Your Easy Beginner’s Guide: E-Commerce Order Fulfilment Processes & Strategies
Have you had great feedback for delivering on time? Isn't it satisfying to deliver high-quality services? Consumers appreciate it as well. To ensure that your eCommerce fulfilment is always completed on time and that you are providing valuable services to your clients, ensure that your order-fulfilment process runs smoothly.
As we head into the second decade of the twenty-first century, e-commerce services became increasingly popular among business owners and customers. E-commerce has shown to be a very easy medium of commerce for both suppliers and purchasers since its inception. E-commerce fulfilment services are becoming increasingly important components of e-commerce.
E-commerce fulfilment services help firms by giving value-added services to their customers to make their buying experience more frictionless. It is also critical that you understand the significance of e-commerce fulfilment services for business owners. Simple Global and its e-commerce fulfilment services are among the most significant supplementary business partners for entrepreneurs.
This is the significance of e-commerce fulfilment services. However, it is not as easy as it appears. This essay will explain what an e-commerce fulfilment service is, its intricacies, and why you should carefully select one for your online business.
Now that we know that the order-fulfilment procedure is critical in determining customer satisfaction. Therefore, to satisfy your clients, you need to adopt an efficient order fulfilment plan. But do you have any idea what it is? Also, how do you put that into action? Not to fear, that’s what our article today will guide you through and explain the intricacies of the order-fulfilment process as well as some pointers regarding the best solutions and best practices.
Basic Background Time
Consumers are growing more impatient than ever in the digital age. According to a Digital Commerce 360 survey, 44% of consumers who did not finish the purchase cancelled the order because the product would not arrive on time. As a result, your order-fulfilment process must be improved to deliver on time.
By streamlining the process, you may increase the speed and accuracy of your shipments. This results in shorter waiting times, happier customers, and more orders and income generating for your company. The order-fulfilment process, in particular, is the backbone of any eCommerce organisation.
What Exactly Is Order-Fulfilment?
Order fulfilment is a procedure that encompasses a series of actions from receiving the customer's order to delivering the product to them. It also impacts the delivery time for customers. Similarly, it determines how successfully a company can produce quality.
Companies should always prioritise order fulfilment optimization. Because only 34% of consumers are ready to wait more than two days for an order to be shipped and delivered, according to Statista. To retain clients, it is vital to optimising your eCommerce fulfilment at each level.
How About Order-Fulfilment Services?
Well, we know that e-commerce fulfilment is the process of getting products into fulfilment centre shelves and then dispatching them to the final destination, the consumer. Order fulfilment comprises order picking and packing while shipping timings and tactics are part of your third-party logistics operations, right?
In reality, e-commerce fulfilment has always been a vital part of your business. When you were packaging boxes in your garage, you were your fulfilment supplier. This process continues until the order fulfilment facility successfully delivers the ordered items to the receiver.
There are numerous well-known fulfilment services available to business owners. Each fulfilment service has its distinct characteristics. Some of the most useful and convenient order fulfilment services to be aware of are:
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA): Their distinctive qualities are best suited for multi-channel sales, a massive warehousing facility around the glove, a solid return policy, and Amazon manages every post-order detail.
FedEx Fulfilment: they have a global client reach, service that is tailored to the needs of the store, and a great tracking service for shipping products.
Whiplash offers extensible services, and automated structured activities, and caters to a diverse spectrum of organisations.
Simple Global: provides an integrated solution that allows merchants to connect with these fulfilment providers as well as 40 others through a single cloud-based platform.
Shopcada Fulfilment: Hey, we’re not going to leave ourselves out of this article especially when we have our platform to facilitate e-commerce and a logistics partner with whom our clients can trust to deliver parcels all over Singapore for a flat fee regardless of volume and package size! If you’re in Singapore and interested in reading more about our services, have a look at our detailed site here.
The order-fulfilment process consists of five primary functions. All of the steps are carried out at a fulfilment centre or warehouse. The following is the order-fulfilment procedure:
Your products are transported to your fulfilment centre on pallets. After that, the pallets are added to inventory and placed on shelves, ready to fill your orders. Receiving is a problem for many fulfilment warehouses. Your products are not in inventory when they are put onto a dock. Without an inventory, there will be no sales, which is a disaster.
Another concern is that of shrinkage. Shrinkage is a colloquial phrase that means "loss, theft, and breaking." Most contracts with e-fulfilment centres include a shrinkage allowance. That is, you will eat the cost of the lost item up to a certain point. Shrinkage allowances typically range between 2 and 10% of your warehoused inventory.
Select, Pack & Ship
When an order arrives, your fulfilment centre will fill the package with the right items. A floor worker will pack them in the ideal packaging. Your fulfilment company will ship the box to the customer using the pick, pack, and ship method. Because of the centrally located fulfilment hubs, shipping to your customers is swift.
