To understand the process and importance of e-commerce fulfillment, we must first look at digital shopping. This includes its origins and how it gained traction throughout the globe.
In an era where technology reigns supreme, innovative creations have made life easier and everyday tasks much more convenient. Most of these relate to the introduction of digital services, which make lives much easier.
One notable invention that completely revolutionized the concept of online shopping was the introduction of e-commerce and online shopping platforms.
According to a forecast conducted by eMarketer, they have concluded that global ecommerce sales for the year 2022 will climb up to more than $5 trillion, which is over a fifth of overall retail sales.
This makes it an excellent time to dive into the world of ecommerce. All of these critical aspects will help you guarantee the best start when diving into the market.
Let us take a deeper look into this and try to dissect this complex aspect of this field.
What Is E-Commerce Fulfillment?
In order to understand how you can ensure excellent e-commerce fulfillment, we must first understand what it is. You have to fully understand the importance of e-commerce fulfillment.
So, what is e-commerce fulfillment? By definition, the fulfillment factor in the world of ecommerce refers to the entire end-to-end journey user goes through.
This involves ordering an item and getting it delivered to its destination. However, there is much more to e-commerce fulfillment.
The end-to-end process involves different aspects that are very important in the entire delivery process. Additionally, they also help you understand the gist of e-commerce fulfillment.
The process includes numerous components, such as storage, packing the products for shipping, and the actual order shipping as well.
Many companies in the market monitor and manage the entire e-commerce fulfillment process within their company. Furthermore, they have departments set up to handle these sorts of things involved in the supply chain.
However, some organizations specialize in e-commerce fulfillment. And they help small-scale businesses that are not capable of adequately managing this aspect of their ecommerce platform.
Importance of ecommerce fulfillment
Markinblog recently conducted a research study on the number of ecommerce sites in the market. The conclusion they reached stated that nearly 26 million ecommerce platforms exist throughout the globe. Furthermore, this number is exponentially increasing day by day.
In such a vast market, competition is a given. Every platform wants to be on the top. So that it can secure hefty revenue and greatly profit from its sales. And this is exactly why ecommerce fulfillment is such a vital cog in the machine called ecommerce.
The fulfillment ecommerce provides when talking about this part of the process greatly affects how productive the delivery part of your platform is, and it gives you a competitive edge among the vast ecommerce market.
It is essential to have a properly managed ecommerce fulfillment system in your company or a reliable third-party ecommerce fulfillment service provider. After all, having a great system would be beneficial in many parts of the end-to-end delivery process.
eCommerce fulfillment services can help you in a number of different ways. One of them is that they can help your company manage all customer orders so that they do not get misplaced in the process. Similarly, it prevents packages from getting mixed up when being packed.
In addition to that, the fulfillment services are also responsible for making sure to send the product shipments on time so that there is no delay when delivering an order to the customer.
Another way that e commerce fulfillment helps the company improve their performance is that they make sure to obtain all information on the products that are available on the platform.
This can be useful when cross-checking the current product availability to make sure that the product that has been ordered is indeed in stock.
Due to all of these reasons, many ecommerce platforms prefer to use an e commerce fulfillment service because they help build trust and reliability in the market and among the customer base as well.
Ecommerce Fulfillment: How Does It Work?
We’ve discussed a bit about what this aspect of ecommerce is and what makes it an essential element for customer retention. Now, let’s talk about the actual process.
The purpose of every step involved in the ecommerce fulfillment is to optimize. This optimization can occur during many stages of the entire process, and the reason for this is to make sure that the package gets is delivered at the most optimal time possible.
The fulfillment services must make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, from the time a customer hits the check-out button to when they pack and send over the project for shipping. This is because a minor hitch in the entire process can snowball into a terrible customer experience.
Let us discuss the major stages in which the e commerce fulfilment process is divided in, to make sure that the procedure goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Receiving Inventory
The first step in the fulfillment process is transporting the objects to the distribution location, where they will be packaged and shipped to the customer’s address, and this step of the process is known as receiving inventory.
This distribution location can range from anything between a normal storage location or a vast warehouse.
2. Inventory Storage
After the product has been safely transported to the distribution location, it is now time to store the inventory in a proper storage location.
The storage location is dependent on the amount of inventory which needs to be stored and can range from a spare room to a large warehouse as well.
This is a very important part of the process because the fulfillment service must make sure to have enough inventory to meet the customer demand, especially during special holidays like Christmas.
3. Order Processing
After the inventory has been received and stored, now comes the time to process the placed orders. Once a customer completes a transaction, this stage of the process begins.
This part of the fulfillment ecommerce provides involves item selection, packing and preparing the order to get shipped.
Something vital to look out for when processing the orders for shipment is to make sure is selecting the right type of packaging, and this could include:
- Bubble mailers
- Bubble wrap
Once the packaging has been done, it’s time to ship them to the right customer addresses. Many companies use a service like FBA, but there are other options such as FedEx or UPS as well.
Depending on the number of products which must be shipped, this part of the process can range from a quick stroll to your nearest postal service to contacting the carrier to come to your storage location.
5. Alerting the Customer
This step of the e-commerce fulfillment process is optional, but some companies prefer to implement it in the overall procedure.
Many ecommerce platforms tend to integrate a digital notification tool which allots a tracking number to each customer.
They let them know that the order has been shipped, and the tracking number acts as a way for the customers to be aware of the location of their order.
6. Processing any returns
Just as how no human is perfect, every company cannot expect every order to be successful as well. Returns are a normal part of the process, and every platform must have a system set in place to process them.
The Resources put into e commerce fulfillment
There are many resources which must be put into e commerce fulfillment, and it is important to discuss some of them, for they are crucial to the process.
Warehousing is a very important resource that you need. This is because proper e-commerce warehousing will ensure that the products are physically stored in a safe place so that they can be sold online.
Furthermore, inventory monitoring and management is also an important resource of e commerce fulfillment. This involves monitoring different aspects of the process, including storage, tracking, and shipping as well.
Understanding ecommerce fulfillment and other aspects of an ecommerce platform require a lot of research, but this guide gives you a good start.
However, this was just one cog in the machine. There are many other additional elements of ecommerce which you should focus on to develop the perfect ecommerce platform.
Furthermore, proper product and trend research will also greatly help you when developing your platform. And the right e commerce fulfillment process will give you an edge over the competition.