Blog Posts The Best Way to Prepare Your Subscription Company for Ecommerce

Are your subscribers looking for more purchase options? Often, subscription companies find that customers want to buy a full-size version of a sample they’ve already received or try another item in a product line in addition to their subscription order. Adding an ecommerce sales channel can help to enhance the shopping experience for subscribers and generate a new revenue stream for your subscription business.

To ensure success, it is important to understand how online orders will impact fulfillment operations. In her latest blog for MultiChannel Merchant, Saddle Creek’s Director of Fulfillment, Nicole Lee, discusses how to prepare your subscription operations to accommodate ecommerce fulfillment.

Following is an excerpt from the blog…

7 Tips for Adding Ecommerce to Your Subscription Box Business

When adding an online channel, companies should plan to make some operational adjustments. Here are 7 things you need to focus on to help ensure your ecommerce fulfillment is a success.

Make Information Easily Accessible

Unlike subscribers who are replenishing frequently bought items or looking forward to a monthly surprise, online shoppers tend to research purchases extensively online. They expect up-to-date information about inventory and availability, and, once they place an order, they expect real-time shipment tracking. A robust order management system (OMS) can help to provide the desired visibility.

Prepare for Multiple Order Profiles

For companies with a batch subscription box model, all orders are usually identical and can be fulfilled easily all at the same time. By contrast, ecommerce orders are more likely to be unique. As a result, online order fulfillment typically requires piece picking. This labor-intensive process requires more staff with higher decision-making skills to ensure that the proper item is selected from hundreds (or thousands) of options. To support ecommerce and subscription box fulfillment, companies must be able to accommodate both order profiles.

Emphasize Accuracy

Picking items individually increases the potential for error. Barcoding can help to ensure accuracy. Utilizing Lean and Six Sigma methodologies also can help to improve quality, consistency and efficiency.

Accommodate Higher Inventory Volume

Ecommerce orders may require more inventory on hand than subscription box orders with a set number of SKUs. To provide greater storage density and increase picking efficiency, a warehouse facility with higher ceilings, narrow aisle widths and strategic racking systems can be beneficial. If inventory is distributed across multiple locations, an OMS offers the ability to pull from numerous fulfillment sources.

For more tips, read the full article.