Understanding Ecommerce Fulfillment

Ecommerce was itself a great revolution in the world of business. We are all now intimately acquainted with this mode of purchasing goods and many of us even use this means of purchasing what we need more often than the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. There is no doubt that ecommerce has changed the business landscape.

But within this revolution, there has even been a further revolution which has changed e-commerce for good. This has been the massively increased efficiency in delivery of orders. We might take this for granted by now, but ecommerce used to deliver goods significantly slower, suffering from the disadvantage of having to source them from far away and transport them potentially many miles to a customer. Ecommerce order fulfillment in other words, was not always like the 2-day shipping experience that companies such as Amazon have ushered in.

Speeding Up Order Fulfillment

But all of this could lead to something of a misconception. Is it really only massive companies like Amazon that have the ability to offer shipping and delivery fast enough to realistically compete with brick-and-mortar stores for basic goods? Indeed, it is not, but for smaller ecommerce enterprises, there is definitely a challenge to be overcome.

The Amazon effect, as it were, has led to a consumer culture where more and more people are expecting speedy handling and shipping of their online orders. This means that one of the surest ways to see your ecommerce venture lag behind the competitors is to have sluggish order fulfillment times. But, even with smaller enterprises, this is actually far from an inevitability.

As it happens, there are a range of strategies for carrying out order fulfillment. Ecommerce fulfillment experts Shipping and Handling of Texas recommend that the first step is fully understanding what order fulfillment actually is and the various steps involved in the process.

What is Ecommerce Fulfillment?

The first thing to note is that Ecommerce fulfillment services can be either B2B, where large quantities of a product are shipped to a business premises, or B2C, where smaller orders are shipped to a single shopper home, as each of these come with their own challenges.

Nevertheless, order fulfillment comes with a distinct set of steps which have to be worked through in every case. These are:

Receiving Orders 

Before you can fulfill orders, you are going to need to have an inventory and communicate that to the customer. If you’re fulfilling orders in-house, then the inventory should be on hand. If you are outsourcing third party fulfillment, then it needs to be sent to the provider.

Inventory Storage

Also known as warehousing, inventory storage is the storage of your products – and their effective organization for ease of retrieval. The state of your inventory storage needs to be known at all times.

Order Processing

This takes place after an order has been made. It involves the retrieval of the items from where they are stored, the updating of the inventory, the packing of objects and the preparation to ship.


This is the process of actually transporting the order to the customer. It can involve a run to the post office on smaller scales or the picking up of orders from a fulfillment location.

Returns Processing

The final step, naturally, does not always have to be completed, but it is common enough. It only applies if the item is returned by the customer. In such cases, shipping needs to be arranged and inventory updated again.

These are the essential steps of ecommerce fulfillment. You should aim to cost each one of them as this is the essential first step to making a success of your ecommerce venture.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.