The more efficient the order fulfilment process, the more positive the customer experience, brand perception, customer loyalty, revenue, and overall eCommerce growth will be.
FREMONT, CA: The process of receiving, packaging, shipping, and delivering a product to a consumer is called order fulfilment. Fulfilment also includes the processing of exchanges and refunds.
In basic terms, an order is fulfilled when the contact between the business and the client for the ordered product is completed.
Order fulfilment is frequently quantified in terms of the time required to completely fulfil an order—which can also be considered a key order fulfilment parameter.
In an era when same-day and two-day delivery are the norms, strategizing about your order fulfilment approach is critical.
A digital commerce organization can develop its own dedicated order fulfilment service or outsource the order fulfilment process to a third-party fulfilment provider.
However, how is order fulfilment accomplished? Take a peek.
The order fulfilment process encompasses all aspects of the transaction, from order receipt to delivery/returns/exchange.
Here is an overview of these critical milestones in the process:
1. Inventory Receiving: Receiving inventory is obtaining products directly from manufacturers or suppliers and storing them in local fulfilment centres.
Among the critical responsibilities at this period are the following:
• Assuring that objects are counted
• A rigorous examination of products for defects
• Creating Stock-Keeping Units (SKUs – product-specific scannable bar codes)
• Assuring that products are appropriately entered into warehouse management software
2. Inventory Management: The second stage ensures rapid order fulfilment by organizing inventory category-by-category on shelves.
It's comparable to how things are organized in a brick-and-mortar store so that the shopkeeper can quickly discover the item the buyer requests. If the items are dispersed across the store, it will take longer to locate them, increasing the likelihood that a consumer may purchase from another neighbouring business.
3. Selection: When a customer places an order via the app/website, the order must be monitored for pick and pack across current inventories. This is easily accomplished by using an inventory management system, which serves as a central database repository for all inventory products.
Additionally, digital transformation aids in effective and quick selection. For instance, eCommerce behemoths such as Walmart have used automated bots dubbed "Alphabots" to ensure error-free and expedient selecting and packaging.
4. Containerization: Packaging entails selecting the correct packaging box for the purchased item and packing it safely for delivery. If retailers maintain their inventory, they'll need to maintain various packaging supplies, including bubble wrap, carton boxes of various sizes, air fills, and packaging tapes.
Safe packing is a critical fulfilment component since it correlates to a better customer experience.
5. Transportation: Once the order has been collected from the fulfilment centre and safely packaged, it can be shipped. Retailers or logistic personnel can ship orders via third-party, merchant, or drop shipment.
If retailers choose merchant shipping, they can enable additional sub-categories of shipping on their eCommerce site. Their consumers can select the sort of shipment they prefer based on their price.
6. Exchange/Return: Returns and exchanges should also be considered part of order fulfilment. When a consumer requests an exchange/return, order processing should begin automatically.
An eCommerce business should not see order fulfilment as a process that begins with order generation and ends with doorstep delivery. Rather than that, the focus should be on order generation to provide a smooth return/exchange process.