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SkuNexus eCommerce Fulfillment, eCommerce Guide, eCommerce Strategy, Order Management

The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Fulfillment

eCommerce Fulfillment 101

What Is eCommerce Fulfillment and How Does It Work?

Fulfillment is as important to eCommerce as the kitchen is to a restaurant. One would not, cannot, does not exist without the other.

Few people really understand what takes place after they order a meal and before it arrives at their table. Similarly, eCommerce fulfillment remains largely a mystery that exists somewhere in the shadows behind cool websites, engaging social media, and clever marketing campaigns.

However, considering that global eCommerce sales are expected to total roughly $5.5 trillion this year alone, we think understanding how the whole system works is crucial to being competitive in today’s marketplace.

A cohesive eCommerce fulfillment strategy can be the difference between success and failure in 2022. If you're looking to improve your eCommerce business and chances for success, you’re in the right spot. 

With any new subject, it’s best to begin with the fundamentals. So, in this introduction, we will take a look at the basics of eCommerce fulfillment, discuss some best practices, and touch on solutions to ensure it is conducted optimally at every stage of the game.


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The True Value of eCommerce Fulfillment Strategy

Common knowledge tells us that anything worth doing is worth doing right

Certainly, some exceptions to this rule do exist (see: karaoke, bowling), but we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. Our field of expertise at SkuNexus is all things online retail. Let us assure you that the value in getting eCommerce fulfillment strategy it right is monumental. Its impact can and will be felt in nearly every aspect of your business (far beyond the online store).

It is not a simple task, nor is it simple to sustain. A successful eCommerce fulfillment strategy requires organization, focus, and discipline. Flexibility, creativity, and persistence, too.

However, the potential payoff is bountiful. Higher customer satisfaction, more efficient operations, happy employees, and a business that grows.

Do you want to get a deeper understanding of eCommerce fulfillment strategy? Do you want to learn how to use automation as a cornerstone of your strategy?


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What Industry Experts Are Saying About eCommerce Fulfillment

The eCommerce landscape is vast and growing larger every day. If you have an online business, on any level, keeping up with the latest news (while critical) is difficult to do. The amount of information, spread over a sea of topics and from a myriad of sources, can be overwhelming.

In this article, we briefly touch on an eclectic mix of topics. We discuss everything from the $2 trillion global logistics industry to micro-distribution business models focused on a few city blocks. Instead of giving you our take on what’s happening, we provide you viewpoints from other respected experts in the field.

From Shopify to McKinsey, here are a handful of interesting facts, trends, and forecasts for eCommerce businesses to consider. We hope you find this information interesting, useful, and thought-provoking.

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Leverage eCommerce Fulfillment to Grow Your Business

A 360° View of the Order Fulfillment Process

In a previous article, we discussed eCommerce fulfillment systems in fairly broad terms. We’re hopeful that you enjoyed dipping your toes into the topic and are now ready to go for a swim.

At SkuNexus, we want to bring you along progressively and help you gradually build your knowledge base. So, let’s take a deep dive together into the aspects of eCommerce fulfillment. 

Now, we will discuss the specific order fulfillment types, including self-fulfillment, third-party logistics, and dropshipping.

We will address a variety of considerations for particular processes (pick, pack, ship and BOPIS) and specific scenarios (multiple locations, international sales, and niche product categories).

Most importantly, we will illustrate how a good software (which incorporates an inventory management system, order management system, shipping management system, and eCommerce warehouse management system) can drastically improve your business' sales and efficiency.

After reading this article, you will have a much more comprehensive understanding of what steps must be taken to optimize your fulfillment strategies, improve customer experience, and grow.


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How an Order Management System Lowers Fulfillment Costs

In a retail environment transformed by eCommerce, merchants must assess and optimize every aspect of their businesses. Survival and success depend upon continual analysis, adjustment, and innovation.

Brands are now managing exponential increases in sales and communication channels. Simultaneously, their customer base demands total convenience, real time information, and ever-faster delivery. These challenges make it easy to put the fundamental need for cutting order fulfillment costs on the back burner. 

