Ecommerce Order Fulfillment: What’s The Best Strategy For You Business?
Updated: June 18th, 2021
Your ecommerce order fulfillment is vital to a great customer experience with your brand. How online shoppers engage with your brand and the experiences they have is crucial to operating a successful ecommerce business.
Custom service will always be a key pillar in your growth or decline. Bad customer service and experiences can derail a strong growing ecommerce brand overnight, we’ve seen it happen. The last thing you want is late orders and shipping errors, both are 100 percent preventable. Having the right ecommerce order fulfillment strategy is a big key to keeping customers happy.
Unfortunately, many ecommerce sellers and merchants tend to overlook their fulfillment and shipping strategy. We don’t want you to make the same mistake. You could be losing a lot of sales and money due to your fulfillment process.
Is Your Fulfillment Meeting Expectations?
For those of you that haven’t put much thought into your fulfillment strategy, now is the time to do so. We’re seeing more online shoppers using the internet and this has caused order delivery expectations to grow. Your potential online customers are making purchasing decisions based on delivery time, delivery cost and shipping options.
Delivery time, cost and options matter to consumers, don’t overlook what your market wants.
What percentage of consumers stated that a positive delivery experience would encourage them to shop with a retailer again? 96 percent!
Don’t make the same mistake most ecommerce sellers make, your fulfillment plays a big role in a great customer experience with your business.
What’s The Right Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Strategy?
When we think of order fulfillment, it’s supposed to be easy, right? A customer places an order and they get their product. Here’s the problem, your ecommerce order fulfillment process has many different layers, many different touch points, it’s a process of many people. From step A to step Z, there’s a lot that can go right in your fulfillment and there’s a lot that can go wrong.
In the end, it can be a great experience for you and customers or it can be a bad experience.
Let’s take a look at your order fulfillment process. There’s 3 fulfillment options ecommerce business owners have.
- 3PL (Third-Party Logistics)
Let’s look at each and see which commerce fulfillment strategy will be best for you.
If you’re only doing a few orders a week, self-fulfillment is likely still the best fulfillment strategy for you. Depending on the products your picking, packing and shipping, you may be able to easily fulfill hundreds of orders a week.
If you’re doing self-fulfillment, that means you’re doing order processing, picking, packing, printing labels, attaching labels and shipping the items yourself.
It’s an exciting time, right? You’re making sales, you’re seeing consistency in your business. However, as your ecommerce business grows and you start selling more product, your fulfillment can start to get overwhelmed.
While more sales is great, this can be a pivotal moment in your business because if you’re not prepared for the growth, this can lead to big trouble. What would happen if your start selling what you do in a month in just one day? How would you fulfill all those orders on time? It would be impossible and that would lead to late shipments, mad customers and bad customer reviews.
This is exactly why it’s never too early to start thinking about outsourcing your order fulfillment. At the very least, you should have a back up plan that you can quickly implement if demand quickly rises.
A very popular fulfillment strategy among ecommerce sellers is drop shipping.
Drop shipping is a fulfillment process where merchants and sellers buy goods from a vendor that also handles the shipping. This fulfillment strategy means that sellers and merchants don’t have to pick, pack or ship anything.
When you’re using the drop shipping business model, you’re not required to keep inventory in stock. Rather, you don’t order inventory until the item is purchased by one of your customers. Drop shipping is popular because there’s not a lot of upfront cost to start an ecommerce business.
Using A 3PL (Third-Party-Logistics)
Another ecommerce order fulfillment option you have is using a 3PL, also known as a nhird-party-logitics provider. Some 3PLs like Thill specialize in ecommerce fulfillment, sometimes referred to as eFulfillment services.
As a top 3PL service provider, Thill is one of the most recognized third-party-logitics providers in the United States. With a 50 year track record, we’re also one of the most experienced fulfillment companies.
With 3PL, you still own your inventory. You ship your inventory to a 3PL warehouse where it will be picked, packed and shipped when a customer orders your products. More importantly, unlike Amazon fulfillment, Thill allows you control over packaging and branding.
Fulfillment Software Integration Options
Another thing you need to consider is order fulfillment software integrating with your current ecommerce software.
Here at Thill, our order management software integrates with several ecommerce providers.
- Shopify Ecommerce Integration
- Magneto Ecommerce Integration
- Amazon Ecommerce Integration
- Ebay Ecommerce Integration
- WooCommerce Ecommerce Integration
- KickStarter Integration
You will be responsible for managing your order fulfillment between your supplier and your ecommerce provider, ERP or POS. Without these integrations, it would be difficult to manage your fulfillment process. It would be difficult to make real-time decisions based on your data and analytics.
What’s Your Fulfillment Plans Moving Forward?
Your current fulfillment process is either working or it’s not – you likely know the answer to that.
If your a small business that is not growing and you’re already doing self-fulfillment, you should continue to focus on fulfilling orders yourself until you can begin to increase your sales volume.
If you’ve been doing self-fulfillment and your sales growth is causing your ecommerce fulfillment to break, it’s time to start considering outsourcing your fulfillment.
Really, you only have a handful of solutions moving forward, you either invest in the infrastructure you need (staff, warehouse, equipment, etc.) or you begin looking for a 3PL fulfillment company. Order fulfillment costs will vary depending on the provider, but most of them are going to go into pricing details if you take the time to reach out to them.
Fulfilling your own orders at scale is not easy, it takes a lot of capital up front. The benefit of this is the fact that you get to keep everything in-house. Most business owners struggle getting the capital they need to do their own warehousing and fulfillment.
Both solutions can work, but that’s a call you’re going to have to make. You always want to look ahead and plan accordingly.
Here at Thill, many of our clients are using Shopify for ecommerce fulfillment. We work with clients that sell a few dozen products in their catalog, others have tens of thousands of products. The more products you’re shipping, the better shipping rates we can offer you.
If you’re considering outsourcing ecommerce fulfillment, there’s a lot of ways it can benefit you. If so, check this article out: Fulfillment Center Pros And Cons
Ecommerce Fulfillment With Thill Inc.
Thill Inc. has over 50 years of order fulfillment experience and we offer a wide range of fulfillment services to help your business.
Our state-of-the-art ecommerce order fulfillment software easily integrates with your ecommerce store so the transition is simple and easy. At the moment, we have a wide range of integrations, our software works with Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Ebay, Amazon, CrateJoy, Kickstarter, and many more.
If you want to see a demo or want to talk to one of our fulfillment experts, be sure to reach out. Here’s our contact form.