Ecommerce has two basic components – your online storefront and your backend order fulfillment. When someone places an order on your website, you need a clear and reliable process to ensure that your customers get exactly what they ordered within a reasonable time frame.
Order fulfillment, which can also be referred to as product fulfillment or service fulfillment, is the final step in the sales process. When your product successfully gets into the hands of your customers, you’re paving the way for a positive experience for them, and for future business from them.
It all starts at your ecommerce website. When customers place an order, they will use your virtual shopping cart technology to identify which items they are interested in. As items are added, your shopping cart program should notify them whether or not an item is in stock.
After items are selected, your shopping cart program determines how much customers will need to pay in shipping and handling. These costs are calculated by their address, your standard handling fees and the type of shipping you’re using. Once they confirm their order, your customers will provide their billing and shipping information, which is stored in your ecommerce program and then delivered to your fulfillment center.
The ecommerce fulfillment process should be easy. Thanks to ecommerce technology, this process is a lot smoother than it used to be. Because customers are inputting their own information, and the information is delivered digitally, your fulfillment center receives notification of the new orders immediately. The items are located in the warehouse, packaged properly and then set up for shipping. When the customer receives his or her order, the order fulfillment process is considered completed.
While this may seem very straightforward, it can be difficult to manage properly without the right logistics and resources in place. Independent online retailers often find it easier and more cost-effective to outsource their fulfillment needs rather than trying to handle them on their own.
Should you outsource fulfillment services? If you’re weighing your options for your company, outsourcing order fulfillment can help you put your focus on growing your company, instead of managing warehouse space and dealing with packaging issues. Working with a fulfillment house can help you streamline your operations and ensure that customers receive their products to their satisfaction.
Making sure that order fulfillment is taking place efficiently and accurately is an important aspect of your business. Fortunately, you can work with a fulfillment company to help you manage your deliveries and grow great relationships with customers.