We will go into what is order fulfillment and its benefits. Consider how you’ve felt about the last time you purchased something from an online store and had a bad delivery experience. Perhaps your package was misplaced, late, or damaged.
Do you have a vendor that you’d like to repeat business with?
If you don’t hear anything by the end of the day, you may not be alone. Following a negative delivery experience, 37 percent of customers say they will never shop with that company again.
One thing you can do to avoid that outcome for your own ecommerce business is have a solid order fulfillment strategy.
What is order fulfillment?
Complete order fulfillment covers everything from the moment a sale is completed to when the customer receives it. Order fulfillment requires a third party to handle every stage of an order’s journey, from receiving, processing, packing, selecting, and delivering an online purchase to consumers.
A well-designed ecommerce order fulfillment technique is crucial for online retailers to stay competitive and develop customer loyalty.
How does the order fulfillment process work?
You might be wondering whether to outsource ecommerce order fulfillment to a 3PL at this point — but what exactly does it entail? What happens in a fulfillment center may appear complex, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s what happens at a 3PL’s fulfillment center after an online purchase is made by a consumer on your e-commerce site.
Step 1: Receiving
In order to start fulfilling orders, your 3PL will need access to your inventory. The reception and storage of incoming goods at the fulfillment center is referred to as receiving.
Each 3PL has its own inventory management and documentation procedures, which may include things like merchant paperwork. This keeps everything organized and on track, allowing your products to go out sooner. After the 3PL receives your inventory, it is stored in separate warehouse storage locations such as shelves, bins, or pallets.
Step 2: Picking
The fulfillment process begins with warehouse picking.
When an order is sent to your 3PL’s order fulfillment system, it is allocated to the picking crew. A picker receives a packing slip containing the products, quantities, and storage locations at the facility where they will collect the items from their assigned locations.
Step 3: Packing
When all of the items in an order have been chosen, it’s time to securely wrap them up.
Some 3PLs will charge for packing supplies, while others provide them as part of their fulfillment services. Your 3PL will select packaging materials that are both durable and minimize the total dimensional weight of your goods.
Bubble wrap, packing tape, bubble mailers and poly bags are just a few examples of the materials that can be used to pack items.
Some 3PLs allow you to fill your own customized boxes or otherwise utilize plain brown boxes if you’d rather keep your brand front and center.
Step 4: Shipping
It’s time to ship once the order is filled.
The majority of 3PLs buy shipping labels for the merchant from a carrier on behalf of the business.
The majority of fulfillment companies work with particular carriers. Some, on the other hand, compare shipping rates from a range of carriers to find the best deal. The latter ensures that any given shipping choice offers you the greatest possible price.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing fulfillment is that major carriers obtain orders straight from 3PL fulfillment centers to deliver.
You’ll get order tracking updates as soon as your purchase is processed. The 3PL’s technology may either automatically or manually share this information with clients, depending on the circumstances.