E-Commerce fulfillment is not the most glamorous component of operating a company but it is critical to its success and development. Your product may be the best in the market, and your website could be flawless, enabling your clients to go to checkout effortlessly. But, if your E-Commerce fulfillment process is not running well, your business may lose its revenues.
The best fulfillment centers for small businesses provide a balance of pricing, competence, and quality control. Not to mention that many E-Commerce fulfillment businesses make it very simple to interface with your online shop, notify the fulfillment firm about orders, and manage your inventory from an online dashboard.
What is eCommerce fulfillment?
ECommerce is a vital component of the global, modern economy. It has altered the way people shop and conduct business over the last several decades. E-commerce fulfillment entails taking the goods off the shelf, choosing and packaging orders, shipping methods, and other logistics.
As discussed, e-Commerce fulfillment is an undervalued but vital factor for your online shop. You are your fulfillment provider if you pack and ship orders from your location. But, as your company grows, you may need to outsource fulfillment to a third-party logistics service (3PL).
Let’s look at the steps involved in e-Commerce fulfillment to acquire a better knowledge of this subject.
How does a e-Commerce fulfillment center work?
Fundamentally, eCommerce fulfillment is the backbone of your business. Knowing the procedures involved can assist you in better managing and running your eCommerce company. While you do not have to outsource your eCommerce fulfillment, doing so will help your company grow, simplify, save money, and avoid risks.
There are four major components involved in the eCommerce fulfillment process.
1. Omnichannel Intergration
Your E-Commerce company should work in tandem with your fulfillment center. You or your 3PL suppliers must interface with all platforms where your items are offered.
Specialized software needs to be developed for sales on platforms that cannot be linked with the fulfillment center.
2. Inventory and Receipt Management
Receiving is an area where most fulfillment warehouses fall short since pallets of your product are not being recorded in inventory as they wait on the loading dock. No inventory means no sales, which may result in a loss and high costs. This is why your fulfillment supplier must stock the goods within a day or two of receiving them. Moreover, your inventory should be monitored in real-time while maintaining Goldilocks stock levels, i.e., not too much that ties up your money or too little that puts your firm in danger of running out before refilling.
Shrinkage is another inventory difficulty, often known as loss, theft, or breakage. If any of you products are damaged in any way the supplier is liable. At the same time, as you store products on the shelves, establishing appropriate stock levels might be difficult without consideration for shrinkage.
3. Pick, Pack, and Ship
The pick, pack, and ship process refers to the cycle in which an order is received, the warehouse selects the desired items, and the floor worker puts the products in the appropriate boxes. The item is subsequently delivered to the consumer.
The fulfillment center must be conveniently positioned so your eCommerce firm can benefit from quick shipment times. Another crucial consideration for fulfillment companies is order accuracy since errors in packaging orders may cost you your company and your clients.
Returns Processing And Reverse Logistics
Returns are unavoidable, so making returns easy for customers is critical, and documenting such returns is a vital function for E-Commerce fulfillment. Return methods that are efficient and swift will offer your client a refund quicker and stock the returned goods back on the shelf so that they may be sold again.
This is a critical function that drives your eCommerce business’s sales. Letting your third-party logistics provider manage this aspect will allow you more space and time to concentrate on expanding your sales.
Even if we understand the job of an E-Commerce fulfillment center, consumers will need clarification on a fulfillment center and a warehouse. Let’s look at the distinctions between these two terminologies to prevent making similar blunders.
What is the difference between a Fulfillment Center and a Warehouse?
As previously said, a fulfillment center is more of a distribution center where orders are received, selected, packaged, and distributed to clients. On the other hand, a warehouse is a location where inventory is kept. To stock up on their items, eCommerce retailers either have warehouses or rent them out.
Consider a warehouse similar to a kitchen pantry, where you may keep and stock up on all your food supplies for later use. On the other hand, a fulfillment center is similar to having someone cook for you in the kitchen using the ingredients from your pantry. This individual is exclusively responsible for cooking and serving meals using the pantry items. As a result, the phrases warehouse and fulfillment center refer to two distinct ideas that should be used differently.
Now that we’ve cleared the air, there’s one huge issue left: do you need a warehouse or a fulfillment center for your eCommerce business?
Do you need a Fulfillment Center or a Warehouse for your eCommerce business?
If your eCommerce company is big and needs you to hold a significant number of items for an extended period before sending them out, owning a warehouse is an efficient and cost-effective solution.
But, if you run a small to medium-sized firm and spend excessive time packaging and delivering orders, outsourcing them to a fulfillment center will solve your issue.
Moreover, a warehouse is the best option if you do not have enough storage space. But, if your items are in and out of storage regularly, a fulfillment center is a superior alternative since, in addition to keeping your products, they can pack and send them to your consumers with ease. You can visit this site for more information.