What is Order Fulfilment?
Simply put, order fulfilment refers to every step of the process between a customer placing an order and the order being placed into the customer’s hands.
The order fulfilment process includes receiving stock, warehousing and storing stock, order receipt and processing, stock picking, packing and kitting, order shipping, tracking and delivery, and finally, returns.
Why Is The Order Fulfilment Process So Important?
First, let’s get some perspective.
In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people shopped online. In the same year, global online sales amounted to US$3.5 trillion, and this figure is expected to hit US$6.5 trillion by 2023. (Statista, 2020)
In addition to this, 62% of online buyers shop online at least once a month, with 26% shopping online once a week. (Episerver, 2019)
So, it’s quite clear that people are shopping online, regularly, and that this trend is only going one way.
For companies looking to take advantage of this, it’s no longer simply a case of providing their online shoppers with the right products. The competition online is simply too high.
84% of consumers won’t return to a brand after just one poor delivery experience, and 89% of younger consumers are likely to promote a brand as a result of a positive customer experience. (3PL Central, 2020)
So companies selling online need to provide their shoppers with a process that’s streamlined from start to finish – one that gives them the confidence to make their first purchase, and delivers a complete brand experience that will bring them back time and again.
And savvy companies are looking to their order fulfilment process to gain a competitive advantage and provide this brand experience.
The Impact Of The Order Fulfilment Process On Online Sales
When it comes to streamlining the order fulfilment process, there are a number of specific features that online shoppers are looking for. First and foremost, is the availability of free returns.
When it comes to the delivery process of online purchases, the most important factor for shoppers in western Europe is the availability of free returns. For 45% of online shoppers in Ireland rank this as their top concern. (PWC 2019)
In close second comes delivery times, with 41% of online shoppers in Ireland ranking this as the most important factor for them when it comes to the delivery of online orders.
There are also a wide range of additional factors within the order fulfilment process that companies can optimise to add value to their customer experience when shopping online.
Order Fulfilment Factors That Can Increase Online Orders:
- Low shipping costs or free shipping
- Short delivery times including same day or next day delivery
- Late cut-off times for order shipping (e.g. 9pm)
- Availability of shipping worldwide rather than restricted locations
- Accurate order picking that minimises the number of incorrect orders shipped
- Well-branded, high-quality order packing that makes your brand resonate
- Order kitting that makes your brand resonate with the customer (i.e. the extra special something included with each order)
- Fast order processing that reduces your customer’s wait time and keeps them up to date
- Order tracking that lets your customer keep track of their order right to their front door
- Free returns
- A smooth returns process that addresses your customer’s concerns and rectifies it as quickly as possible
There is no silver bullet that turns order fulfilment into a competitive advantage, but ensuring a smooth and optimised process from start to finish helps companies to maximise their online sales, increase repeat purchases, and deliver a brand experience that stays with their online shoppers for a lot longer.
Speak To A Customer Success Manager Today
If you are looking for a quote for your order fulfilment, arrange a time to speak to one of our Customer Success Managers today. Email us at email@example.com, or call us on +353 1 902 9510 (Ireland), or +44 1 6043 00340 (UK).