Even if you have the most amazing email campaign copy, the best website design, or the most captivating Instagram ads, none of that will matter if you don’t have an effective eCommerce fulfilment strategy in place.
In order to meet the sky-high expectations of customers of today, a solid eCommerce fulfilment strategy and services offered should be at the forefront of your mind. If your customers can’t get 2-day shipping, shoppers tend to go to another company for a similar service and better eCommerce offerings.
Having a watertight eCommerce fulfilment strategy, along with competitive eCommerce services, will enable you to transform logistics from a cost centre to a revenue driver by generating more conversions and driving more sales.
To begin your journey into effective eCommerce fulfilment, why not choose The Delivery Group? Whether your business is brand new, or well established, we can help your business to achieve the high expectations within the consumer market of today.Contact The Delivery Group now
The whole process of getting a customer’s online order to their doorstep is known as eCommerce fulfilment. It encompasses the process of the receiving and storage of inventory, processing of orders, picking customer orders from their warehouse location, securely packing boxes, and transporting and shipping of items to the customer’s specified destination.
eCommerce fulfilment services are offered by a third-party fulfilment company, like The Delivery Group, but they can also be undertaken in-house by the eCommerce business themselves.
Here at The Delivery Group, we always aim to provide the best eCommerce fulfilment services in the UK, as well as the ability to meet today’s high customer expectations in order to help direct-to-consumer brands be more successful and more prominent in their field, online.
The high expectations of today’s customers are often attributed to huge brands, like Amazon, who offers overnight and same-day shipping. We aim to give your brand a chance with our extensive network of fulfilment centres and industry-standard technology.
Need more information on the process of eCommerce as a whole, and what it fully entails? Read our eCommerce article here.
As the entire culmination of many individual services and workflows, eCommerce fulfilment in the UK works to get your product and brand into the hands of your desired demographic. Below, you’ll find an explanation and definition of each step in the process, related functions, and the differences between similar terms.
Often used synonymously with eCommerce fulfilment, eCommerce order fulfilment in the UK refers to the picking, packing, and shipping tasks when getting customer orders to their supplied addresses. Every eCommerce business is responsible for their order fulfilment, even if they undertake in-house fulfilment, self-fulfil their orders, or work with a third-party logistics company like The Delivery Group.
For the eCommerce order fulfilment UK process to begin, a customer simply needs to make a purchase on the online store. With the inventory that you have on hand, the process begins – only becoming fulfilled when it arrives at the specified destination.
Covering the broad concept of overseeing every purchase on your online store, the term ‘order management’ encompasses the receiving, tracking, and fulfilling of customer orders across sales channels. eCommerce businesses should have the ability to manage all orders in one place, from the minute the order is made to the moment they are shipped.
Whether the order status is designated as ‘processing’, ‘on-hold’, or ‘delivered’, order management software enables you to track the individual status of any order. You can also track order trends over time, which involves changes in order volume, customer buying habits, preferences, and most common locations for where your audience is based. Returned orders, and orders with mistakes, are also accessible with order management software.
The process of inventory management includes the monitoring of stocked goods owned by an eCommerce business. It also includes the storing of inventory, ordering and restocking, and even inventory forecasting to predict buying trends for key sales seasons.
A crucial aspect of inventory management is deciding and working out how much inventory you should have readily available. This means that having too much inventory could run the risk of poor cash flow, paying too much for storage, and having products run out of date before they’re sold.
In contrast, having too little inventory means that you risk running out of inventory if you receive a spike in sales, fail to meet the demands of your customers, and miss out on crucial sales.
Ideally, you should have the ability to check inventory levels and units sold per day at any time. Being able to manage your inventory effectively also involves reordering the right inventory quantity to prevent products from being out of stock and backorders from building up.
Here at The Delivery Group, you have the capability to store your stock strategically in our eCommerce fulfilment centres across the country, and the world, in order to keep some levels of stock as close as possible to the main crux of your customers.
Referring to the range of delivery methods you have on offer to your eCommerce shoppers and how much you charge for them, your eCommerce shipping capabilities and the services you choose will depend on a few things. These include:
eCommerce businesses that are small in size, or are relatively new, may begin by locating a car with packages and shipping them out from their local post office themselves. More established businesses with a larger consumer base will rate shop carriers to get the best discounts for their larger order volume per month.
When choosing a fulfilment company like The Delivery Group, we can negotiate bulk discounted rates so that you can offer the fastest, most affordable shipping to your customers in order to reduce the rate of abandonment of shopping carts and generate a good reputation with your customers. You also have the potential of using shipping carriers to pick up packages from fulfilment centres daily.
Storing inventory before orders need to be fulfilled encompasses the process of warehousing. Using a warehouse, you can safely and securely store your stock in an organised way so that staff can easily and quickly locate items when picking customer orders. When undertaking eCommerce fulfilment, your products will be shipped directly to the customer from your chosen fulfilment centre.
For small and new eCommerce businesses, the warehousing task can be done in-house within an owner’s garage, basement, or other property until they outgrow the space. When this happens, renting storage space, leasing a warehouse, or outsourcing logistics to a third-party like The Delivery Group and storing inventory in our fulfilment centres.
In eCommerce fulfilment, returns involve the receiving, assessing, and processing of returned items back into available stock. Operationally, facilitating the returns process gets more expensive and time-consuming as the procedures get more involved.
Having the right returns policy in place is essential. eCommerce customers can often make a purchase decision without ever having interacted with, or experienced, the product in person – causing a higher rate of return than traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Some fulfilment services provide prepaid return labels. Others share tracking information, support integrations that automatically text updates to customers, and even let returns be sent directly to the eCommerce business rather than the fulfilment centre.
