Order fulfillment is a critical part of your jewelry repair business; the strength of your fulfillment system will ultimately determine the success of your brand. Jewelry repair orders are often your second encounter with a customer, which means the stakes are even higher. Ensuring a quality repair is essential, but going above and beyond with fulfillment — providing a quick turnaround time, thoughtful packaging, and excellent communication about order progress — is what will keep your customers coming back for many years. Let’s take a look at how to organize your fulfillment system to optimize your business’ potential:
Order Fulfillment Methods
First and foremost, you’ll need to decide if you want to handle fulfillment yourself or if you prefer to work with a partner. There are pros and cons to both of these options:
- In-house fulfillment: Keeping order fulfillment in-house means every step of the process will happen under your roof, from start to finish. The benefits of in-house fulfillment include keeping quality control to the highest standards, managing returns through your own system, and minimizing communication with third-party vendors to cut down the time you have to spend on each order.
- Outsourcing fulfillment: If you perform your own repairs but don’t want to deal with the hassle of order fulfillment, outsourcing it to a third-party logistics provider is a good idea. Look for capabilities like order processing, packaging, and shipping that can take those fulfillment stresses off your plate. If you outsource your repairs, then you may want to consider asking if your repair provider also offers fulfillment. For a small fee, they’ll be able to ensure that completed jewelry is shipped directly from their repair facility to the customer on your behalf.
Elements of Fulfillment
Regardless of whether you handle them yourself or hire a third-party partner, the steps to order fulfillment require dedicated attention. Let’s look at the major steps of the fulfillment process:
The system you use to receive orders will directly impact your ability to make sales. Whether you complete repairs in-house or outsource them to an external repair team, you’ll still need to collect critical information about both the customer and their repair request:
- Personal details like the customer’s name, shipping address, and billing information.
- Details about the repair. Do they need a chain longer or shorter, and by how much? If they’re replacing an earring back, then what new backing type do they want? Attaching a before photo is always helpful too.
- Shipping and insurance preferences.
Once you’ve received the order, it also helps to have a system to manage each repair as it makes progress. Find a digital system that will allow you to keep your team organized and efficient as you make progress and track repair orders.
Packaging can be a simple task; safely secure the repaired item in a padded envelope or box, slap on a label, and you’re good to go. But if you want to take things a step further, you can use your packaging as part of your marketing strategy. Here are some ways to make your packaging stand out and help make your brand more memorable:
- Add handwritten or personalized notes to your customers.
- Gift branded coasters, stickers, or iPhone poppers as freebies.
- Use customized packaging tape with your logo and a catchy slogan.
- Select a unique packing filler like confetti or flowers instead of styrofoam peanuts.
- Provide pouches or boxes that customers can reuse as travel jewelry carriers.
You have lots of options when it comes to managing your shipping costs, and picking the right strategy will depend largely on your business priorities. If you’re focused on customer experience, you might want to provide shipping free of cost; free shipping is so popular that the number one reason for abandoned shopping carts is shipping cost. 63% of consumers say that they bailed on a transaction because the shipping fee was too high. Providing free shipping removes any friction that might stop a customer from finalizing their order.
The downside of offering free shipping is that someone needs to foot the bill. You can build some of that cost into the listed price of the service or product, and you’ll have to shoulder the rest as a business expense. If you have the runway to take a long term view, keep in mind that those additional expenses can even out in the end; offering free shipping is likely to help you attract more business and accumulate more orders over time.
If the up-front costs associated with providing free shipping don’t feel realistic for your business, you can always pass shipping fees onto your customers. At the end of the payment process, let them choose the courier and the shipping method they prefer. Use a real-time calculator to help customers compare options from USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc by displaying the exact shipping costs down to the penny. This is a transparent way to communicate shipping fees; it lets customers know that the price is being set by an external third party and that you’re not overcharging them or pocketing any of the fees.
When customers entrust their jewelry to your company, they want to know that their precious items are in safe hands. Communicating with your customer throughout the fulfillment process is as important as updating them during the repair itself. It's a good idea to send out notifications anytime there's news so customers feel looped in, even if the update is a small one. Whether you're sending out fully formatted emails or simple SMS text messages, try notifying your customers when:
- You’ve received their order.
- You’ve received their items in the mail.
- Your team has started the repair work.
- Your team has completed the repair.
- Their jewelry is packed and ready to be shipped.
- Their jewelry is en route on its way back to them.
- Their jewelry has been safely delivered.
You don’t have to notify them every step of the way if you don’t want to, but choose a few popular updates to keep your customers in the loop and reflect the general tone of your business communications. If you want to take a more hands-off approach, try providing order tracking and shipment tracking capabilities. This self-service strategy will allow your customers to check on the progress of their repair anytime, whether it’s on a jeweler’s bench or being transported by a courier. This is a great way to help your customers feel confident about trusting you with their jewelry, and it will also reduce calls, emails, or other inquiries from customers wondering where their jewelry is or when they can expect to receive it.
Keeping fulfillment in-house gives you more control over the customer experience you can offer, which will help you build your business and form lasting relationships in the long run. But in-house fulfillment doesn't have to be a headache when you use Reshyne. Our one-of-a-kind software platform allows you to receive and process orders, assign and manage work across your team, and facilitate seamless communications with your customers, vendors, and partners so you can increase efficiency and get back to doing what you do best. Ready to see how Reshyne can help you streamline your in-house fulfillment process? Schedule a demo today.