Let’s face it: when it comes to Shopify order fulfillment, there are other matters you could be handling as an e-commerce entrepreneur.
And when major retail conglomerates like Amazon and Walmart are offering 2-day (or even same-day) delivery, staying competitive can feel like an uphill battle.
According to Shopify, 69.57% of online shopping carts are abandoned–most often because customers found shipping too expensive or not timely enough.
What’s more: order fulfillment has a reputation for being complicated.
More often than not, it’s a convoluted process that involves a number of different options throughout the supply chain. And while much of the Shopify fulfillment process can feel beyond the seller’s control, it is, ironically, a major determinant in how customers view the brand or retailer.
Fulfillment happens through numerous channels, but let’s focus on the subject through one of the biggest platforms in e-commerce, Shopify. We’re going over the three kinds of order fulfillment for Shopify, and weigh in on which works best for your business.
The 3 Order Fulfillment Options on Shopify
Let’s break down the 3 different ways in which merchants can configure their fulfillment through Shopify:
1. Manual Order Fulfillment
For many sellers on Shopify, manual order fulfillment is what makes the most sense since it gives them complete control over the monitoring, picking, and packing of their inventory.
And often, manual fulfillment is the best option–especially for new and small Shopify merchants. Additionally, manual fulfillment on Shopify may be the best fit if you:
- sell goods that are made to order
- often have products available for pre-order
- sell individual custom products
When merchants choose manual fulfillment, their orders might go a few different ways. For instance, Shopify merchants will sometimes choose manual fulfillment, which means they pack at their own set pace. This might mean that they may pack each order as it comes in, or they may pack every few days in batches. With either scenario, there’s a downside: they either have to pack one order every once in a while, or their Shopify order fulfillment process is delayed when they fulfill orders every few days.
Shopify merchants who run manual order fulfillments must also choose between dropping off the packages at the post office–which takes time, tends to be unpleasant, and costs mileage–or booking a courier for pickup, which can be costly.
And in some cases, a customer may order multiple items, and one might be out of stock or on backorder, so the items will need to be shipped out differently.
In such scenarios, it’s up to the seller to configure orders and add tracking numbers, which is a serious hassle if it happens frequently.
2. Partial Order Fulfillment
There might be some cases in which a customer has placed an order for several items on your Shopify store, but one or more might be out of stock, on pre-order, or it might involve a lengthier fulfillment process. But either way, the customer has already paid for multiple items, and you do have most of them in stock and ready to ship.
Perhaps you’re a Shopify merchant who manufactures/custom-builds orders as they come in, but some of your ready-made products are in your warehouse. Or perhaps you have goods that are stored in different warehouses.
In these instances, it’s left to you, the merchant, to fulfill part of the order by sending your items in multiple shipments.
In the case of partial order fulfillment, merchants can fulfill orders through the “bulk actions” feature on Shopify, which is useful when either a buyer has placed a bunch of orders, or there are many orders ready to ship out.
However, it’s important that Shopify merchants have a resolution ready if orders are canceled by the customer, since this may need to be handled on their end.
3. Automatic Order Fulfillment
When merchants use automatic Shopify order fulfillment, this means that you don’t have to report to your console every time you receive an order.
Because the fulfillment process is fully automated. While this is arguably the most streamlined fulfillment process on Shopify, it really only makes sense if:
- Your product does not need to be physically shipped (art print downloads, software, etc
- None of your items are up for pre-order
- You’re using a third-party fulfillment service (3PL)
Curious as to whether 3PL is right for your brand? Here are some pros and cons.
Pros of 3PL Fulfillment on Shopify
When you work with the right 3PL partner, you get more shipping options at more affordable prices. The best 3PLs will partner with major courier companies for lower prices and pass the savings onto the merchant.
When you partner with a 3PL, you’re handing your inventory to them. That means no more packing, no more trips to the post office, and more time focusing on your business’s growth.
Accuracy & Reliability
3PLs can provide fast, accurate, and reliable Shopify order fulfillment. Compete with the retail giants with same-day and next-day fulfillment.
3PLs have strategized the most efficient processes, which means streamlined fulfillment for your Shopify store–not only on order fulfillment, but managing returns as well.
When your Shopify order fulfillment is handled by a 3PL, you can focus on your product and its marketing. This means skyrocketing orders at a consistent quality, which means exponential growth for your business.
Cons of 3PL Fulfillment on Shopify
Moving from your inventory & fulfillment from your own space to a 3PL can feel like a big move, especially since 3PLs don’t know your product like you do. It’s important to find a 3PL that understands your biggest concerns with your product’s shipping, and what you need as a business owner.
Even with some of the leading 3PLs, you’ll often find that they don’t own their own warehouses, and will instead outsource a third-party storing service. Since this means that customer service is not located on-site with your inventory, both you and your customers may have to play telephone tag if something goes wrong with an order.
Not all 3PLs are created equal when it comes to pricing–some will utilize confusing structures and hidden fees, or they may spike the prices during busy months. 3PL fulfillment should be cost-effective; that’s why ShipTop is here to save you money, time, and a number of headaches.
Why ShipTop is the Best Shopify 3PL
At ShipTop, your success is our success. Through partnerships with major carriers, we fulfill orders with speed and accuracy, so you can keep focusing on your business’s growth.
Aside from world-class service, there are plenty of other reasons to use ShipTop for your Shopify order fulfillment:
Best Shipping Prices
We have clients with a lot to ship, and couriers love that. Because of our volume of orders, ShipTop can negotiate rates with major shipping services and pass the savings onto our merchants.
It’s hard to exaggerate the way ShipTop’s automation streamlines your fulfillment. When a customer places an order to your Shopify store, the info is automatically sent to the fulfillment center. From there, are expert staff members with the picking list to the inventory, where they pick and pack orders so they can be shipped.
No extra steps needed on your part–just sit back and enjoy the profits.
Integrative, Intuitive Software
Many merchants use Shopify, so we know the importance of effortless integration. ShipTop’s software platform takes only a couple clicks to integrate with Shopify, making your inventory and orders a snap to transfer–no need to hop on a call with IT for setup. Learn more about our integrations here.
You & Your Customers Are Always in the Loop
The second orders are shipped, ShipTop will send notifications to your Shopify store, which will promptly send your customers their tracking information.
Let’s Do Business Together
Ready to see your business rise to new horizons? It all begins with a streamlined fulfillment process. ShipTop can foster straightforward scaling through simplified fulfillment. Click below to get in touch with us.