Whether you’re a small business or a solo vendor, a sale isn’t complete until the product is delivered to the customer. Fulfillment refers to the steps taken between a customer placing an order to receiving it. While most large retailers can deliver their products to their customers, most e-commerce and small businesses outsource their fulfillment needs to third-party fulfillment centers.

If you want to learn more about the fulfillment process and how it works, continue reading below. In this article, we’ll cover the key steps of the fulfillment process and how Pietra’s fulfillment solutions can help your business expand and grow.

How Does the Fulfillment Process Work?

A simple fulfillment definition characterizes fulfillment as the steps businesses take to deliver a product. But how does the fulfillment process work? There are several steps taken between a customer placing an order and receiving their product. These steps go as follows:

  • Receiving inventory: The first step of the fulfillment process starts with receiving inventory. At Pietra, you can work with suppliers to find products to fill your store’s inventory and sell to customers.
  • Storing inventory: As an e-commerce business, you can store inventory yourself or work with a warehouse. Pietra’s e-commerce fulfillment center allows you to store your inventory to free up space and save time.
  • Processing orders: Once a customer places an order, it’s time to start processing. Working with a fulfillment center like Pietra eliminates the stress of picking an item off the shelf and getting it ready to be packed and shipped.
  • Packing the order: After processing an order, it’s time to pack the item for shipping. With Pietra, you can work with a packaging supplier on the Pietra Sourcing Marketplace to find boxes, envelopes, and other materials that match your brand.
  • Shipping the order: Next, the order will be shipped, typically with a third-party carrier like U.S. Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx.
  • Delivery: Depending on the location of the delivery, the carrier may change during the delivery process. For example, a package may be processed with UPS but sent to the United States Postal Service if the destination is a remote area. It’s vital to provide tracking information to your customers so they can receive up-to-date information on their packages. Once the package is delivered, the order is fulfilled.
  • Processing returns: In some instances, a customer might not be satisfied with the item they purchased and will choose to return it. To ensure return processing goes smoothly, supply customers with packing materials and a return label. Working with a fulfillment center can help the return process go smoothly by performing quality assurance checks and restocking returned items if they’re in good condition.

Pietra Fulfillment Services allows you to streamline your online business to ensure your products reach your customers' doorsteps quickly and in good condition. From working with manufacturers to co-packing and assembly, Pietra can help you with every step of the e-commerce fulfillment process.

When Should I Outsource Order Fulfillment?

Order fulfillment is important for every business, as a smooth fulfillment process ensures customers get the items they purchased in a timely fashion. However, how do you know when it’s time to outsource order fulfillment to a third party?

While e-commerce and small businesses may be tempted to handle the fulfillment process themselves, it can stall growth and lead to errors that can tarnish your business’s reputation.

This is because fulfilling orders requires you to keep track of inventory, process orders, pack orders, and ship and deliver orders. This can be a timely and expensive process that can take away from focusing on other areas of your business.

If you struggle to keep up with fulfilling orders, it may be time to outsource order fulfillment. Working with a fulfillment center like Pietra can take the burden and stress of processing, packing, and shipping orders so you can delegate time and resources to other areas of your business. As you grow, Pietra will grow with you, so you can easily scale and expand your business.

Fulfillment FAQs

What Is a Fast Fulfillment Center?

If you’re looking for a fast fulfillment center, look no further than Pietra. Pietra offers fulfillment solutions and will ship your inventory directly from one of our warehouses to your customers in a timely fashion. With Pietra, you can ship your products worldwide with two-day shipping.

How Much Does Fulfillment Cost?

Fulfillment costs can vary depending on the fulfillment center you work with, along with factors like storage, pallet size, and packaging. In some cases, fulfillment centers may charge hourly — anywhere between $15 to $35 per hour or more, or on a per-item basis, such as $3 per item. With Pietra’s fulfillment services, you can enjoy $1 order fulfillment and 2-day shipping for all orders.

What Does a Fulfillment Center Do?

A fulfillment center takes care of each step involved in the fulfillment process. This includes processing, packaging, and shipping orders out to customers. Pietra is a third-party fulfillment center that can integrate with your current e-commerce website, or you can set up your business on Pietra on the Creator Marketplace.

Wrapping Up: Fulfill Orders With Pietra

Fulfillment refers to the steps taken to get a product to a customer’s door once they place their order. From small e-commerce businesses to global retailers, a well-oiled order fulfillment system is essential.

Customers expect to receive online orders quickly in today's fast-paced world. Pietra makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to get products from their shelves to their customer’s homes. From storing inventory to processing orders and packing products to shipping, Pietra takes care of every step of the order fulfillment process so you can spend time on other areas of growing your business.

Learn more about how Pietra works and our various services, including sourcing products and working with freelancers for logo design, branding, and more.