Does Your Fulfillment Partner’s Technology Enable or Hinder Your Success? (The Important Role Technology Plays in E-Commerce Fulfillment)
Merchants are finding that it’s increasingly difficult for their fulfillment partner to support the ever-changing technology demands of today’s omnichannel environment. With an estimated 95% of retailers defining their retail strategy as “omnichannel,” this presents significant challenges for merchants. Typically, fulfillment companies focus inwardly on technologies to support their operations and leave the omnichannel decision-making and technology requirements to e-commerce retailers. Such technologies can be extremely expensive, with long and complex integrations—creating an almost impossible barrier for small to medium-sized merchants.
Most fulfillment companies will provide some form of Warehouse Management System (WMS), which focuses on the movement and storage of inventory in a warehouse. These systems are a basic requirement for a fulfillment provider, as they are designed to efficiently process the receiving, put-away, picking and shipping transactions. Whether the WMS is developed in-house or purchased from a software provider focused on that space, the more advanced the solution, the greater the capabilities, flexibility and efficiency it offers. These are all important factors for the merchant, as not every WMS is created equal. The WMS must support the merchant’s requirements, and drive efficiency and order accuracy—ultimately lowering fulfillment costs while improving the customer experience.
In order to support omnichannel initiatives, larger merchants are increasingly implementing Order Management Systems (OMS). Historically, very few small to medium-sized merchants or fulfillment providers have integrated this type of technology—despite the demand—due to the cost and complexity. This is beginning to change, largely because of the benefits a good OMS can offer:
- Enabling multiple shipping points, inventory localization, ship from store options
- Providing inventory views across all fulfillment locations and online channels
- Inventory allocation by sales channel
- Order orchestration and drop shipping
- Providing a repository for all order information
When merchants can outsource their omnichannel requirements to a fulfillment company that provides an OMS as part of a fully integrated service, they no longer need to make the financial investment or devote the time to integration and support that these complex systems demand. It’s important for fulfillment companies that offer omnichannel support to provide a fast, simple and inexpensive integration for merchants. One way to accomplish this is by developing prebuilt and direct integrations with major e-commerce platforms and marketplaces.
Partnering with a fulfillment company that provides this omnichannel technology as a standard and fully integrated solution will eliminate both the capital investment and integration/support time, allowing online merchants to focus on what they do best.
For more information on order fulfillment services from DHL eCommerce, click here.