automated order fulfilment

Automated Order Fulfillment for Shopify: Everything you know about it

What is order fulfillment?

If you are an Amazon seller-handling order fulfillment in-house, then you will agree that the steps togetting orders to your customers are never a walk in the park. Besides, if anyof those steps faces a breakdown, then it can delay your orders from actuallygetting out the store and safely into your customers’ hands. Such a scenariowould considerably hurt your brand.

Outsourcing order fulfillment (automated)can be the game-changer for you, delivering considerable value for your brandand preventing hurdles from occurring. With automated and outsourced orderfulfillment, each crucial step in the order fulfillment process is left to be takencare of by an expert 3PL (third-party logistics), thus saving you time andenergy to focus on other vital aspects of the business.

Generally, this is theoverview of the essential steps involved in order fulfillment:

  • Receiving
    inventory shipments
  • Inventory
  • Order
  • Shipping
  • Returns

For most merchants, orderfulfillment is an expensive and sophisticated process. Some companies/vendorshandle order fulfillment in-house, while others who have mastered the tricksusually outsource the process to a 3PL company.

Briefly, let’s take a look atother challenges of order fulfillment.

Challenges of order fulfillment

It’s never easy implementingeffective order fulfillment processes. Vendors face complex challenges when itcomes to demand, inventory management, and logistics planning.

Let me break it down for you;

Inventory management: Runninglow or out of stock is a possible occurrence for most sellers. It can be a quickway to deter customers from shopping with you. Masters of the game, who succeedin maintaining optimal inventory levels, hardly worry about losing customers totheir competitors due to running out of stock.

Demand planning: It’s vitalto know the demand for your products. In this way, you also won’t riskoverstocking (which can be just as risky as understocking). Planning for demandinvolves using marketing and promotions to create a functional demand model.

Logistics planning: Theshipping process is as important as the sales process itself, if not moreimportant. As a seller, you need to ensure that the shipping methods, speed,and the care given to getting products to your customers are pin-point.Otherwise, you risk late fulfillment, damaged packages, which does nothing but hurtyour brand reputation and sales.

Supply chain execution:Even with the best planning, running out of inventory can still happen,especially during unexpected spikes in demand like during the holidays. Whendemand depletes your stocks, you should be in a position to replenish thoseitems as quickly as possible.

What is critical is the right inventory at the right location at the right time. This will give a big leg-up to shipping times. You need to choose a service provider that can quickly fulfill your orders if you want to compete.

Understanding the logistical challenges of last-mile delivery services is key in optimizing your e-commerce supply chain. With increasing customer demand for faster deliveries, leveraging technology to streamline last-mile operations says a lot about innovation in fulfillment. Companies effectively managing this critical delivery stage not only enhance customer satisfaction but also see a significant reduction in operational costs.

Order fulfillment best practices

Creating an automated orderfulfillment process would be the key to winning over customers and maintainingthe unique brand you are establishing. Additionally, there are other goodpractices to keep in mind to help you optimize your outsourced automated orderfulfillment processes.

Choose what works best for you

It would be best if you chosethe order fulfillment model that would work best for you. The model should beflexible to handle your order volumes, customer locations, and sales channels.If you sell customized or made-to-order products, then your fulfillment processmust be able to accommodate those complexities without adding unnecessarydelays.

Use data to drive your decisions

Your technology should supportorder fulfillment with real-time data, giving you inventory visibility andenabling more accurate demand predictions. Making data-driven decisions about buying,selling, and production only makes it easier for you to keep up with demand anden maintain optimized inventory levels.

Communicate clearly and effectively

If you have better supplychain visibility, you will be able to set clear expectations with customersabout deliveries. You should be transparent about the returns processes, aswell.

Don’t be intimidated by automation

Lastly, it would help if youleveraged warehouse automation to improve order fulfillment accuracy and efficacyto meet your customers’ expectations better. Remember, flexible automated solutionsand software like collaborative mobile robots and AiHello can help optimizepicking routes in real-time, thereby reducing unnecessary hustles of walkingand improving picking efficiency. Collaborative mobile robots & automatedsoftware leverage AI and machine learning; this will help in guiding warehouseassociates through some tasks to help them work faster while minimizing errors.

There’s no one single orderfulfillment process that will work for every business. Whether you choose tooutsource to a 3PL company or use a hybrid fulfillment model, in the end, themost important thing is finding the right process that meets your company’sneeds and fulfills your customers’ expectations seamlessly.

Importance of outsourced automated order fulfillment

Today’s online shoppers areused to fast delivery (two-day or even next-day shipping options). Hence, thedemand is always high for fast and on-time shipments. When your orderfulfillment process is inconsistent or untimely, you will struggle with gettingshipments delivered on time, which will hurt your business’ reputation, which Iassume is every brand’s bottom line.

Order fulfillment options havea direct say on customers’ buying habits. Customers only care about themselves;they want delivery options that work best for them. Offering a mix of quick andmoderate shipping options allows consumers to make a decision based on theirbudget and time constraints. Poor delivery alone is enough for more than45% of your customers to consider shopping elsewhere!


I bet your bottom-line is togain a competitive advantage; one of the best ways for sellers is to deliver oncustomer expectations on fast delivery and prompt return services. An automatedoutsourced fulfillment helps you to:

  • Lower
    shipping costs
  • Reduce
    operational costs
  • Expand your
    customer base
  • Enhance
    customer service
  • Focus on

Using a 3PL for returnsprocessing saves a ton of your time. Not only will they manage the returns froma physical processing standpoint, but they can also handle the customer supportpiece of the return. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for everyone as yourcustomer gets expedited service, and you also get to have a better reverselogistics operation.

Don’t just pick any automationsoftware for your eCommerce store, choose a leader like AiHello, and sky-rocketyour sales today.