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The Fulfillment Process—What Happens to Consumers’ Orders

By Walmsley Subscribe to RSS | March 12th 2012 | Views:
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To expedite retail and purchase, most businesses include e-commerce in their business models. Industries that involve selling goods can use e-commerce in accepting orders and payments using electronic systems like the Internet and other computer networks. Instead of over-the-counter transactions, consumers can order goods by accomplishing online order forms from the provider’s website. This is a more convenient approach that guarantees more revenues for the business than the conventional retail and purchase process.

When an order is made, fulfillment is set to follow. The product provider employs a fulfillment team responsible for preparing and delivering the products to the consumers within a predetermined timeframe. A business can handle fulfillment in two ways—through an in-house fulfillment department or through an outsourced fulfillment service. Fledgling companies often outsource fulfillment services to meet their customers’ expectations, while large corporations build their own facility for a more customized operation.

A business that chose to outsource a fulfillment company has to deliver products from its factory to the fulfillment facility for warehousing. This is vital in the product distribution process because it prevents delays when the supply runs out. The fulfillment center will request for supplies when the stock runs low. Both the provider and the fulfillment company monitor the inventory distribution online via e-commerce technologies to manage losses and other forms of risk.

The fulfillment company generates invoices for the orders and fulfillments being made. Invoices are typically in digital form, organized into spreadsheets, and automatically sent to the provider. This updates the provider of the actual sales and not the supply production. The fulfillment company safeguards the products to be delivered through a well-managed fulfillment warehouse. Packaging and shipping may require a separate facility depending on the supplies being handled.

Both the fulfillment company and the product or service provider agree on certain policies, such as return and exchange policies. Because of the changing business climate and intense competition between similar providers, it is difficult to manage the expectations of the consumer. The provider remedies this problem by creating a flexible and consumer-friendly return and exchange policy. However, this is implemented by the fulfillment company that manages the fulfillment warehouse.

In case of return, reimbursement, or exchange, the fulfillment company running fulfillment warehouses decides based on the implementing policy. All modifications appear in the ledgers. However, complaints and other issues concerning the product that customers raise are dealt with by the provider, usually through customer service. The fulfillment company can have its own customer service that deals with issues limited to delivery.

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