E-commerce is a fast-growing and attractive industry. An important factor for success is well-coordinated logistics. However, it can be a real challenge when trading on online marketplaces or operating your own online shop.
An effective solution to this can be the outsourcing of logistics processes in e-commerce. In this case, the service of storage and order preparation is provided by various operators with their own fulfillment centers. These are large warehouses that organize the shipment of goods in e-commerce to the end customer. Online retailers can take advantage of a fulfillment center and delegate the tasks of picking, storing, packing and shipping the shipment.
Basic e-commerce fulfillment center services include:
Goods receipt: the seller delivers the goods to the fulfillment service provider’s warehouse or the provider picks them up from the online shop’s or supplier’s warehouse.
- Goods receipt: This can take place in a fulfillment center by box, pallet or piece. Here, one checks the volume, quality and completeness and labeling. Once the appropriate paperwork has been completed, the goods are entered into the system.
- Storage: The fulfillment service provider ensures that all conditions necessary for the correct storage of the products in the fulfillment center are met. If necessary, special shelving, floor or fine mesh systems are provided and temperature, humidity, etc. are monitored according to the specifics of the goods. Not all fulfillment providers are able to provide special storage conditions in their fulfillment center.
- Order processing: There are a few possible variations of cooperation here. In the first case, the seller itself notifies the fulfillment provider of new orders. In the second case, the seller instructs the fulfillment center to track purchases by giving it access to a personal account on the online marketplace or in the administration area of the website. In the third case, the fulfillment provider integrates with the seller’s system and automatically accepts the orders.
- Assembly/Packaging: One sorts the accepted orders and then packs them in packaging from the fulfillment center or branded bags/cartons from the seller.
- Shipping and delivery: This is where the orders that are ready to be shipped are handed over to transport companies or courier services. The fulfillment service provider can also deliver the packages itself.
- Returns management: Returned goods with undamaged packaging are taken back by the fulfillment center for goods acceptance. In the event of damage, the quality of the products is also checked.
You can outsource all or part of your e-commerce logistics processes to a fulfillment center.