Omnichannel fulfillment is the latest buzzword in getting consumer goods from the warehouse to the mailbox. Selling in brick-and-mortar stores isn’t enough. Selling from a personal eCommerce platform isn’t enough. Selling with online retail titans like Amazon isn’t enough.
Consumers want to be able to buy the products they want from anywhere. Online retailers are finding that omnichannel order fulfillment is the answer.
Omnichannel order fulfillment will be a key retail strategy for retailers and brands around the world. Even back in 2019, 53 percent of retailers were planning to invest in order management systems to make omnichannel fulfillment strategies part of their company’s operation.
Today, online retail is up across channels. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw an increase of 32.1 percent over the same quarter during the previous year. Omnichannel marketing is crucial to meeting consumer demand to buy from anywhere, including online.
What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
Omnichannel fulfillment means “all channels” and refers to a fully integrated approach to business, especially for online retailers. It’s a handling fulfillment strategy that handles inventory as a single unit and uses this inventory to handle orders across all channels, including venues like a retailer’s eCommerce platform, third-party websites like Amazon, in-store retail, in-store pickups, business-to-business (B2B) sales, and even subscription and kitting services.
This term refers to the entire process from when a customer places an order to the time it is delivered on their doorstep. Omnichannel order fulfillment is comprised of six basic steps:
- Communication: Spreading awareness and information about the product through online and offline channels
- Order processing: Receiving and confirming the orders
- Warehouse management: Managing merchandise availability and inventory control (including inventory forecasting and warehousing
- Shipping: Packaging and transporting the products
- Last-mile delivery: Getting the product to the end-customer and handling the return of shipments
- After-sales: Managing customer care and consumer services
The fulfillment service is growing and expanding at breakneck speed thanks to the fast development of eCommerce. Internet sales are becoming quicker and easier, and the number of orders placed is increasing. In fact, Amazon handles an average of 35 orders every second. As a result, omnichannel fulfillment is an essential way for businesses to handle the difficulties that go along with online retail and direct-to-consumer businesses.
A traditional eCommerce fulfillment model is streamlined. It might look something like a producer selling goods on an eCommerce platform, then the warehouse ships the goods to the consumer. But with omnichannel fulfillment, there may be multiple eCommerce platforms, distributors, subscription channels, and retailers both online and offline. It can get a lot more complicated than simple eCommerce fulfillment.
Why a 3PL Provider is Essential for Successful Omnichannel Fulfillment
Omnichannel fulfillment isn’t just about increasing the efficiency of order fulfillment. It’s also an important strategy in boosting conversions. After all, the number one challenge retailers report is pressure from competitors (like eCommerce giant Amazon with its same-day and two-day shipping) to achieve faster fulfillment to consumers. Not implementing omnichannel order management means not getting access to the competitive and financial benefits omnichannel fulfillment can offer.
Fifty-one percent of 300 retail decision-makers in North America and Europe reported significant improvements in customer experience when they implemented an omnichannel fulfillment program. Additionally:
- 45 percent shared that they saw an increase in purchase frequency
- 44 percent reported that they saw an improvement in their ability to cross-sell and upsell
- 43 percent recorded gains in overall revenue
However, omnichannel fulfillment isn’t all that easy to manage on your own. Based on these statistics, it’s likely that omnichannel fulfillment will lead to a rise in orders and revenue, and there will be more inventory to manage and more channels to deal with, all while your customers expect fast shipping and exceptional order accuracy.
It can be hard for any business to handle scaling operations to this degree, especially as 48 percent of consumers receive most packages within 2-3 days and 45 percent of consumers say they are unlikely to order from a company again if it delivers a package late.
A third-party logistics (3PL) partner is the key to managing omnichannel fulfillment effectively, covering almost every aspect of fulfillment for the retailer. Consumers place an order with an eCommerce brand, then the 3PL handles the entire fulfillment process including:
- Picking and packing orders with speed and accuracy
- Negotiating fast and affordable shipping rates
- Managing last-mile logistics
- Handling reverse-logistics for returns
When 3PL providers take on these tasks for eCommerce brands, the retailer can focus on providing focused attention for customers and developing and marketing exceptional products.
How OceanX Takes Omnichannel Fulfillment to the Next Level
OceanX excels at handling omnichannel fulfillment for our partners. What sets us apart? Our modern 3PL software and our years of experience in the field.
We seamlessly connect our systems to your eCommerce data, then manage your inventory using data-based practices and state-of-the-art fulfillment centers with processes centered around fast, accurate packing and shipping.
As your brand expands, we provide support for every fulfillment channel including direct-to-consumer sales, online marketplaces, B2B sales, and even international fulfillment. We use cutting-edge, data-based technology like inventory forecasting to manage warehousing and ordering so you never overpay or over-order. And if you’re ready to dive into the world of kitting and subscriptions, you can’t beat OceanX. We got our start in subscriptions, forever changing the face of online ordering.
OceanX is proud to offer nationwide 2-day shipping coverage to help you keep up with consumer demands, and through our industry connections and buying power, we can help you save as much as 30 percent in shipping costs.
Plus, with OceanX you get complete transparency and visibility of the whole process and access to our first-rate warehouse and inventory management software. While you can trust us to handle things for you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to check in on how things are running. We capture order data in real-time and provide complete visibility of the entire fulfillment process.
All this means that when you work with OceanX, you get:
- Faster, more accurate order fulfillment from any channel
- Happier customers
- Instant, accurate reporting
- A more robust brand image
With a fully integrated DTC platform and a wide range of experience handling omnichannel fulfillment in the beauty and wellness industry, we’ll be your order fulfillment partner no matter where or how you choose to sell your products. It’s time for you to tap into new markets and sell in brand new ways. We’ll make it happen for you. Contact us today to learn more!