Definitions for Order Fulfillment & E-Commerce Shipping from A to Z

We stay on top of the most recent trends and jargon in the ecommerce fulfillment industry so you don’t have to.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of frequent abbreviations, acronyms, and phrases you’re likely to come across while dealing with a retail fulfillment provider or fulfilling your orders in yourself.

We hope this information helps you understand the world of internet order fulfillment!

Ecommerce fulfillment definitions

Third-party logistics (3PL): A 3PL, or third-party logistics service, is a company that helps ecommerce firms manage the shipping of their products. Ecommerce businesses can outsource logistics processes such as storage, picking, packing, and shipping to a 3PL.

Air cargo: Freight that is carried by air transportation.

B2B: Business-to-business transactions, in which one firm purchases items or services from another.

B2C: The process that occurs when a business sells its goods or services to one final customer.

Backorder: When a consumer places an order for a product that is out of stock at the moment, but assures it will be provided once more, this is known as a delayed shipment.

Barcoding: Identifying and extracting information from an item to enable reading it quickly and precisely by an electronic barcode scanner.

Batch fulfillment: Fulfilling a large number of orders at the same time. Crowdfunding campaign rewards, for example, are frequently sent through batch fulfillment at the conclusion of the campaign.

Carrier: The company that delivers the merchandise, such as United Parcel Service (UPS), DHL, and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Crowdfunding fulfillment: At the conclusion of a crowdfunding campaign, rewards are delivered to contributors.

Dashboard: The solution from which merchants may connect to their ecommerce platform, manage orders, monitor live status changes, access advanced analytics, contact Launch Fulfillment Customer Success, handle returns, and more is available through Launch Fulfillment.

Dimensional weight: The weight of a package is determined by its length, breadth, and height. Using the longest point on each side, this weight may be estimated.

Distributed inventory: To achieve a quicker transit time and lower shipping expenses, the inventory of a merchant may be split across several fulfillment centers throughout the United States (and potentially abroad).

Dropshipping: The manufacturer of a product may fulfill orders through an ecommerce order fulfillment approach, in which inventory is created and kept by the maker. When a consumer places an order, the item is immediately transported from the producer to the ultimate customer.

DTC: Direct-to-consumer, also known as DTC, is a type of order that is delivered directly to the end customer.

Ecommerce platform: Launch Fulfillment is an ecommerce management software that allows online retailers to operate their ecommerce websites, sales, and operations. Launch Fulfillment connects directly with a variety of major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and others.

EDI: EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is an industry-wide standard for the exchange of company information. The method by which many systems communicate with one another to pass data. Purchase orders, invoices, and advance ship notifications are some of the most frequent EDI documents.

FBA: Fulfillment by Amazon is the name given to a process in which goods are sent from an Amazon fulfillment center to the ultimate customer.

Freight forwarder: A middleman who arranges the transportation of items on behalf of a seller or buyer. To obtain cheaper shipping costs, freight forwarders frequently combine several little shipments into one larger one.

Freight shipment: This is your carrier’s method for tracking shipments. If you’re sending a heavy item,

  1. Less than Truckload (LTL) = 1 to 6 pallets
  2. Partial Truckload (PTL) = 6 to 12 pallets
  3. Full Truckload (FTL) = 12 to 24 pallets

Fulfillment center: A company that provides inventory management and order fulfillment services through outsourcing. The fulfillment centers at Launch Fulfillment are where our customers’ inventory is stored, managed, collected, packed, and sent to their clients.

Fulfillment services provider: A third-party organization that handles part or all of the following order fulfillment operations on behalf of an ecommerce firm: order processing, packing, picking, delivery, and/or returns management.

Hazardous materials: Gases, chemicals, and solvents are examples of this category. They are extremely hazardous when transported incorrectly. If mishandled, such material might pose a risk to persons or property, or the environment. In order to comply with all laws, Launch Fulfillment allows merchants to label inventory items as “Dangerous Goods” on the Shopify dashboard

Inventory: The items available to a merchant at any given moment.