However, the retailer that ignores costs does so at its peril. Reviewing the specific eCommerce fulfillment costs is an excellent place to start a process of improvement.

Money can be saved across the entire backend, from warehouse space, to storage costs, to shipping fees, to return fees. Implementation of a fulfillment management software and automation of warehouse operations is the lynchpin.

eCommerce fulfillment is a field where every second and every penny counts. It is critical to grasp the total impact that management software and automation can have on your bottom line. Here, we will discuss how an order management software (like SkuNexus) can lower order fulfillment costs and optimize productivity. It will also maximize ROI for your eCommerce business.


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Self-Fulfillment vs. Fulfillment Partners

Whether as an established retailer or a startup venture, a move into eCommerce is not a decision to be made lightly.

A number of elements must be integrated into the plan. The construction of an eCommerce fulfillment strategy is among the most important. All the design and work that goes into front-end development is meaningless if the backend warehouse management system is dysfunctional.

For many brands, the question of whether they can succeed at managing eCommerce order fulfillment in-house becomes a quandary. At SkuNexus, we want to give guidance and help clarify that picture.

Self-fulfillment a viable option for a range of businesses. In fact, many already possess the foundational resources necessary to make it happen.

For others, the market presents a host of available fulfillment options. Third-parties offer picking, packing and shipping, from dropshipping to 3PLs to fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). These various solutions can suit nearly any type of online store.

The integration of an order management system is critical to the success of whatever order processing method(s) you choose. 

In this article, we'll discuss the distinct advantages and disadvantages of each fulfillment model. We'll also explain the ways SkuNexus can provide the management software system to complement whichever route you choose to take.


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Choosing an eCommerce Fulfillment Management Software System

Partnerships are a two-way street. Selecting the right management system partner demands both an assessment of what they provide, as well as a thorough audit of your own situation. 

When it comes to choosing an eCommerce order management software partner, many questions must be asked. However, just what those questions are can be a question in itself. 

At SkuNexus, we want to give you as much help as possible in this endeavor, and here we present two useful tools for the decision-making process.

First, we present a list of questions for your team to ask itself about your existing capabilities, order processing, and inventory control metrics, as well as what you will need going forward.

Then, we have a checklist of a broad array of features (e.g. automated order routing) that a worthy fulfillment management software partner should bring to the table.

After carefully going through both sections, you and your team members should have a better understanding of where you stand and what you will require from an order management system (OMS) as you advance in the eCommerce landscape.


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8 Questions for Fulfillment Management Software Providers

At SkuNexus, we see and hear about the full range of eCommerce fulfillment issues being confronted by small business owners. From dry ice to dropshipping, someone somewhere is in need of assistance with their fulfillment processes.

When seeking that assistance, it can be difficult to know what questions to ask. However, we want to hear every question that is on your mind. The most specific inquiries help us to get to the root of the business process improvements and future project plans that need solving. 

We also want to provide you with some guidance re: the things we get asked about most frequently. These questions represent some of the most common concerns and pain points for eCommerce stores of all sizes and industries, and they very well may resemble your own. 

In this article, we give you 8 major business goals your eCommerce retail peers want to know about in relation to fulfillment management software, and how we handle them at SkuNexus.


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Business Costs of eCommerce Fulfillment

The costs of doing business are never more important to consider than during an inflationary period. Every opportunity to scrutinize and decrease those costs must be taken.

In the world of eCommerce, a great deal of those cost-saving opportunities lie in order fulfillment. The backend is awash with costs and a multitude of ways to address them.

At SkuNexus, we think the best way to reduce the costs of eCommerce fulfillment is with a powerful order management software. The right fulfillment management software can provide significant savings by optimizing your use of time, labor, materials, and even space itself. This fact is regardless of how your brand is managing its fulfillment strategy.

In this article, we will take a look at the total costs, both monetary and otherwise, of various fulfillment models. Then, we will discuss the value of a powerful order management system (OMS) like SkuNexus. SkuNexus can not only lower fulfillment cost per order (CPO), but also eliminate fulfillment errors through automation.

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