What is e-fulfilment and how can it help my business?

What is e-fulfilment and how can it help my business?

As an ambitious e-commerce retailer, making sure you deliver your customer’s purchases on time and in great condition is vital. Your shipping strategy is one of the most important elements of your e-commerce strategy, but it is also one of the most challenging. Inventory management, returns processing, pick & pack and order fulfilment all take time. When you add the considerable pressure of dealing with peaks in demand and providing great customer service, it’s easy to see how mistakes get made and service levels are impacted.

More and more global e-commerce businesses are turning to e-fulfilment to help manage their services. This approach helps to streamline shipping and logistics operations, mitigate error, control costs and ensure a higher level of order accuracy.

This article will talk you through how e-fulfilment works and why it matters. We’ll explore the different types of e-fulfilment solutions and how they will benefit your business. We’ll also look at how a third-party logistics (3PL) can support your fulfilment services, giving you more time to grow your business internationally.

What are e-fulfilment services?

E-fulfilment refers to the suite of services that online retailers use to keep their order processing, fulfilment and storage, returns processing, and delivery running smoothly. E-fulfilment is a proven and effective strategy for both large and small web shops. Discussion around e-fulfilment often includes mention of automated fulfilment which is the use of data and connected technologies to automate the fulfilment process.

The kinds of e-fulfilment services retailers use depends on their business goals, their customer requirements, their budget and the scope of the business i.e the territories covered. Service requirements may change over time, or fluctuate at different times of year. Therefore it is important to choose an e-fulfilment company that can scale with the business as it grows and changes.

What are the main types of e-fulfilment services?

Both B2B and B2C businesses can choose from a variety of e-fulfilment services. Here are some of the most popular types.

Same-day fulfilment

As the name suggests, same-day fulfilment refers to a system where the customer’s order is processed, picked and packed, and shipped on the same day. As e-commerce becomes more popular and there are more and more entrants to the market, this is a great e-fulfilment service for giving your business a competitive edge.

Inventory management

Effective, well-organised stocking and storage is central to an optimised e-fulfilment process. Automating and digitising inventory management helps to reduce errors and provides better control on stock levels. It also saves time and money.

Pick & Pack

Choosing the right data-driven fulfilment services can save businesses a great deal of time with pick & pack. Items are located more quickly, in batches or as single orders, and made ready for fulfilment and distribution. Order accuracy is increased and great presentation assured.

Today’s customers want their parcels sent quickly and to arrive in perfect condition and e-fulfilment makes this happen.

Back-office shipping processes

The more back-office shipping processes you can automate, the better. This includes digitising your invoice processing, customs documents, tax forms and any other shipping paperwork you need to administrate.

Returns processing

Returns are an unwanted but necessary part of e-commerce fulfilment. So, why not automate returns processing and have more time to spend on other aspects of your business? All while keeping your customers happy and your business efficiencies optimised.

What are the benefits of outsourcing with an e-fulfilment company?

It is possible to set up and manage your own e-fulfilment services. But many brands find that outsourcing with a fulfilment company creates even better efficiencies and enhanced service standards.

At B2C Europe we have seen first hand how e-fulfilment can transform businesses. Here are some of the benefits to outsourcing with an EU fulfilment centre.

  1. Lower shipping costs. When you work with a reputable third-party logistics provider like B2C Europe you benefit from the best deals through a multi-carrier strategy. You’ll also have access to bulk delivery discounts. Furthermore, with premises all over Europe and an own linehaul, your goods have less distance to travel so shipping costs are lower.
  2. Reduced operational costs. All your fulfilment is handled in secure, purpose-built fulfilment warehouses, so you aren’t burdened with additional investments. Furthermore, your base costs stay the same, year-round, so you won’t get any unexpected fees.
  3. Streamlined shipping processes. Automated fulfilment processes mean quicker delivery and return times, better stock control and happier customers.
  4. More time to spend on growing your business. It’s amazing how much time is eaten up by managing shipping and logistics processes. Think what you could do with the extra hours you’ll have when automating your fulfilment!
  5. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Shipping is one of the first points of contact your customers have with your company. Providing a great fulfilment service means they will have a positive experience with your company from day one. It helps ensure they keep coming back for more.
  6. No ongoing investment in technology or systems. Your third-party logistics provider takes care of this for you. No unexpected bills, system updates or any other upkeep to manage.
  7. Better visibility of shipments. With real-time tracking information you’ll always know where your shipments are.
  8. Improved stock control. Stock levels are monitored digitally, keeping you informed of the products you have in storage and making sure you can always deliver to your customers.
  9. Expert knowledge to support your business. B2C Europe has over 20 years experience in local, domestic and international shipping and e-fulfilment services. We can help you every step of the way, both with serving your current market and if and when you want to scale-up or grow your business in new territories.

We hope this guide to e-fulfilment has given you a good idea of how order fulfilment services work in a digital context, and how it can benefit your business. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options further please contact the team at B2C Europe. We are experts in third-party logistics and we would love to help.

How B2C Europe can help

At B2C Europe we understand the importance of outsourcing your e-fulfilment to a trusted partner. We provide a wide range of third party logistics services that can help streamline your shipping and fulfilment processes, saving you time and money, and ensuring you deliver a great customer experience at all times.

Our outsourced e-fulfilment services include:

  • Automated fulfilment. Market-leading e-fulfilment technology and automation that integrates seamlessly with your own logistics processes and platforms.
  • Same day-fulfilment. Time-sensitive deliveries fulfilled with the highest levels of accuracy.
  • Stocking and storage. Secure warehouse facilities that take care of your goods and can reduce delivery distances.
  • Inventory management. Keeping a close eye on your inventory so you always maintain the right stock levels. No waste, and no disappointed customers.
  • Pick & Pack. Preparing your shipments to the highest standards.
  • Returns processing. Taking the strain of your returns processes. Ensuring an efficient, reliable and cost-effective service for your customers so they keep coming back for more.
  • Customer service. Providing friendly, helpful and valuable support to your customers, and giving you the all-important competitive edge.

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