Merchandising is no longer a differentiating factor in eCommerce. There are too many players offering the same or similar products with the corresponding mix. All a new player has to do to take the interest of your customers is some good marketing. The same challenge then passes on to them. So, how are successful retail and eCommerce brands able to retain their customer base?  

The answer boils down to services. And the quality of services delivered to customers is a derivative of the quality of business operations. After you have finalised your business planning and strategies, the buck passes on to your operational framework. And with poor operations, it is very difficult to make your strategies go right.

When it comes to the eCommerce space in the Middle East, there is no room for ordinary ways of doing eCommerce. While the UAE leads the eCommerce space in every possible aspect, countries like Saudi Arabia (and Egypt in the MENA region) are quickly catching up. So, when you are talking about things like services, customer experience, and meeting customer expectations in the eCommerce space in this part of the world, the behind-the-scenes operational framework has to be one of the best.

As a retail and eCommerce consulting firm for the Middle East market region, we always maintain that implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is a critical requirement for eCommerce brands and businesses operating in this region.

In this blog, we will see how the application of SOPs in various business functions/departments is helping eCommerce enterprises in building a flawless operational framework.

Adequate Stock Maintenance, High-Quality Standards, and Optimised Investments

Appropriateness in procurement, inventory, and warehouse management helps eCommerce businesses achieve many important objectives. First, market demands could be fulfilled in a timely manner. Next, investments in inventory are optimised. The accuracy and consistency in executing the QA and QC measures in hubs/warehouses prevent the entry of faulty products at the gates. Then there are different storage requirements for different products. Fulfilling these requirements drastically reduces the chances of any kind of damage to the products and helps keep the quality of products intact.

Today, eCommerce SOPs are helping many successful online brands and businesses around the world secure the maintenance of the required operational standards in their procurement operations. SOPs help them define these operations in terms of

  • Order specifications
  • Timing of ordering
  • Accountability of action
  • Authorising positions
  • Source of purchases, etc.

Because SOPs inherently come in detailed and systematic formats, it makes them ideal for executing precise standards like those involved in QA and QC measures.

Standard Operating Procedures for eCommerce also enable online businesses to implement the different storing requirements for different products in their warehouses and distribution centres. These eCommerce SOP manuals also serve as an operational roadmap to employees and help them become convergent with dynamic requirements.

Superior Digital Presence

Today, digital marketing is a necessary tool for eCommerce players in their pursuit of maintaining the desired connection and engagement with their digital audiences which includes both existing and potential customers.  There are several digital touchpoints in the shopping journey at which customers interact with a brand. This could be content seen on social media handles, website UX, online customer support systems including accessibility to customer care, the appearance of brand names in the news or other social platforms and discussions, etc. Maintaining the brand image and business requirements at these touchpoints call for a strong back-end operational framework.

Take the example of an eCommerce website. To ensure that the website continues to function as intended 24×7, many back-end operations must go on consistently and with precision. These operations include plugin updates, backup, service requests, updates for UX improvement, fixing bugs, maintaining the security standards, collecting and sending analytics data to other departments, keeping the users/customers informed, etc. By using SOPs, businesses are able to map, define, and streamline these technical operations in such ways that no activity in any operation is missed, the sequences of workflows are maintained, coordination between teams is secured, the required standards and improvisations always get implemented, and there is a solid monitoring system in place.

Precision in Order Fulfilment and Last-Mile Delivery

The closer an eCommerce brand gets to customers in the value chain, the more uncontrollable the service elements become. Imagine dispatching a wrongly labelled product for delivery. Hardly anything is changeable from here. The delivery person will have no clue that he is delivering to the wrong address. What the customer is most likely to do is initiate a complaint. But by then the damage to the brand image would have already happened.

The scope of the abovementioned operations comes under the FCs where the order fulfilment process is initiated and extended to the last-mile delivery operation. After order placement by customers, these order requests are received at the nearest FC or hub. From here, the goods are packed and the packages are labelled and then dispatched for delivery or the final delivery station. Any mistake in executing any of these operations will lead to mistakes like the one we discussed above.

With the right eCommerce SOPs in place and religious adherence to them, it could be ensured that the operational activities that come under FCs are carried out in a planned, systematic, and fastest way while maintaining adherence to the required operational standards. In other words, SOPs help businesses exercise superior control over some of the most immediate business activities affecting the customer experience.

Elevated Customer Experience (ECommerce CX)

Every business utility of implementing eCommerce SOPs that we have discussed so far in this blog leads to the achievement of one big result – a good eCommerce customer experience. From the peak point of every business process down to the operational details at the far ends of the value chain, the quality of every decision and action affects customers and how the brand makes them feel in the shopping journey. Whether we talk wherefrom the inventories are procured or how orders are handed over to customers, every operational detailing matters.

The infusion of SOPs is like the presence of a silent armour in the operational framework of an ebusiness enterprise. It prevents a business from committing operational deviations while letting it focus on operational precision.

About Your Retail Coach (YRC)

We are a retail and eCommerce consulting enterprise. With over ten years of experience as consulting partners, we have worked with over 500 clients in 25+ verticals. As a brand with budding international footprints, we believe in bringing consistency and improvisations in our service design and delivery to keep up and move beyond global standards. We deploy professional and experienced retail and eCommerce consultants in our projects.

For more information on our eCommerce SOP consulting services or to communicate with one of our online business consultants, please drop us a message.