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Order fulfillment is just one part of the business process, but it is also crucial to focus and attention to detail.
Running an eCommerce business is no easy feat, especially when you are up against retail giants who have mastered the art of order fulfillment. But in a competitive world where providing the best service is a head to head game, it is essential to carry out a spot on the delivery process that will satisfy your customers’ needs.
How does Shopify deal with eCommerce fulfillment?
Well, we will talk about that in this article. It might help you strategize for your business, which in turn could help fast track your growth.
3 Ways to Fulfill Your Shopify Orders
Shopify provides its sellers with three different options on how to fulfill orders.
First of all, you must identify which of these three choices will work best for your shop. It is one of the first things that you should determine when setting up your Shopify account. Doing so will allow you to simplify the process and will set the tone for all your orders.
1. Automatic order fulfillment
You can opt to use the automatic order fulfillment if you have time concerns. With this option, you do not have to wait in front of your computer to fulfill orders. The system will do it since it is an automated process.
This type of order fulfillment is time-efficient. But systems are a product of technology. Some tendencies could lead to lapses and mishandling of information. So you better prepare for situations like that.
2. Manual order fulfillment
If you are a hands-on entrepreneur and wish to monitor everything that comes in the system, manual order fulfillment is for you.
This second option gives you the ability to control whatever is going on in your Shopify account entirely. Manual order fulfillment is the most popular among the three options. That’s because it gives you full access to the inventory to make an extra push to fulfill orders.
3. Partial order fulfillment
Partial order fulfillment is useful when a customer orders multiple products, but some are out of stock. You can process and fulfill the first batch of orders while waiting for the other items to arrive. After all, the customer has already paid for it.
With that being said, there are several strategies that you can use to improve your Shopify order fulfillment.
5 Shopify Order Fulfillment Strategies for Your Business
We have come up with five, but we are sure there are plenty more out there you can use for your business.
1. Implement zone skipping
Zone skipping is an efficient method that could help speed up shipping and lower costs. It is a strategy that allows you to distribute your inventory to different warehouse locations.
If you plan on servicing different locations, then you might as well invest your time and effort in zone skipping. Doing so can help decrease the steps in the international shipping process. The cost will also be lower since you do not have to spend that much money on shipping to distant locations.
2. Set a delay period for processing
We have come to a time where fraudulent orders are sometimes inevitable. Although we still wish for orders to come from reliable clients, we also need to prepare for the worst. In eCommerce, it is essential to set a delay period to ensure that the order is legitimate.
You might think that it is best to ship the orders right away. But after years of experience, we have come to learn that delaying the process for at least an hour or two will allow you to cross-check the trustworthiness of a customer. It saves you from incurring cashback and unwanted costs.
3. Provide customers with self-service options
There are plenty of responsibilities that an entrepreneur has to deal with to ensure the business is thriving. However, it does not include spending most of your day tracking orders for your customers.
A good percentage of your buyers will likely ask you for an update on the whereabouts of their package. That means you will have to check with your courier regarding the status frequently. It is a complete time-consuming activity.
That said, you can provide them with self-service options where they can track the package on their own.
We bet customers will also feel way better when they can see the actual trail themselves.
4. Shorten your process flow
We have probably all gone the same path where we put too many unnecessary tabs in the process flow. It is an amateurish mistake, but it is also pretty easy to solve.
Revisit your order fulfillment process and evaluate which of them should not be part of the flow. Always hit straight to the point. It will make it easier for you to go through the process if you only see the essential information you need to fulfill orders.
5. Invest in software for repetitive decisions
Software tools in eCommerce are heaven-sent. They allow you to improve your flow by providing systems that could help manage order fulfillment.
You could invest in warehouse management systems where your employees can easily track which order needs to be shipped where. It is like fulfilling an order without lifting a finger.
There are also the order management systems that can provide you with the most sensible logistics provider for your business.
It is funny how order fulfillment lives up to its name. The sense of satisfaction you get when you successfully ship an item to your customer is immeasurable. It is the essence of the business, and you definitely would want to improve this part of the process.
Shopify has been a great leader when it comes to order fulfillment. It only fits that we highlight the strategies they use to learn a thing or two from how they handle eCommerce fulfillment.
This is a guest post contribution by Jake Rheude. Jake is the director of business development and marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, which operates order-fulfillment warehouses across the United States.