The global eCommerce fulfillment services market reached a size of $86.45 billion in 2021.
Order fulfillment is important within a range of industries, and it covers the time from an order being
processed to a product or service being delivered to a customer. Fulfillment is all about delivering
something to a customer so that they’re satisfied with their interaction with your company
Within eCommerce, order fulfillment should always be a priority. When done right, it will improve customer
satisfaction and help with customer retention.
So what is eCommerce order fulfillment, and why is it so important? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Order Fulfillment?
Order fulfillment relates to the entire process of an order from the point where it’s created, up until it’s
delivered to the customer. The fulfillment happens when the customer receives whatever they’ve ordered.
There are several factors relating to order fulfillment, with the two most important being the successful,
accurate completion of the order, and the other being the timeframe in which it happens.
These days, when people order a product online they often expect it to arrive within a couple of days. Because of this, efficient order fulfillment in eCommerce has become incredibly important.
Four Steps of eCommerce Order Fulfillment
The eCommerce order fulfillment process has a range of elements to it, and they can vary from company
to company. In general, however, there are four main steps that all eCommerce companies follow.
Any eCommerce business will have a location where they store all inventory. This will typically be a
warehouse or a fulfillment center. These may vary, but often use things like pallets, shelving, cabinets, and
other storage solutions to keep products in order.
It’s crucial that all of this inventory is kept organized, both physically, and in terms of documentation. Your
company needs to keep track of stock to ensure you’re able to fulfill customer orders straight away.
Effective management of a warehouse will help to make the best use of the space, maximizing how much
inventory can be held at one time.
When a customer places an online order it goes through fulfillment software so that your employees can
see the details of the order. It will give them the information they need to locate the product(s) that the
customer has purchased so that they can pick up everything and prepare the order for delivery.
Once the order has been picked, it needs to be packaged up. This is what keeps the product safe during
transport, so this can vary depending on what’s in the order.
Packaging can contain your company’s branding and will need any relevant paperwork such as packing
slips and a shipping label.
While the packaging needs to be sufficient to protect the product(s) you also want to minimize the size so
that more items can be transported in a single vehicle. This will also help reduce waste which can keep
costs down and is more environmentally friendly.
Once the package is ready to be sent out a shipping service can deliver it to the customer. There are
plenty of these available, so you need to consider the benefits of the different options available such as
cost, speed, and reliability.
A company like ACI Logistix, for example, provides eCommerce order fulfillment services for small
businesses. We can help with successful order fulfillment by getting your orders out to customers quickly
Types of Order Fulfillment
There are different types of order fulfillment. You may choose to opt for a certain one depending on your
You can outsource to an eCommerce order fulfillment company and they’ll handle the entire order
fulfillment process. By partnering with a third-party fulfillment company, you can streamline your business
operations, which can be especially ideal for a new company that’s still finding its footing.
Doing this eliminates the various challenges that come with fulfillment logistics. As these third-party
companies are already established, they can generally handle order fulfillment very efficiently, getting
products out to your customers faster.
This is also called “in-house fulfillment” or “self-fulfillment” and it’s where your company handles all order
fulfillment internally. The main benefit of this is that it generally costs less as you don’t require any
If your business operates from home, this can often be an ideal solution, especially if you’re currently
working with low order volumes. Many eCommerce platforms have built-in supply chain management
tools or inventory management software that can help with this.
This method is a balance between third-party fulfillment and merchant fulfillment. If you use drop
shipping, you’ll forward any orders to a product manufacturer and they then carry out the order fulfillment.
It’s a cost-effective method and is more popular among new businesses. The main downside, however, is
that this can sometimes be a slower process. You also won’t be able to track the order or assist
customers if they want to track it.
Tips for eCommerce Order Fulfillment
Successful order fulfillment leads to higher customer satisfaction, which should always be a goal for any
business. There are a few things you can do to provide better results.
Make sure you track inventory and use demand forecasting where possible to get an idea of future
demand. This will help you keep inventory at a suitable level at all times.
Use the Best Technology
You want to use suitable software to process orders and track inventory. Automation can also be ideal to
help with picking and packing orders.
Keep Inventory in Various Locations
Having multiple locations can help with logistics. You’ll also be able to deliver products to customers
faster due to shorter transport distances.
Have a Backup Plan
There’s always a risk of things going wrong outside of your control. Have plans in place to deal with
issues like damaged orders or delayed deliveries, keeping the level of risk to a minimum.
Keep your branding consistent throughout the order fulfillment process to help establish a brand identity
with customers. This should be in any emails, on your website, on your packaging, etc.
Achieving Successful eCommerce Order Fulfillment
Successful eCommerce order fulfillment is key to maintaining customer satisfaction and retaining
customers. You need to maintain efficiency, consistency, and reliability throughout.
ACI Logistix is a small parcel shipping and logistics company. If you need any assistance with order
fulfillment, we’ve got you covered. To find out more about our services, click here to contact us today.
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