How Does the E-commerce Order Fulfillment Process Work?

18 June, 2019

When you have a great product that sells in high volumes, to various national or international locations, you will inevitably start exploring the best way to ship your goods to the end consumer more efficiently and cost-effectively.

While managing your own dispatch at the fledgeling stages of your business makes financial sense, it becomes more and more complicated and time-consuming when you start working with larger orders.

In a digital world where you can’t afford to suffer bad online reviews, the reliability of your order fulfilment process is paramount. The service provider you choose to partner with to ship your e-commerce sales will depend on your budget, the nature of your product and the destinations you ship to.

What is e-commerce order fulfilment?

E-commerce order fulfilment is a process which starts when a customer clicks the ‘Buy Now’ button on a website and pays for the items in their basket. An order management system (OMS) then processes the order and sends an electronic ticket out to the warehouse management system (WMS), detailing the product SKU number, quantity and shipment instructions.

If you outsource your e-commerce order fulfilment, the warehouse will have initially received and stored your inventory on their premises accordingly. They will pick, package and deliver your orders directly to the customer. Of course, the biggest consideration here is the customer, ensuring that they have a seamless experience in receiving their purchase within the agreed delivery time frame and in the expected condition.

READ MORE: 75% of consumers will stop purchasing from a retailer if they have experienced problems with their online orders.

Choosing an e-commerce order fulfilment partner

Deciding to outsource your e-commerce order fulfilment involves entrusting the logistics, packaging and shipping to a third-party. The benefit of going down this route is that your business will no longer have to get sidetracked with the menial tasks involved in getting the item out the door. This leaves you to focus on your customer care, product development, marketing and growth strategies, while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing your orders are being dispatched in a timely manner, handled and packaged with the appropriate level of care.

Furthermore, outsourced e-commerce order fulfilment means that you do not have to make an infrastructural investment in order to store large volumes of your inventory. Also, you will not have to deal with a multitude of courier companies or process returns yourself.

The service provider you choose should have a few defining features:

  • Competitive prices for the delivery options your customers require.
  • Capacity to grow with your business – as your business expands, the order fulfilment centre should be able to accommodate your growth in order to eliminate the disruption that comes with having to find a new provider.
  • Accountability and vigilance – your order fulfilment centre should be able to demonstrate consistency in quality when it comes to packaging and delivery.
  • An adaptable service that is able to handle peaks and troughs in demand.
  • Reliable and efficient returns process that serves the needs of the customer and keeps you informed of any issues that need addressing immediately.

Is Asendia the right e-commerce order fulfilment service provider for your business?

Asendia has the infrastructure and extensive experience of handling order fulfilment for a significant number of e-commerce businesses. Our order fulfilment centre in Bedford has the capacity to handle products, marketing literature and merchandise to accommodate businesses that require a scalable, flexible service, with the option of supporting you as you expand internationally if that is your intention.

Not only can we store and dispatch your orders, but we can also package them directly from your supplier or manufacturing plant and distribute them to your customers straight away (this is a process known as cross-docking).

We have documented procedures for all processes that give you the peace of mind required to know how, when and by whom your products are being handled on their way to your customer. If you’d like to find out more about our service, we invite you to have a look at our case studies showing the extensive work we have done for some of the UK's biggest brands. You can also get in touch to discuss how we can help your e-commerce order fulfilment process become as simple, cost-effective and streamlined as possible.