As eCommerce continues to grow, so does the demand for order fulfillment services. More and more eCommerce businesses are choosing to outsource their order fulfillment operations in order to save time and money. If you’re looking to improve your eCommerce order fulfillment operation, this guide is for you.
In this article, we will discuss what eCommerce fulfillment is, how it works, and how you can improve your operations. We’ll also take a look at the importance of a WMS system and specifically, ASCTrac WMS Software.
What is eCommerce Order Fulfillment?
eCommerce order fulfillment is the process of receiving, processing, and shipping orders placed online. This can include orders placed on a company’s website, as well as orders placed through third-party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy or other sales channels like social media.
The goal of eCommerce fulfillment is to get orders to customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. In today’s world of online shopping, customers expect fast shipping, and they often factor this shipping time into their purchasing decision.
How Does the eCommerce Order Fulfillment Process Work?
Order fulfillment for eCommerce typically starts with the customer placing an order on an eCommerce business website. Once the order is placed, it goes to a fulfillment center where it is received and processed. After the order is processed, it is then shipped to the customer via the chosen shipping method.
Let’s break down this process further.
Steps in the Order Fulfillment Process
Receiving orders: This is the first step in the order fulfillment process and it involves receiving orders placed by customers online. Then, send these orders to your fulfillment center. This can be done manually or through an integration with your eCommerce platform and warehouse management system (WMS).
Processing orders: Once the orders are received, the next step in the eCommerce fulfillment process is for the orders to be processed. This includes tasks such as picking, packing, and shipping the order. An eCommerce fulfillment center will typically use a WMS to help manage this process.
Shipping orders: Once the orders are processed, they need to be shipped to the customer. This is typically done via a shipping carrier such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, or one of many other providers. This may include both domestic and international shipping. This step also includes tracking which is important for both the customer and the order fulfillment center.
Returns and Reverse Logistics: Returns are a part of doing business and need to be managed as part of the order fulfillment process. This can be a challenge, but there are ways to streamline the process. These include having a clear returns policy in place, as well as using a reverse logistics functionality within your WMS software.
If you’re an order fulfillment service provider, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the process. By looking closely at each step along the order fulfillment journey, you can more easily identify areas of improvement and make changes to your process.
The Rising Importance of 3PLs and Fulfillment Services
As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, so does the demand for third-party logistics (3PL) providers and eCommerce fulfillment centers. In fact, the global market for 3PL services is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2026.
There are several reasons for this rising demand. First, more and more businesses are choosing to outsource their logistics and order fulfillment operations. Bypassing in-house fulfillment allows them to focus on their core competencies and leave the logistics to someone else.
Second, customers are becoming more and more demanding. They expect faster shipping times and more accurate order fulfillment. As a result, businesses need to have a well-run operation in order to meet these rising customer expectations.
Third, the growth of eCommerce has led to an increase in the number of small retail businesses. Small businesses often don’t have the resources or expertise to handle their own logistics and self-fulfillment. They need to outsource these operations to 3PL providers and eCommerce fulfillment centers.
The Benefits that Third-Party Fulfillment Offers eCommerce Retailers
There are many benefits that working with a third-party fulfillment service offers eCommerce retailers. Let’s discuss some of the most important here:
Focus on Core Competencies
Perhaps the most important benefit is that it allows eCommerce companies to focus on their core competencies. When an online store outsources their logistics and fulfillment operations, it can focus on other aspects of its business such as marketing, sales, and product development.
Another benefit of third-party fulfillment is that it allows businesses to scale their operations. As an eCommerce business grows, it can simply increase the number of orders that are sent to its fulfillment center. This flexibility is crucial for businesses that are experiencing rapid growth.
An eCommerce fulfillment provider may also offer multiple fulfillment centers which can help businesses reach a wider geographic area faster.
Third-party fulfillment also offers eCommerce stores access to expertise and resources that they might not have otherwise. When an online store partners with a fulfillment center, it can tap into that provider’s knowledge and resources to help improve its own operations.
Fourth, using a third-party fulfillment provider can help an eCommerce store improve its order accuracy. Order accuracy is critical to customer satisfaction. Fulfillment companies can use their experience and expertise to pick, pack, and ship orders for the eCommerce business accurately and on time.
Save Money in the Long Term
And finally, third-party fulfillment can save eCommerce companies money in the long run. When companies outsource their logistics and fulfillment operations, they can eliminate the need for costly infrastructure such as warehouses and distribution centers. They also don’t have to worry about hiring, training, and managing their own staff.
Keep in mind, working with a fulfillment provider also tends to offer the benefit of lower shipping costs due to partnerships with carriers. Overall, outsourcing order fulfillment may cost more initially, but most businesses will realize savings and benefits in the long term.
Knowing how to articulate the benefits that your organization offers is a critical step in acquiring new clients. When you’re able to show potential clients how your services can help them, you’ll be much more likely to win their business.
If you’re looking to improve your eCommerce order fulfillment operation, what should you do? In the next section, we’ll take a look at some tips on how to improve your operation.
How to Improve Your eCommerce Order Fulfillment Service
Every fulfillment service should strive to be the best eCommerce fulfillment company possible. This means the entire process of handling and delivering customer orders should be handled with efficiency, expediency, and care.
