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eCommerce Fulfilment: How does a 3PL partner operate?

September 26th, 2023

The Order Fulfilment Process: How does a 3PL partner operate?

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What is order fulfilment?

Order fulfilment effectively is the process of ensuring your customers' orders are delivered to their doorstep! But what does this involve? In short, it involves, receiving, picking, packing, dispatch, shipping and delivering. Starting from the point of sale and ending when your customer is sitting enjoying their brand-new purchase!

Not as simple as it seems the process is far beyond “sticking it in the post.” At SCEND we aim to create a stress-free, seamless experience for your customers which keeps them coming back!

When it comes to fulfilment our goals are;


Benefits of outsourcing your order fulfilment.

Now, would you trust a dentist to fly an aeroplane? Or trust a pilot to do your root canal.

Much like every other aspect of yours, and every other business, fulfilment is an area in which there are experts in the field. These people have industry knowledge which allows you to save time, money and so much more – so it just makes sense to allow the fulfilment experts to take on your fulfilment right?  

Obviously, if you’re only doing two orders a week it may not be financially viable for you to outsource – however if you think your fulfilment could be improved take a look at just some of the benefits which come from a 3PL.

  • Save time; fulfilment is a timely process, freeing up the fulfilment time can leave you with a little extra to spend on marketing, product development and so much more.
  • Save on overhead costs; Outsourcing can save money on expensive overhead costs.
  • Save money; Using a 3PL partner can impact your shipping costs. How you ask… as we’re sending such a high volume of orders we get discounted rates.
  • Access to the best technology; We work with some of the best-integrated technologies in the business. Working with a 3PL gives you access to everything we have access to!
  • Access new markets; Using a 3PL partner gives you access to new global marketplaces, with options for worldwide shipping.
  • Access faster shipping times; Improve customer acquisition rates with the ability to offer faster shipping.
  • Access to cost-effective storage; Never run out of space with access to safe & secure storage facilities in the heart of the UK.

What is the order fulfilment process?

Before we start the process… there are a few steps we need to take.

First things first, we need you will need to send over your stock and inventory to our safe and secure warehouse. Our team will then receive this stock, and treat it as though it is their end. Once we’ve received the stock, whether that is directly from yourselves or the supplier, we then scan in each item with our handheld machines. Subsequently, the team will log it into the system for a 100% check!

Once this process is complete, one of our team will then let you know that your stock has arrived in our warehouse via email. Once all your stock has been logged into our system, they are placed and stored in our organised warehouse where it will wait to be picked and packed, ready for a customer to place an order.

Step one: Orders generated.

You’ve received an order, so what happens next?

Orders generated through your eCommerce website (such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento and other marketplaces like Amazon or eBay) will automatically appear within our systems, so there’s no need to let us know that an order has come in!

Once the order comes in our team is on hand to collect the items from the warehouse! If the order is placed before 9pm, our expert team of eCommerce and fulfilment operatives will set about completing your order and sending it off the same day! Orders placed after this time will be completed the following day as standard.

On to the next step...

Step two: Picking and packing.

So, we’ve received the order, and located the item. Next our team will complete the pick and pack process.

The entire picking & packing process is pre-determined by you! So if you offer a free gift with each purchase, a specialist leaflet or even fully branded boxes we will set about the process with your specialist requirements in mind.

We will package your parcel using your branding, with your chosen packaging options, so your deliveries are personal and easily identifiable. Or – we can package them in plain unbranded packaging – depending on your preference! Either way, customers will never know that a third-party fulfilment company handled their products!

Step three: Orders are delivered.

Once your parcels are packaged and ready to go, they are dispatched using the delivery method which you selected. Our team will be on hand to discuss the best courier service for you so you can make an informed decision on the route you want to take… if you’ll excuse the pun.

Our efficient shipping and delivery service ensures that your customers receive your parcel quickly, with no mistakes. We make sure that all orders are triple-verified and delivered to your customer with complete accuracy!

Step four: Returns

When it comes to online purchases, returns are inevitable. But they don’t have to be the headaches that you expect.

There are many legitimate reasons for items being returned, from damage in transit so simply just not being the right fit. So if any of your items were to be returned the process needs to be as seamless as possible to ensure that customer continues to shop at your store.

So how do we deal with returns? We would receive the returned items at our warehouse where they will be scanned in, inspected, and then updated on the inventory. We will follow your instructions on whether you would like us to send any unsellable items to you or whether to destroy them. Our team will send you photos of any issues with returned products, so you can decide what you would like us to do, whether you would like it to go back into stock or thrown away.

So that’s the process… obviously we can’t outline every single step along the way or this blog wouldn’t fit on the page. But if you’ve got any questions about how we work – or how 3PL works, in general, speak to a member of the team!

In the meantime, take a look at this super helpful infographic which breaks down the process!

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Level-up your logistics with an expert 3PL partner! 

Are you ready to level-up your logistics? Our team of experts are on hand to discuss your questions and get your journey with SCEND started.