If you wish to know what order fulfillment is then you have landed at the right place.
The online shopping or eCommerce industry is growing at a tremendous rate. People now prefer shopping online as compared to visiting a physical shop to get something.
Everything right from groceries and vegetables to electronic items is now available online, making it easier for people to get everything at their doorstep without having to leave the house. As a result, more than 75% of people are known to shop online at least once a month. And this number is only expected to grow in the coming years.
Can you think of the last purchase that you made online? And can you think of the process that you had to follow for it? You added something to the cart, entered your address, paid for your product, and received it at your doorstep in a few days, right?
But are you aware of how orders are processed at the business owner’s side? Well, keep reading on as that is exactly what we are here to find out.
What Is Order Fulfilment?
Also known as eCommerce fulfillment, order fulfillment covers everything right from when an order is received to when it is delivered to a customer.
Order fulfillment basically consists of the following steps- receiving inventory shipments, inventory storage, order processing, shipping, and then returns processing (if any).
The process basically starts when a customer places an order and ends when the customer finally receives his order. If in any case, the customer wishes to return the order then processing of the return is considered as a part of the eCommerce fulfillment process too.
While it might seem easy, the process involved in the fulfillment of the orders is actually complex. Many companies handle their own order fulfillment, whereas others outsource it to a third party.
A successful order or eCommerce fulfillment strategy is extremely important for businesses to build customers’ trust, loyalty and to stay ahead in the competition.
So, if you are a business owner then it is vital that you devise a strong fulfillment strategy for your business.
How To Improve The Order Fulfillment Process
If your current fulfillment strategy isn’t really working out and if you are looking for ways to improve it then keep reading on.
1. Choosing The Right Shipping Company
It goes without saying that the shipping company that you choose actually plays a major role in your eCommerce fulfillment process.
First, you need to be sure that the company you choose will effectively ship to your consumer base. Some companies don’t ship all pin codes, especially the remote ones.
So, if you have customers living in some of the difficult areas, make sure that your shipping company delivers to them.
A reliable shipping service will also ensure how well your customers receive their orders. When companies provide tracking details and other updates from time to time, this basically strengthens your order fulfillment strategy.
Some other points that also need to be considered are whether the company ships extra-large packages, or very small ones containing delicate items.
While you may need to do some research before choosing the ideal company for your business, this step is very important.
2. Ensure That Your Internal Order System Is Efficient
Yes, a lot depends on the shipping company you choose but your internal order system is equally important too. A good shipping company will be of no use if your internal operations are in chaos.
Is your entire order process streamlined well and do you have enough employees for each operation? Are all your computer tracking systems working well? Is there a gap between your processes? These are a few questions that you need to consider to ensure that your internal order fulfillment system is flawless.
You can talk to your employees and ask them whether they can identify gaps that could be improved. If you find something faulty or if you find a loophole in your internal system then make sure that you fix it immediately.
3. Have Proper Warehousing Services
If you are one of those small or medium businesses that do not own a warehouse then you must get one.
Warehousing is very important for a lot of reasons including managing your inventory better and improving your eCommerce fulfillment process. A fulfillment warehouse is pretty crucial irrespective of the size of the business.
And if you already have a warehouse then look for ways that you can improve your warehousing services. Making it easy for your employees to find inventory, categorizing your inventory, and creating a simple and clear stocking inventory are a few of the things that you can do.
All of this will, in turn, ensure that the process of delivering your shipments is improved.
4. Automate Your Processes
Many eCommerce companies, when they have just started their business, tend to perform a lot of order-related processes manually. This isn’t just very time-consuming but it also reduces the efficacy of the work.
Whereas, if these same processes are automated, there is no need to perform the same tasks again and again and again.
Automating your order fulfillment strategy will enable your orders to be generated automatically and make the entire process a lot smoother.
What’s more, is that this will also reduce your risk of human errors thus improving your eCommerce fulfillment process.
5. Take A Look at Your Metrics
Lastly, it is extremely essential that you validate your metrics. They will help you analyze the effectiveness of your processes.
Taking a look at your metrics will enable you to understand where things are going right and which areas need improvement.
You can identify the problem areas and then aim to improvise them. Percentage of on-time shipments, return rate, customer satisfaction, customer retention, average delivery time, etc. are some of the metrics that you can consider.
We hope this blog gave you an idea of what order fulfillment actually is and what you can do to improve it.