What is e-fulfillment?
E-fulfillment is short for ‘ecommerce fulfillment,’ which is the process of fulfilling and shipping orders to customers. This entire aspect of the supply chain entails receiving and storing inventory, processing orders, picking and packing items, shipping packages to their final destination, and facilitating ecommerce returns.
E-fulfillment can be handled in-house by a brand, but most fast-growing brands choose to outsource fulfillment to a third-party logistics (3PL) company as they are the experts and it can be challenging and time-consuming to manage alone.
Without e-fulfillment, your ecommerce growth may be stunted
A streamlined e-fulfillment process is important because it can help you meet customer expectations set by established or competing brands and marketplaces like Amazon. Online shoppers expect fast and affordable shipping and a positive last-mile delivery experience. A proper e-fulfillment process, with the help of technology, can optimize logistics operations and automate processes to reduce human error and promote higher order accuracy.
What makes e-fulfillment so successful?
There are a lot of different factors that make up a successful e-fulfillment process. From choosing warehouse location(s) for inventory storage to implementing inventory management tools, it takes manpower, technology, and resources to optimize fulfillment logistics. Here are some of the major components of a modern e-fulfillment process.
Order processing automation
By implementing automated order processing software, ecommerce businesses can significantly increase order management efficiencies and optimize their supply chain. A fully automated order processing system should integrate easily with your ecommerce platform and other sales channels. This way, orders can be automatically verified as soon as a customer places one so the e-fulfillment process can begin, and order status is updated right away.
Inventory management is the process of ordering and restocking units, storing products, and tracking inventory levels. By implementing inventory management software, you can track inventory in real time, lower inventory storage and labor costs, set automatic reorder points to prevent stockouts, and more. By implementing inventory management technology, you can gain access to valuable data to make better business decisions and prepare for the unexpected.
Demand forecasting is important because it allows businesses to better estimate the total sales and revenue for a future period of time while also planning for inventory needs. By forecasting demand, you can make decisions like when to run a flash sale or how frequently you need to reorder inventory based on which items are selling fast or moving slowly. Inventory forecasting will never be 100% accurate, but the insights gained by collecting historical data can help you better plan for the future.
Warehousing is a key stage in the e-fulfillment process that involves storing and managing finished goods before they are sold. There are several key parts to warehouse management, including the safety and security of products, inventory control processes that help to optimize inventory storage, and much more.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is used in tech-enabled warehouses, which provides full visibility into real-time inventory levels and storage, staff productivity, and e-fulfillment workflows within a warehouse. A WMS ultimately eliminates much of the manual work and speeds up processes without compromising accuracy rate.
Why not do e-fulfillment yourself?
Self-fulfillment might make sense when you’re first starting out, but once you see a surge in monthly order volume, packing orders and keeping track of inventory on your own will soon become costly and time-consuming.
It can be a challenge to scale if you and your team are spending most of your time on fulfilling and shipping orders. You might also think taking care of fulfillment in-house is a more cost-effective approach than hiring a 3PL, but there are hidden costs to self-fulfillment, from inefficiencies to purchasing your own packaging materials, to the time lost and opportunity cost that e-fulfillment takes away from growing your business.
What is an e-fulfillment provider?
An e-fulfillment logistics service provider (also known as a 3PL or fulfillment company) takes care of all-things e-fulfillment and shipping that business owners don’t have time or manpower to take on themselves.
An e-fulfillment provider can offer an expansive fulfillment infrastructure. A good e-fulfillment company will also have best-in-class technology to automate much of the process, speed up transit times, reduce shipping costs, and improve accuracy.
Many e-fulfillment providers also offer a network of partners that offer end-to-end ecommerce solutions to accelerate business growth.
Outsourcing e-fulfillment to the experts is key to scaling your business, but not all logistics companies offer the same set of capabilities and services. To maximize the benefits, it’s important to partner with an e-fulfillment provider that offers space for your business to grow by offering solutions that go beyond picking, packing, and shipping.
i Logistics USA is a best-in-class logistics and e-fulfillment provider that goes beyond picking and packing, with an international fulfillment network, proprietary technology, built-in inventory and order management tools, dedicated customer support, and more.
i Logistics USA partners with brands of all sizes and provides a robust fulfillment. i Logistics USA technology also lets you closely monitor inventory levels all from one dashboard.
i Logistics USA makes it easy to integrate your online store and entire tech stack with our technology, or you can utilize i Logistics USA Developer API for a more robust solution.
Successful online shops: a 3PL e-fulfillment partner changes the game
Ecommerce businesses that sell high-demand products or want to focus their time on growth partner with a 3PL like i Logistics USA to help fulfill and ship orders and manage long-term growth. With i Logistics USA, online brands are able to scale without limits while getting access to a growing international fulfillment network and advanced e-fulfillment software.
i Logistics USA can help fulfill orders placed on your ecommerce website. i Logistics USA has helped thousands of direct-to-consumer brands of all sizes drive revenue by providing 2-day shipping.
To learn more about i Logistics USA, request a pricing quote.