Find the optimal order fulfillment solution for your products


Any savvy eCommerce owner knows all too well that, for their store to be a continued success, order fulfillment processes must be front of mind. Only with a solid, efficient, and cost-effective order fulfillment strategy, in fact, will any online store succeed at delivering customers’ products quickly, safely, and productively.

A well-functioning order fulfillment process generates happier customers – and happier customers, as we all know, are much more likely both to return to your brand and to recommend it to everyone they know, boosting your sales as a result.

This guide delves deep into five specific product categories – electronics, cosmetics, supplements, sporting goods, and clothing– to describe their peculiarities and provide insights into what kind of order fulfillment solutions and strategies would be optimal.

Cost-effective order fulfillment
Understanding order fulfillment

Understanding order fulfillment

Before we move on to each of the categories that we chose to discuss in our guide, it can be helpful first to define what order fulfillment is and how it works. In supply chain management, the expression “order fulfillment” refers to the ability of a sales merchant to deliver a specific product to a given customer, following the exact specification that that customer had indicated when they placed their order.

In a nutshell: order fulfillment means delivering the goods as agreed at the time of sale. As you know, order fulfillment is essential. By following a robust order fulfillment process, companies can sell more items to more people – and reasonably expect those customers to come back for more. 

Let’s now take a closer look at the standard order fulfillment process, which will help us set the scene for the three product categories that we will go on to discuss in a moment.

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The standard order fulfillment process

In general, a traditional order fulfillment process occurs in one or several distribution centers and is formed of around eight different steps – we will describe each one of them in detail below.

1. Receiving inventory

The first step in the order fulfillment process involves the receipt of goods. Products can come either from the merchant itself or from a third party or another external or internal source. This also depends on whether the goods are physical (such as a clothing garment) or digital (such as a software solution).

Regardless of the inventory source, all items received go through the same checklist, which means they are counted, inspected, and inventoried to make sure that all the correct items were received and that their quality meets the expected standard.


2. Inventory storage

At this point, your inventory is either disbursed straight away, or sent to storage. Depending on the size of your eCommerce business, you may have both short and long-term storage space. In this case, you will be sorting and storing items according to their forecasted distribution, which will help you optimize your processes.


3. Order processing

During the order processing phase, a customer places an order for a specific item, or items, available for sale on your online store. To ensure that this step is as efficient as possible, many merchants use specific order processing and management software, which they also integrate with the shopping cart on their eCommerce website to enable automatic order processing.


4. Picking

The picking and packing phases occur straight after an order is processed by a customer and received by a merchant. At this point, your picking team – or a robotic warehouse assistant – will carefully select the product, or products, from your warehouse while following the specific instructions contained on the packing slip. These instructions refer to, for example, product sizes, colors, and the number of units, as well as their exact location in the warehouse.

5. Packing

Once the goods have been manually picked by your human or automated picking team, they will need to be packed before they can be shipped to the customer. You will need to select the right type of packing materials and always try to optimize your package size and weight. This is essential as it enables you to save both space on delivery trucks as well as speed up transport of the parcel itself, which has the potential to cut your shipment fees. Remember that it’s also important that your packing teams also include all the necessary return and exchange shipping documentation, including specific labels, which will allow the customer to exchange or return the goods if they are not satisfactory.


6. Shipping

At this point, your eCommerce brand is ready to send off the parcel with the goods ordered by the customer to the address that they specified at the moment of purchase. The cost of the shipment is determined by individual shippers and carriers, which take into consideration a range of factors – including the size and weight of the package, the distance traveled, and the urgency of the shipment.


7. Delivery

This is the final stop of your parcel’s journey, and probably the one that is most eagerly awaited by your customers. Either your shipping company or a separate, delivery carrier will take care of delivering your parcel to your end customer. Depending on the method that you choose, you might also be able to provide your customer with real-time tools to track their package before it reaches their address, in order for them to be prepared to receive it when it is still en route. 


8. Returns 

While eCommerce companies work hard to always meet even the most demanding customer expectations and requirements, it is not uncommon that a customer may end up requesting an item exchange or return. This can happen due to several factors and circumstances – some of which are beyond your control. What is within your control, on the other hand, is how you manage the ability of your customers to always have what they need to send an item back, if needed. This means never failing to include a return or exchange label in your original parcel. Depending on the reason why an item was returned or exchanged, and on the conditions of the item itself, you may or may not be able to re-stock that item, or forward it to quality control for some extra checks.

Now that we have outlined the basics of order fulfillment, let’s go even further by analyzing order fulfillment in five specific sectors: cosmetics, supplements, sporting and fitness products, electronics, and clothing.

