The Benefits of Order Editing in E-commerce (2024)

Picture this: you've just placed an online order for a wedding guest outfit, only to find out that your chosen color is on a do-not-wear list!

Luckily, your order hasn't shipped yet, so you sign into your account and update the color. A few hours later, the order ships with no problems.

In a perfect world, editing orders would always be that easy. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. The ease of order editing depends on a brand's technology stack as well as its 3PL's capabilities. If it's not a seamless experience - brands could face some negative attention from unhappy customers.

In 2024, the average customer is looking for flexibility to change their orders up until the very last minute. Maybe it's the holiday season and they found a gift for a loved one they prefer, or they realized they need a different size.

Editing orders is also a vital factor for a positive post-purchase experience. Brands may want to add last-minute inserts or specialized packaging or include the option to gift wrap. Both of which require the tools and tech in place for editing orders.

In this blog, we're taking a deep dive into the benefits of order editing in e-commerce, best practices, and how Ryder's proprietary e-commerce fulfillment technology makes order editing a breeze!

What is order editing?

Order editing refers to the ability to adjust any aspect of an e-commerce order that has already been placed and processed. This may include color/size variations of a SKU, the number of products in the order, address updates, and more.

In e-commerce, the ability to edit an order enables brands to provide their customers with a more seamless and flexible shopping journey. It makes correcting mistakes easier and gives customers the ability to self-service - no emails or phone calls with customer support needed.

Why might you need to edit customer orders?

Change of mind

Let's be honest - customers don't always have their minds completely made up when they click 'purchase'. It's not unusual for a shopper to purchase one size and decide they should have gone with a different size shortly after buying. Customers may also want to remove items completely if they find a cheaper price elsewhere, or simply change their mind.

Order errors

Occasionally, a customer may receive an order confirmation email that doesn't match the products they've purchased. There may be mistakes in quantities or SKU variations - or items could be missing altogether. When this happens, the customer service team will need to edit the order before it ships out to reflect the original requests and avoid additional shipping costs for replacement items.

Insufficient amount of inventory

Even with robust planning, insufficient stock can still happen. Whether a product went viral or a brand simply didn't order enough SKUs to meet demand, having the ability to edit orders creates a quick solution. For example, a brand may work with a customer to edit their order to remove out-of-stock items and find suitable replacements.

Address updates/corrections

The great thing about technology? It can plug in your shipping address with one tap.

The not-so-great thing about technology? It can easily pull in the wrong shipping address or format it incorrectly for what postal services need.

If shoppers overlook what address they've used (or if they've mistyped an apartment number), an order runs the risk of going to the completely wrong place. This is where address verification comes in! But to act on issues flagged in the verification process, order editing needs to be in place. Once the verified address is confirmed, the order can quickly be updated to minimize delays.

Packaging changes

Whether a customer wants to add last-minute gift wrapping, a brand wants to include promotional packaging for a premium experience, or cut shipping costs with smaller containers, packaging changes are inevitable in e-commerce. Having the ability to edit orders right up until that label is printed and shipped out allows brands to deliver exceptional, flexible, cost-effective experiences at the click of a button.

The advantages of editing e-commerce orders

Avoid order cancelations and refunds

Having the ability to edit orders is the key to minimizing order cancelations (and therefore lost revenue). When customers want to update their orders and are told they can't, the most likely next step is to cancel and submit a new order from scratch - or more likely, that frustrated customer will choose to shop elsewhere.

For brands, this means having to issue a refund to the customer. This takes time and energy on the operations side - not to mention profit loss. With seamless order editing functionality in place, this can easily be avoided.

More flexibility to reward customers

When brands can seamlessly edit an order, it creates more opportunities to reward customers with special offers, fast shipping, special packaging, and more. For example, if a loyalty program customer has selected standard shipping, the brand can update the shipping time for a faster delivery to show their appreciation to the customer. Likewise, when a customer selects a replacement item instead of canceling the order, the brand can quickly add a discount to reward the customer.

