If you own an eCommerce business, you must have heard of Shopify. After all, it is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms used across the globe, with a market share of 20%. Shopify has a 31% market share in the US.
Among other eCommerce platforms, Shopify is the most searched one according to Google Trends.
But you know Shopify as an eCommerce platform, so why did it launch Shopify Fulfillment Network for small & medium scale eCommerce stores?
E-commerce businesses understand how important on-time deliveries are for customer experience. Having said that it is also crucial to ensure that you don’t spend a fortune on shipping and delivery. To tackle such challenges, Shopify launched Shopify Fulfilment Network for eCommerce stores in June 2019.
In this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce, I’ll talk about:
- Fulfillment Services That You Can Integrate With Your Shopify Store
- Order Fulfillment Challenges Faced By Shopify (or eCommerce) Stores
- What Is Shopify Fulfillment Network?
- How Does Shopify Fulfillment Center Work?
- Pros & Cons of Using the Shopify Fulfillment Network
What Are The Fulfillment Services That You Can Integrate With Your Shopify Store?
In this section of the Shopify Fulfillment Network Guide for eCommerce businesses, let’s first look at other fulfillment services offered by Shopify.
If you own an eCommerce business, you understand the importance of efficient fulfillment services in your customer’s experience. Shopify is known for its custom features and this holds when it comes to fulfillment services you can integrate with your Shopify Store.
Before the launch of Shopify Fulfillment Network and even after, these are the fulfillment services that can be integrated with your Shopify Store.
Print-on-demand is basically a process that allows you to help you sell your products to your customers with minimum risk. It allows you to work with a registered supplier to sell products after customizing them under your brand on a per-order basis.
So, if you have a Shopify store like this, your order is marked fulfilled as soon as it’s shipped from your end as the rest is handled by your supplier. You can also check the recommended workflow and settings with your team of Shopify developers.
Some of the Print-on-demand apps available on Shopify are – Spocket, Printify, Print Melon, and more! In this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce, let’s look at the next fulfillment services that can be integrated into your store.
Dropshipping is another fulfillment process that doesn’t require your business to keep everything you offer in stock at all times. Instead, your store sells the product and passes the order to a third-party supplier to ship & deliver it.
No matter which dropshipping you use, you have to customize your Shopify store as per the guidelines of that particular app. The next section of this Shopify Network Fulfillment guide is Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). FBA is the next service that can be integrated into your Shopify store.
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) is a popular fulfillment process that is used by businesses across the globe. You can use FBA for your store on Shopify using your Amazon Seller Central Account.
Once you have set up your Amazon Seller Central account, you can follow these steps to link your Shopify store to your FBA account.
Now that we know the other fulfillment options offered by Shopify, let’s look at some major order fulfillment challenges faced by stores in this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce businesses.
Order Fulfillment Challenges Faced By Shopify Stores
Shopify Fulfillment Network was launched as an initiative by Shopify to address order fulfillment challenges faced by most eCommerce/Shopify stores. In this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce, let’s look at the top order fulfillment challenges faced by eCommerce stores.
Imagine this. Your customer orders something and you realize that the product is not currently available in your inventory. One of two things happens in this situation:
- You call the customer, apologize for the inconvenience, and refund their money.
- You delay the shipping process and re-stock the product in your inventory.
Do you know what’s common in both of the cases mentioned above? Poor customer experience.
eCommerce businesses usually have multiple sales channels and inventories to manage. Without a well-planned inventory management system in place, your eCommerce store will suffer in multiple other ways than the one mentioned above. This is also one of the reasons why this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide is necessary for your eCommerce business.
No matter how organized your inventory is, few of your products are bound to get damaged or lost. Ideally, you shouldn’t charge your customers for product returns/replacements because it contributes to poor customer experience.
Replacing/returning these products is costly. Besides, it also requires an automated process in place for tasks such as updating inventory. Later in this Shopify Fulfillment Network Guide for eCommerce businesses, we will also look at how you can use Fulfillment by Shopify to tackle this challenge.
This is the most common challenge faced by most eCommerce businesses. You, as an owner of a Shopify store, understand this better than anyone else. Two main aspects of optimizing shipping costs are – determining shipping charges and keeping them reasonable.
Later in this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce, we will look at how Fulfillment by Shopify has helped businesses to reduce shipping costs and other costs.
To address these and many other challenges faced by Shopify store owners, Shopify launched Shopify Fulfillment Network. So the important question in this Shopify Fulfillment Network Guide for eCommerce businesses is – what is Shopify Fulfillment Center and how can you benefit from it?
What Is Shopify Fulfillment Network?
