What Does 'Awaiting Fulfillment' Mean?

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Damien Bradford - ShipNetwork
Damien Bradford
Director of Operations
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In the digital age, online shopping has become an almost daily habit for so many of us. When you buy things from an online store and check up on your order status, there's always a chance that some technical terms may go over your head because they're not explained well or at all! Even if you work in eCommerce, some of the different terms related to fulfillment may not be in your everyday vocabulary. 

What do order fulfillment terms like “awaiting fulfillment” mean? And how can eCommerce companies better understand what can impact these different statuses?  

What Does Awaiting Fulfillment Mean in Shipping?

The status "awaiting fulfillment" indicates that the process of selecting and putting items (according to the invoice) into the appropriate shipping boxes has commenced. Following the completion of this procedure, a shipment label will be generated, and the order will then be made ready for shipment.

Types of Order Status Messages

As an online retailer, it is your job to be familiar with the steps involved in the order fulfillment process and to explain those steps to your customers.

After an online retailer has accepted an order, the order will proceed through several steps before it is completed, beginning with the placement of the order and ending with the fulfillment of the purchase.

To be successful as an eCommerce company, you need to prioritize efficiency at each of these stages. However, to maximize productivity in the order fulfillment process, it is necessary to analyze the order cycle time. 

The amount of time that passes between the moment an order is placed and the moment that it is dispatched is referred to as the order cycle time. A quicker order cycle is something you should strive for because it can help you provide a more seamless experience to your customers, who are becoming more demanding about the speed with which they want their orders fulfilled.

Submitted for Fulfillment

After the online shop has received payment and confirmed the order, it is sent to the fulfillment center to be processed. An update of this kind verifies that the logistics partner, rather than the eCommerce company, is now in possession of the order details (the invoice).

On the other hand, it is possible that it will not show up on the tracking status alerts on occasion because the goal is frequently to proceed directly to the fulfillment procedure.

If this update is reflected when your customers use the tracking number link, it verifies that the money has been accepted and verified and that the order is now on its way to being fulfilled. If this update does not reflect when your customers use the tracking number link, it does not confirm these things.

Awaiting (or Pending) Fulfillment

At this point, the logistics partner company of the eCommerce business will have accepted the fulfillment request and will have begun the process of selecting and packing the products into the appropriate shipping boxes. On the other hand, the process of fulfillment is not yet finished.  

Many businesses use the terms "awaiting fulfillment" and "pending fulfillment" interchangeably for the same state of the order. 

You may also find that the tracking information for the order indicates that it is "on hold" at various points in time. It indicates that there is either missing information or required information that is necessary before the order can be processed. This may be due to missing customs information, inadequate label data, an imprecise packing process, or something else along those lines.  

The order procedure will be restarted as soon as the information or details that were previously lacking are supplied.

Partially Shipped

A status of "partially shipped" indicates that just a portion of the order has been processed for shipment at this time. This typically occurs when certain items are no longer available for purchase. As a result, the package is divided. When this occurs, the remaining portion of the order is often completed at a later time.


This is a significant update in the order journey because it informs you that the order has been successfully sent by a courier firm. This information is important to have. If a two-day delivery has been guaranteed by an online seller, the countdown to fulfillment typically begins at this step, known as the ship date, which is the day from which the purchase is dispatched.

Typically, a notification of this nature is sent to the consumer in the form of a confirmation email or text message and typically includes package tracking details. From this point on, you should anticipate receiving updates such as "in transit," "at the local hub," "out for delivery," and similar phrases.

In general, all of the major shipping companies, including FedEx, USPS, DHL, and UPS, as well as others, will offer the recipient an expected delivery date to help them better schedule delivery.


"Order Delivered" is the update that will make your consumers feel the most content out of all the different statuses that are available. It won't be reflected until the shipment has either been delivered to the receiver or is waiting for them outside their home or garage to be picked up.

On occasion, delivery services can mark an order as delivered in error. When something like this happens to a customer, they need to contact the online merchant to report the issue.

Despite the extensive precautions that carriers take, there is still the possibility that delivery errors will occur. This indicates that the delivery of a product is held up for reasons that were not anticipated, such as hold-ups at customs, federal holidays, damaged labels, weather conditions, etc. It is in an eCommerce company's best interest to plan for these contingencies and have an open communication channel with its clients.

Why Orders are Labeled “Pending Fulfillment”

pending fulfillment

Before an order can finally be fulfilled and delivered to a consumer, it must pass through several processes. Even though we covered some of the most important statuses that should be expected during this journey, some updates may look the same, which might lead to confusion for your consumers:

Pending vs Awaiting Fulfillment

The order has been processed, picked up, and is currently being packaged into the appropriate packaging, which is what "awaiting fulfillment" and "pending fulfillment" signifies. Both of these terms mean virtually the same thing. This status also indicates that the order is still in the process of being fulfilled but is not yet finished and is not yet ready to be dispatched.

