What is fulfilment? Benefits of optimizing your eCommerce fulfilment

Mariluz Sampalo

Mariluz Sampalo

May 2, 2022

fulfilment for an online store

Inside this article

  • iconWhat is fulfilment?
  • iconWhy the fulfilment service is important for the eCommerce store?
  • iconFulfilment process
  • iconAdvantages of optimizing your fulfilment
  • iconHow to manage fulfilment in eCommerce
  • iconFAQ about fulfilment
  • Fulfilment is one of those words that you hear over and over again if you’re involved in something related to eCommerce.

    Below, you will find a guide in which we explain what fulfilment is, what processes it involves and how you can improve the fulfilment of your eCommerce store.

    What is fulfilment?

    The term covers each and every one of the processes linked to the preparation and distribution of orders from an online store.

    All these processes are what we call fulfilment, and knowing what it is and why it’s important will help you with the management of your eCommerce logistics.

    Fulfilment is the logistics chain that all eCommerce businesses carry out to ensure that orders end up in the hands of the customer.

    Fulfilment is a term used for both online and offline businesses. However, online stores tend to have more complex logistics, since the goods need to be sent to the customer, which implies a greater number of agents and tasks in the fulfilment process.

    Why the fulfilment service is important for the eCommerce store?

    The rise of eCommerce and the need to deliver products has made shipping the most delicate part of fulfilment. For this reason, working with the best shipping companies for last-mile deliveries becomes fundamental if you want to have quality fulfilment service.

    Fulfilment process

    The fulfilment phases carried out by all eCommerce businesses to manage their orders are the following:

    • Planning: Effective fulfilment requires planning. For instance, it’s essential to create a good warehouse design with fast picking routes and processes that don’t interfere with each other.
    • Reception: Goods must be classified, labelled and strategically placed in the inventory upon their arrival at the warehouse.
    • Storage: Keeping the products in good condition is also part of fulfilment. This phase is more difficult if we talk about perishable items or products that need special treatment. If this is your case, you should hire a temperature-controlled shipping service.
    • Shipping: At this stage, you’ll probably need to work with external couriers to deliver the products. Keep in mind that this is when most shipping issues happen. If you have customers abroad, take a look at our international shipping guide.
    • Distribution: Distribution is typical in offline models, but less common in eCommerce since the distribution process involves the delivery of the products to different points of sale.
    warehouse where fulfilment occurs

    Advantages of optimizing your fulfilment

    Lower logistics costs

    Investing resources in the optimization of logistics is the first step if you want to improve the profitability of your eCommerce business.

    Many companies are held back because of the initial capital required to optimize fulfilment. However, this optimization is quickly compensated by the costs saved. Fulfilment optimization must be gradual, well-thought-out and planned and aligned with the necessities of each online store.

    Check out this article from logistics company Coneyco for some interesting figures on fulfilment for eCommerce. 

    Internationalization possibilities

    Relying on international couriers for the fulfilment of international orders can be the most cost-effective way —and for some online stores, the only way— to ship internationally.

    If you sell in a foreign country, but you don't have the resources to maintain a warehouse or a store there, you can outsource this part of the process. The same goes for tracking parcels internationally. You’ll need an advanced tool capable of operating in all markets, like Outvio.

    Better shopping experience

    An eCommerce business with a quality post-sales service is more likely to be remembered by its customers later on.

    By optimizing fulfilment, you’ll be able to ensure faster deliveries, international returns and a streamlined resolution system for shipping issues. Don't neglect customer service; in many cases, it can be decisive for the satisfaction of your buyers.

    How to manage fulfilment in eCommerce

    When faced with the challenge of fulfilment, many businesses choose to outsource the task or aspects of it. For instance, you can outsource warehouse management.

    Additionally, or alternatively, you can choose to use an advanced tool designed for post-sales tasks, like the fulfilment process of an online store. We can’t recommend anything other than Outvio. Our mission is to automate post-sales processes —from fulfilment to customer service— to ensure maximum profitability of the business and the best shopping experience for the buyer.

    The last option, but also the one that requires the biggest investment, is the creation of an internal fulfilment department and software. In this way, the company will have all its needs and preferences covered from the beginning. Obviously, this is an option that very few businesses can aspire to, especially if they work on an international scale.

    Fulfilment service with Outvio

    Outvio optimizes the post-checkout operations of your business and builds a unique and captivating experience for your customers. Some of its many benefits include:

    • Automated domestic and international shipping and return processes
    • Bulk-label and customs documents printing
    • Interactive tracking portal that works on a global scale
    • Personalized communication with customers
    • Add as many stores and couriers as you need
    • Fast shipping-issue resolution

    FAQ about fulfilment

    What is e-fulfilment?

    E-fulfilment is generally used to refer to all processes related to fulfilment within the eCommerce industry.

    What is micro fulfilment?

    Micro fulfilment seeks to accelerate and optimize all the processes related to the delivery of the products to the end consumer. Micro-fulfilment companies tend to be small companies or subsidiaries that are located in larger cities to fulfil orders more efficiently.

    What is fulfilment service?

    A fulfilment service is a solution offered by fulfilment companies that are dedicated to processing orders, picking and packing and shipping parcels for their delivery to customers. Additionally, there can be software companies that provide tools for a better fulfilment process, without physically carrying out a fulfilment service.