Meeting changing customer preferences

If one thing is certain, it's that consumer preferences are consistently changing - especially for beauty or apparel brands that have regular product drops of new colors or styles. One week, consumers may be flocking to a certain color, and the next week, the opposite. When consumers choose one product and decide to update their order based on what is trending, businesses that can accommodate will be ahead of the game. With a strong order editing process, e-commerce brands can easily help customers chase the newest and best products.

Things to bear in mind when editing e-commerce orders

Edits may cause delays in order fulfillment

It's no surprise that editing an order may cause delays in fulfilling orders. Depending on the change, a warehouse associate may have to remove an unwanted item, pick a replacement item, and pack the new item appropriately - this alone could keep an order in the warehouse, missing that day's cut-off time for carrier pickup. To ensure fulfillment status doesn't change too drastically, brands will need to work closely with their 3PL to develop standard operating procedures that aim to stay within the original timeline.

Your original shipping method may no longer be appropriate

In e-commerce, shipping methods are typically determined by the products chosen as well as the order value. For example, if a customer removes an item (or the item is no longer in stock) the order value may drop below the free shipping threshold, deeming the customer ineligible for the cost savings. Or, they may need a specialist shipping service if certain items are added, such as hazmat shipping.

Changing orders may affect discounts/promotions being applied

Similar to a free shipping threshold, if customers delete existing products, they may no longer meet the T&Cs to qualify for a promotion. For example, if a brand is offering 10% off orders over $50, a customer may not be able to remove items and keep their discount. When this happens, it's important to let the customer know that they no longer qualify and give them the option to add the product (or similar products) to their order to receive the promotion. Brands can do this via email, SMS, or within an account portal.

Edits may cause changes in order value

Whether customers are adding, replacing, or deleting items completely, an order edit can easily cause a change in order value. For e-commerce brands, this can significantly affect their average order value, depending on whether they need to give refunds for out-of-stock inventory or collect more for additional products. No matter the case, it's important for brands to consistently track their order edits and order value to ensure profitability.

Best practices for seamless order editing

Set a timeframe for order edits

The most important part of order editing in e-commerce is to set a specific timeframe where edits can be applied to avoid disruptions to the fulfillment process.

For example, a brand could allow customer details such as shipping address or order details to be edited for 48 hours from when customers receive their confirmation email. Any order edits that fall outside that timeframe may not be approved, since the order is likely already picked, packed, and on its way to being shipped.

Provide customers with up-to-date information about their order

Transparency is key in e-commerce. E-commerce customers are most likely to submit help requests for WISMO (Where is my order?). Keeping your shoppers in the loop via email, text, or through their profile in your online store will ease any concerns about the status of their package. Plus, if order status is available directly within a customer's account, it'll free up your support team to focus on larger issues at hand.

Onboard an intuitive OMS (Order Management System)

Having a seamless, advanced OMS is vital for managing order edits. But, what is an OMS? It's essentially the nucleus of a fulfillment operation - a software tool that streamlines fulfillment, tracking, and processing orders with data-driven analytics, automated fulfillment processes, and customer order rules.

Without an OMS, order edits wouldn't be feasible - if no system tracks and manages order fulfillment, there's no way to update orders in real-time and pass information along to warehouse staff.

With Ryder's proprietary fulfillment technology, e-commerce brands can pause, edit, and cancel orders instantaneously - all from one intuitive, user-friendly dashboard. Plus, any special order rules will be automatically applied once orders are edited. Did the customer add a fragile product to their order? Special packaging will be applied based on the SKU. Did the order value exceed a discount threshold? A marketing insert with a special discount will be applied during the packing process.

The power of continuously improving order editing

No matter the vertical, e-commerce brands will almost always run into order edit requests. Whether it's an error that needs to be fixed, or an adjustment due to customer preferences, having technology and operations in place to ensure seamless order editing can be the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal brand advocate.

The Benefits of Order Editing in E-commerce (2024)
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