People don’t buy products for the sake of it, but because of the satisfaction, they get from using the product. When customers place an order, they expect the order to be delivered on time. Thriving eCommerce brands understand this, and they ensure quick order fulfillment.
The faster your eCommerce fulfillment turnaround time, the more you put a smile on your customer’s face. Happy customers turn to repeat buyers and promoters of your business, helping you generate more revenue.
We’ve put together this guide to help you understand inventory management, eCommerce shipping, and order fulfillment. So, let’s get to it!
What is International Ecommerce Order Fulfillment?
What is international eCommerce order fulfillment, you ask? International eCommerce order fulfillment is the process of receiving orders, packaging, and shipping products to customers across international boundaries.
Ecommerce order fulfillment is both ways and covers return processing if the customer isn’t satisfied with the product. Overall, order fulfillment is considered successful when the request is placed, processed, and delivered at the intended location.
Time is the metric used to measure order fulfillment. When customers place an order, they expect quick delivery within a reasonable timeframe. They end up disappointed when the order doesn’t get to them on time.
According to a PR Newswire report, at least 24% of shoppers cancel orders because of slow delivery. Sadly, this is a poor customer experience, and it hurts several eCommerce brands. The best way to counter it is by speeding up the order fulfillment process.
In summary, the benefits of eCommerce order fulfillment are timely order delivery, top-notch inventory management, smooth supply chain management, ultimate customer satisfaction, and increased revenue for eCommerce brands.
Savvy e-commerce brands use various order fulfillment methods, including building their order fulfillment services or partnering with a third-party logistics fulfillment company. Whichever option you choose, there are six rules you need to master for successful order fulfillment. In summary, this is how the order fulfillment process works.
6 Key Components behind Successful Ecommerce Fulfillment
1. Receiving and Inventory Management
This is the starting point of eCommerce fulfillment. It is the point where you receive inventory from your manufacturer and suppliers to your warehouse depending on where they’re located. It’s a good practice to have your fulfillment centers nearby in the interest of timely deliveries.
The supplier or manufacturer can be based onshore, nearshore, or offshore. Depending on what works for you, you should ensure the inventory is always within your reach. Before accepting the inventory to your warehouse, ensure they’re in perfect shape.
Also, you want to check that you have the right quantity as you ordered. Lastly, remember to create a stock-keeping unit (SKU) for each product before recording them to your stock management software or spreadsheet.
2. Receiving inventory, logged into inventory, stored and recorded on shelves
Next, you want to ensure orderliness in your storage facility by organizing inventory in an orderly manner. It would be best to arrange the inventory on shelves according to their SKU for quick accessibility when customers place orders.
Remember, time is of the essence in an order fulfillment process. So, you need to access the ordered products from the shelves as fast as possible to package them for shipping. This can be a hassle when your inventory is disorganized.
3. Order Placement
The initial two steps are done in preparation for the third step—order placement. It’s a good practice to ensure customers only order items you already have in your inventory. This saves you the agony and frustration of sourcing items from suppliers on short notice.
Also, you need to have a user-friendly order placement system, whether doing it online or offline. Online order placement can be pretty delicate and needs extra attention. So, ensure the software is easy to use and that you don’t have misleading product images.
4. Pick and Pack
At this stage, the placed orders are run through the existing inventory for pick and pack. The efficiency of pick and pack depends on how fast the orders can be accessed from the existing inventory. That’s why proper inventory management is important.
Pick and pack can be a tedious procedure. However, with the help of an inventory management system, this shouldn’t be a big deal. The best practice requires at most a 24-hour pick and pack time frame window. This helps with a 99.9% of order processing rate.
Lastly, the packaging materials should be top-notch for product safety. This also influences the volumetric and the billable weight, helping you to save on shipping costs.
5. Duties & Taxes
Duties and taxes contribute to the overall shipping cost. In particular, you need to be concerned about delivered duty paid (DDP) and delivered duty unpaid (DDU). In DDU, you’re responsible for shipping the product and covering all expenses except duties and taxes. Depending on what works for you and your customers, you should determine who should handle the taxes.
Shipping is the last phase of eCommerce order fulfillment before your customers receive the ordered items. Arguably, it’s one of the most important aspects of order fulfillment because the process isn’t complete until products are successfully delivered.
It’s also important to consider shipping in totality, i.e., first, mid and last mile, and the modes and means of transport involved like water, air, land, road, rail, etc. Working with fulfillment centers like third-party logistics companies with large carrier networks goes a long way.
Customers can return items for various reasons. It would be best if you had a solid return policy in place to protect you from unrealistic return requests. In addition, you should have a dependable returns management system in place to help mitigate any form of confusion.
Try out a Third-party (3PL) Order Fulfillment Provider
There are two ways to handle eCommerce fulfillment. You can build your order fulfillment service or outsource to a fulfillment center like third-party logistics companies. Unfortunately, doing it by yourself can be a hurdle. However, a third party logistics company like Floship helps to streamline the process. Get in touch if you have concerns about eCommerce fulfillment.