What is Order Fulfillment?
The easiest and probably shortest explanation is: Order fulfillment is whole process which begins with receiving purchase order from the customer and ends with delivering product to the customer. It usually involves warehousing, packaging and shipping. But it can also include things like labeling, invoicing, returns, customer support etc. Every eCommerce business owner can execute purchase orders by himself or he can outsource that business to specialized logistics companies.
Rise of eCommerce
Over the past 10-15 years fulfillment has seen something of a revolution. Biggest reason for that is increased number of online purchases via well-known eCommerce platforms like Amazon or via small independent online stores. In fact, most of the online stores will outsource at least some part of the whole process to the specialized provider. Because of that it is crucial for their success to partner with only the best order fulfillment companies.
Working with the Top Order Fulfillment Companies
When searching for the best order fulfillment companies to use choose between the ones who have risen to the top of the pile over the past ten years and stayed there. You should consider things like their operating hours, their rates, the type of packaging and customer service they could offer and their credibility. Also, many eCommerce business owners tend to forget the fact that their online store is open 24/7 and some of the order fulfillment companies aren’t. Overlooking that fact can lead do delays in lead times and dissatisfied customers. To avoid that problem online store owners should always check order fulfillment companies’ cut-off time and synchronize it with their store’s cut-off time.
The best order fulfillment companies will be able to demonstrate their abilities across numerous markets. They should also have a good relationship with different courier services like UPS or USPS. Since many customers expect very cheap or even free delivery having strong relationships like this is crucial. Only then and with reliable infrastructure in place outsourcing fulfillment orders becomes a viable option.
Although even best order fulfillment companies make errors and mistakes their number is much lower than the average. Having more than 98 or 99 percent of fulfillment orders executed without any mistake is what you should ask from any reliable company.
Rates of Order Fulfillment
When considering the rates you should be very careful about how order fulfillment companies calculate their fees. Fee structure can be very different between different companies and can be based on any number of things. Usual ones are number of orders executed, volume, value of orders etc. It can also be based on any combination of above mentioned criteria. That means that cheapest service for one eCommerce business can turn to be the most expensive for the other one.
Probably the biggest advantage of choosing one of the best order fulfillment companies to partner with is the fact that you can focus on really running your core business. It will give you more time for things that are more important for you as a business. This could include creating marketing strategies, increasing sales, thinking about expansion and building a better website.
It really should not matter how big or small your business is or how much fulfillment you want to outsource. Reliable order fulfillment company should be able to deliver a quality service that is scaled to your wants and is dedicated to your customers.