The secret to the success of retailers goes beyond the quality of the goods they sell. Imagine the anger you’ll feel when you order a package from an online store, and it arrives late. Would you be so eager to patronize such a retailer again? To avoid all these problems, retailers follow a secret formula called “Order Fulfillment.”
Order fulfillment involves a series of steps from receiving an order for goods to consumer delivery. Third parties like a logistics firm will usually handle the order fulfillment process for you. How well you or they follow the order fulfillment procedure will determine how quickly the package gets to you. But what is the procedure of order fulfillment?
The first step in the entire order fulfillment process is to receive inventory. This inventory is also called goods and is the product you’ll be selling to your customers. However, that isn’t all there is to receiving inventory. It involves labeling the goods and ensuring you have an accurate count of what’s available. When you receive new stock, you’ll need to make sure the products aren’t damaged.
Once you’ve received your products, you’ll have to store it until a customer request for some of them. This step of storing inventory is called “Warehousing.” It involves managing your inventory (keeping an eye on what goes out and comes in). You’ll also need a system of organizing the warehouse and ensuring you can easily find what you need.
This stage is when customers want to buy your stored goods, and you need to prepare and send the package. It involves confirming you have the products after receiving an order by checking your inventory system.
After the customer commits to buying the goods, you’ll need to prepare the product for shipping. You will pick the goods from your warehouse, inspect for any issues, and packaging it. It also involves transportation to the shipping station.
Most often, shipping is usually handled by third parties. The method you choose should depend on the weight, size, and special needs of the package. You should consider the shipping method that bests satisfy your order’s unique concerns before considering costs.
Statistics show that 67% of online customers review your return policy before committing to a purchase. So, processing returned goods is also another vital step in order fulfillment. Before such potential returns occur, you should make arrangements on how to process it.
Since the return shipping is coming to you, you’ll have to decide which shipping method will work best. A good return policy forms the backbone of all online retail stores.
The Argument for Logistics Firms
Most amateur merchants will initially handle the entire order fulfillment process themselves. However, as orders triple and quadruple, it becomes easy to get overwhelmed. A logistics firm can handle order fulfillment better, faster, and cheaper than any single retailer.
There are many different methods to handle order fulfillment for your business. You can do it in-house, by dropshipping or contract a logistics firm to handle everything. As you can see, order fulfillment is not as complicated as it sounds.