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08 March 2022
Ecommerce fulfillment is the electronic process by which orders are picked, packed into appropriate boxes, and delivered to the customer. Just like traditional retail fulfillment, the ecommerce fulfillment process includes six fundamental components: Inventory Control. This is where suppliers get their stock directly from a provider who then ships it to your store. It is important to keep a good eye on your inventory levels. This allows you to quickly order replacement stock and handle returns.
Another element of Ecommerce fulfillment is storing the inventory. In traditional retailing, inventory sits in a location until an order is received. For ecommerce fulfillment, your inventory stays in a storage facility until an order is received. Depending on your business, you may have access to your inventory after the order has been received, or storage may be an additional fee. Some ecommerce businesses use third-party storage companies that require a fee for each item kept.
Storing inventory can be a challenge for ecommerce fulfillment centers. Some businesses manage their own inventories, while others rely on their partners in the industry to do so. You may only have access to your inventory once an order has been received, meaning you have to rely on your partners' ability to send your items on time. If the product does not arrive in time, it is lost, causing you to incur additional charges.
Inventory control is particularly important when you are shipping items through multiple carriers. Your partner's process should be robust enough to track shipments using all carriers. For example, if you are shipping items via UPS Ground, your ecommerce fulfillment services should also be able to track shipments via FedEx and DHL. If your provider does not have its own in-house tracking system, outsourcing this function is definitely an option. Only partner with an ecommerce fulfillment company that offers this service.
Ecommerce fulfillment companies often offer b2b orders processing services. If you are currently running a physical store, then you probably already know how costly it can be to hire staff to pick, pack and store your products. It is much cheaper and more efficient to outsource this function to a logistics provider. With b2b orders, your customers' orders are handled directly by your vendor partner, without your having to worry about storing or shipping products. Your company's costs are reduced, as your partners will be responsible for collecting payments, inventory management and fulfilling orders.
Fulfillment providers can also meet customer expectations by ensuring fast delivery of orders. Many customers want fast delivery of their orders, especially if they are purchasing online. The cost of shipping products via regular air shipping can be extremely high. Fortunately, logistics providers use specialized airplanes to make sure your products arrive on time, so you don't have to pay exorbitant shipping costs. Ecommerce fulfillment companies can also offer extra services, such as proof pick-up, to ensure your products get to your customers in the safest possible way.
If you prefer to have your products picked and packed in-house, then you might want to consider working with a third-party packager. These packagers will handle all aspects of packaging and shipping your products, saving you the time and effort of doing these tasks yourself. However, many ecommerce businesses choose to work with an in-house packager, simply because in-house employees aren't trained or motivated enough to meet customer expectations. Hiring an in-house employee just isn't worth the time and cost. By outsourcing your in-house packager, you'll be able to cut expenses, while still allowing customers to receive products quickly and in perfect condition.
There are a number of different companies you can contract with for your ecommerce fulfillment services, but only a few specialize in the work you need. Spend some time researching different options, and only settle on one that has a good reputation and plenty of experience picking, packing, and shipping orders. You'll be glad you did! You'll soon find your business flourishing!