- eCommerce fulfillment isn’t just a back-end process, it can be a strategic driver of profitability for your online store
- 76% of shoppers expect a minimum of three eCommerce fulfillment options at checkout
- Easyship helped scaling premium gaming accessory brand Satisfye increase fulfillment efficiency by 6.5X and save $60K, across 70K orders.
Looking to implement successful eCommerce fulfillment strategies for your online store? This article breaks down the overall process, 3pl eCommerce fulfillment, automation benefits, and future trends. Plus, explore how effective fulfillment can help boost profits for your online store, while creating a delivery experience customers love.
Table of Contents
What is eCommerce Fulfillment?
eCommerce fulfillment is the process of receiving, processing and delivering online orders to your customers. There are a few key parts, including order management, inventory storage, picking and packing items, and shipping. In short, it's the workflow that turns a customer's click on your site into a product sitting on their doorstep.
Benefits of eCommerce Fulfillment
Efficient eCommerce fulfillment offers a range of benefits for online stores of all sizes. These advantages include:
- Improved customer satisfaction: Prompt and accurate order processing and fulfillment can lead to satisfied customers. These can then be more likely to become repeat buyers and spread positive feedback about your store's excellent customer service
- Cost savings: Streamlined fulfillment processes can reduce operational costs, such as labor and inventory carrying costs
- Increased sales: Fast and reliable order fulfillment can boost sales, as customers are more likely to complete their purchase when they know their items will arrive quickly
Types of eCommerce Fulfillment Solutions
For most online stores, there are two different types of eCommerce fulfillment solutions. In this section, we will break down the benefits of both. While these benefits mainly depend on your order volume and the resources available, keep in mind a combination of both can be a winning strategy as you scale.
3PL eCommerce Fulfillment
Third-Party Logistics (3PL) eCommerce fulfillment is a popular choice for businesses looking to outsource their order fulfillment. With 3PL, a specialized provider manages inventory, plus picking, packing, and shipping. Choosing the right 3PL partner to handle your order fulfillment process can offer the following benefits:
- Cost savings: 3PL providers often have established networks and can negotiate better shipping rates
- Scalability: Businesses can scale up or down easily to meet changing demand
- Focus on core competencies: Outsourcing fulfillment allows businesses to focus on product development and marketing
Handling and shipping customer orders yourself in-house can be cost-effective when your store is starting to grow. However, when you successfully scale, the high volume of orders can make fulfillment operations increasingly complex.
While businesses opting for in-house fulfillment must carefully consider the costs, resources, and complexities involved, there are some key benefits to in-house fulfillment:
- Control: Businesses have full control over every aspect of fulfillment, from inventory management to packing processes
- Customization: Fulfillment processes can be tailored to suit your unique business requirements
Effective eCommerce Fulfillment with Automation
eCommerce fulfillment automation involves using technology and robotics to streamline and optimize the fulfillment process. The aim is to reduce manual labor, improve efficiency, and minimize errors. There are some key benefits to automating these processes:
- Order accuracy: Automation reduces the chance of human error, while checking the right items are picked, packed, and shipped
- Faster Processing Times: Automated systems can handle orders faster, speeding up the fulfillment process
Automation can significantly reduce operational costs and improve customer satisfaction by ensuring accurate and timely order fulfillment.
Looking to benefit from automating your store's order fulfillment process? There are a range of automation procedures stores of any size can now implement. While some require high investment and a pre-existing fulfillment network, these benefits can also be achieved by partnering with a 3PL that uses these systems:
Investing in robotics systems that can assist with tasks such as order picking, packing, and even automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for moving goods within the warehouse. These robots can work alongside human employees to improve efficiency.
Order Management Software
Implement order management software that automates order processing, inventory tracking and order status updates. This ensures that customers receive real-time information about their orders.
Utilize barcode scanning technology in your warehouse to streamline the tracking of inventory and orders. This can be effective in reducing human errors and boosting accuracy in your team.
Machine Learning and AI
Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence can predict demand, optimize routing and enhance the overall efficiency of your fulfillment operations.
eCommerce Fulfillment Services
eCommerce fulfillment services play a vital role in helping businesses manage their fulfillment operations. These services cover various aspects of the supply chain, from warehousing and packing, to shipping and delivery. There are some key types of eCommerce fulfillment services any online store can use:
- Warehousing: eCommerce fulfillment services often provide secure, climate-controlled warehouses to store your inventory
- Picking and packing: Fulfillment services can efficiently pick items from shelves, pack them securely and prepare them for shipping
- Shipping and logistics: Providers have established relationships with carriers, allowing them to negotiate competitive shipping rates and manage the logistics of getting your products to customers
Choosing the Right eCommerce Fulfillment Provider
With over 165 Billion packages delivered a year in the US alone, there is a wide range of fulfillment options available to service this monumental demand. Picking the perfect provider for your online store can be crucial. Consider the following key factors when you are weighing up your options:
- Technology and Integration: Ensure the provider’s systems can seamlessly integrate with your eCommerce platform and other tools you use
- Scalability: Choose a provider that can grow with your business to accommodate increasing order volumes
- Reputation: Research the provider’s track record, read reviews and ask for client references to gauge their reliability and quality of service
Related Post: eCommerce Shipping & Fulfillment: Our Top Tips Now
Boosting Profits with a Successful eCommerce Fulfillment Strategy
One of the tops goals of any business is sustainably maximizing profits. An effective and well executed eCommerce fulfillment strategy can play a vital role in boosting profits for your online store.
