With the rapid growth of direct-to-customer (D2C) eCommerce comes the fiercer-than-ever competition.

As an online merchant, you should be nodding with a bitter smile right now.

To start with, let’s take a look at the following scenario:

  • Shopper A browses your eCommerce site
  • Shopper A is interested in product B
  • Shopper A makes the purchase
  • You receive the order
  • You pick product B from your warehouse
  • You pack the shipment
  • You arrange to ship with an international courier
  • Shopper A gets the parcel as scheduled
  • Shopper A is happy with your service
  • Shopper A tells her friends about you
  • Shopper A will buy from you again

Can you relate to the scenario?

This is too ideal to be true.

For how smooth this is - It is a fairytale-like dream for every online merchant, which lands in a happy ending with customer satisfaction and advocacy.

However, life doesn’t always go the way we wanted. Handling an order itself may sound straightforward - but managing front-end and backend operation at once can be puzzling.

Let’s be frank that the more your customers expect, the more attention-to-detail they are, and the larger the chance they feel disappointed - even a little yet critical detail can harm your reputation and the shopper experience.

Hence the integration of eCommerce and fulfillment is considered the key to a business's long-term success, if not survival.

What is an eCommerce fulfillment integration?

eCommerce and fulfillment are indispensable. With an existing order comes the need for the order to be fulfilled. Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - this is like an order fulfillment version of it. Fulfilling an order accounts for the bottom of the pyramid, which is a basic requirement to be met.

To level up the pyramid, merchants must leverage orders as a medium to win the hearts and minds of their customers, carving a niche to surpass their fellows.

Key benefits of integrating eCommerce and fulfillment platforms

  • Access to Real-time Inventory Information

Having real-time inventory information helps merchants better manage order fulfillment and warehouse operation, as in avoiding overselling conditions and revising selling strategy in response to sales performances.

Insider tips: Merchants can even show stock levels on their eCommerce sites as a strategy to create the urge to shop - as if there is a whisper saying: ‘your favorite items are low in stock, get them now while stocks last!’.

  • Provide Real-time Order Updates

As a responsible seller, you should, by all means, ensure that all the orders are successfully fulfilled, arriving at customers’ doorsteps as committed.

With high visibility in the order fulfillment process, merchants can give shoppers confidence and enhance customer satisfaction by sharing information on order status and shipment tracking.

What should you look for in an eCommerce fulfillment integration?

1. Responsiveness
2. Connectedness
3. Accuracy
4. Compatibility
5. Efficiency

These 5 criteria closely correlate, for they indicate:

  • [Concerning eCommerce fulfillment] How capable it is to respond to a massive number of orders or a sudden surge in sales

  • [Concerning the integration of eCommerce and order fulfillment] How seamless it is to process orders

  • [Concerning data processing and transmission] How accurate it is to enable real-time monitoring and responsive operation

  • [Concerning front-end & backend systems] How compatible they are with each other (e.g., SKU codes must be identifiable on both the eCommerce site and warehouse management system)

  • [Concerning every detail] How efficient everything works together to realize a frictionless order fulfillment process

Considering working with a 3PL…

As for eCommerce business, working with 3PLs and leveraging their resources can be a great option to achieve eCommerce fulfillment integration with minimized inputs, taking advantage of their expertise, their already-established networks and years of experience in the field.

If you decide to work with a 3PL and are choosing one out of the many 3PLs out there, these 5 criteria cover major considerations that you should be examining.

If you have no idea whether you should work with a 3PL or not, feel free to have a read of our blog: https://bonuship.com/en/blog/crowdfunding-fulfillment/3pl-new-weapon-ecommerce-warfare-lets-dive-and-explore

At the end of the day, no equation guarantees D2C eCommerce success, but the formula ’eCommerce + fulfillment’ can be something for you to power up your business.