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Top Marketplace Order Fulfillment Practices

Improving your top-line revenue & customer satisfaction through well-implemented fulfillment workflows
Improve Your Customer Satisfaction & Top-Line Revenue

Best Marketplace Order Fulfillment Practices & Workflows

A key aspect for many marketplaces is order fulfillment which commonly occurs via drop ship, possibly from multiple locations as well. Even if it's just from a single location you're going to be providing different shipping options from, that is a logistical overhead that you want to consider. Weigh the different pros and cons for how to configure the user interface and the actual implementation of the fulfillment side of the marketplace. There are a lot of key pieces in regard to fulfillment; follow along with us as we take a deep dive into the many features that make a good marketplace order fulfillment workflow.

Building Reliability & Customer Trust

Consumer-Side Information Transparency

With order fulfillment, transparency and accuracy are highly sought-after traits. There's the potential need to incorporate cost information, timing, and inventory information. With this information, you can optimize logistical delivery and inventory management. By doing so, you’ve got the closest locations that have the inventory in stock sending the needed items to the recipient, essentially creating the most optimized delivery. By optimizing inventory management and shipping you are about to get the best rates, and in turn, the best turnaround times for the end users.

The consideration for fulfillment starts with the concept of how the business is going to handle fulfillment, if it's going to do any kind of drop shipping or multi-location fulfillment, and what information the consumer is going to need or want. A lot of marketplaces will allow folks to see data on inventory information and lead times for item shipment and delivery times. In addition, incorporating accurate cost information for shipping enables the user to choose between the various shipping options without having to build in a large margin. If the shipping information is accurate, then it's possible to give accurate total costs.

Without that level of data visibility, your marketplace would be less competitive to another marketplace that might have more accurate information. Another cost to consider with shipping that is typically incorporated is dimensional weight. The length, width, height, and depth of an item plus its actual weight. Without considering both the size and weight of an item, it's possible to give inaccurate shipping costs which can be a big component of the total cost that a user is going to be budgeting for.

Determining the Features You Need

Consumer Fulfillment Needs Recognition

If you have multiple locations it's helpful to be able to incorporate those different locations and the associated shipping costs. So, if you're shipping or fulfilling from a warehouse, from a vendor that's in a different country or in a different part of the country, those lead times and shipping costs can be much higher and will need to be accurately accounted for.

Presenting all that information dynamically and allowing the user to control the different options allows them to find the right time/cost balance for them. You can further empower your users with a scenario configurator where they can map out all the possibilities for how their order will be fulfilled:

  • Where will the order be shipped from?
  • How many locations will the order be shipping from?
  • Where will the order be fulfilled?
  • Are there going to be multiple fulfillment locations?

You can get more granular with your configurator with partial fulfillments on orders or different shipping options from different locations, etc. Having this level of control and fidelity to be able to present different information going on behind the scenes is key within certain marketplaces.

Prepare Your Platform for Any Scenario

Fulfillment Scenario Considerations

Whenever there is a drop ship or fulfillment scenario, it's possible that any party involved in the chain is wanting to use a different shipping method through different carriers. With this level of control, a potential customer could find a more optimal solution. Clarity eCommerce can incorporate multiple shipping providers and show the various rates for those providers dynamically in a marketplace based on the vendor, shipping carriers, and more.

In addition to the general concept of fulfillment, there may be a need to do things like LTL (Less-than-truckload) shipments or the concept of a package and filling that package. We can optimize the cost of the shipping by analyzing the size of the package, the percent of the package filled, and the weight of it. It's also possible to show that to the user whenever they're doing their shopping and to give them a graphical representation of the percent filled of that box that can be for LTL or it can be for typical kind of a ground shipment, etc. Those are some things possible with the marketplace to go the extra mile.

Define Your Starting Line

Initial Fulillment Feature Needs

We don't typically recommend starting from scratch with something that's extremely sophisticated unless you have validated that the market can support it and that there is actual value to the user. However, those are the types of things that make a competitive marketplace: the ability to present accurate, easy to interact with data for the user. Another key feature with fulfillment is to have a persistent messaging system for the end user. It’s beneficial to provide confirmation of the order that can direct the user to their dashboard where information about their order is available. Upon confirmation, or any of the other stages in fulfillment, you can automate the sending of transactional emails that correspond with the different stages of a purchase: once the order has actually been processed, received, etc. Transactional emails are really key to reduce customer service needs and improve customer satisfaction because the customer doesn't want to have to call in. They want the information to intuitively be there.

Discover How We Can Help

Clarity Marketplace Fulfillment Experts

Ultimately, we recommend that you take a look at some of the detailed pages throughout our site where we've elaborated on these different topics. We always welcome the potential to collaborate with you on a project or just provide high level details on something that you'd like to review to see if there might be a fit. In addition, we've provided the resources and guides below that we strongly recommend you keep in mind if you are working on a marketplace project. We’d love to hear from you down the road as you continue your evaluation process.

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