The significance of precision cannot be emphasised. Picking and packaging orders wrong may just cost you, clients. Here are three ways an e-commerce fulfilment centre can help you meet your consumers' needs for fast, low-cost shipping.
Look for logistics providers who can deliver your items the next day or perhaps the same day.
Choose a fulfilment centre or warehouse that is centrally located. Most of your customers should receive their items from the fulfilment centre in two days or less.
Inquire about the mistake rates at fulfilment centres.
Returns are unavoidable in the world of e-commerce. Customers who shop online rely on returns. This could be a big factor in growing your sales. Return tracking is an essential component of e-commerce fulfilment. The following are three ways your e-commerce fulfilment partner can assist you and your customers with returns:
Choose a warehouse that can refill returns in one to two days. Receiving dock returns depletes your company's resources and undermines consumer trust.
Allow your outsourced provider to handle return customer support so you may concentrate on building your business.
Create a procedure for handling broken products. Consider starting a second website to resale returned things at a lower cost. Ascertain that your e-commerce fulfilment provider can assist with return evaluation and order processing for discounted items.
A streamlined and integrated order fulfilment process benefits all parties involved. Unfortunately, this procedure can be time-consuming and costly. There are, nevertheless, methods for saving money on eCommerce fulfilment. One such example can be gleaned from our very own Shopcada RMA module that uses the following principles:
❶ An add-on module allows customers to submit the Return Request via the order history page and facilitate a refund or exchange.
❷ Site admin will vet items that are eligible for return and configure return mode: mail-in and/or drop-off.
❸ Once a request is created, it may be auto-approved. Site admin can configure rules beforehand based on the Reason for Return.
❹ Once an RMA request is approved, the system will auto-generate a confirmation email with the RMA ID in barcode format to the customer.
❺ The customer is then required to mail in / drop off the item within the given period or the request will be cancelled automatically.
But, before we go any further, let's look at why streamlining this procedure is so important for every eCommerce organisation.
Consumers are accustomed to receiving high-quality services at reasonable prices in today's ever-expanding eCommerce era. Premium product quality, on-time delivery, proper returns management, and empathic and helpful support are all examples of great services.
When your order-fulfilment procedure is inconsistent, you may have difficulty with timely delivery, which will have a negative influence on your business. To be more specific, the State of eCommerce Delivery study discovered that 43% of buyers abandon a vendor due to a poor delivery experience. As a result, optimising the order-fulfilment process for timely and quality delivery is critical to the long-term viability of your eCommerce firm.
How you fulfil an order influences your clients' purchasing decisions. They want delivery and payment methods that are convenient for them. As a result, it is preferable to conduct a preliminary analysis of your client's expectations and needs. This analysis might assist you in gaining a competitive advantage in the business.
Improving your eCommerce fulfilment offers other advantages aside from making customers happy. When your order-fulfilment process is optimised, you can:
Concentrate more on selling.
Improve customer service and support.
Reduce operational expenses
Extend your global reach
With all of the advantages of improving your order-fulfilment process, you will be one step ahead of your competitors and will be able to set up and scale your firm for success.
Order-Fulfilment Process Types
Order fulfilment is a critical component of the supply chain operation. Order fulfilment can be classified into four types:
There is a method for fulfilling orders in which your personnel complete the order-filling procedure. It is referred to as in-house fulfilment. When you do everything in-house, you control every process, from inventory management to product delivery.
While this strategy gives you complete control over each phase, the danger of error increases, and you have less opportunity and time to scale your firm. As a result, this strategy is best suited as a low-cost solution for new and existing firms seeking end-to-end control over every operation.
Fulfilment by a Third-Party
A third-party logistics provider (3PL) handles your inventory, packs products, and transports them for on-time delivery to your consumers. In third-party order fulfilment, a 3PL provides many plans and you can select the services you desire based on your company's needs.
Remember that when you outsource fulfilment, you also outsource the fulfilment centre's concerns for timely delivery, quality service, and returns handling. Fulfilment Hub USA is a technology-driven company that can help you take your business to the next level. Furthermore, we provide low-cost fulfilment services. For additional information, please contact our specialists.
Dropshipping is comparable to third-party fulfilment in that you outsource your order-fulfilment process, but there is no inventory to manage. When an order arrives, you order the products from the supplier or producers. Sellers are only charged for the things they sell, while the supplier handles all of your orders and sends them to buyers.
Another distinction is that the third-party fulfilment company does not acquire ownership of the products, whereas the supplier or manufacturer does. As a result, many eCommerce and startup shops favour dropshipping.
This option is ideal for businesses that require greater flexibility or are experiencing significant growth. A corporation uses a combination of the order fulfilment alternatives outlined above in this manner. It can be done in a variety of ways, such as having a corporation process the best-selling products in-house while outsourcing or dropshipping the rest. Alternatively, a corporation can outsource inventory stocking and distribution to external carriers to a fulfilment centre while handling solely product assembly or packing.
