A Crash Course on Shopify Order Fulfillment
Shopify is a great e-commerce platform that sells products to millions of people. But how do they do it? Read on to learn their order fulfillment tricks.
And now you’re finally accepting orders.
And now… you have way more orders to package and ship than you or your employees know what to do with.
Don’t panic. The success of your business doesn’t depend on how many orders you personally can stuff into a box.
Order fulfillment companies are here to save your day and keep you working on building your business, not building cardboard boxes.
In this post, we’ll give you the run-down of how to perform quality order fulfillment using a service called Shopify.
What is order fulfillment?
E-commerce order fulfillment is defined as “the process of receiving, packaging and shipping orders for goods.”
The term can be applied to any company which sells products to consumers, but it is typically reserved for the world of e-commerce.
Successful order fulfillment means the customer and their request (i.e. orders) are accomplished quickly, completely, accurately, and without damage.
However, sometimes the process becomes convoluted. Traveling through the labyrinthian maze of warehouse inventory and outdated processes, it’s easy to see how an order can become lost or its delivery delayed.
Proper execution of fulfilling customer orders can make or break a business.
Order fulfillment can occur either in-house, or it can be outsourced to a different company.
And more and more companies are beginning to choose to outsource the process as a means to expedite deliveries.
There are a variety of full-service fulfillment companies out there which offer all the solutions your business needs to thrive.
Common services offered by fulfillment service companies include:
- Packaging products
- Shipping and tracking orders
- Order and delivery confirmations
- Inventory management
- Return and reorder processing
Depending on the size of your operation, a full-service order fulfillment provider might be the solution your business needs.
No matter what fulfillment company you choose, though, the overall goal remains the same – receive and fulfill orders as quickly as possible to ensure customer satisfaction.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a “leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses”.
Using the Shopify platform, you can set up your online store how you want it, organize your “storefront,” accept credit card payments, as well as track and respond to orders.
Utilizing its custom-built computer software enables its users to manage incoming and outgoing orders from a central hub and a few easy mouse clicks.
Shopify Automated Shipping Plugins
Shopify even has support from other order fulfillment services such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire, Rakuten Super Logistics and, of course, Floship–check out the plugin here.
With these integrations, Shopify not only processes orders and payments, but without leaving the Shopify platform you are able to manage your shipping needs as well. If you are currently operating a WordPress site, there are even Shopify plugins you can use with WordPress for e-commerce.
The platform is currently used by over 377,500 businesses in roughly 175 countries. Furthermore, it’s used and trusted by big name brands such as Tesla, Red Bull, Nestle, and General Electric (just to name a few).
The platform is easily integrated into your website and requires no installation because of its cloud-based nature.
But before you decide the service is right for your website, it’s helpful to know what the service is capable of, and what control it gives you.
How to fulfill orders on Shopify
Once you’ve decided to use the Shopify service, it’s time to start bringing orders in.
The fulfillment process can be performed in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of each individual order.
Below you will find brief overviews of the different ways you can fulfill orders using the Shopify e-commerce platform.
Manually fulfill a complete order
Depending on the amount of coming orders coming, order fulfillment should be performed using this option.
Most websites will want the control offered by fulfilling orders manually.
Doing so allows you to be more involved in the ordering and shipping process.
You can manually control when orders are shipped, which makes it ideal for products which are made to order, but also if your website offers a pre-order option.
This also allows for greater control and increased monitoring of inventory levels. Furthermore, it prevents issues with running out of product or offering partial fulfillment to keep your customers happy.
Manually fulfill a partial order
When circumstances don’t allow for the shipping of a complete order, fulfilling a partial order is a great way to satisfy customer needs.
For example, an order is placed for an item which isn’t currently in stock or is on pre-order. But the customer paid for multiple items, most of which are in-house and ready to ship.
By manually fulfilling part of the order, you can ship the different parts of the order separately.
Manually fulfill multiple orders at a time
What seller doesn’t want the issue of fulfilling multiple orders at once?
With Shopify, a merchant is able to fulfill multiple or bulk orders using the same tools described above.
The process is simple. By using the “bulk actions” feature, the seller can fulfill multiple orders at once.
This tool is useful if there is a queue of orders ready to ship in the system, or if one customer has placed orders for multiple items.
Cancel a fulfillment
Nothing ever goes as planned, and placing an order online is no different. For both the customer and the seller.
As such, pending fulfillments can also be canceled using the tools found in the fulfillment functions.
This comes in handy if payment hasn’t been received yet, or if modifications to the original order are needed.
Overcoming the Challenges of Fulfilling Bulky Orders and Heavy Items
For e-commerce entrepreneurs large and bulky orders are a particular challenge.
Let’s say you are selling large bicycle frames or heavy amplifiers that not only cost more to ship, but are much harder to move around and handle in a warehouse environment?
For this, you’ll need a fulfillment company that specializes in heavy and large goods that are sold online. One that comes recommended is Red Stag Fulfillment, whose focus is on quality fulfillment for larger, heavier items sold online.
Automatically fulfill orders
While this option may not be ideal for every e-commerce site, it can be a very effective and efficient way to pack and ship orders.
If your company is already utilizing a fulfillment service or fulfillment application, chances are good this option will be a viable option.
Also, automatic fulfillment is an excellent setup for sales which don’t require packing and shipping, such as digital downloads.
Consider pairing it with services such as automatic payment capture to further enhance and streamline the order fulfillment process.
Find out how to Automate your Shopify Order Fulfillment process with the Shopify + Floship Integration here!
Shopify is a great platform to improve your order fulfillment requirements.
No matter the size of your business, utilizing fulfillment services is an excellent way to improve the flow of your products to your customers. And most importantly, keeping your customers happy and coming back for more.
For more information about how to use Shopify on your website, download The 5-minute guide to scaling your Shopify shipping strategy below!