A Guide To Global Order Fulfillment Strategy & Process

Order fulfillment is critical to your company’s success. Almost 40% of people who have a bad experience with delivery say they will not go back to that retailer again. They do not want to deal with lost, delayed, or damaged packages. Doing proper global order fulfillment based on a solid fulfillment strategy is a significant benefit to your company and it allows you to not only gain new customers but retain them as well.

What is Order Fulfillment?

Order fulfillment is the entire process of receiving, packaging, and sending orders from online customer sales. Some companies do their own fulfillment operations while others use a third-party logistics provider to do it.

The Order Fulfillment Process

The steps in the order fulfillment process Track and manage every new order from the time it is received and until it arrives in the hands of the buyer. The eCommerce fulfillment process includes warehousing, picking and packaging the order, shipping it, and then sending a notification to the buyer to let them know that their purchase is on its way. The company tracks and manages the order until it arrives at its final destination.

1. Receiving

Receiving is the beginning of the order fulfillment process. It can come in two forms depending on the company. If you are using third party logistics (3PL), it will consist of arrival, acceptance, and storing of inventory sent by the seller to a fulfillment center. Each 3PL has a particular receiving process that they use for incoming inventory. They organize it and have it ready for fulfillment by storing it on-site rather than at the seller’s site.

2. Storing

The second part of the process is when a company produces and ships its own merchandise. Receiving is done inhouse between the production and warehouse and there’s a process in place that allows for transferring inventory between the two areas. Warehouse management stores the product after production so the product is accessible and ready to head out the door.

What Types of Business Should Hire a Fulfillment Warehouse?

Established businesses that are growing yet need cash flow are good candidates for 3PL. It shares the cost of warehouse, the warehouse management system, and staffing, which is great if you are growing sales and adding new products while needing to stay flexible in the busy and slow seasons. Basically, someone else manages the warehouse and shipping demands, saving you money and time.

What Types of Businesses Should Not Hire a Fulfillment Warehouse?

Businesses that do not need to hire a fulfillment warehouse are those that are new and perhaps do not yet have a validated market. If the company does not yet have positive cash flow and only beginning to bring in orders, waiting for a warehouse is the smart move. Save the cash and do it yourself until you are stabilized and up and running.

3. Packing

Once an order is placed, the next step in eCommerce order fulfillment is packing. This means that either your shipping department or 3PL is preparing the order to be sent to the buyer. This step includes packaging costs depending on the product along with 3PL costs of staffing and storage.

4. Shipping

Shipping is when the product is ready to head out the doors from the distribution center. This is the stage where a delivery company picks up the shipment for final delivery. You or your shipper will need specific shipping products no matter what you’re shipping, including labels, envelopes, manifests, etc. You also incur shipping costs the depend highing on the shipping service you choose. Mail, couriers, or trucks all have various fees based on quantity, weight, and how far the package is going to travel.

5. Delivering

Delivering the product promptly is of the utmost importance for customer satisfaction. Choosing the right delivery service provider can make or break a deal. The provider must be able to deliver globally quickly and professionally while keeping the product intact. They need to be flexible depending on the product’s size, weight, and quantity. You may have to use multiple providers if you have different products going to various places. Some may meet different delivery needs than others, depending on the circumstances.

6. Processing Returns

Processing returns is the one step in the order fulfillment process that you do not want to use. Keeping returns to a minimum is important. However, when there are returns make sure customer service is excellent and make them easy for buyers. Full refunds and return shipping are important especially if the seller is at fault or the merchandise is faulty. If there are excessive issues and costs with a return, your buyers will not return.

What’s Your Order Fulfillment Process?

Global order fulfillment is critical for any company selling online. How can you improve your dropshipping fulfillment? How can the order fulfillment process be improved? From the moment you process orders to the second you receive them, you need to make sure every step is done well. You want to maximize your customer relationship on all levels.

Whether you are new to the eCommerce community or have been processing orders for years, it’s always important to stay on top of your order fulfillment to make sure your customers are happy.  Sign up for our newsletter and hop on The Ecomm Manager Slack team so to interact with other ecomm pros to ask questions and get feedback.

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