So, you now understand the significance of the order-fulfilment process, you must also evaluate its challenges. Implementing a successful order-fulfilment strategy is not always simple. eCommerce fulfilment presents numerous issues. Here are a few examples:
When a consumer receives a product that is not what they ordered, it generates a poor impression of your brand in their mind and makes them less likely to return. An incorrectly selected order is a human error that can happen to anyone. To avoid this, automating duties for the order fulfilment process is the best solution. To eliminate human mistakes, use inventory management systems and software.
You can also establish a stringent quality control process and regulations to examine orders before they are sent to clients.
When you run out of stock, you lose clients. Nobody wants to see a product that is 'out of stock' after placing an order. Set up a reorder point for the products to avoid this. You can also set a maximum threshold to prevent overstocking. Additionally, do regular inventory audits to detect system inefficiencies.
A real-time inventory management system may also keep your inventory up to date and offer you all the information you need to plan efficiently. Fulfilment Hub USA is a 5-in-1 cloud-based platform that allows you to manage inventories, track order fulfilment processes, estimate demand, effectively plan, and more. To learn more, contact our specialists.
Shipping Takes A Long Time
We already announced that 44% of customers cancelled their orders due to slow shipping. When you process all orders manually, it becomes difficult to meet the expectations of your clients. There is always the possibility of human error, which might cost you, clients.
To avoid this, automate your order-fulfilment process and collaborate with the best shipping companies worldwide. When you order in bulk, many of them offer various discounts and promotions. Then you can pass those savings on to your customers and earn a competitive advantage.
Fulfilment via Multiple Channels
The addition of many online and offline retailers complicates the equation of optimised order fulfilment. Furthermore, when orders are received from many platforms, the likelihood of incorrectly selected costs and delays increases.
Implement a centralised system to manage orders from various platforms, along with real-time updates, to combat this. Furthermore, there is a variety of software available on the market that allows you to handle everything with simplicity.
Businesses prefer to outsource their client orders to a fulfilment company for a variety of reasons. Let's look at a couple of them.
Improved Inventory Management
Advanced order fulfilment software delivers valuable insights to organisations via high-quality data, and fulfilment companies can manage orders and inventories precisely and effectively. Just a few of the benefits include easy inventory access via cloud-based technology, accurate real-time stock visibility, batch tracking and optimization, custom reporting, and more.
Improve Customer Experience
A fulfilment business can give improved shipping options, branded packaging options, and built-in order tracking and returns to provide optimal customer experiences. Customers will benefit from, among other things, speedy and cost-effective dispatch, real-time updates, and simple returns.
Allow for Quick Growth
By providing order fulfilment services that can quickly scale to demand, ship to new locations, and please consumers, a fulfilment company gives businesses the time and confidence to focus on expansion. Meeting seasonal, promotional, or new product order demand, international shipping, and less time spent on fulfilment operations in-house are just a few of the benefits.
E-commerce fulfilment service providers have flexible and ample shelf space, so you won't have to worry about product storage as your online business grows.
Reliable Package Specialists
Order fulfilment service companies employ trained to pick and pack personnel. Depending on the scale of your online business, hiring an e-commerce fulfilment company can relieve you of any logistical concerns while also verifying the quality of your clients' items before they're shipped.
More Resources Are Available
Hiring an e-commerce fulfilment service provider will reduce your excess resource consumption, and the fulfilment service will optimise all of your post-order costs by properly managing and fulfilling the orders. It also saves you money that you would have spent on leasing extra space.
Refunding Made Simple
Product refunds and returns are unavoidable in internet commerce. Your e-commerce fulfilment service provider will handle the return of products and reimburse the money to your customer without any further fuss. The experience becomes more pleasant for both you and your consumers.
The eCommerce sector is extremely competitive, but it doesn't mean you don't have a chance. So, streamline your order fulfilment process and provide the best possible service to your customers. However, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan. As a result, select the ideal strategy for your company from the list below—let's get on with it.
Determine which model is best for you
Order fulfilment can be optimised in several ways, including in-house, third-party, drop shipping, and hybrid. Determine which one works best for your company. The model you select is also determined by the size of your firm and the number of orders you execute each month.
In-house fulfilment is the ideal option for firms with low order volume, whereas third-party fulfilment is best for businesses aiming to develop quickly.
Micro Warehousing & Warehouse Location
The location from where you ship your merchandise is quite important. It is an important component of your eCommerce fulfilment strategy. Customers expect quick product delivery at a cheap price. To guarantee that you meet your client's expectations, aim to reduce the number of pauses your shipment makes on its way from your warehouse to its location. Shipping costs are reduced as a result, and customers are pleased.