With that goal in mind, here are several things you can do to improve your eCommerce fulfillment process:
Tip #1 Invest in a WMS
Investing in a WMS can also help improve your eCommerce order fulfillment operation. A WMS can help automate and streamline your process, making it more efficient and effective. ASCTrac WMS Software is a market-leading option for eCommerce fulfillment services of all sizes.
Tip #2 Evaluate Your Current Process
The next step is to take a close look at your current process and identify areas that could be improved. Are orders being processed in a timely manner? Are there any bottlenecks in the process? Are orders being shipped out as soon as they are received? Taking the time to evaluate your current process will help you identify areas that need improvement.
Tip #3 Streamline Your Process
Once you’ve identified areas that need improvement, the next step is to get to work streamlining your processes. This may involve automating certain steps in the process or implementing new technologies. It may also involve making small changes to your current process.
Tip #4 Improve Order Accuracy
One of the most important aspects of eCommerce order fulfillment is accuracy. Inaccurate orders can lead to dissatisfied customers and returned merchandise. To improve accuracy, you need to have a good system in place to track orders and inventory. A WMS system can help with this by providing real-time visibility into your inventory, as well as optimizations for picking, packing, and shipping.
Tip #5 Improve Order Processing Time
The faster you can process orders, the better. There are a number of ways to speed up order processing. Consider your warehouse layout and order picking strategy. You may also look into automating order picking and packing. A WMS system can help with this by providing automation capabilities.
Tip #6 Improve Shipping Time
Customers simply expect fast shipping these days. There are a number of ways to improve shipping times, including using multiple shipping carriers and offering same-day or next-day delivery. A WMS system can help with this by providing visibility into shipping times and carrier performance. To meet customer expectations, both delivery time and shipping costs should remain competitive.
Tip #7 Improve Customer Service
Good customer service is essential for eCommerce businesses. There are a number of ways to improve customer service, including providing tracking information and offering returns. A WMS system can help with this by providing customers with real-time visibility into their orders.
Tip #8 Hire Enough Staff
You need to have enough staff to pick, pack, and ship orders quickly and accurately. But not just during the slow season – you need to have enough staff to handle the busiest season of the year. Otherwise, you’ll end up with backlogged orders and unhappy customers.
Tip #9 Train Your Staff
Your staff needs to be properly trained on your order fulfillment process. They should know how to use your WMS system and they should be familiar with all the ins and outs of their role. But training isn’t a one-time thing – you need to provide ongoing training to keep your staff up-to-date on changes to the process.
Tip #10 Keep Current with Technology
The eCommerce and fulfillment industries are constantly changing and evolving. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep up with the latest technology. This may involve investing in new hardware like barcode scanners or RFID readers. Or it may involve investing in new software like ASCTrac WMS, and keeping them up to date.
Tip #11 Offer Value-Added Services
Value-added services can help you stand out from the competition. These are services that go above and beyond the basic fulfillment services. Examples of value-added services include gift wrapping, product customization, and white-glove delivery. Offering value-added services can help you attract and retain customers.
Tip #12 Measure and Track Your Performance
You need to measure and track your performance to see if you are making progress. You should track metrics like order accuracy, order processing time, shipping time, and customer satisfaction. A WMS system like ASCTrac can help with this by providing real-time visibility into your operations as well as custom reporting features.
These are just a few of the things you can do to improve your order fulfillment operation. Making improvements can be a challenge, but it’s worth it. By taking the time to evaluate your process and invest in the right technologies, you can improve your operation and provide a better experience for your customers.
ASCTrac WMS fulfillment software is a great way to improve your order fulfillment operation. Contact us today to learn more.
The Importance of a Warehouse Management System (WMS)
One of the most important things you can do to improve your fulfillment operation is to use a WMS. A WMS is a software system that helps you automate and optimize your warehouse and fulfillment operations.
There are many benefits of using a WMS:
- It can help you improve accuracy and efficiency.
- It can help you reduce costs.
- It can help you improve customer satisfaction.
- It can help you scale your operation as your business grows.
A WMS system is an essential tool for order fulfillment. A WMS system provides real-time visibility into inventory, which is essential for accurate order picking and packing. Additionally, a WMS system can provide automation capabilities to improve order processing time.
ASCTrac WMS Software for 3PL, Wholesale, Distribution, and Manufacturing Operations
If you’re looking for a WMS system to help improve your order fulfillment operations, we recommend ASCTrac WMS Software. ASCTrac is a leading provider of warehouse management systems. We’ve been in business for over 20 years and have helped thousands of businesses automate and optimize their operations.
ASCTrac offers a number of features that are designed to help you automate and optimize your warehouse operations. Some of the most notable features include:
- Order management
- Inventory management
- Shipping and tracking
- Pick, pack, and ship automation
- Reporting and analytics
Our system is easy to use and can be up and running in a short period of time. Plus, our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way.
If you’re ready to take your eCommerce fulfillment operation to the next level, contact us today to learn more about ASCTrac WMS Software. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and help you get started.
There are many things you can do to improve your eCommerce order fulfillment operation. These tips should help you get started on the right track. Remember, the key is to invest in the right technologies and measure and track your performance so you can continue to make progress.
A warehouse management system like ASCTrac WMS Software is an essential tool for eCommerce order fulfillment. Contact us today to learn more about how our fulfillment software can help you improve your operation. We’re here to help you every step of the way.