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In simple terms, the order fulfilment process is how customers get the product they paid for. It consists of storing, picking, packing, and shipping customer orders. It is one of the final stages of the sales process and one of the most important. A poorly planned and executed fulfilment strategy can lead to a poor customer experience and ultimately lose you business.
An eCommerce brand's quality of delivery service in terms of cost and estimated delivery timeframes heavily impacts a customer's decision to purchase. For example, a survey by eCommerce and Core Recruitment partner brand Shopify found that 68% of customers were influenced by the length of delivery timeframes when purchasing products online. eCommerce business giants, such as Amazon and ASOS, have raised the delivery stakes, and customers expect a company's parcel service to be seamless and, most importantly, quick. However, according to the results of 'Fixing Failed Deliveries 2021: Stamping Out Faulty Fulfilment', a global survey of retailers and consumers, 24% of retailers admitted more than one in ten orders aren't delivered on the first attempt. These unsuccessful deliveries lead to unhappy customers, with one in 10 leaving a negative review on social media and 93% saying they read reviews before making a purchase.
The Five Stages of the Order Fulfilment Process
To better understand the order fulfilment process, we will talk you through the five stages of our order fulfilment process:
1. Goods In - At the beginning of the order fulfilment process, we set you up an account on our cloud-based system. After that, you are given 24/7 access to integrate your eCommerce business, add products, view your inventory, and track your orders - all processes we can support and carry out on your behalf. Once we have received the goods, we scan all items and add barcodes if needed. We do this so the rest of the order fulfilment process runs seamlessly and efficiently.
2. Warehousing and Storage - The stock is then transferred and stored in our fulfilment centre. The items are segregated, and you can track your orders in the cloud-based system. Every product is given a pickface, with smaller lines having fast-moving pick storage lines. Larger and more extensive inventories are kept in pallets in bulk locations. This system is the foundation for speedy delivery.
3. Picking and Packing - The picking and packing stage is a vital step for your business and the overall customer experience. Here your inventory is carefully packed in Core's standard packaging. In addition, there is an option to provide your custom packaging. This stage ensures that deliveries arrive to customers on time and are damage free.
4. Shipping - After the picking and packing stage is complete, we work with our partner parcel carriers, DPD, Royal Mail, Evri and DHL to support our shipping process. As a result, goods can be shipped across the UK and worldwide. Our cloud-based system can be used to track all customer orders in real-time, plus this information will be passed back to your e-commerce platform.
5. Returns Processing - In the unfortunate event that a customer needs to return their item, whether it be a change of mind, damaged items, or incorrect deliveries, we act quickly to ensure you can process customer refunds and re-stock your products seamlessly as possible. As with deliveries, you can track returns on the cloud-based system.
Should My Business Use Order Fulfilment Services?
Businesses, large and small, face many challenges. Often times, especially for an eCommerce business, order fulfilment is one of the greatest hurdles, mainly as it heavily influences the customer experience. The order fulfilment process can be challenging for a smaller business due to a lack of resources, budget, and staff numbers. For a larger company, the challenge can be a vast scale of orders, which causes rising costs and time consumption.
One vital skill of management and running a business is delegation. Positive delegation skills mean that processes are completed more seamlessly and, importantly, on schedule.
The outsourcing of the order fulfilment process can work in your favour. It can help grow the business and also be cost-efficient in the long run. But, you may be thinking, is outsourcing order fulfilment right for my business? To help you form your decision, let's look at the advantages of outsourcing order fulfilment to a third party.
- Switch your Priorities to Selling - Most companies' most prominent goal is to make money and grow as a business. Businesses make money and growth by selling more. As your business grows, more and more you will need to send orders to clients, so your order fulfilment process will have to increase. Outsourcing order fulfilment removes it from your list of vital priorities as a third party takes on the hard work for you. This way, you can focus on selling your products, serving your customers, and growing your business.
- Faster Delivery Times - Many order fulfilment companies have multiple warehouses nationwide. This means that placing inventory locally to buyers gets their products delivered quicker. Baymard's 48 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics 2022 found that 22% of respondents abandoned their cart due to slow delivery. For smaller and even some larger businesses, these timeframes may be challenging on their own. So outsourcing the order fulfilment process will help them meet customer expectations and keep up with the competition.
- Cost Saving - While you have to pay a third party to be able to outsource the order fulfilment process, it may well be cost-effective in the long run. As previously mentioned, many order fulfilment companies have multiple warehouses. Having products closer to the customer can reduce shipping costs by 25%.
- Accurate Delivery Timeframes - 60.7% of customers are more likely to purchase if they see delivery times in the cart. Outsourcing your order fulfilment process will keep your customers happy, as it helps you provide accurate delivery information at checkout. The wealth of experience and effective delivery strategies of order fulfilment companies will help you meet your customer's delivery expectations.
Deliver exceptional customer service with Core Fulfilment
Now that you've understood the world of order fulfilment, can outsourcing this process benefit your business? If you are ready to outsource, Core Fulfilment is prepared to support large and small businesses. Our service is simple and easy to use, offering open and transparent pricing. We store, pick and pack, ship, and manage returns so you can focus on growing your businesses. Our purpose is simple: to serve our customers better. Core Recruitment will help you grow your business and delight your customers. You can either get an instant quote on our pricing calculator or contact us and let's talk about how we can help your business.