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In the area of e-commerce, e-fulfillment is the entire system of electronic order processing, e.g. storage and delivery. The e-fulfillment process begins immediately after a product has been ordered.
Processing e-commerce orders range from simple ordering by e-mail and manual dispatch, e.g. as carried out by a private seller on eBay, to complex processes that run almost automatically after the order. Extensive tools such as ERP systems or BI programs support retailers in order processing and optimization.
E-fulfillment involves the following functions:
- Storage of goods including warehouse management
- Picking of goods
- Transport of goods
- Delivery of orders
- Processing of returns
- After-sales service
E-Fulfillment is the last step in e-commerce and always the result of all preceding processes. By optimizing order processing, online merchants have the potential for large savings, as an error in even the smallest step can ultimately lead to higher costs.
An e-business, e.g. an online shop, sells a sports shoe. The dealer did not put any special effort into the description or product picture. Nevertheless, the product is attractive because the dealer offers the best price in this segment. A customer finally decides on this provider and places an order. Due to immature e-fulfillment, the shoe arrives five days later and creates the first moment of friction with the customer. Then the shoe does not correspond to the picture and description on the online shop. The customer, therefore, returns the article. As a result of the return, the online retailer not only loses a large part of the already low margin but in extreme cases it also loses a customer.
This makes it clear that e-fulfillment is part of an overall package that begins with the product presentation and does not end with sending.