Ecommerce order fulfillment and what it means for companies of the same nature, is defined as the necessary procedures and protocols a business goes through in order to get orders from consumers and delivering the said order to their doorstep.
The generalized and simplified process of ecommerce order fulfillment involves the storage or warehousing, packing, shipping, and finally the delivery of items to fulfill customers’ orders.
Although the order fulfillment process differs between sellers and businesses due to very unique intricacies making each procedure slightly different, this article shall focus more on order fulfillment services for ecommerce/internet companies.
Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Steps
Step 1 – Inventory Handling
For an ecommerce company, there are usually only two possible ways to handle their respective inventory. The company can either choose to acquire and store the received products, from their respective manufacturers and suppliers, in-house, or they can hire an ecommerce order fulfillment service provider to handle the stock as well as any other related inventory handling tasks. Such tasks that either the company or the order fulfillment service would have to do are counting items, inspecting products, labeling goods and updating the inventory system put in place.
Step 2 – Inventory Storage
If a company does decide to store their products in-house, then they need to accomplish the necessary tasks that come with handling their items’ storage. Proper shelving of items as well as keeping track of all incoming and outgoing products is essential for any business in order to know which items sell the most and which do not and using this information, stock up accordingly. However, a company wouldn’t have to think about all this if they simply hired an ecommerce order fulfillment outsourcer to do the job.
Step 3 – Order Processing with 3PL Order Fulfillment
This step is where customers place an order and the corresponding item shall be located, retrieved, inspected again for any damage and finally brought to a shipping station where it’ll be packed and delivered to the consumer. With the use of the implemented inventory system fulfillment software the company collects the necessary details regarding the product such as what type of packaging to use, shipping address and other sensitive information that is required.
Step 4 – Packing and Shipping
When the item has arrived at the shipping station, it is then prepped for transport. The station has the responsibility of figuring out the best, efficient and safest shipping method for any particular package. Several factors need to be put into account before determining this, some of which are a package’s weight, size, fragility, specifications and other requirements. They also have the duty of notifying the sellers if a product has been shipped, in order to have clear communication between the business and its consumers.
Step 5 – Returns Processing
For online consumers, having the proper means to effectively return any item, be it due to being unwanted or damaged, is a huge factor in the entire online fulfillment service process. It is essential that companies have transparent return policies, for both staff and consumers, in order to have the most efficient process. Proper implementation of said policies will allow the receiving, swapping and refunding of returned products to be as smooth and autonomous as possible.
Simplified Steps to ecommerce Order Fulfillment
Although the steps to the ecommerce order fulfillment process was outlined above, the procedure can still be simplified into simpler, more understandable steps.
- A customer places an order (through phone, email, online, etc).
- The order is received.
- Confirmation of order is sent to the client.
- The corresponding order/item request is sent to the storage warehouse.
- The item is located, retrieved and brought to the shipping station.
- The order is properly packaged and is ready for delivery.
- Order is shipped and is now in transit.
- Customer receives an update that the package is on the way.
- Order makes it into the hands of the customer.
- If needed, the customer returns the item and a refund/replacement is given.
- Order is now fulfilled and the company’s inventory will be updated.
As an order fulfillment company for online retailers, we can assure you of fast and reliable order fulfillment services at affordable prices. We’ll be sure to take care of all your logistical needs and provide you the opportunity to grow your business. We take pride in our ability to fulfill the above steps with professional service that’ll surely contribute to your business’ success.