To save shipment time and cost, some fulfilment centres have strategically situated their warehouses in multiple locations. This is referred to as micro warehousing. Consider storing your inventory in several warehouses based on the destinations, as this is a cost-effective option.
Improve Supply Chain Visibility from Start to Finish
End-to-end supply chain visibility entails tracking the process from product receipt through shipment. This transparency in the supply chain, enabled by real-time tracking, assists both the seller and the manufacturer in staying up-to-date and planning ahead of time.
Transparency in the supply chain promotes customer service and satisfaction after shipment. As a result, integrate with your suppliers so you can maintain track of day-to-day operations and suppliers can stay up to speed on restocking.
Maintain Communication with Your Warehouses & Customers
Communication that is clear and direct is always essential for a seamless process. Check that your employees are performing their everyday activities efficiently and following the requirements. Keep an eye on what your suppliers are doing with your items.
When connecting with your customers, use the appropriate medium and set the tone for your company. Share shipment tracking information with them, and 'Thank you for your purchase' emails are always beneficial in developing long-term relationships with your consumers.
The accuracy of inventory is crucial to the health of storage operations. A real-time inventory tracking system always helps to maintain inventory accuracy, and you spare your customers from ordering 'out of stock' goods, which protects your brand image.
A smart inventory management solution should always reduce superfluous stock and keep you from running out of supplies. Furthermore, updated inventory sorting and indexing are required for the picking process, which speeds up the entire order-fulfilment process.
Optimisation of Slots
The technique of organising goods in the warehouse in such a way that it speeds up the picking process is known as slotting optimization. One efficient method is to keep popular items near shipping areas to expedite order fulfilment.
There are several approaches to strategically placing inventory in the warehouse. You can sort it by size, weight, application, category, or, in certain circumstances, temperature. It is best to keep temperature-sensitive products together and more fragile things in the warehouse's most secure section.
Intelligent Warehouse System
Automated warehouse management solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent. These systems make use of a variety of linked technologies to improve efficiency, and accuracy, and reduce human errors.
Smart warehouse systems manage inventory, track packages across various warehouses, break down bills and provide real-time inventory updates. Furthermore, extensive data assist you in forecasting demand. Implementing a smart warehouse system is thus a viable technique for accelerating the growth of your eCommerce fulfilment.
Collaboration with a Tech-Driven 3PL
Implementing a technologically integrated warehouse management system, as well as collaborating with different warehouses and shipping carriers all over the world might put a dent in your budget. As a result, it is always preferable to outsource your fulfilment operations concerns to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
Dedicated Growth Time
When you outsource your order-fulfilment process, you pass your stress to your fulfilment partner. We are in charge of inventory management, picking, packing, shipping, delivery, and returns, among other things.
You only need to supply us with the inventory, and we'll take care of the rest, allowing you to focus on scaling. Working with us gives you more time to focus on marketing, strategy, forecasting, and other aspects of your business's growth.
Spend Less Money
E-commerce Shipping is becoming more expensive as the industry's demand grows. We have negotiated rates with numerous shipping companies worldwide because we process a large volume of orders every day. The advantage for you is that any reductions we receive are passed on to you, saving you money.
A clever fulfilment centre has all of the technological tools that you might not invest in when you first start out or even after a few years in business. We spend substantially on technology to improve the user experience and bring quality and value to their customer services. When you work with us, you will receive numerous benefits and your order fulfilment process will be streamlined.
Increased Flexibility & Endless Possibilities
Some things are only for professionals. We offer you a plethora of fresh opportunities. When you work with us, you save money on shipping and avoid customs, charges, formalities, and international taxes. There are also numerous more benefits available, such as quicker international shipping, discounts from shipping carriers and businesses, and many more.
Customers Who Are Happier
Communication and prompt assistance are game changers. We deliver superior services to your customers and have exceptional customer service. As a result, when you work with us, you and your clients will receive quality, sympathetic, and responsive support with best-in-class services.
Error Reduction & Increased Transparency
When you manually provide data for your orders, you run the risk of inaccuracy. Furthermore, it may result in refunds, exchanges, replacements, and pricey shipping. This is time-consuming, costly, and can stress your customers, harming your brand's reputation.
Inefficient E-commerce fulfilment may limit your company's growth. As a result of inadequately packed boxes, shipment issues, and delays, customers may be dissatisfied and submit unfavourable reviews.
You now have a good understanding of the principles of the order fulfilment process. So you're ready to explore additional options for fulfilment. It's a great idea to answer these questions about what you need from your e-commerce fulfilment centre. Then hunt for a partner to help you expand your e-commerce business.
Your capacity to fulfil orders is critical to your e-commerce success. A thorough evaluation of your fulfilment centre may be challenging, but it is deeply required. Trust us, you'll be thankful later.