The Complete and Only Order Fulfillment Guide You’ll Ever Need

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Running an eCommerce business is well known for being a profitable endeavour. After all, eCommerce has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years. In order to make the most of this opportunity, however, you’ll need to have a solid order fulfillment strategy.

Fulfilling orders isn’t always straightforward, and mismanaging this obligation could cost you. Let’s take a look at what you need to know as a small business owner.

Consider The Size of Your Business

As you may assume, the size of your business will play a large role in this strategy.

Different companies have different needs, and what works for small businesses likely will not work for a larger organization. The inverse is also true — a strategy that works for a large company will not be optimal for a smaller business. This is simply due to the fact that the size of the company often dictates the overall order volume.

Handling a large number of orders on a regular basis requires an airtight order fulfillment strategy in order to accommodate. To clarify, you won’t be able to get away with in-house fulfillment if you have thousands of orders to fulfill each week.

You should also keep in mind that you may outgrow your proposed fulfillment strategy if your company is quickly scaling. If you notice that your order volume and average order value are rising on a regular basis, you should plan ahead.

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Where Is Your Company Located?

Do you ship all across the country? Or do you have a customer base that is primarily local?

The answers to these questions will serve as key attributes of your ideal order fulfillment strategy. In the event that you have international customers, this is yet another factor to consider.

It should come as no surprise that those who purchase orders online want shipping to be as fast as possible. They also want shipping to be as affordable as possible. If you are unable to offer both of these options, this could easily cause someone to abandon their cart before they complete the order.

Regardless of where you ship to, it’s imperative to prioritize urban locations. This will provide you with centralized order fulfillment that can still serve those who live in rural areas.

How Customizable Are Your Orders?

Custom products are typically more fragile than those that cannot be customized.

They also have more detailed packaging and generally require a more hands-on approach when packing and shipping them. So, you wouldn’t want to choose a fulfillment provider that specializes in high-volume orders. Unfortunately, this would mean that there is a significant chance that your package does not receive the care it requires.

So, if you require a large amount of control over the shipping details for your products, you want to find a provider that is able to accommodate your needs.

How to Choose The Right Fulfillment Method

Once you have figured out the best way to ship your products, you can begin moving toward finding the right provider for you. Although it might seem overwhelming at first, it’s a relatively straightforward process.

Let’s explore some of the most popular options.

Dropshipping

For those who are unaware, dropshipping is an order fulfillment option that requires the least amount of involvement.

In fact, all of the inventory is manufactured and shipped from a single location. This means that you never come into contact with the merchandise itself. Although this can allow you to ship a large line of orders on a regular basis, you could run into quality issues.

However, it also has a significantly lower barrier to entry than most other options due to its low overhead costs. Although it is not an ideal long-term option, it can help you save money if your budget is particularly tight.

Third-Party Fulfillment

This process involves working with a chosen partner in order to handle your order fulfillment needs. This essentially serves as the midway point between in-house fulfillment and dropshipping.

You can maintain regular contact with your provider and even visit the facility if you need to. The additional involvement that you have with third-party fulfillment makes it an enticing option for many different entrepreneurs.

Happen to have a need for B2B order fulfillment? You can check out this article to learn more.

Merchant Fulfillment

This is simply an alternative name for in-house fulfillment.

More specifically, it requires the merchant themselves to handle all order fulfillment obligations. So, it’s a popular option for businesses that are just starting out.

Smaller companies often do not have the resources to outsource their order fulfillment to another party. Additionally, their order volume is often too low to justify doing so. In its most rudimentary form, merchant fulfillment could involve packing and storing orders within your own home, as many people first operate eCommerce businesses from their house.

As your business grows, you can secure space at an office or warehouse and relocate these responsibilities. Keep in mind, though, that you will eventually outgrow this option and will need to choose an alternative in order to maintain the same level of service.

Order Fulfillment Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

In fact, the above information can help you streamline it as much as possible. From here, you will find that your order fulfillment process is much easier than you expected, allowing you to comfortably reach your goals.

Looking for additional advice that will come in handy in the future? More relevant information can be found throughout the remainder of our blog.

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