The eCommerce industry has evolved vastly over the past few decades. From selling to a few people using the internet to selling products across the world, eCommerce serves a massive pool of consumers. Now eCommerce is not just an option to shop when you can’t find something in your nearby store, but it has become the preferred mode of shopping for many. The variety of products under several categories, the comfort of shopping from anywhere, discounted prices, fast deliveries, and many such aspects make eCommerce popular among people. Presently, the situation is such that the sellers say the customers are most likely to abandon their cart if they don’t receive orders within a week. But, as we go to the bottom of the situation, what drives eCommerce? eCommerce isn’t a single process but a set of processes that need to work in absolute sync to derive the desired outcome. Let’s understand how these processes take place.
What is order fulfillment?
The entire process from sales to the post-delivery experience of customers is referred to as the order fulfillment process. Receiving, processing and shipping are the key steps involved in the process. Most online sellers either carry out the order fulfillment process themselves or outsource some of the operations to third-party service providers. Let’s dig deeper into how eCommerce order fulfillment works.
Order Fulfilment Process
It involves receiving the inventory, as well as storing it. Products may come from a third party, another company’s warehouse, or some other department. Whichever source the inventory is coming from, it must be counted, inspected, and stocked properly to ensure quality products are received and the correct number of products is updated in the inventory management system. Bar codes are used for products as they arrive at the stocking center or when retrieved from internal storage later.
Storage and warehousing
Once the products are received, they are stocked immediately or sent to short-term or long-term storage. Products are preferably stored just long enough to manage the orderly distribution of existing products, rather than to hold them for the future. This step is one of the most crucial ones as it determines the ease and speed of fulfillment operations. Therefore, it’s important to carry it out efficiently to avoid delays in processing.
The process of receiving orders runs parallel to inventory management. Online platforms set their preferences for receiving order requests. You can accept customers’ orders either manually or by integrating your marketplace or cart to software to fetch orders directly. Products need to be delivered to the customers’ doorstep depending on their delivery preference. For example, you need to keep the delivery priority for customers who have chosen the one-day delivery option.
This stage of order processing involves scanning through a warehouse and finding the product ordered by a customer online. Since multiple products can be shipped in a single order, you may have to pick different products from different warehouses.
Packaging of products is another important step you need to carry out carefully. As different kinds of products need different types of packaging material, it’s important to invest in sturdy packaging material to keep the products from damage during transit. The bottom line is that the packaging of your products should be able to bear the friction to offer optimum customer satisfaction.
Shipping is the most important component when it comes to turning your customer into a buyer. As your courier partner has a huge role in making or breaking your brand’s image in front of your customers, it’s highly significant to choose a delivery partner that can do justice to your customers’ delivery experience. When it comes to choosing a courier partner, you can pick one from Delhivery, FedEx, Blue Dart, XpressBees, and other top-rated courier options. However, it would be much simpler to compare the shipping prices of each of the courier partners and then pick a shipping partner for your eCommerce business. You can set up a free account on NimbusPost, a tech-enabled shipping aggregator, where you get to see the shipping rates offered by 17+ courier partners on a single page which helps you make an informed shipping decision.
Return Order Processing
In most cases, the order fulfillment chain ends with the delivery of products. However, it’s not the case with each customer. Today, return orders have become an important process of the order fulfillment process. Your customers may return the order for several reasons while leaving no option for sellers except to accept the orders to stay competitive in the industry. While managing the return order process is important, it’s imperative to reduce the return rate to decrease the RTO percentage.
A trusted shipping aggregator like NimbusPost can assist you in carrying out the entire order fulfillment process without hassles. Along with free sign-up, you get benefits like serviceability to 27000+ pin codes, real-time access to the NDR panel, automated cloud calls, early COD remittance, marketplace integration, etc.