How Order Fulfillment Works for eCommerce Businesses
Do you have an eCommerce business, or are you looking to start one soon? If so, order fulfillment for eCommerce will have to become one of your biggest priorities. It is the key to keeping any eCommerce business going. Order fulfillment is the process of receiving, packaging, shipping, and delivering products to customers.
Some businesses manage order fulfillment in-house, while others use third-party services. In either case, it is important to complete the order fulfillment process as quickly as possible.
Quick and reliable order fulfillment can help your business earn customers’ trust and keep them happy. Thus, it can translate into more sales down the line.
On the other hand, poor organization and efficiency will lead to your orders taking longer to fulfill. This will inevitably upset your customers.
Whether they are first-time customers or not, they may decide to take their business elsewhere. Especially, if their orders arrive damaged due to improper packaging. This can be detrimental to the success of your business, and it will establish a poor reputation. A poor reputation that will require a lot of time and effort to correct.
The steps involved in Order Fulfillment for eCommerce
In eCommerce, the order fulfillment process is like a machine with many moving parts. The following steps are essential parts of this process:
The first step must involve receiving the products that you intend to sell through your online sales channels. It is not possible to fulfill customers’ orders without inventory.
This involves gathering the products directly from the manufacturers or suppliers at local fulfillment centers. Next, it’s important to ensure you have the correct amount of items. Last, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect the items for damage.
For organizational purposes, it is also a good idea to create stock-keeping units (SKUs—scannable bar codes) for your products. Then register the SKUs on your inventory management system.
The next step in the process is storing your inventory, also known as warehousing. Warehousing involves organizing the products and finding places for everything to go. Each product or SKU must have a dedicated storage location. Such as a specific spot on a shelf, on a pallet, or in a bin. This will make it easier to find items when it is time to ship them.
Having a proper organization system also helps you keep track of your inventory. Plus you can see when an item’s stock is getting low.
After the customer places an order on your website or app, it must be tracked across your existing inventories. Tracking can be done with an inventory management system. An IMS is a central database for all of your inventory products.
The item must then be retrieved from wherever it is stored before you can move on to the next step.
Packaging for eCommerce Orders
Once the ordered item is collected, select the right kind of packaging. Packaging that will ensure secure delivery to the customer. The safety of the package can be enhanced with bubble wrap, air fills, packaging tape, and more.
Focusing on how you package items during the order fulfillment process shows your customers that you care. And, this contributes to overall customer satisfaction.
Once the order is securely packed, it is time to ship it to the customer. When it comes to shipping, there are a variety of approaches that you can take. You can choose from third-party shipping, merchant shipping, or drop shipping.
With merchant shipping, you can offer your customers various categories of shipping options. Options that you can charge different amounts for.
You may also have a table rate system to calculate shipping costs based on product weight, destination, or price. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can give the customer the option to pick up their items in person. Also, consider offering free shipping when customers spend over a certain amount. This is a proven way to improve your sales.
Order Fulfillment for eCommerce Exchange/Returns
Be prepared to process customer items that are returned or exchanged. The customer may ship their item directly back to you, or they may send it back to the fulfillment provider.
Depending on its quality, return reason, and your returns policy, you can either restock it or dispose of it.
How Wills Transfer Can Improve Order Fulfillment for eCommerce
The order fulfillment process can be quite lengthy and complicated. It’s often time-consuming and expensive to keep up if you complete the process entirely in-house. In such cases, you will need to hire enough staff to keep everything running smoothly.
For this reason, it’s good to look to third-party companies that remove this burden. If you are seeking reliable distribution services in Ontario, Wills Transfer can satisfy all of your needs by taking on all of your fulfillment duties and managing the process for you.
We operate over 850,000 square feet of commercial and industrial warehouse storage space at six secure eastern Ontario distribution centers. And, we specialize in working as a business-to-business order fulfillment provider.
With over 75 years of industry experience, we know all the ins and outs of order fulfillment. Our high-quality fulfillment services will keep all of your customers happy. Regardless of the size or type of your eCommerce business. We have the knowledge, expertise, technology, and quality management systems to optimize your order fulfillment process. From start to finish!
Our order fulfillment services include pick and pack services, asset tagging, kitting services, stretch wrapping services, and technical services. A dedicated team will work with you to establish an order fulfillment process that matches your expectations perfectly. Our services are also easily scalable. Meaning, we can keep up with your needs as your business continues to grow and change.
For more information about our order fulfillment services or to learn more about the other 3PL services that we offer, call Wills Transfer Limited at 613-704-7549 or contact us here
Want to learn more about eCommerce? Check out this Forbes article.