Introduction to ecommerce fulfilment

Any small eCommerce business must start somewhere, and in the early days that often means taking on every aspect of running the business from ordering stock to picking, packing and shipping. When a business starts to experience substantial growth, it is time to reflect and see which tasks can be delegated elsewhere. 

Once you start employing staff and outsourcing tasks such as web design, accounting and marketing it might also be time to consider handing over the order fulfilment side of things too and this is where we can help you to understand what that is and how it can help your business thrive.

When you outsource fulfilment you can relieve yourself from the hassle of managing your stock, order picking, packing and delivery because you will hand it over to experts who will get the most out of the process for you and ensure a fast, reliable and secure service. 

What is eCommerce fulfilment?

This refers to the process of making sure the stock you have stored, which you then sell online, is delivered to your customers who have placed an order with you. It covers the picking of the items, the packing of the orders and ultimately the safe delivery of said items to the customer.

Your order fulfilment can be carried out in-house by you or your staff, but this is not recommended for growing businesses as it can prevent you from focusing on other important tasks such as research and development of products to increase future growth. Order fulfilment can therefore be outsourced to a third party, who will carry out every area of the fulfilment process for you. These companies are often referred to as third party logistics (3PL) providers. 

There is also a type of shipping option called ‘drop – shipping’ whereby products are shipped to the customer straight from the supplier, however order fulfilment differs to this; items will go from the supplier to a fulfilment centre or warehouse to be stored until someone places an order for them. A 3PL will manage the storage of these items until the time when an order comes in for them.

How do orders work with a 3PL?

The process of order fulfilment at a fulfilment centre can be categorised into 4 areas:

  1. Receiving

An order is received to the fulfilment centre as soon as your customer has placed it, this is usually achieved by the 3PL integrating with the platforms where you sell your products such as Amazon. This will allow for a fully automated flow of information between the point of sale and the fulfilment centre.

  1. Picking

This refers to the selection of correct items, as displayed in the order, from the warehouse stock. It is possible that the warehouse or fulfilment centre where your stock is being stored is also the chosen facility for multiple other companies and therefore orders are picked meticulously to ensure the correct item is sent to the customer. 

  1. Packing

Staff at the fulfilment centre will package your goods ready for shipping. How the products are packaged will be prearranged with you to ensure continuity of brand, and that the aesthetics are to your agreed standards. The fulfilment centre staff will package these goods according to these requirements, also ensuring that the items are protected against any potential damage that could occur throughout the delivery journey so that they reach your customer in perfect condition. 

  1. Shipping

Once the order is picked and packed the fulfilment centre will then ship the item using the desired postage method (standard, next day, express etc) making sure the turnaround from ordering to shipment is as quick and efficient as possible to uphold your reputation and keep your customers happy. 

How can Xpediator help with outsourcing fulfilment?

Xpediator Plc is a fast-growing international freight management company providing logistics and transport support solutions, exploiting the global growth demand for transportation services. Xpediator has three specialist divisions:

Freight forwarding: Providing international freight management services by road, air and sea. The group also operates a specialist Retail & Lifestyle logistics solutions, which offers an end to end logistics solution for retailers. 

Logistics and warehousing:  Consisting of the leading palletised freight network in Romania, and further warehousing and port centre logistics services in the UK.

Transport support services: Delivering a one stop shop solution for transport companies in Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria. 

We understand that choosing the right 3PL provider is a huge decision for a growing business and is integral to the continued success of the business. Here at Xpediator we have a culture of collaboration, working together to achieve goals is something we incorporate within our company and when we work with you we will also work collaboratively to help you achieve the best for your organisation and the future of your business. 

To discuss how Xpediator can help you propel your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch: https://xpediator.com/contacts/

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