How Does eCommerce Order Fulfillment Work?

 In eCommerce, Fulfillment

When running an eCommerce business, your customers are a priority. How you fulfill their orders can weigh on your company’s long-term success—their experience may turn them into loyal or frustrated customers.

 Today’s online buyers expect low to free shipping rates and fast delivery times, both of which you can achieve with the right order fulfillment in place. 

What is Order Fulfillment in eCommerce?

Order fulfillment in eCommerce is the entire process of delivering goods to a customer after placing an order online. A retailer may handle it by themselves or outsource it to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like Elite Ops. 

 An efficient order fulfillment strategy ensures that orders are correct, shipped out early, and delivered on time.

What Is the Order Fulfillment Process?

As part of your supply chain, the order fulfillment process involves several steps and begins even before customers complete a purchase on the website or online marketplace.


Before you can fulfill orders placed, you must have available stock on hand. If you outsource order fulfillment, ensure that you delivered enough inventory to your service provider to avoid backorders and stockouts. Forwarded goods must also be counted as current stock and ready for dispatch anytime.   


Warehousing is the process of storing and organizing your inventory. It ensures your products are secure, accessible, and arranged according to expiry dates or stock turnover.


When you outsource eCommerce order fulfillment, the 3PL company will retrieve items from storage. Designated staff, using a picking list, will identify a product’s location in the warehouse and take it out for packing. A good warehouse management system should update the SKUs in real-time for better inventory monitoring.       


Selected items are moved to a separate area for packing. Each order requires different packaging materials and methods to protect it during transit. For fragile items, it may include bubble wrap, air-fill, carton, etc. It involves placing proper labeling to ensure correct delivery.


Shipping is among the most crucial in any eCommerce order fulfillment process. Many online buyers expect free delivery and short transit times as part of customer satisfaction.  

 When you outsource order fulfillment to a 3PL company, they will handle shipment by working with a separate carrier or doing it in-house. Such arrangements will impact costs and delivery periods, so it’s important to weigh options in maximizing returns.

Returns Processing

Returns are unavoidable, which is why they should be included in your order fulfillment process. Most buyers consider a retailer’s returns policy in their purchasing decision. Having a good policy for returned orders ensures customer satisfaction. An efficient system also lets you put the product back in stock and resell it within a short period.

The Experts at Elite Ops Can Handle All of Your Order Fulfillment Needs

Order fulfillment is the most crucial in your customer’s buying experience—how you handle it will significantly impact your profits in the long term. Choosing the right strategy and partner is paramount.

 With our 25 years of industry experience, Elite Ops can effectively manage your eCommerce order fulfillment needs. Give us a call today to learn more about our services, or request a quote.

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