Thanks to the online retail giants and
gradually convenient and fast global transportation, and with the rapid
popularization and development of mobile devices like smart phones, the global
ecommerce market saw its sales soar 18% to 2.86 trillion dollars in 2018.
As consumers, when we buy something online,
we want it now. As sellers, fulfilling orders that meets buyers’ demands is
easier said than done.
China, the world’s NO.1 ecommerce market
and manufacturing country, has become many ecommerce sellers’ sourcing priority
alternative. While complete order fulfillment isn’t the most exciting part of
your ecommerce business, especially when your store and ship your orders from
somewhere outside of the destination countries, like China, it will have a
direct influence on your bottom line.
Did you know that the shipping speed,
shipping cost and shipping experience are the most important factors when it
comes to cross-border online shopping? The taxes and tedious refund and replace
process is next.
61% of shoppers will abandon their cart if
shipping, taxes, and other fees are too high.
53% of shoppers say that speed of delivery
is an important factor when it comes to evaluating their online orders.
38% of shoppers will never shop with a
retailer again if they had a poor delivery experience.
25% of shoppers have canceled an order because of slow delivery speeds.
order fulfillment right has never been that important for ecommerce business
But you need to understand how it works
before you can set up the right fulfillment strategy for your business.
Order fulfillment is the process of storing products, receiving orders, pick & pack and ship to customers, which can be performed in-house by an ecommerce company or outsourced to a third-party (3PL) logistic provider.
Order fulfillment can apply to both
business-to-business(B2B) orders- where larger quantities of products are
shipped to larger-scale retailers and business-to-consumer(B2C) orders.
For B2C, orders fulfillment process begins
after the buyer places orders on seller’s online marketplace store or website.
the Order Fulfillment Process?
There are several steps – from inventory management
to pick up the right package material and method for the most cost-effective
shipping (shipping cost is charge by the package weight and volume) –that make
up the whole order fulfillment process.
Every steps of fulfillment process can be
complicated if you are new to order fulfillment and haven’t put much thought
Whether you outsource your order fulfillment work to a third-party logistic (3PL) company or do it yourself, receiving the inventory from the manufacturer to the warehouse is the first step toward getting orders to the end customers.
If you are sourcing from china, you might
think of storing your products in China-based warehouses and ship your orders
directly from China or shipping them in bulk to local fulfillment centers where
your products will be sold.
For sellers who have solid and large
customers base in each region, we suggest store products in local fulfillment
centers then ship orders out with significantly cheaper shipping rate to cover
the initial freight cost.
But for small and medium business, getting
order shipped directly from sourcing country is more reasonable, which won’t require
heavy initial shipping input for small sellers who just start their business.
Before putting the merchandise on shelves,
product quantity and quality inspection will be carried out to ensure the
inventory accuracy. And each unique product or SKU will be designated a barcode
for smooth fulfillment process.
After inventory has been received by
fulfillment warehouse, then the inventory data will be stored into a warehouse
management system and the inventory level will be updated in a real-time manner,
which provides sellers with a good sense of product selection and inventory
Inventory accuracy is a crucial part of
order fulfillment process, with a good warehouse management system, your
inventory can be updated accurately and automatically, which is an important function
that order fulfillment should benefit ecommerce sellers. Otherwise, orders may
be delayed due to inaccurate inventory, what’s worse, it will hurt your
customer experience and account performance.
Once the buyers complete their purchase,
the order processing begins. Order fulfillment company or third party logistic company(3PL)
generally has an order management system that integrate with almost all popular
shopping carts like Amazon, ebay, shopify, woocommerce, etc., which will
automatically download the paid orders on your store or website to their system
for further process.
After an order is received by order
management system, fulfillment warehouse operatives will pick and pack the
order and sometimes apply some value-added services like custom packaging,
marketing insert, etc.
Once the pick and pack operation is done,
the order is ready for delivery. The order management system allows sellers
access to the real time tracking and also can update the tracking number to end
It’s important not to forget about return
handling when it comes to order fulfillment. A good return experience has a
good influence on repurchase rate.
Products returned should go through careful
inspection and be handled properly at fulfillment warehouse depending on a
sum up, an ideal order fulfillment process should be empowered by warehouse and
order management system to fulfill orders automatically and efficiently.
from China? Deciding Which Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Model to Use
Making the right fulfillment choice for
your business depends on several factors, including your order volume, your
product and more.
There are 3 options to choose for order
fulfillment—see which is best for you.
In-house fulfillment, also known as
self-fulfillment, this method can range from small order volumes fulfilled from
home to investment into expensive facilities for a larger operation scale.
Many ecommerce sellers manage and pack
orders in their home when they just start their business, at this stage, a lot
of valuable time will be spent that could otherwise be used on developing new
products, executive marketing campaigns and acquire more customers. Once the
business grow to a certain point, this method can be an obstacle for your
business if not operate properly. At this stage, sellers are faced with either
outsourcing fulfillment work or building up the fulfillment infrastructure
For sellers who sourcing from China, unless
you have a large and consistent order volume, in-house fulfillment is not
suggested since no matter you set up your own warehouses in China or in destination
countries, there will be a huge initial cost.
Handing off ecommerce fulfillment to a
third-party often occurs when a merchant is spending too much time packing
boxes and shipping orders, has run out of space to store their inventory, needs
more time for strategic projects, and has no interest in managing their own
When you outsource fulfillment to a 3PL
company, they handle the entire fulfillment process for you — from receiving your
inventory from your manufacturer to restocking returned products.
Because 3PLs work with many merchants and
typically operate a number of fulfillment centers, they have the logistical
expertise and capacity and are able to negotiate substantial discounted bulk
shipping rates from carriers due to the pure volume of shipments they are
shipping out each day.
Sourcing from China and outsourcing to a
China fulfillment company, you can manage all your inventory and order through
their web-based software without being in China in person.
Dropshipping means that the merchant never
holds the products they sell in their online store; instead, the products are
produced, stored, and shipped by the manufacturer.
When a customer places an order on the
merchant’s online store, the order is forwarded either manually or
automatically to the manufacturer.
Then, the manufacturer dropships the
product directly to the end customer.
With dropshipping, the shipping process is
completely in the hands of the manufacturer, who is often overseas.
This means that your customers might have
to wait for a product to be shipped from across the world.
In addition, dropshipping does not
necessarily allow you full control over inventory management and order