A successful eCommerce business transaction finalizes during the order fulfillment process. eCommerce order fulfillment marks the time when customers complete their online purchase and their product is prepared and shipped to them. The way you deliver a product or service to the customer can help you create a lasting relationship with the customer or potentially end the opportunity as a one-time purchase.
The right order fulfillment process is vital to your eCommerce business. You can build a stable customer base by fulfilling orders correctly and promptly.
Customers have become more aware of their significance to businesses. That is why big eCommerce companies, such as Amazon, take their order fulfillment and general customer services seriously as integral parts of their business. These eCommerce platforms even offer customers free deliveries and standard two-day shipping.
Order Fulfillment Challenges
The uncertainties surrounding business make eCommerce difficult. The Coronavirus pandemic has made global logistics and order fulfillment even more crucial for eCommerce businesses.
The order fulfillment process is not a single task. It's a multi-step process, which entails receiving inventory, storage in fulfillment warehouses close to your customers, order processing, shipping, and managing returns. You must be able to incorporate all these steps into your business structure as your business grows.
Customers want retailers to deliver their products conveniently, quickly, reliably, and affordably. Therefore, it’s important to develop an efficient and effective fulfillment approach to give your eCommerce store a competitive edge.
The eCommerce Scale Up
A well-managed business inevitably expands, necessitating the need to scale up your order fulfillment strategy. Expansion means dealing with more and more diverse customers and handling more inventory for growing demand. You need to keep track of all your inventory and order details, which can be increasingly difficult.
Nobody wants to hold their business back from growth opportunities. Order fulfillment strategy determines how much you can scale your business and give you a competitive edge against your competitors.
Customer needs and preferences keep changing. eCommerce consumers do not want to wait for their packages. Many online companies have even endeavored to make deliveries on the same day. As you scale up, it's crucial that you develop a fulfillment approach that will enable you to receive, process, and deliver orders quickly and accurately.
We'll look at the various strategies you can adapt to scale up your order fulfillment approach. We also address various tips that will enhance your order fulfillment process as your business expands.
Order Fulfillment Models
Our logistics experts credit these strategies that will help you scale up your eCommerce order fulfillment efficiently and allow your business to reach its full growth potential.
Direct or self-fulfillment is the basis of order delivery. Although you might need to diversify how you deliver your products to customers as the business grows, doing it yourself is generally how many eCommerce businesses start their fulfillment journey.
Self-fulfillment allows you to keep tabs on your inventory and orders closely if you have less than 100 orders per month. This strategy is effective with local customers, smaller orders, or a lower volume of orders, helping you minimize complicated logistics mistakes for new businesses.
2. Third-Party Logistics Fulfillment
As orders increase and demand grows, you can work with a professional third-party logistics company (3PLs) to handle your order fulfillment strategies from storage to the final shipping. Outsourcing gives you more space to focus and handle other critical aspects of your business. You can utilize multiple fulfillment warehouses to reach your customers across the country with lower shipping rates and offer quick and accurate shipping using logistics experts.
3. Drop Shipping
This order fulfillment approach allows you to dispatch goods directly from manufacturers or suppliers to the customer. With drop shipping, you are assured of an easy and convenient order fulfillment process.
Small-scale businesses can benefit from drop shipping since you do not need your own warehouse or storage space. However, this fulfillment method would not work in a highly competitive industry.
Order Fulfillment Strategies
Automate the fulfillment strategy
Automation will accelerate your fulfillment process as orders reach the supplier directly, are shipped promptly, and allow the customers to track their parcels. Working with an experienced 3PL fulfillment provider will give you the time and cost savings to focus on business growth.
Involve multiple parcel shipping companies
Acquire external help to meet your customers' needs as your business scales up. Working with more than one shipping company saves you the uncertainties of putting all your eggs in one basket.
You have the privilege of switching companies conveniently to satisfy customers. Additionally, you enjoy a variety of delivery methods to meet the needs of every customer. Although, it will require time and research to find the best shipping method with this strategy. Consider partnering with an eCommerce fulfillment company that can shop for the best shipping rates for you.
Packaging will strengthen your brand
Packaging is critical in eCommerce. It guarantees product safety and that the goods reach the customer undamaged. Packaging is also a strong branding and marketing strategy. Good packaging builds a positive first impression with customers. It greatly influences the customer's decision to buy from you again.
Also, reusable packaging can help you build a loyal customer base as you strengthen your brand.
Adopt a flexible warehousing strategy
Flexible Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) are vital in eCommerce. Workflow-driven software will help you handle warehouse activities more effectively.
Flexibility enables eCommerce businesses to work with real-time inventory, making it possible to handle large orders. Accuracy also improves.
Working with an order fulfillment company that provides a warehouse management dashboard will allow you to monitor your inventory and know when to refill supplies for a smoother fulfillment process.
Streamline Your Order Fulfillment Process for Business Growth
The order fulfillment process is critical in every online business. It’s how eCommerce businesses interact with customers. It’s up to you to decide what fulfillment strategy suits your business needs and helps meet customers' preferences, but it should be a top priority consideration if you’re trying to grow and scale your business.