Reducing Operation Costs
By cutting operational costs, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently and increase their profit margins. Efficient eCommerce fulfillment reduces operational costs in several ways:
- Labor Efficiency: Automation and streamlined processes minimize the nee for excessive labor hours, leading to reduced staffing costs.
- Inventory management: Accurate inventory tracking and demand forecasting prevent overstocking and stock outs, minimizing carrying costs
- Shipping Optimization: Rate comparison tools, like those offered by Easyship, help businesses select cost-effective shipping options, saving on shipping expenses
Increasing Customer Satisfaction
Happy customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend your brand to others. Satisfied customers not only contribute to higher profits through repeat business, but also serve as brand ambassadors, expanding your customer base. A successful strategy ensures:
- Fast and accurate Delivery: Customers expect prompt order processing and timely deliveries. Fast shipping times enhance the customer experience, leading to higher customer retention rates
- Order accuracy: automation reduces errors in order fulfillment, preventing costly return processing and refunds
Scaling for Growth
A well-planned fulfillment strategy can adapt to accommodate business growth. Whether you’re expanding into new markets or experiencing increased demand, scalability is crucial. 3PL providers can often scale operations seamlessly, allowing you to grow without significant upfront investment.
Reducing Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment is a common challenge for online retailers. High shipping costs and long delivery times are frequent reasons for cart abandonment. By optimizing your fulfillment strategy to offer competitive shipping rates and faster delivery times, you can reduce cart abandonment and boost conversions.
Returns management can be costly for an eCommerce business, both in terms of shipping expenses and the impact on inventory. An effective fulfillment strategy with accurate product descriptions and quality control processes can help reduce return rates, preserving your profit margins.
A successful filament strategy is data-driven. It provides valuable insights into customer behavior, order patterns and inventory turnover rates. By analyzing this data, businesses can make informed decisions to optimize product offerings and inventory management, further boosting profitability.
Easyship: Streamlining eCommerce Fulfillment
Easyship is designed to simplify shipping and enhance the eCommmerce fulfillment process for online stores of all sizes. As the leading shipping and logistics platform, there are a wide range of benefits available for your store today:
Easyship provides access to a global network of couriers, making it easier for ambitious eCommerce sellers to reach customers worldwide. This global reach can open up new markets and opportunities for expansion.
With Easyship, you can compare shipping rates from over 550+ couriers, ensuring that you choose the most cost-effective shipping option for each order. This can lead to significant cost savings over time. You can use the popular shipping rate calculator to compare shipping rates from different carriers, completely free!
Easyship automated various aspects of the shipping process, from label generation to order tracking. This not only saves time, but also reduces the risk of errors in fulfillment.
International shipping comes with customs regulations and documentation requirements. Easyship helps businesses navigate these complexities by providing guidance and support for customs compliance.
Easyship’s transparent pricing structure ensures that businesses can accurately budget for shipping costs, without worrying about hidden fees or unexpected charges.
With 76% of shoppers expecting a minimum of three eCommerce fulfillment options at checkout, get ahead of the competition with Easyship’s popular conversion boosting feature. Automatically calculate the best shipping options for your customers from more than 550+ shipping options, no matter the destination of your eCommerce orders.
Satisfye's eCommerce Fulfillment Success Story: 6.5X Efficiency Increase and $60K Saved
Satisfye started with the idea of bringing ergonomic hand-held accessories designed by gamers, for gamers, to Nintendo Switch users. Within a month of launching his first Kickstarter, founder Phillip Brand 3x’d his fundraising goal, with Satisfye attracting over 13,500 backers before transitioning to Indiegogo and then moving on to full-fledged eCommerce on Shopify and Amazon. This required a fulfillment partner that could cost-effectively ship their products globally.
Satisfye struggled to reach global consumers cost-effectively:
- Used only 2 couriers
- Shipped to 2 countries
- Overcharged by fulfillment partners
By partnering with Easyship, Satisfye has been able to cut their fulfillment costs and cost-effectively scale globally:
- Easyship integrated with their multi-channel marketplaces
- Expanded to 13 couriers and 3 global warehouses
- Shipped to 80+ countries
- Processed 70,000+ orders, 35% being from outside the U.S.
- Saved $60,000 in fulfillment costs
- Revenue: 35%+ Increase in sales
- Operations: 6.5X Efficiency in Operations
- Yearly Cost Reduction: $60K+ Saved on Fulfillment Costs
“Easyship totally got us. They supported us as we outgrew our current fulfillment centers and even helped us renegotiate rates. The team has worked with growing brands in multiple geographies and knew what we needed.”
Catherine Whittaker, COO of Satisfye
Find out more about how Satisfye boost eCommerce fulfillment efficiency and increases sales with Easyship here.
In today’s increasingly competitive eCommerce landscape, a well-executed eCommerce fulfillment strategy can be a game-changer. It not only ensures that orders are processed accurately and efficiently but also has a direct impact on profitability. By reducing operational costs, increasing customer satisfaction, and being adaptable to growth, a successful fulfillment strategy can significantly boost your bottom line.
Looking ahead, the world of eCommerce fulfillment is constantly evolving. New technologies, customer expectations and market dynamics will continue to shape the industry. Staying ahead of emerging trends and embracing innovative solutions, such as Easyship for streamlined shipping and logistics, will be essential for businesses seeking long-term success in the ever-shifting eCommerce market.
In conclusion, remember that eCommerce fulfillment isn’t just a back-end process, it can be a strategic driver of profitability. By implementing the strategies and tools discussed in this blog, ambitious eCommerce entrepreneurs can successfully scale their store, while creating a delivery experience customers love and maximizing profits.