You might own the best product and website, but if the e-commerce fulfillment of your business doesn’t run seamlessly, the online part of your business could suffer. E-commerce fulfillment is most likely not an exciting part of business, but it remains one of the most crucial aspects if you want to succeed.
Accurate and predictable fulfillment will mean happy customers – which will in turn translate to positive reviews. A robust e-commerce fulfillment process can go a long way in saving you money, as well as time. Additionally, it could go a long way in helping you grow your business.
What is e-Commerce Fulfillment?
This is the aspect of the e-commerce operation that ensures products are delivered to customers. This process includes a host of tasks such as picking and packaging orders and shipping times. Another e-commerce fulfillment is ensuring that your products get to the ecommerce fulfillment center.
In all honesty, you have been involved in e-commerce fulfillment for a while now. Maybe there was a time when you had to package boxes with products back when your business was still in its fledgling stage. It depends on the growth of your business, but there’s a likelihood that you have reached a stage where you have to outsource the job to third-party logistics (3PL).
What Does the e-Commerce Fulfillment Process Involve?
This process involves a lot more than packaging orders. Top-quality e-commerce fulfillment services will ensure that your online business runs smoothly.
You can think of your 3PL as an integral part of your business. The decision to outscore your fulfillment will make your business more agile. You will need to either contract or expand warehouse space. It will also allow you reduce your risks and expenses.
How Does e-Commerce Fulfillment Work?
The most important part of e-commerce operations is fulfillment. Once you understand the steps, you will be able to manage the e-commerce fulfillment provider.
The following are the four main components of e-commerce fulfillment:
- Omnichannel Fulfillment Center Integration
Think “fulfillment warehouse” and you’ll likely think of a place with shelves packed with products. To an extent, this is correct, but at their core, order fulfillment centers are technology companies. Your fulfillment center should seamlessly integrate with your e-commerce store. This ensures that your orders go directly to the providers in charge of packing and shipping them.
- Receiving and Inventory Management
Packages of your products will be shipped to the fulfillment center. These packages will then be logged in inventory and stored, waiting to fill orders.
Where a lot of fulfillment centers fall short is during the receiving stage. When your package is sitting at a loading dock, it means they are not in inventory. This is pretty disastrous as no inventory equates to no sales.
- Order Fulfillment
Once an order comes, the fulfillment center will select the right products to include in the box. After packaging them, your 3PL provider should then ship the package to the customer. Shipping is easy with the fulfillment center located in a central area. It is vital that your 3PL quickly addresses your order. Without this, you won’t be able to benefit from the shorter shipping time.
- Returns Processing
E-commerce returns cannot be avoided. It is important that e-commerce shoppers can easily return products. This could become a factor in improving your sales. The quicker the fulfillment provider handles returns, the quicker customers can be able to get refunds. This is also beneficial to you as you will be able to resell the products once they’re on the shelf again.