What is Order Fulfilment? Master the Process & Strategies for Success in 2023
Order fulfilment is all about getting your eCommerce products into the hands of your customers. The product that your customer has purchased is picked off the warehouse shelf, safely packed in a box or satchel, and then shipped out to the customer who has ordered it. Sometimes referred to as eCommerce logistics, order fulfilment sounds deceptively simple.
Although the process from start to finish is an easy one to follow, getting it right is not quite so easy or cost effective over the long term. Ideally, you want to be receiving a lot of customer orders but as soon as you start receiving a high volume of orders, you need a more efficient method for fulfilling and shipping them.
Are you facing any of these growing pains as an eCommerce business?
- Can’t keep up with customers orders
- Not enough space to store product
- Need a scalable process for managing fulfilment
- Running out of stock and unsure how to forecast
- Too much time spent on logistics rather than the most important parts of growing your business
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to seek out a new eCommerce order fulfilment plan and that’s where we can help.
We are fulfilment service professionals. As a third party logistics provider, we manage your fulfilment operations from the time your online orders are placed through your website to when they arrive at your customer’s door. We offer flexible warehousing and order fulfilment services that allow you to accurately price your inventory and the costs of managing it.
The Order Fulfilment Process
If you’re considering outsourcing eCommerce order fulfilment you might be wondering what the process involves. The main objective is to get goods to customers in the most streamlined way for the growth of your business. This starts with receiving inventory to our warehouse right through to making sure your customers are satisfied. Here is a full break down of the process:
1. Inventory management
You send us your inventory and we receive it to our warehouse facilities, centrally located in Sydney. We then begin our in-house process of inspecting, organising and managing the inventory. By using a barcode system we are able to keep things well-recorded and organised so that your stock is ready for timely processing.
2. Inventory storage
After receiving inventory, we store it in our warehouses. The inventory is barcoded with unique identifiers to ensure accuracy and easy retrieval during order processing. You will always know exactly how much product you have as our stock inventory systems seamlessly integrate with most eCommerce platforms.
3. Order processing
Your customers continue to place orders via your eCommerce platform, and have access to up-to-date stock levels so they won’t be disappointed. Once they have completed their order, that becomes an order awaiting fulfilment on our picking queues automatically. We fulfil that order using our management software and our pick, pack and shipping process.
A specially trained picker and packer accepts your customers’ orders, locates the correct stock and fulfils the order. Our highly trained staff and strict quality control protocols means you get fast and accurate fulfilment for customer satisfaction.
Once the products are scan picked, they are then packaged and labelled ready to be shipped. We offer eco-friendly packaging options, as well as customised branded satchels.
We offer end-to-end shipping solutions for every order. At checkout, your customers will be presented with options including standard shipping, express shipping and same-day delivery for the Sydney Metro area. Our leading eCommerce shipping algorithms accurately calculate shipping estimates and help you control costs.
With real-time delivery tracking data, you gain excellent visibility and give your customers a high-quality experience with the option to email or SMS the package recipient.
Invenco can help facilitate this part of the process, also known as reverse logistics. We help you deliver an optimal customer experience through effective product returns.
Challenges eCommerce Businesses Encounter with Order Fulfilment
1. Receiving inventory
If you are currently storing inventory yourself, you may find that you are only able to store a small amount of stock which creates problems with fulfilling orders and keeping up with customer demand. This can cause you to miss out on sales.
Whether you are handling logistics in-house or already outsourcing it, accurate inventory management is vital to your business success. Your customers need up-to-date information on what they can purchase from your store. You also need to know this information, so that you can forecast for new orders of stock and make sure you are meeting demand across your supply chain execution.
As a 3PL service provider, Invenco has state-of-the-art inventory management software that integrates with most eCommerce platforms. Get a quote today and never stress about stock levels again.
Forecasting future customer demand for your products can be a challenge. You need accurate sales data and a good understanding of your customers and market to make informed estimates.
At Invenco, our online portal insights provide you with SKU demand profiling and days on hand reporting, helping you to drive lean inventory initiatives and manage replenishment.
Logistics planning refers to all aspects of the supply chain management process and is critical to customer satisfaction and the success of your business. It involves inventory management, demand planning, warehousing, shipping and receiving. The aim is to ensure there is a constant supply of inventory ready to support your eCommerce orders.
Best practice logistics planning can lower warehouse and distribution costs, speed up delivery times, minimise shipping costs, and streamline inventory management. For the most efficient handling of your logistics, get a quote from Invenco today and work with a 3PL service provider that allows you to get on with growing your business.
Supply chain execution
A major cost for eCommerce businesses is supply chain management. From production of goods, to warehousing, and transporting, even if you are running a drop shipping business these are still major factors that can drive up costs and therefore turn away customers.
Supply chain execution aims to control costs at each step of the supply chain. Accessing the right data can be a game-changer in this, when your business has accurate information on stock levels, demand forecasts, and shipping times you can mitigate any unforeseen issues in the supply chain and meet customer demand.