Shopify Fulfillment Network is basically a network of fulfillment centers at multiple geographical locations. If you are thinking about how it is different from any other fulfillment center, here’s how.
Shopify Fulfillment Centers are supported by powerful machine learning algorithms created to streamline the shipping & delivery process of your eCommerce business while reducing the overall costs. From product demand forecast, order routing to inventory allocation, and more, Shopify Fulfillment Centers can reduce the average delivery time of your products.
Sounds useful, doesn’t it? Hold on! Before you get all pumped up, let’s review a few criteria your business must fulfill to use Shopify Fulfillment Centers in the Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce.
- You own a US-based eCommerce business.
- You have an inventory requirement of fewer than 2000 SKUs.
- Your eCommerce shipping requirement per day is anywhere between 10-10000.
- Your eCommerce doesn’t have perishable or regulated products.
Now that we understand the requirements to use Shopify Fulfillment Centers, let’s look at what Shopify aims to achieve through them in this guide on Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce.
Super-fast Product Delivery
Through these Shopify Fulfillment Centers, Shopify will pick, pack, and ship your products directly to your customers. Your customers will stay informed at all stages through live tracking of their products.
The centers of Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce will also provide you with free packaging of your products using any branded material you provide. (FREE Branding!)
Smart Order Management
Take full control of the workflow with no restrictions. Using the centers of Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce, you can control shipping & delivery timing, assured 99.5% process accuracy, same-day fulfillment services, and more using a single admin console.
Smart order management is definitely one of the most useful things offered by the Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce businesses.
Full Control of Data
Shopify Fulfillment Center, unlike other fulfillment centers, gives you full access to your users’ data across all sales channels. Besides, it also provides you with real-time data and actionable insights that can help you further optimize your product delivery process.
Later in this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce, we will also look at how does Fulfillment by Shopify work.
Manage everything about your inventory from one place! From product bundling, inventory notifications, and return processing to inventory counts and more, Shopify Fulfillment Center allows you to save time while keeping you in charge of your inventory with zero dependencies on any third party.
Now that we know the key features of Fulfillment by Shopify, let look at how it works in this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce.
How Does Shopify Fulfillment Center Work?
If you think Shopify Fulfillment Center is hard to use, you are wrong!
Just like Shopify, Shopify Fulfillment Center is super-easy to use. Just follow these simple steps to start using Shopify Fulfillment Center for your eCommerce business.
Step 1: Install the Shopify Fulfillment Network app.
Step 2: Every time you add a new product to your Shopify Store, you also choose a fulfillment method for it. Select Shopify Fulfillment service for the products under the fulfillment method.
Step 3: Make sure to review a custom quote that is easily readable with cost per shipment along with the monthly storage cost!
Step 4: That’s it. Send your products and the Shopify Fulfillment Center will handle the rest!
In short, you send the products you want to be handled by Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce, and Shopify takes care of the rest – from packaging, delivery, and more! The next thing in this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce is the pros and cons of using Fulfillment by Shopify.
Pros & Cons of Using the Shopify Fulfillment Network
While Shopify Fulfillment Network may sound like a bed of roses, it is not. It comes with its own set of pros and cons. In the presence of Shopify fulfillment services like FBA, the launch of Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce was a power move by Shopify!
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using the Shopify Fulfillment Network for eCommerce?
Pros Of Using The Shopify Fulfillment Network
- It allows you to manage everything about your inventory across all your sales channels – like eBay, Amazon, your own website, and more, through the Shopify Fulfillment Network app.
- The Shopify Fulfillment Center allows you to easily ship your products while reducing overall delivery costs and time. For instance, you don’t have to set up your own fulfillment center or packaging system from scratch.
- The Shopify Fulfillment App uses powerful algorithms that allow you to effectively manage your inventory and related things by sending your smart notifications and real-time data.
- You stay in control of your customer’s data which you can use to further improve your customers’ experience.
Cons Of Using The Shopify Fulfillment Network
- The first and major disadvantage of Shopify Fulfillment Network is – it is only available for US merchants.
- Shopify Fulfillment Center partners with third-party providers which can be a bit problematic to coordinate and manage.
Shopify Fulfillment Center is definitely useful for small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses. I hope that this Shopify Fulfillment Network guide for eCommerce business helped you completely understand it.
Having said that, product fulfillment and inventory management come later in the journey of an eCommerce business. The primary and most important step is to set up a well-optimized Shopify eCommerce store.
Did you know that the average conversion rate of an eCommerce store in 2020 is just 2.86%? As such, everything from design & development to loading speed and more should be on-point to ensure a great consumer experience and higher conversion rates of your Shopify store. This is where we can help!
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