There’s an old saying that business never sleeps, and that probably goes especially so for the never-ending ecommerce marketplace. Customers can shop for anything they want, anytime they want it. But that same convenience also presents a unique and often complex challenge for ecommerce business men and women. Namely, how to manage the logistics and other “back end” responsibilities of a business that never closes, and how to make those expenses as efficient as possible.
Fulfillment And What It Entails
Fulfillment is an umbrella term that encompasses all aspects of getting a product from storage in a warehouse facility to the customer, and in some cases even refers to services available after the sale.
Order fulfillment, sometimes called mail order fulfillment, begins with acceptance of a product inventory by a warehouse. There, the product is kept safe and secure until needed for shipment in order to complete a purchase.
Following the purchase, packages are processed, which is to say packaged and removed from any inventory schedules and lists. Postage is applied, and the package is given over to shipment to one of several shipment providers.
Following the shipment, some fulfillment service companies and ecommerce business owners provide tracking numbers of similar information to allow the customer to monitor the package’s progress through the shipment company’s logistics systems.
Making Fulfillment All The Time
But the price of equipping and staffing the fulfillment process for a regular eight hour work day, let alone around the clock, remains impossibly high for many ecommerce business owners, especially those maintaining smaller-sized, home-based or startup businesses. Though most ecommerce business owners choose to pursue order fulfillment only within the span of normal business hours, some larger enterprises must utilize every hour of the day available. This in turn leads to overtime costs, hikes in fuel and utility costs, and a host of other expenses.
Fulfillment Service Companies Have The Resources
Some savvy ecommerce business owners choose to outsource their fulfillment and order fulfillment needs to a third party fulfillment service company, which assumes control of all their warehouse management, order processing, order shipping, and order tracking duties. These fulfillment service companies are able to provide efficiency and expertise that their client businesses, which include the home-based and startup ecommerce concerns mentioned above, almost certainly lack.
Fulfillment service companies typically deduct a portion of each sale in exchange for their services, though this fee is likely negotiable and may change over time.