Order fulfillment for cosmetics

Order fulfillment for cosmetics

This product category includes everything from basic beauty and hygiene to high-end, luxury make-up, perfumes, and skin and body care products. One of the most popular industries out there, the cosmetics sector has seen even higher demand during and immediately after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

Product category insights

The online cosmetics sector displays unique characteristics, including:

  • A fast-growing, yet still relatively young, online market
  • The possibility to sell products online that are not available in brick-and-mortar shops
  • Lower, or at least more competitive, prices compared to most physical stores.

Cosmetics fulfillment: make pick, pack, and ship your competitive advantage

Logistics can be your competitive advantage if you manage a cosmetics eCommerce business. To achieve this, it’s vital that you look at how you package your products. For example, if you are an organic skincare brand, opt for eco-friendly packaging materials as well as delivery options made through carriers that are committed to slashing their CO2 emissions.

Just like most other eCommerce sectors, the cosmetics industry also hugely benefits from speedy deliveries. This can be done by optimizing your logistics processes and choosing to ship your goods from the location that is closest to your customers.

Order fulfillment solutions for your eCommerce store

OGOship has a global network of warehouses allowing you to optimize your logistics chain. All our customers have the option to store their goods in multiple warehouses at the same time. This enables you to offer local-like, low C02 deliveries your customers love.

Order fulfillment for supplements

Order fulfillment for supplements

Health and wellness is one of those eCommerce segments that are growing rapidly. It is also a very competitive segment, with new products and new online stores emerging and entering the market.

Product category insights

  • There is great potential with subscription-based operational logic for many supplements, vitamins, and personal care products that eCommerce businesses can utilize to ensure a steady revenue flow.
  • eCommerce merchants need to pay special attention to regulatory issues.
  • Special regulatory considerations need to be taken into concern when it comes to international shipping.

Order fulfillment – a path to success for supplements, vitamins, and personal care products

Order fulfillment for supplements must pay particular attention to accuracy. For some products, there might be specific hygiene or temperature requirements. With this product category, a best practice is to rotate. 

With supplements and vitamins, eCommerce merchants have to pay interest in shipping fees and costs. One way to offer faster, more affordable shipping options to your customers is by distributing inventory across multiple fulfillment centers. In Europe, for example, a warehouse in Central Europe could cater to the customer base close to Germany and another fulfillment center in the Nordics. 

Use branded packaging to ensure your name and logo are present when the customer receives the order.

How can OGOship benefit you?

OGOship offers the option to customize packaging as well as distribute inventory to multiple order fulfillment hubs for all customers. This provides you sustainable, fast and cost-effective shipping.

Order fulfillment for sporting and fitness products

Order fulfillment for sporting and fitness products

Like eCommerce overall, also sporting and fitness products are high in demand. And this product category is also a very competitive one.

Product category insights

  • Sporting goods are somewhat special from a warehousing and order fulfillment point of view since they may come in whatever shapes, sizes and weights.
  • The seasonal variation may be high, and eCommerce merchants need to be able to scale the capacity to meet peak sales seasons.
  • Pick and pack accuracy, and careful packaging is important to avoid the goods being damaged.

Sporting and fitness products order fulfillment to your advantage

OGOship has extensive experience working together with many sporting and fitness brands. Our customers sell a variety of different kinds of products, for example, related to gamified physical activity and yoga, to name a few.

Gain competitive advantage with OGOship

We provide fast shipping to the whole of Europe. With our services, you can optimize your eCommerce logistics and store your products strategically in optimal order fulfillment centers. This allows you to gain fast shipments with lower costs.

Order fulfillment for electronics

Order fulfillment for electronics

TV sets, mobile devices, smart home tools, and many more media and digital products are at the heart of the consumer electronics sector. An extremely dynamic, competitive, and fast-paced industry, this product category can hugely benefit from a solid order fulfillment process.

Product category insights

When discussing the category of consumer electronics, these are the main things that are worth bearing in mind: 

  • Electronics is a very fast-paced, ever-evolving product category for eCommerce.
  • Consumer media and electronics are also one of the most mature segments in eCommerce.
  • Typically, consumers spend some time doing online research and then buying offline, but more and more people are turning to online stores, too.
  • The sales of electronics products are increasingly accompanied by other services, such as the installation of the product and/or its maintenance and repair.
  • One of the crucial factors to determine a purchase in this segment is other customers’ reviews and experiences with the product.

Electronics fulfillment: considerations for pick, pack, and ship

Many consumer electronics products are very fragile and valuable, which means brands need to apply some extra security and quality measures throughout the entire supply chain.

To begin with, you or your selected fulfillment partner will need to know how, exactly, the items should be packaged, as well as be aware of whether they need to be stored under particular conditions (think about, for example, temperature or humidity levels). It’s also essential to comply with any regulatory aspects related to the shipment of those products, in order to avoid fines or other legal complications.

OGOship as your order fulfillment partner

OGOship has done order fulfillment for various electronics brands for years. Our specialists are happy to tell more about how we can ensure your products are packed securely and shipped fast.

