Retail and Sales: Understanding Order Fulfillment

From home-based entrepreneurs to CEOs in big companies one rule is commonly kept close to heart: Keep your customers happy. To do this, one must either master the complicated process of order fulfillment (which could take up 90% of your time) or simply choose a fulfillment partner who can do it all for you.

Order Fulfillment is the delivery process used to move a product from its point of sale to the hands of the customer. Some people describe it merely as the act of distribution and shipping (also called logistics) but this is not always the case. In a much broader sense, Order Fulfillment also refers to the way that a firm responds to its customers and the steps they take to ensure that sold products are delivered to the consumers correctly within the tightest time frames.

In other words, it means everything that a seller does from the moment an order is made. Let’s make the complicated a little easier to understand using three steps:

One: Warehousing

Order Fulfillment companies such as all start at the same point – the logical warehousing of the products. It is a true mark of reliability on an online outlets name if products ordered are received in the promised time frame. Businesses will have to be logical and systematic throughout the process.

Two: Order processing

There are many ways of receiving the order of a customer. Order information may be written down by a telesales agent, collected at the e-commerce web store or received through the post. Finding the items ordered in the warehouse comes next. With the e-commerce model, this is made easier if the company maintains their online inventories as well as offering active accounts to its customers.

Ordered items must then be packaged for shipping to the right address and customers notified when the orders are on the way. Although some firms have their own delivery system, many still use major carriers such as UPS and FedEx, simply because it seems to cost less, but it also means less control on your inventories and fewer guarantees on the handling of your delivery and ultimately the reputation of your company.

Three: Return and exchange policies

Once a satisfied customer receive the ordered product that order may well be considered ‘fulfilled’, but what happens when the customer is not satisfied? Return and exchange policies become important at this point. The order fulfillment process continues to resolve the issues to the benefit of both the customer and the seller. When customers want to have items returned or exchanged, an order fulfillment company can take the headache out of the process, especially when the seller’s time and energy may be required for more important things.

The order fulfillment process really is at the heart of customer satisfaction and business growth. It is impossible to effectively handle orders with an appropriate amount of attention in this area. However, it can be a mine field of pot-holes to navigate unless you find a reputable fulfillment partner to work with. National Product Fulfillment still gets my vote as their experience and attention to detail has allowed them to grow over the years from continued client satisfaction.

About the Author:

Rodney Bartley – is the owner of National Products Fulfilment ( company. Since 2002 Rodney has been focused on building a World Class Order Fulfillment business not just in Australia, but wordwide. His company, National Products Fulfilment now operates in 3 countries: Australia, New Zealand and India. Currently dispatching 2 million products per annum throughout Australia and the rest of the world.