In recent years, eCommerce has continued to blow up and alter the way in which we shop. And, as a result, an increasing number of businesses are choosing to distribute their products in this manner. Dealing with the challenges that online order fulfilment presents can bring to light a number of significant problems that impact businesses, especially with smaller ones. But there are services out there designed to help, with one being eCommerce fulfilment. This guide will look at how fulfilling orders in this way can help you maintain a high customer service level, on every purchase.

What is eCommerce Fulfilment?

In order to keep up with your competitors and grow exponentially, it is vital that you have an exceptional order completion service. This is where eCommerce Fulfilment comes into play. Essentially, it is a third party between you and the end customer. The process splits into 4 categories:

  • eCommerce Fulfillment – Getting your product from the manufacturer to a designated warehouse.
  • Order Fulfilment – Having your product picked from the shelves and packaged with others in the order.
  • Shipping – Ensuring the product is shipped via the chosen method and reaches the customer safely.
  • Returns – The process that manages returns from your customers.

With a third-party eCommerce fulfilment system, you utilise the services of external warehouse pickers and packagers. This is done in a separate facility from your normal business, allowing you to pay a set price per order. The other option is to create your own warehouse, hire additional staff and invest heavily in this aspect of your business. For scaling businesses, outsourcing these services offers numerous benefits.

How does it work?

Although the system works slightly differently, depending on the fulfilment centre in question, the general structure of an eCommerce fulfilment service follows a similar structure:

  1. You place an order for the stock from your manufacturer.
  2. This stock is shipped directly to the fulfilment warehouse.
  3. The order is received and checked into stock at the warehouse.
  4. Products are separated into SKU and placed onto designated shelves.
  5. Orders placed come directly through to the warehouse from your designated sales channels.
  6. The order payments go directly into your business accounts.
  7. The order is picked and packed at the fulfilment warehouse. This can be done in branded packaging or plain.
  8. The order is prepared for shipment.
  9. A designated delivery company delivers the product to your customer.

eCommerce Fulfilment vs Internal Fulfilment

As a growing business, you can choose to invest in your own internal fulfilment. And, when done properly, this system allows you to manage all aspects of customer service internally. Putting structures into place, maintaining them and making changes with shorter implementation time frames are all benefits of internal fulfilment. However, with this, you need to heavily invest in rented warehouse space or to have your own space constructed. Your business would have to hire additional staff, specifically for the picking process before training them up and providing a safe environment to work in.

Another responsibility that falls under the remit of those opting for internal fulfilment is identifying and working with reliable courier services. You need to know your product is getting to the customer safely and without delay. External or third-party services include this in their quote to you, with the assurance that relationships built with couriers will ensure exceptional customer service.

What are the benefits for your business?

Lower Operating Costs

If you were to rent out warehouse space, hire employees and implement all the technology needed to maintain good customer service, you’re looking at a significant investment. From here, you’ll also have monthly fees that all add up. By outsourcing your fulfilment, you can take advantage of economies of scale of economy, meaning you’ll get the best price for each order.

Ability To Expand Globally

Shipping internationally is a complex process and one that can result in expensive fines if misunderstood. Having an experienced eCommerce fulfilment company allows you to take advantage of an understanding of regulations, custom fees and taxes. And, with this, you’ll be able to grow and reach additional markets.

Reduced Shipping Costs

When you send through numerous bulk orders to an eCommerce fulfilment centre, you are able to take advantage of reduced shipping costs. This means you’ll be able to pass these savings on to your customers, further improving the level of service you’re able to offer.

Shorter Delivery Times

With a larger team working for you in the designated warehouse, you can ensure products are picked and packaged quicker. This reduces the amount of time needed between an order being received and it reaching your customer. And therefore, you are able to offer competitive options that set you ahead.

Better Technology

Instead of having to invest in technology that supports warehouse activity and ensuring this process is seamless, a third-party company will be able to offer this so you don’t need to invest unwisely. This includes everything from providing tracking information to guaranteeing accurate stock levels.

Improved Returns Process

How you deal with returns can be more impactful on your brand reputation than the orders themselves. Working with an eCommerce Fulfilment company allows returns to be processed quickly by individuals dedicated to each stage and ensures customers are kept satisfied at all times.

Radius Warehouse & Logistic eCommerce Fulfilment

Managed internally, our eCommerce Fulfilment service is managed by a specialist IT system. This allows you to dial in to view stock levels, digitally pick items for dispatch or view previous transactions. Your business can focus on growth while our professional team takes care of the physical side of order fulfilment.

If you would like to discuss full eCommerce Fulfilment service available from our South West UK warehouse, get in contact with the team.