Because these two terms refer to the same thing, eCommerce businesses frequently use them interchangeably.

Awaiting Fulfillment vs Awaiting Shipment

"Awaiting shipment" indicates that the order is packed and ready to go, but the carrier has not yet collected it or it has not been delivered to the carrier.

In contrast, an order that is "awaiting fulfillment" indicates that it is currently being processed and is not yet ready to be shipped. The products from the order are currently being assembled in a suitable package in preparation for shipment.

After "awaiting fulfillment," the order will go on to "awaiting shipment," which is the next logical step in the order journey.

What Impacts the Fulfillment Status of an Order?

"Awaiting fulfillment" is a stage in the order journey that often takes place rather quickly as a result of the rapid logistical solutions that are available in the modern day. It's easy for a customer to overlook this stage if they aren't paying close attention to the order updates being provided.

On the other hand, if a product is sold out or there are certain gaps in the order, you should anticipate that this order status will reflect for a longer period of time.

It should be a fast-changing order status, but if it hasn't changed for some time, the order might be stuck at this stage for one of the reasons listed below, which could be causing the order to remain at this stage.   

Unable to Find Inventory

The inability to locate the things that are specified in the order can cause a delay in the fulfillment process. It is common for this to occur as a result of factors such as imprecise communication, incorrect warehouse organization, etc. It's possible that "awaiting fulfillment" is the order status because one of these things is causing the problem.

It is essential to plan the positioning of the merchandise in advance to minimize such needless delays. Inventory positioning refers to both the actual location of your goods within their storage facilities as well as their position within the supply chain as a whole.

When arranging the positioning of inventory, numerous considerations must be taken into account, such as ensuring that SKUs that are heavy or bulky are stored on lower racks and that high-volume products are easily accessible. 

Poor Inventory Management Practices

Incorrect inventory management can occasionally result in circumstances such as "out-of-stock," "back-ordered," and underused storage for brands that are going through the growth pains associated with expansion. All of this can lead to orders "awaiting fulfillment" for longer lengths of time than would ideally be the case.

If your company is expanding, you will need to have processes in place that can manage the increased amount of work and volume. When faced with such a situation, it may be useful to form a partnership with a 3PL expert that provides order fulfillment solutions and integrated inventory management software.

How Long Does “Awaiting Fulfillment” Take?

When you have finished making an online purchase and are eagerly anticipating the delivery of the items, the message that they are "awaiting fulfillment" can be quite unsettling. You may have no idea how long the procedure of "awaiting fulfillment" will take at this point. It may be necessary to place an order with the manufacturer if a particular item is not available in the company's distribution center. In this circumstance, they will be required to rely on the timeframe that has been given to them by their supplier. This timeframe is what they will use to estimate the amount of time it will take to fulfill your purchase. 

This process of an order being approved, confirmed, and delivered is much quicker for smaller organizations with speedier employees and fewer products to sort through compared to larger companies. Every single company that deals in the transportation of goods has the same goal: to have their product shipped as quickly as humanly possible.

3 Ways to Improve Fulfillment Processes

You should now have a good understanding of what "awaiting fulfillment" means, and it is also vital to understand how you can improve the process by which you fulfill orders. This can be accomplished in three different ways:

1. Make Your Fulfillment Process More Automated

Automating the steps involved in fulfilling orders is the first and most important step you need to take in this process. Because of this, we will be able to save a significant amount of time and effort. You may automate a variety of processes associated with the fulfillment process, such as order tracking, inventory management, shipping, and many others, by making use of a variety of different software and tools.

2. Make Use of the Services of a Third-Party Logistics Provider

Utilizing the services of a 3PL (third-party logistics provider) is yet another approach you can take to enhance your order fulfillment process. A third-party logistics provider (3PL) is an organization that specializes in managing the full fulfillment process on your behalf. They will select the items to be included in each customer's order, pack those items, and ship them. This will help save a significant amount of time as well as money.

3. Make Your Shipping Procedure More Efficient

You need to work on improving your shipping process, which brings us to our final point. This includes making certain that your orders are dispatched promptly and delivered to the appropriate addresses. Using a variety of tools and technologies, you can track the status of your deliveries and shipments.

Improve the “Awaiting Fulfillment” Timeline With ShipNetwork

improve the awaiting fulfillment timeline

Are your customers "awaiting fulfillment" for a long time? The day of delivery never seems to come around nearly as quickly as customers often hope. Even if you make use of expedited shipping options provided by firms such as FedEx, UPS, or the USPS, it may still take several days for an order to reach its destination. 

When you partner with a 3PL like ShipNetwork, we can expedite the fulfillment process so your orders get stuck in the “awaiting” stage for less time. This can improve customer satisfaction and increase return customers. Get your orders out the door faster with our order fulfillment services.

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