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Order fulfilment

April 11th, 2024

What is online order fulfilment?

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What do we mean when we talk about online order fulfilment?

Effectively, online order fulfilment is exactly what it says on the tin! It refers to the process of fulfilling orders placed online. From storing inventory to picking, packing, and shipping products to customers who have placed their orders within your online store.

But is it really that simple?

Whilst the process itself can SEEM quite straight-forward and can be done in-house, a reputable 3PL may have some exclusive and exciting tricks up their sleeve to turn your online order fulfilment from just a simple A-B strategy into an exciting process which entices customers and keeps them coming back for more.

What does the process of online order fulfilment look like?

This is something we’ve spoken about before here at SCEND, and though each business will do its fulfilment slightly differently, the basic principle and bare bones of the operation should all follow a similar structure. Our blog which looks specifically at the process of order fulfilment has an informative pictorial demonstration which you can download.

But, let’s break it down.

Like we’ve already said, the process should follow a very similar structure no matter whether you choose to fulfil your eCommerce orders in-house, or if you use a 3PL. This includes a stringent goods-in process, inventory management and itemised warehousing structure. Getting the initial process perfected will help you to avoid costly mistakes further down the line. So making sure you’re using barcodes and a great warehouse management software to keep track of inventory, batch numbers and best-before dates is the first step in the whole order fulfilment process.

Once you’re all set up with your stock, the next step is the picking and packing process. Making sure to reduce human error with stringent checking practices will help to reduce the wrong items being sent to customers – something which can result in first-time buyers being one-time buyers.

Packing bench.

Once you’ve picked and packed, the next step is shipping.

Shipping doesn’t just mean popping the parcel in the post. When it comes to a fulfilment process you need to make sure you’re working with the right courier for you and your customer base. Exploring which companies offer later cut-off times, as well as investigating the overall reputation of the courier you’re using. 

Finally – returns. The eCommerce marketplace is thriving, which is amazing for online businesses, but it can be somewhat of a hurdle for your average consumer. Without the ability to physically touch, interact with or try on your products, there is an influx of returns. This is completely normal, and whilst returns can be a pain, they don’t have to mean the end of the line when it comes to that customer’s purchase journey. A return done right can actually encourage repeat custom from that particular buyer.

The key to effective online order fulfilment is ensuring that the customer feels nurtured from the moment they hit that “pay now” button to the second they decide that particular purchase journey is over.

Explore the process

What can we do to enhance the online order fulfilment process?

Once you’ve perfected the bare bones of the fulfilment journey, it’s time to “add a little spice.”

Fulfilment is far from boring, pick, pack, and dispatch is merely the beginning – there is so much that you can do to make the journey a whole lot more exciting and interesting for your customers.

One way to do this is; packaging, packaging, packaging! We’ve said it before – and we’ll definitely say at least another 300 times. TikTok has created a generation where “unboxings” are just as if not even more exciting than the actual product within the box. Makeup brands like P. Louise, Rare Beauty and so many more are killing the unboxing game with branded packaging which entices customers to share not only the products but the boxes that they came in too. And this is AMAZING for your marketing department. User-generated content or UGC is one of the best types of product marketing you can get, people trust people. People buy from people. And people are much more likely to become customers if they see a product they love being endorsed by someone within their own demographic.

SO, how do we capitalise on this? Personalised packaging. See I said we’d say it again.

Personalised packaging is so much more than just having your name on a box. Different colours, textures and content based on the product you’ve ordered is the best way to get people interested in the package your products have come in. Using personalised packaging within your fulfilment process is going to encourage engagement with your brand long after they’ve left your website.


BUT… there’s more.

Enhancing your online order fulfilment isn’t all about attractive boxes. You can utilise next-day delivery options to ensure that the fulfilment process is as quick as possible. With the likes of Amazon and Argos offering same-day delivery, the average business should now be offering at least next-day as standard. That is why later cut-off times for same-day dispatch are an absolute must! If this isn’t something that is achievable with your in-house fulfilment team, it could be time to look at a 3PL.

Get in touch

Enhancing your online order fulfilment is all about making the post-purchase journey as fluid, uncomplicated and as enjoyable not only for your customers but for you as well. No matter how big your business is, that euphoria that we experience from making a sale never goes away. Getting orders in drives the business, and helps to reach bigger and better goals. And the customers that use your business are the backbone that helps to drive that passion.

That is why no matter what stage in your business growth you’re in – you should always strive to give your customers the best experiences, and this doesn’t end once you’ve received payment.

So… what is online order fulfilment?

Contrary to what we said in the opening of this blog, it is SO MUCH MORE than what it says on the tin. Businesses can and should be using their post-purchase journey to build, expand and encourage lasting business relationships with their customer base.

If you’re looking to enhance your online order fulfilment journey, speak to the team here at SCEND. We create bespoke fulfilment plans to help your business thrive.

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