Utilising eCommerce fulfilment software doesn’t only allow you to automate inventory and order management, but also picking, packing, and delivery related processes. This technology brings more of a connection for eCommerce stores to the people who are working in fulfilment centres to provide real-time eCommerce tracking information, accurate and real-time visibility into inventory levels, and forecasting sales projections.
By using effective fulfilment software, like The Delivery Group’s proprietary software, you can even route each order to the fulfilment centre closest to the main crux of your customers.
The process of international fulfilment, or global eCommerce fulfilment, refers to the fulfilment of orders for customers who live outside the country where your eCommerce business is primarily located. This means working with a fulfilment company that is located overseas, or shipping orders internationally.
Though online shopping grants access to an entire world of customers, international order fulfilment comes with its own unique challenges, especially as countries outside of the UK will have different regulations, tariffs, taxes, and other requirements for incoming shipments.
Luckily, The Delivery Group has fulfilment centres located across the globe, meaning that you can store a bulk amount of your stock in countries closest to your international customers without having to pay import tax and duties for every shipment.
For more in-depth information about our international shipping services, please do read the article here.
Pick-and-pack fulfilment is the traditional operations model you’ve come to expect in a third-party logistics company’s fulfilment centre. Warehouse picking refers to staff using a picking list to locate and pick items from storage as soon as an order is placed online. Packing encompasses the act of getting ordered items appropriately ready for shipping.
Whether you wish to use batch-picking or set up packing stations to serve unique purposes, the entire pick and pack fulfilment process should be optimised for maximum efficiency.
One of the lesser-known, and less commonly used, eCommerce fulfilment services, kitting and assembly is used as a unique way of shipping items to customers. Kitting helps fulfilment centre associates to understand how to specifically arrange items.
Kitting also occurs to assemble multiple different components of the same product that arrive at different times, meaning they need to be manually prepared or assembled before shipping to the customer. Given these extra steps, this can be a very expensive and time-consuming service to undertake.
Also known as wholesale fulfilment, B2B fulfilment (business to business) describes the preparation of inventory for shipping to another business. While most fulfilment centres specialise in either eCommerce or B2B fulfilment, some, like The Delivery Group, are able to offer both.
Compared to eCommerce fulfilment, which is all about fast direct-to-consumer deliveries and has warehouses situated near more populated areas, B2B orders tend to require a larger amount of storage space, and a rural warehouse is the preferred option.
B2B orders tend to be more complex and strict when it comes to compliance with EDI regulations, and also face higher fees than general eCommerce fulfilment. The prices are increased due to the need for preparing a larger quantity of product at one time for freight shipping – with higher fees accounting for the additional effort required.
Referring to the moving, storing, and shipping of inventory for an eCommerce business, eCommerce logistics also includes the shipping of freight, inventory management, warehousing, the act of fulfilment itself, and other duties that happen within the supply chain.
The start of eCommerce logistics is with the transport of inventory from your manufacturer and lasts all the way until it’s delivered to your customer’s supplied address.
eCommerce fulfilment best practices mean that an effective fulfilment strategy will have systems in place that ensure every customer shipment is delivered to the correct place, and with no delays.
By distributing, or splitting your inventory, you are able to store products in multiple locations or regions in fulfilment centres owned by The Delivery Group across the UK and around the world. This system enables you to keep your products close to large clusters of customers who live in different areas in order to reduce the distance each package has to travel and reduce shipping costs.
Distributing your inventory is a great tactic to use when offering delivery options like 2-day shipping, or when trying to gain an advantage or level footing with your competitors, as transit and shipping times are reduced; resulting in happier customers.
Some eCommerce businesses may have a fulfilment company lined up in advance of their main launch. If your brand has a big launch plan, like a TV appearance or endorsement by a celebrity, you could expect to excite the masses which will result in large quantities of purchases.
This can be especially difficult as small businesses, or brand new businesses, may have no previous analytics to use that will help them predict accurate numbers, but knowing that the potential your unveiling will bring you to a position where you need to fulfil thousands of orders at one time makes playing safe with a small business eCommerce fulfilment company a good idea.
Subscription fulfilment encompasses the shipping of products from an online eCommerce business to customers at regular, predetermined, intervals. These orders can be the same products each month like hygiene products, or a different selection of products like a recipe box.
Subscription boxes offering specially curated contents require more complex needs, and are usually best to fulfil in-house or send them to a fulfilment company pre-assembled. Subscription fulfilment will require the right kind of technology to be in place for recurring orders so that these orders will be fulfilled at the same time at every chosen interval.
eCommerce fulfilment costs can vary wildly, and it can be a difficult task to calculate these costs due to the methods, models, fulfilment services, and channels involved. This means that there are many factors that must be considered when predicting the cost of fulfilment.
If you have a smaller, start-up, eCommerce business that is still handling fulfilment in-house, there are several costs outside of paying for shipping that you may not have considered. These include:
No 3PL is the same as all third-party logistics companies charge for their eCommerce fulfilment services in varying ways. Because The Delivery Group works with hundreds of different businesses located nationally and internationally, we are able to negotiate bulk discounted rates on multiple things. However, with 3PLs, the most common things you’ll encounter fees for are:
Whether you’re a brand new self-start business stepping into the world of eCommerce and fulfilment for the very first time, or you’re a well-established brand with years of eCommerce experience under your belt, we have a wide range of eCommerce fulfilment services that are able to facilitate your specific needs.
No matter what the specific niche of your business, whether it’s B2B sales, subscription boxes, custom clothing, or gift cards, our fantastic eCommerce fulfilment experts are able to get the job done in the most efficient and cost-effective ways.
Do you need more information on any of the services mentioned above? Or would you prefer to get the ball rolling on your eCommerce journey with one of the best eCommerce fulfilment companies in the UK, The Delivery Group? Whatever the reason, you can simply get in touch with us today.