What are the differences between ecommerce fulfillment and order fulfillment?

box1Most logistics companies that offer fulfillment services will offer ecommerce fulfillment and order fulfillment, and will probably use the terms interchangeably in their literature.  There are only subtle differences between the two, and have more to do with the shopping system that is utilized than the actual aspects of what services are provided.  At the end of both processes is the responsibility of the fulfillment company to provide delivery of the items that have been ordered by the customer to the address that is desired.  This is the general business of fulfillment companies, to guarantee that the goods which have been purchased by a customer reach their intended destination.  The methods that the fulfillment process utilize will depend on the services that are offered by the company and as a result are offered to the customer as an option by the seller.  For example, if home delivery to a local address is offered within a one hour time frame by the fulfillment company, then the option of allowing the customer to choose this as an option is he choice of the merchant who sells the goods and employs the fulfillment company to process the order.  If UPS or FEDEX are the only options available for delivery in certain situations, then the merchant must offer those options to the customer in exchange for specific fees charged.  This is where the real differences between ecommerce fulfillment and general order fulfillment come into play.

Ecommerce fulfillment is the process of utilizing a software system available on a website in order to transmit the necessary information to the fulfillment company.  As an example of ecommerce fulfillment, a merchant may design a website to sell items and then choose a shopping cart system that will allow customers to process the orders they place with a variety of payment options like credit cards, online checks or Paypal.  This information processes through the shopping cart system and provides the information that a sale of a certain item has been successfully completed and charged to the dashboard of the merchant.  Most of these shopping cart systems will have a variety of built-in and pre-configured shipping options that will be the customer’s choice based upon price and the time the item is needed within.  The ecommerce fulfillment company acts as the finalization of these orders, providing the service of picking the items from warehouse inventories, packing the item appropriately and completing the necessary steps to get the item processed and delivered to the customer.  Within an ecommerce fulfillment service, the information is able to be transmitted with very little human manual-process, and is nearly entirely handled by software.

Order fulfillment is a more broad service that can utilize more manual systems for transmitting information in order to get the products to the final customer.  An order fulfillment system could be completely manual, with a person from the merchant company calling or visiting the order fulfillment location in order to provide the orders that need to be processed.  Although this is obviously more time consuming, there are still many companies who need order fulfillment systems due to large amounts of processed orders, or the desire to not operate and manage warehouse themselves.  The company may not provide online sales as an option, and may require customers to purchase items at a location of over the phone, those items to be delivered to specific locations from order fulfillment companies strategically positioned in different areas of the country.  In these cases, order fulfillment and ecommerce fulfillment are very different things.

Whatever fulfillment services that are needed by your company, Ship My Orders has the ability to create a solution that will provide you convenience and streamlined operations.  Contact our representatives today to discuss your options.