eFulfillment refers to how businesses respond to customer orders. It has a tremendous impact on customer satisfaction and sales generation.
What is eFulfillment?
eFulfillment, short for e-commerce fulfillment, is a process that describes all the steps involved in fulfilling customer orders on e-commerce websites. It involves everything from the point of sales inquiry to the checkout process. Also, it includes an order management system, pick-up, and eventual delivery of the product to the customer.
There are two types of eFulfillment solutions–in-house fulfillment and third-party fulfillment. In-house fulfillment involves executing the fulfillment process internally. It’s very tasking since it requires you to invest in software, warehouse space, and an in-house team of workers. On the other hand, third-party fulfillment allows you to leave the completion of the fulfillment process to someone else. Outsourcing fulfillment simplifies the entire process and gives you more time to focus on promoting and growing your brand.
What is involved in the eFulfillment process?
The eFulfillment process has numerous stages that begin way before the customer places an order on the e-commerce platform. These stages include:
- Receiving inventory/stock: Receiving stock from suppliers is the first step in the eFulfillment process. It involves taking stock and inspecting the inventory to ensure that the expected number was received.
- also, product quality is up to par, labeling and updating the inventory system.
- Storing inventory: After sorting and labeling the stock, the next step is to move them into short or long-term storage facilities. Short-term facilities are used to hold items briefly to fulfill existing orders, while long-term facilities hold items for longer, so a business will always have the items in stock should a customer make an order.
- Processing orders: When a customer places an order, the business sends the order details to an order management system. The management system begins processing the order by confirming the items are in stock. Then create a packing slip that includes the product details, which the picking team uses to select the required products.
- Picking: Once a customer order has been processed, a picking team or automated warehouse robots use the packing slip to select the specific items. The packing slip contains specific details, including product SKUs, quantities, colors, sizes, and warehouse locations.
- Packaging: Packaging involves protectively covering the products in preparation for shipping. This process also involves weighing the items and including the receiver’s address or other delivery details on the package.
- Shipping: Shipping is transporting packaged customer orders to their destinations. The orders can be shipped directly to the customers’ addresses. Or consolidated with other customer orders to maximize space and fuel resources. Customers or business owners can monitor the movement of the orders, so they know when to expect delivery.
- Processing returns: Returns processing is a crucial part of the eFulfillment process. The ability to easily return unsatisfactory products is a chief determining factor in buyer decisions. Processing return orders involves receiving unwanted items, sorting our refund, checking the returned items for damages, and sorting them accordingly.
eFulfillment providers (3PLs)
eFulfillment providers, also known as third-party logistics (3PL) companies, are companies that specialize in fulfilling customer orders for e-commerce businesses. They offer a full range of services from receiving and storing inventory to shipping and processing returns.
How eFulfillment providers can help your small business
eFulfillment providers take the pressure of the fulfillment process off the shoulders of your small business. 3PLs allow you to direct your time and resources into building your business and promoting your brand.
Outsourcing eFufilllment boosts your business’ efficiency by keeping you organized. It streamlines your operations. eFulfillment providers take care of inventory and warehousing, packing, shopping, and returns. Leaving you more time to handle other aspects of your business. 3PLs also deliver a better fulfillment experience to your customers that may be unachievable for an in-house fulfillment center.
Third-party logistics companies save you money in several ways. 3PLs spare you the cost of having to build and equip your in-house fulfillment center. They also help cut down your shipping costs using their multi-warehouse system. Since 3PLs often have warehouses situated all over the country, they already store the goods close to your customers. So you won’t have to spend as much as you would if you were shopping from just one warehouse.