Getting your business, being your own boss , and all this sitting at your home might all sound too good to be true and quite glamorous even! But, all this has been made possible with the advent of e-commerce. Just when you are about to realize your dreams after having marketed your product & have eager buyers waiting to give you their money comes the unglamorous but one of the most essential part of the job e-commerce fulfillment .these are the troubled waters and its always handy to have a guide!
The first step is to understand what is meant by order fulfillment. It involves the steps that need to be undertaken between the time the customers place and pay for their orders up to the time they receive their orders. A proper order fulfillment involves the following steps – warehouse organization, packaging and shipping, and customer communication. The specific steps involved would depend on the fulfillment services chosen by the business.
The types of e-commerce service fulfillment are:
- Drop shipping– Here the seller is more like a middleman where he/she dos not store or own any product.. Here the seller orders the product to the drop shipper which he/she receives on his online store. The extra charge of drop shipping is included on the price displayed on the online store. This reduces the hazard of storing and stocking inventories for a new business. The packaging and shipping is managed by the drop shipper.
- Third- party fulfillment – In third-party e-commerce fulfillment model, the seller owns the product before a sale is made. The seller is no longer a middleman. The business manufactures or buys a product but the inventory is stored with third-party logistics provider(3PL). After an order is received the business already has the inventory it just needs to contact the #PL provider who ships the product. It allows the business to concentrate on marketing.
- DIY –DIY or do it yourself. In this scenario the business has the sole responsibility of carrying out all the steps. It has to market the product, make inventories store them, take orders, package it and deliver it. In this process the business functions independently. While it saves the cost of third party delivery it has to now incur the charges of maintaining a warehouse and delivering packaged products. Returned products are easy to handle in this case but, managing labour might be difficult.
Choosing the right option of shipping fulfillment is the trickiest part. One has to keep in mind a number of factors- the size of business, main goals, labour available cost incurred or bearable . Choosing a wrong process might ruin the prospects of a business. Again , one can easily shift from one type of fulfillment service to the other with the change in business or growth in it.