Joe's Thoughts: The Rising Importance of eCommerce Order Fulfillment

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When Webgistix was founded in 2001, the idea of being an eCommerce fulfillment provider was just that: an idea. Though there were a few companies that claimed to do online fulfillment, none had been around long enough to have real impact on the industry. The bottom line was that there was no rulebook, no experience to draw on, and nobody with proven credentials in the field. Back at the dawn of eCommerce, shopping cart systems were sparse, unwieldy, and incredibly frustrating to learn.

Not only that, the idea of online shopping had not fully taken off, and people were wary of giving away their credit card information over the internet. This was a time when most people were still using 56k modems to dial up to the net, and people actually used those free AOL CDs for something besides coasters. Only the most tech-savvy shoppers would purchase merchandise online without fear of getting their information stolen. But even back then, there were signs that the market would expand, and I knew that eCommerce wasn’t just a fad that was going to go away, and it wasn’t going to burn out. It was just getting started.

A great deal has changed since the easy days of eCommerce. A younger generation of internet users now has a marked presence online, and there have been a plethora of innovations in security, including advanced antivirus’, trusted payment services such as Paypal, and identity theft prevention.

Today, shopping online is mainstream, and you can now find many things on the internet that you couldn’t get otherwise. As the infrastructure to support eCommerce has expanded, so have the companies that rely on that infrastructure. Today, almost anyone can start a successful online business as long as they have a good product, commitment, and vision. Many specialty industries have boomed due to this growth, such as website design, social media campaigning, payment services, shopping cart software, and of course, fulfillment providers.

eCommerce order fulfillment is also experiencing a boom. It’s telling to the level of growth that just a few months ago, eBay decided to buy GSI Commerce, a diversified services provider that provided a comprehensive solution (including fulfillment) to their clients, for 2.4 billion dollars. The importance of eCommerce will only continue to rise in the future. Just as eCommerce infrastructure has evolved in the past few years, so has eCommerce order fulfillment software and technology. eCommerce revenue has been growing at a brisk pace in the last ten years, and is expected to grow more than 40% in the next five. Yet when you compare the internet to other communication mediums we have such as the telephone, television, radio, and the printed word, it quickly becomes clear just how comparatively young it is. For that reason, it’s important to observe how to take advantage of not only today’s online market, but also tomorrow’s.

How has the eCommerce revolution affected your own business in the last ten years? Do you use an outsourced fulfillment provider for your shipping?

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