With large companies offering 2-3 day delivery, it is difficult for smaller businesses to organise their fulfilment processes to gain the upper hand. But bowing down to those is not an option. Fulfilment is often a complicated process filled with intricate procedures which can influence both the customer’s judgements of a business and the seller’s profit margins.
In fact, every other consumer decides not to complete an online purchase because of high delivery charges. More importantly, most online shoppers would consider free delivery the most important thing in their purchasing, to say nothing of fast delivery.
And here comes Shopify, one of the largest e-commerce platforms. The process of Shopify fulfilment can be intimidating at first for new sellers who can find it difficult to get the right balance between the various pieces that make up the Shopify store. If this complexity sounds familiar, read on to get aware of Shopify fulfilment solutions you can use for your business.
Fulfilling Shopify Orders
The Orders page is the start of your Shopify fulfilment in the UK. After a product is purchased, your orders will appear in the Orders queue. Then, you can use one of Shopify’s standard fulfilment methods known as automatic order fulfilment, manual order fulfilment and partial order fulfilment.
Let’s look closer at each.
Automatic Order Fulfilment
This process automates your fulfilment, meaning no manual intervention is required. This works for those using third-party order fulfilment services in the UK, such as Minatus, those whose sales do not require a pick & pack & ship service and those whose goods can’t be pre-ordered.
Auto fulfilment is set up on the checkout page. Automatic payment gateways can be used with auto fulfilment to speed up your consumers’ experience.
Manual Order Fulfilment
Manual order fulfilment is commonly used as it allows the management and the capacity to monitor inventory levels to the seller. Manual fulfilment means the seller has to manually process orders and shipping.
This fulfilment strategy is good for low-level stocks that may occasionally run out, pre-order fulfilment processes, those producing their goods to order and those wishing to offer their customers partial fulfilment.
Manual order fulfilment from the Shopify portal will prompt the seller to send out an email to the client, allowing for a personal touch or upsell opportunity. It is not just about informing them that their goods have been despatched.
When manually completing an order, you need to regularly look at the Orders queue to see the status of your orders. The ‘Unfulfilled’ status will show orders that have not been fulfilled so that you can organise your fulfilment solutions to despatch and mark all unfulfilled orders.
Opening the order number allows you to see the details of each order. You must then press Start Fulfilling to proceed to the fulfilment page. Then, you must input the tracking number for the order provided by your carrier. If shipping is set up correctly, Shopify will recognise the tracking references and carrier. If Shopify can’t find a carrier, you can always select one from the menu. Shopify will notify the customer by sending an automated email. The order status will then show ‘Complete’.
The Process for Manual Fulfilment
Some customers may order multiple items before going to the payment gateway. Some of these items could be out of stock or have been pre-ordered. In these instances, you can partially fulfil the order using the aforementioned process and send your goods out separately.
Orders for Multiple Locations
Shopify allows for stock to be allocated from different locations (warehouses) and shipped separately. The number of Shopify Locations you can use for your individual webstore differs depending on which plan you are subscribed to.
Multiple Orders at Once
By selecting all your orders and fulfilling them manually, you can fulfil many orders at once. To do so, you need to input a tracking number for each order if you do not intend to use Shopify Shipping.
Pending orders may occasionally be cancelled by a customer. You need to think about how to resolve cancellations, refunds and other issues or talk this through with your third-party partner for e-commerce fulfilment in the UK.
Shopify Fulfilment Service Options: Your Choice
You need to set up shipping options in Shopify before visiting the Orders page. These strategies include:
- Handle Shipping Yourself – This strategy gives you several options and works for those willing to ship from home with manual processes or make the process automated. You may take the items to your local post office or get a courier to collect them.
- Outsource Your Fulfilment – This implies working with a fulfilment partner. Fulfilment houses like Minatus can integrate into your Shopify store for the easiest fulfilment in the UK. When an order is placed, it will drop into the 3PL’s order queue to handle the rest of the fulfilment process.
- Minatus and other 3PL shipping services can often result in you getting better shipping rates than doing it yourself.
- Dropship – With this strategy, orders go to your dropship partner after someone decides to buy your items. They will then send them to the buyer directly, and you will not have to deal with the inventory at all.
Dropshipping and using Minatus for Shopify order fulfilment in the UK means all the fulfilment work is done for you.
Self-fulfilment means that you must complete and ship orders yourself.
If you decide to go down the route of using a fulfilment service provider such as Minatus, you must look closely at the services provided, timescales for receiving and shipping goods, storage, pick, pack and shipping costs – not to mention any extras you may require for your own products.
Contact Minatus today for an estimate of how much it would cost to outsource your Shopify fulfilment service to enable you to grow your business and focus on selling, not putting things in boxes and running to the post office!