fulfilment should use a software system with proven, near 100% accuracy. Failure to get things right could lose repeat business.

Traceability

In order to compete with the best luxury eTailers around it’s also important to think about the traceability of your goods. Can each order be tracked through each and every point in its journey, from the moment it’s placed to the minute it’s delivered, in real time?

While very important, tracking isn’t the only area you should consider when it comes to the traceability of your luxury goods. If your luxury goods include items like watches, cosmetics or consumer electronics then batch control is also important. If a particular product batch is found to have a fault or contamination issue then knowing who these products went out to will make the process of replacement, repair or recall far easier. Where your products might have an expiration date Best Before End date management is also important.

Ready for returns

It goes without saying that people will occasionally want to sent items back. The eCommerce industry as a whole is only just waking up to the fact that the hassle of posting a return, followed by the anxious wait for your refund or exchange, plays a huge part in the customer experience. Slow returns with poor customer communication can leave things on a sour note and ultimately damage your brand’s reputation.

One of the best ways to simplify and tidy up your returns process is through technology. While it’s difficult and time-consuming to develop your own, there are third parties that can provide you with access to their expert Returns Management Authorisation (RMA) systems.

RMA allows the customer to generate a return online, providing you with reasons and any extra comments, and once posted allows you and the customer to track it through to resolution, reducing the impact on customer services and leaving your customer feeling reassured.

To find out how James and James could help your luxury eCommerce brand expertly fulfil orders and delight your customers, get in touch with us today.

March 16th, 2016 by Jonnie Davis

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