Who Needs Ecommerce Order Fulfillment?

Electronic commerce is a general catch all phrase that covers all sorts of transactions conducted between buyers and sellers on line over the internet. It can equally apply to both business-to-business (B2B) and direct-to-consumer (DTC) transactions. Logically, it is in the best interests of both the buyer and the seller that all orders placed this way are correctly completed with efficiency and in a timely manner. To fulfill something is to achieve something desired, promised, or predicted.

So, What Is Ecommerce Order Fulfillment?

The seller will be fulfilled when he receives his payment; which, with e-commerce is usually in advance (i.e. before the order is accepted). The buyer can only be fulfilled when the goods he ordered (and has already paid for) are actually delivered to him and checked for condition, quality and quantity. This is what Ecommerce Order Fulfillment should be all about. Normally, this is directly between the buyer and the seller with a side arrangement with whichever on line payment method is being used.

However, here in the US where we spell fulfill with two “L’s”, our language can trip us up; this is because we also have an American meaning to the word fill – here, to “fill” is often used to mean being supplied with items that you have ordered (the supplier will fill your order; just as the pharmacy will fill your prescription). Using words this way, can lead to the supplier saying that he has fulfilled your order; which is not quite the same as him saying he has provided you fulfillment by filling your order.

The supply side of e-commerce will know exactly which meaning is being used when they talk about Ecommerce Order Fulfillment; they are in the business 24/7 and, often, 365 days a year so the trade jargon becomes commonplace to them. However, the buyer may well place the more literal dictionary meaning on fulfillment; which could lead to his disappointment.

What Is The Point Of E-Commerce?

In my opinion, e-commerce serves three functions:-

1. To enable buyers to find goods without having to get up from their computer keyboards.
2. To enable sellers to reach large numbers of potential buyers without having to put a large sales force on the road.
3. To reduce the number of parties in a supply chain to save costs and have lower selling prices.

Should the seller be fulfilling an order the moment he dispatches it; he might choose to bring in a third party Ecommerce Order Fulfillment facility to handle all his shipping details. This might even be more cost effective and not negate (3) above.

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