Order fulfillment for clothing

Order fulfillment for clothing

This market segment specializes in the distribution of clothing apparel, from underwear down to outdoor and sports-related gear. It may also include footwear and accessories, and it usually encompasses clothing items for women, men, and children.

Product category insights

The fashion industry differentiates itself from other product categories in the following:

  • It is one of the oldest-established online retail sectors.
  • Typical distribution channels include merchants that stock and distribute a range of different clothing types and brands, such as Zalando, Boozt or OnBuy.
  • The standard lifecycle of products is rather short, with items changing every new season as with new trends emerging at a fast pace (and others disappearing just as rapidly).
  • The amount of returned products is much higher compared to other product categories.

Clothing fulfillment: the key takeaways

If you want to make logistics the differentiating and winning factor for your clothing store, then we have some useful bits of advice for you below.

Focus on fast deliveries

Just like the fashion industry itself tends to operate at a very swift pace, so do its warehousing and logistics processes. Customers want and expect their clothing items to be delivered quickly, therefore you will need to provide that level of speed with all your online orders.

Implement an accurate pick-and-pack process

Due to high pick-and-pack demands, fashion brands have very little room for mistakes on any order they receive. This makes it essential for your online clothing business to have a process in place that always ensures that the right item (think size, color, type, number of items, and so on) gets shipped to the right customer, every single time.

Be savvy about seasonality

Do you have a strategy to manage seasonality? For example, with end-of-year sales often increasing exponentially, you might need to hire more warehouse and logistics resources, in order to keep up with the higher demand while still delivering exceptional order fulfillment services.

Don’t forget about returns

The fashion industry is also characterized by a much higher turnover of items compared to other sectors, which makes it vital for your online clothing brand to keep returns front of mind. Most eCommerce retailers want to offer free or very convenient returns, but you must always remember that returns are never, in fact, totally free for you: you will still need to pay for delivery. This also poses a serious issue from an environmental point of view, as moving items back and forth will contribute to increasing your carbon footprint at a time when you should be doing the exact opposite. So, instead of exclusively managing returns, think about how to avoid returns, or minimize them as much as possible. For example, offer much more detailed product descriptions on your online store, perhaps add a video too, and incorporate a sizing guide as well as customer reviews that mention sizing and fitting.



Order fulfillment solutions for your online store

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How easy it is for you to scale your operations?

Even after you have found a robust, reliable order fulfillment strategy, how can you ensure that this remains just as successful if you are in the process of expanding your operations?

For many eCommerce businesses, it has taken a relatively long time to tweak the order fulfillment processes to perfection, but this all may change once you have set your sights on different geographies, customers, and perhaps even currencies.

This is where a third-party logistics (3PL) provider should be able to help. 3PL’s are companies that specialize in providing eCommerce merchants with essential supply chain management services, including order fulfillment.

By working with a 3PL provider like OGOship, online retail stores can achieve the following benefits:

Strengthen your profit margins
  • When an online retailer begins to notice that they are fulfilling more than 10 to 20 orders every day, then that’s the ideal time to consider partnering with a 3PL. By doing so, companies are able to protect and reinforce their profit margins thanks to lower costs associated, particularly, with manual labor. In parallel, teaming up with a 3PL can also serve as a tool to start expanding internationally quickly, while still following a solid and efficient order fulfillment process.
Scale up your storage and inventory space
  • Investing in your own warehouse doesn’t make sense to most online merchants. Why invest in walls and shelves when you could invest in developing the business? Online retailers who choose to outsource their order fulfillment processes by teaming up with a 3PL often find that this delivers much better value for their money.
Cut your costs
  • Activities such as renting and running a warehouse space, training and paying specialized warehouse staff, and purchasing top-quality technologies and equipment to satisfy demanding order fulfillment requests can all eat into the margins of an eCommerce business. This, however, does not happen when relying on the expert and committed support of a reputable 3PL. When all of these tasks are handed over to a professional company that already operates the best facilities, staff, and tools, online retailers are in a much better place to start saving some serious money. Carrier costs are another type of saving that many companies often forget to consider, but that will be slashed by choosing to partner with a 3PL. This is because, generally speaking, 3PLs are able to negotiate shipping rates, which means that the cost of shipping is usually lower. In turn, those savings are passed on to both online merchants and their customers, who can enjoy free shipping whenever they place an order.

Excel at order fulfillment wherever you operate, with OGOship

With an expert, reliable, and committed 3PL partner like OGOship by your side, you can be sure that your order fulfillment strategy will always be effective – wherever your operations are based. 

You will also have the peace of mind that, should your eCommerce business continue to grow in the future, your trusted partner will keep reviewing and adjusting your processes in order for them to remain as efficient as possible.

What are you waiting for? Our friendly and professional team of order fulfillment specialists is ready to help your eCommerce business today. Get in touch for an informal chat and discover the many ways in which OGOship can help your business grow even faster, better, and more profitably.

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