Inventory management: The monitoring of product levels, orders, sales, and deliveries. Merchants may use Launch Fulfillment to sync inventory from their online shops, view real-time inventory counts, proactively reorder inventory, access advanced reporting to track inventory trends, and more.

Kitting and assembly: A single SKU is assigned to a collection of several distinct items, which have been purchased and delivered under that SKU. A variety pack, for example, might include three distinct products that are offered separately. When you order a bundle or variety pack, our fulfillment team may assemble the goods into a single shipment for you at no extra cost. Our shipping services include kitting, in which our center staff “kits” the products together to create a bundle or collection package.

Last-mile delivery: The transportation of a package from one point to another with the intention of delivering it as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Net weight: The weight of a product without its packaging.

On-demand warehousing: The temporary-stocker platform is a service that connects companies in need of storage and fulfillment with warehouses with excess capacity.

Order fulfillment: The process of receiving, processing, packing, picking, and shipping an order from beginning to end.

Packing: The process of preparing the picked items for shipment once they’ve been plucked. This might include the usage of bespoke packaging, inserts, air cushions, and other packing supplies.

Packing slip: A list of items to bring with you when moving.

Pallet: In large quantities, a flat transport structure is used to move and store products. Goods are safely supported when being lifted by a forklift while utilizing pallets. Pallet dimensions (height varies) are as follows:

  • 48” L X 40” W X #” H
  • 48” L X 48” W X #” H
  • 48” L X 96” W X #” H

Picking: Within the fulfillment center, the process of obtaining a pre-defined quantity of distinct items from their designated locations to fulfill a customer order.

Picking list: A document that details the items to be retrieved from storage, including inventory quantities and locations.

Receiving: The acceptance of incoming inventory and storage of resulting inventory are both completed in the fulfillment center.

Reorder point: The stock level at which inventory must be reordered to keep adequate supply in stock for orders placed in the near future. You may also use Launch Fulfillment to set up automatic reorder notifications, which can remind you when it’s time to restock your supplies. Selecting the correct reorder notification point ensures that there is enough time to send and replenish additional inventory before orders are put on hold because of a lack of stock.

Returns handling: Orders/products returned by the end customer are received, processed, and possibly restocked.

Self-fulfillment: In the context of eCommerce, “in-house fulfillment” refers to a method of delivering goods in which the merchant fulfills orders on their own, rather than through a dropshipper or outsourced fulfillment solution.

Shipping zones: Within each zone, carriers deliver to different cities and regions. Carriers transport goods from Zone 1 to Zone 8, which spans several countries. The closer the fulfillment center is to a customer, the faster and less costly it is to send an order there via air freight.

SKU: A stock-keeping unit is a way of grouping goods together in order to compare them. A unique code that identifies a product based on its features, such as brand, design, color, and size. For example, a tiny red dress might have a different SKU from a medium red dress.

Split shipment: When a single order is sent in many shipments. Even though the client ordered everything at the same time, they will receive more than one package.

Storage fees: Also known as warehousing costs. The cost to store goods in a 3PL‘s warehouse or fulfillment center is referred to as inventory storage. Launch Fulfillment,  for example, charges a varying fee each month for bin space versus pallet storage.

Warehousing: The practice or method of keeping items in a warehouse. A 3PL may be a cost-effective alternative to a conventional warehousing system by allowing purchasers to pay for the space utilized rather than the entire facility.

White-label shipping: The absence of carrier or 3PL branding on shipping materials given to the end client. Merchants may either use free, unbranded packing supplies or provide their own branded boxes at Launch Fulfillment. The name of Launch Fulfilment will not be printed on the box in any case.

WRO: A receiving order is used to track the progress of a shipment as it arrives at the warehouse. It starts with an incoming shipping notification and ends with a final delivery item number assigned by the 3PL’s receiving department.

We hope this glossary will be a useful guide to ecommerce order fulfillment. Are you interested in finding out more? Check out our Resources library or sign up for a demo with a fulfillment expert today if you’re interested in learning more.