By: Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO of ShipHero
When your eCommerce brand is in its early stages, manually logging data into spreadsheets and using label printers is good enough. It’s enough to manage your inventory and stay updated with your fulfillment needs.
But then your brand starts growing rapidly, and the volume of orders surges. Suddenly, static spreadsheets and manual printing aren’t good enough. Your eCommerce store deserves more than manual data logging and printing.
The Issues with Spreadsheets & Label Printers
Spreadsheets and label printers aren’t practical choices for fast-growing eCommerce brands, and here’s why.
They’re time-consuming & rely on manual labor
Spreadsheets don’t update automatically – you have to manually input inventory data, order data and other relevant information. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also means that if the sheets aren’t frequently up-to-date, you’ll be viewing outdated information.
Managing your inventory becomes difficult if you’re viewing outdated inventory information, including incorrect inventory levels or valuation. Your team is more likely to make mistakes.
Can’t be automated
When filling large volumes of orders, manually printing each label is inefficient and delays the packaging process. Unfortunately, standalone label printers don’t come with automation functionality.
Additionally, spreadsheets lack automation capabilities, too – they don’t automatically update themselves with real-time data. This means that, unless the information is frequently updated, you won’t have access to the most recent data.
Prone to errors
Humans make mistakes, and even the most experienced logistics teams aren’t safe from making the occasional typo. Unfortunately, when it comes to data as vital as your inventory, mistakes can cost you significantly.
Inaccurate inventory levels could lead to overstocking or shortages. Additionally, a wrong label could lead to wrong order complaints, inviting return costs, and return expenses.
Don’t integrate with your eCommerce store
Because spreadsheets can’t integrate with your eCommerce store, the data has to be manually inputted into the sheets. Moreover, the data doesn’t sync either, so if your sheets indicate a product shortage, you won’t know immediately.
Not knowing when you’re understocked prevents eCommerce merchants from removing the product listing on time. Thus, customers may order the item, and you’ll have to delay or cancel the order. Either way, you’re left with unhappy customers.
Since label printers don’t integrate with your eCommerce store either, you miss out on the benefits that an integrated process has to offer. You don’t get automated printouts with labels that have the relevant order details, including customer data, the required items, and the delivery address. Instead, your workforce has to manually pull the information off your site and use it accordingly.
Reporting is a mess
What orders were shipped today? What’s your current inventory value? You’ll need to have multiple spreadsheets for different reporting purposes, and making sense of the disparate data becomes tedious.
If you’re dealing with a large amount of data at scale, inefficient reporting delays fulfillment processes and invites errors.
How to Go Beyond Spreadsheets & Label Printers
As your eCommerce brand continues to grow, you don’t have to limit yourself to spreadsheets and label printers. There are more efficient, effective methods that require less manual work.
Use warehouse management software (WMS)
Warehouse management software is the most effective tool for organizing your eCommerce fulfillment data and streamlining your logistics. The software seamlessly integrates with your eCommerce store and provides real-time analytics – you’re no longer limited to static data from spreadsheets.
With WMS, eCommerce merchants can pull up real-time inventory valuation, monitor live inventory levels, and view today’s order history all from one centralized dashboard.
Work with a 3PL
Third-party logistics providers take order fulfillment troubles off your hands, including managing and updating inventory data. Leading 3PLs don’t rely on spreadsheets or label printers – they have their own software that syncs your data and streamlines fulfillment operations.
Make use of mobile software
Your logistics team is constantly on the go, whether they’re picking products from the warehouse or shipping them off with your carrier. Mobile logistics software equips your workforce with real-time data that they can use to verify orders and track inventory data, streamlining their workflow and reducing pick and pack errors.
Advanced warehouse and inventory management software allows eCommerce merchants to set automation rules to perform tasks in response to “triggers.” For example, when a customer’s order is verified, your store-integrated WMS can automatically generate picking tickets to optimize your team’s workflow.
Additionally, fulfillment software can automatically notify eCommerce merchants of decreasing inventory levels if the stock falls below a given amount. You can also set automated reorder points to ensure you never face shortages or suffer from overstocking.
Use data to determine what needs to be improved
Access to real-time, organized analytics helps you focus on what the statistics indicate, instead of being bogged down by an overwhelming amount of disparate data.
With the right warehouse management software, you can access relevant data and analytics and identify problem areas.
Is your store’s return rate unusually high? Were there more packing errors this month than in the previous year? Do you have some dead-weight items that are driving up your warehousing costs?
These are just a few questions that shipping software can bring to your attention.
How ShipHero Improves Fulfillment Operations
ShipHero is a leading warehouse management software and fulfillment provider, catering to some of the fastest-growing DTC eCommerce brands. We streamline your fulfillment operations with:
Done-for-you fulfillment services
You can outsource your entire order fulfillment process to ShipHero – we’ll manage your inventory, organize data and analytics, take care of the shipping and even manage returns.
ShipHero Fulfillment is the top choice for eCommerce brands that want to focus on growing sustainably while knowing their logistics are in good hands.
You can split your inventory across ShipHero’s nationwide network of fulfillment centers to reduce delivery times and costs. When a customer places an order, it’s picked, packed, and shipped from the nearest center, minimizing travel time and fuel costs.
Worried that a distributed inventory might complicate inventory tracking and order data? Don’t be – ShipHero’s leading warehouse management software syncs all the data, and you can access real-time insights from your ShipHero dashboard.
Mobile pick & pack
ShipHero’s pick and pack teams are “mobile-powered” – which means they use smartphone devices to guarantee accurate picking and packing. The ShipHero Mobile App lets logistics personnel scan barcodes to ensure the correct items are shipped, and you can access customer information to guarantee orders are sent to the right location.
Spreadsheets and label printers are inefficient tools for logging and managing data. As your brand continues to grow, your workforce will struggle to keep data up-to-date and track inventory analytics.
A warehouse management software solution like ShipHero integrates with your eCommerce platform or marketplace, syncing all your relevant data and making it accessible from a single, centralized dashboard. Additionally, our mobile-powered workforce picks and packs orders with minimal errors or mistakes.
Your business deserves more than spreadsheets & label printers. So upgrade now with ShipHero.
Schedule a meeting today with our experts to learn more about our WMS built for eCommerce brands & 3PLs looking to run their best warehouse and how ShipHero works to ensure that organizations invest in the solutions that match their needs, to improve productivity, revenue, and success.
Click HERE to Schedule a Meeting Today
Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO
About the author: Aaron Rubin is the Founder & CEO of ShipHero. He is responsible for planning and executing the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Rubin’s greatest strengths are leadership, change management, strategic planning and a passion for progression. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of ShipHero’s major initiatives, his entrepreneurial spirit, and keen business acumen. His leadership of ShipHero is grounded in providing excellent customer service that drives improved business operations. His passion for ShipHero comes from the culture and his ability to have an impact on the lives of employees, customers, partners, and investors.