Most ecommerce sellers understand that picking and packing products are crucial elements of fulfiling orders. This may seem like a pretty straightforward task however sometimes that is not the case.
If an order is not packed in the correct manner, it can get damaged during transit, meaning disappointed customers who don’t shop from your brand again and returns that can burn a hole in your pocket. Moreover, if your orders are not packed on time they cannot be delivered quickly.
Efficiency in picking and packing orders can help ecommerce brands improve their brand reputation, boost customer loyalty and lower shopping cart abandonment. So as order volume increases, ecommerce sellers must also ramp up their order processing capabilities and have a predetermined procedure for picking and packing products to deliver orders quickly.
In this blog, you will learn what is ecommerce order processing, the steps involved in it, the ways to process orders and tips to improve ecommerce order processing.
Ecommerce order processing is the workflow of picking, packing and shipping an order so that it can be delivered to a customer on time and in a safe manner. It is a critical aspect of ecommerce order fulfilment. The entire operation of order processing can be handled in-house or be outsourced to a 3PL.
The steps involved in ecommerce order processing are as follows:
1. Receiving of order
When the customer places an order the details are passed on to the fulfilment centre or the place where your inventory is stored. It includes details such as the products ordered, the quantity of products, a customer’s location and more. Customers may place orders directly through your website if you are a D2C brand, or through marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart.
2. Picking of products
Once the order information is received, it is assigned to the picking team. The products are then picked from their designated location in an ecommerce warehouse or storage space. It is important to ensure high order-picking accuracy (OPA) in this stage of ecommerce order processing.
3. Packing of products
Picked products are then assigned to the packing team and packed with standard packaging guidelines of marketplaces. It is essential to use packaging material of the appropriate size and ensure the right amount of in-fill to prevent in-transit damage to the products.
4. Shipping of order
The last step of ecommerce order processing is marking the order ‘ready to ship’ and handing it over to a courier partner that will deliver it to your customer.
Ecommerce brands can process ecommerce orders in two ways: manual order processing and automated order processing. Let’s understand them both:
Manual order processing
In this type of ecommerce order processing, the entire workflow is handled by humans without or with minimal usage of technology and machines. This is the traditional way of processing orders.
Automated order processing
Automated order processing uses technology to fulfil orders such as Order Management System (OMS), conveyor belts, RFID tags and more.
You can assess the advantages and disadvantages of each method to choose the one that is suitable for your ecommerce brand.
By improving your order processing capabilities, you can ship orders faster and more accurately and thus boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here are some tips to help you ramp up ecommerce order processing:
Ecommerce brands can use technology to reduce the chances of manual errors and speed up order processing. Some technologies you can use are- Order Management System (OMS), conveyor belts and barcode scanners.
For example, Eshopbox uses robust technology in the entire order fulfilment process to ensure a 99.95% order accuracy rate and ship orders within the turnaround time (TAT). Eshopbox also wields a robust OMS to automate the entire workflow of order processing.
Creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of workflow can help streamline processes and increase the efficiency of the fulfilment process. Ecommerce brands can design SOPs related to picking and packing of products to speed up order processing.
For instance, Eshopbox has SOPs for all processes that help ship and deliver orders at a lightning-fast speed.
Ecommerce brands can reduce human errors such as choosing the wrong colour of product by ensuring that you are choosing the right barcode scanners and making picking lists descriptive. You can also use warehouse slotting i.e storing inventory in a manner that makes the process easier for the picker (such as type, size, weight and location) to improve picking accuracy.
For example, Eshopbox’s state-of-the-art fulfilment centres use warehouse slotting, barcode scanners and RFID tags to improve picking accuracy.
Ecommerce brands should conduct a quality check of the product before packing an order to make sure that it is not malfunctioning. After all, you would not want to dissatisfy customers with a damaged product and tarnish your brand’s reputation.
Eshopbox, for example, conducts quality checks before packing each order to make sure that no damaged product is received by a customer.
When it comes to picking orders, the organisation of a warehouse’s inventory is critical for ensuring efficiency. A simple way to organise your inventory is to segment items using the ABC analysis, and grouping items on the basis of historical purchase data and patterns.
Group A - Most frequently purchased products
Group B - Less frequently purchased products
Group C - Rarely purchased products (deadstock or excess inventory)
This allows the picker to retrieve items faster and more accurately—whether it is a human or a machine.
Ecommerce sellers can prevent in-transit damage to the product by using packages of the right size, using bubble wrap and ensuring the right amount of in-fill.
For example, Eshopbox’s trained staff packs orders in the most appropriate way such as using bubble wrap and packages of the appropriate size to ensure that they reach customers in pristine condition.
A small manual error, such as using an incorrect shipping label can lead to delivering the wrong products to the wrong location. Ecommerce brands can make sure that they use the correct shipping label so that the shipping provider can deliver the package accurately to their customer.
Ecommerce order processing is a critical part of order fulfilment. It has the potential to delight customers, drive customer loyalty and boost ecommerce sales. With just a few simple changes in your current order processing system, you can ramp up the process and improve your ecommerce brand’s reputation.