How to Integrate Your eCommerce Store & Fulfillment Provider
What do you want to integrate between your eCommerce store and your fulfillment provider or warehouse?
How you fulfill your orders between your eCommerce store and your customer can be done several ways. Startup eCommerce stores might choose to fulfill the orders themselves until order volume gets too high. Small business eCommerce stores tend to work with 3rd party fulfillment providers who they send their product to in order to fulfill. Medium and larger size businesses tend to have their own warehouse where products are stored and then fulfilled upon request.
In all cases, the order information from the eCommerce store has to be sent to the fulfillment team in order for the order to be picked, packed, and shipped. Once it has been shipped, the shipment information has to be retrieved back by the eCommerce store to notify the customer. In 95% of cases, the software being used by the store is not the same as the software being used by the fulfillment team. Therefore, some communication is required between the two systems to stay in sync.
We still see this process being done manually either through exporting/importing information back and forth. That is time consuming and error prone.
We suggest that the communication between the fulfillment software and eCommerce software be completely automated in the following ways:
1. After the order is placed and the funds are captured from the customer, sync.
Once the order has been processed successfully, it’s perfect time to sync up the order details between the two systems. At the time, three things would happen:
- Order information is sent to fulfillment from eCommerce store
- Upon successful receipt, the order status inside the store is changed.
- Customers is notified that order has gone to be prepared for shipping.
2. If the order is put on hold for any number of reasons, stop everything.
Orders can be put on hold in cases where payment is declined, customer requires a change, or intervention is required. If this happens, we would want to notify fulfillment software immediately to prevent the order from being shipped. This is invaluable to be automated.
3. After the order has been packed and shipped, sync again.
Once the order has been successfully shipped through one of the many shipping providers available, it’s good to sync again. At the time, three things should happen:
- Tracking information is sent from fulfillment to eCommerce store
- Upon successful receipt of tracking info, the order status inside the store is changed.
- Customers is notified that order has been shipped and what their tracking number is.
4. When inventory of the catalog of products change, sync immediately.
Inventory can be managed by both the eCommerce software and fulfillment software independently. But at times, you will want to sync the two together to ensure the stock numbers are accurate.
We suggest creating an error log in case any product stocks are not equal. That will help you look for potential thefts, broken products, etc.
When an order needs to be returned by the customer for any number of reasons.
Returns are processed by the fulfillment and communicated to the eCommerce store as a return merchandize authorization (RMA). In these cases, products are brought back in stock. And the order status has to be changed upon receipt so that the customer can get notified and the full payment can be refunded.
This communication starts at the eCommerce level but then gets communicated down to fulfilment software to expect the package to come in. Otherwise they will be unaware of why they got this product back and who it was from.
CTA: If your eCommerce business wants help integrating their system together or just has questions about how to do it, schedule a free 30 min consult with our team. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction and assess how to automate things better for your business.