Scaling order fulfilment for growing businesses
A nightmare for any eCommerce business is falling behind on order fulfilment. It has a huge impact on customer satisfaction and can hamper the growth of your business. Customers expect a range of shipping options and for delivery or their order to be accurate and on time. Anything less can result in poor online reviews and a loss of repeat business.
If you’re not keeping up with order fulfilment, you need to scale this side of your business and look for a 3PL service provider who can meet your needs and integrate with your eCommerce platform. Get a quote from Invenco today.
Best Practices for Order Fulfilment
Streamlining receiving processes
The first responsibility of a 3PL service provider like Invenco is to receive your goods and safely store them in the warehouse. We also have a streamlined process for receiving and documenting returns. Reverse logistics is an important part of running an eCommerce business and a streamlined returns process can help with customer satisfaction.
Organising warehouse space
At Invenco, once we receive your goods, we count, check, barcode and catalogue them so that we can keep track of them quickly and easily – and so can you. Our service also helps you cut down on storage costs as we have a pay-by-the-cubic-metre-per-day pricing system, which means that you only pay for the storage space you are using at any given time.
Automating warehouse space
Invenco provides an automated order fulfilment service through fully managed integrations. We build, maintain and monitor your integration so that you can focus on your business. At Invenco, we can custom build managed integrations or you can use one of our pre-built managed integrations including shopping carts, ERP and accounting systems and EDI retailers.
The eCommerce integration process frees you up from tedious or error prone systems and includes:
- Receiving and loading data from the source system
- Transforming the data from the source format to the destination format
- Sending and saving the transformed data in the destination system
Having a shipping backup strategy
Partnering with a 3PL service provider
When business owners are looking to outsource their order fulfilment, they need a 3PL service provider that can ensure orders are fulfilled smoothly and worry free. You need a logistics company that can overcome challenges, implement best practices and assist flawless supply chain execution.
Get a quote from Invenco and discover how we can make order fulfilment the least of your worries.
Choosing an Order Fulfilment Strategy
3. Drop shipping
The order fulfilment strategy of drop shipping is when products are shipped directly from the manufacturer or supplier to the customer. This means that the seller does not need to hold any stock, cutting down on warehousing costs. But it can also mean that the business doesn’t have much control over the product, stock shortages, quality, customer experience and delivery time.
4. Hybrid shipping
As the name suggests, this strategy involves a hybrid of order fulfilment options such as in-house, 3PL and drop shipping. For example, you may drop ship some of your inventory and turn to a 3PL to handle logistics in a particular country, while still keeping some of your order fulfilment in-house. This can be a good way to experiment with different outsourcing options.
Ultimately, the strategy that you choose for your business needs to align with your business objectives. How you handle order fulfilment will depend on the size of your company, the type of product you are selling, the location you are operating in, the type of eCommerce platforms you are using and more.
If you are looking to scale your business, keep customers happy and focus on the parts of your business that matter the most, get a quote from Invenco or give us a call on 1300 795 800.
Order Fulfilment FAQs
Benefits of Outsourcing Order Fulfilment
In the early days of a new online store, most entrepreneurs and business owners take responsibility for their own order fulfilment with simple pick and pack procedures that follow logical supply chain principles. Sometimes this will mean a few late nights ensuring that customer orders get out on time, but most of the time the pick, pack and ship process is small enough that business creators and their friends and immediate family can help out.
When an eCommerce business begins to grow, however, the demands on that supply chain system also begin to grow and this can take away from important business tasks and lead to delays, errors and customer complaints. In the end, it’s not scalable and it can impact the growth and success of your company.
Some of the benefits to outsourcing order fulfilment include:
- Reduced overhead costs
- Increased efficiency
- Access to advanced technology and resources
- Ability to focus on core business tasks
Finding the Right Order Fulfilment Partner
You need an order fulfilment partner that prioritises the satisfaction of your customers through accurate and timely delivery of goods, while keeping your costs at a minimum.
Here are some things to look for when choosing a 3PL service provider:
- Automated processes and integration with eCommerce platform
- Purpose built, conveniently located warehouse that will help lower shipping costs and improve delivery times
- Pay-by-the-cubic-metre-per-day pricing system so you only pay for what you use and reduce the cost of storing goods
- Warehouse management system (WMS) that gives you complete visibility of product inventory
- Accurate pick and pack process and fast dispatch for happy customers
Invenco assists you with reducing your warehousing and order fulfilment costs and increasing your order fulfilment capacity. We help you to make sales and forget the rest.
Order fulfilment has the power to make or break your business.
When it is handled professionally, it makes your customers love you, optimises inventory management and demand planning, and frees up your time for other areas of the business. On the other hand, when order fulfilment goes wrong, it can result in slow delivery times, 1-star customer reviews and either too much or too little stock.
For the sake of your business, you need to consider implementing best practices across your supply chain and turning to an expert 3PL service provider. Get started today with Invenco by getting a quote.