Order Fulfillment Software: Benefits and How to Choose the Best Software

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April 22, 2024
5 min read
Order Fulfillment Software: Benefits and How to Choose the Best Software

Choosing the right order fulfillment software is like finding the missing piece in a puzzle you are solving, as it plays a critical role in your business's success. However, it is easier said than done because finding the right order fulfillment software for your business is a herculean task that demands meticulous research and a great deal of time. 

Don’t worry; we have done all the legwork for you. In this blog, we discuss the benefits of implementing order fulfillment software, factors to consider when choosing one, and must-have features to look out for. 

What is an Order Fulfillment Software?

Order fulfillment software helps manage inventory efficiently, accurately track orders, coordinate picking and packing, and facilitate shipping and delivery. Additionally, it integrates with other platforms, such as e-commerce, shipping carriers, and ERP systems, to optimize the entire order fulfillment process. 

What are the benefits of order fulfillment software? 

The competitive nature of the e-commerce industry has forced businesses to implement newer strategies to stay ahead in their game and meet increasing consumer demands. From improving order fulfillment efficiency to offering a stellar customer experience, here are some of the significant benefits of using order fulfillment software:

Enjoy a reduced order cycle time 

It is no overstatement when we say that in the world of e-commerce fulfillment, reduced order cycle time is gold dust. Order cycle time is the time taken from order placement via the respective sales channel by the customer to final order delivery. In B2C e-commerce, the industry benchmark for Order Cycle Time is 3-5 days, and thanks to retail giants like Amazon, customers now expect their orders to be delivered within 48 hours. And this is exactly where fulfillment software helps you out. 

Good software solutions offer seamless integrations with other systems, such as ERP and sales channels (Shopify, Amazon, etc.), ensuring the orders are captured accurately and processed in real-time with zero manual dependency, setting the tone for the rest of the process. 

Next, fulfillment software further reduces order cycle time by automating redundant tasks and eliminating manual dependency in each stage of the order fulfillment process. For example, in order picking, fulfillment software can intelligently suggest the most efficient route and the right picking strategy for each order, thus reducing both distances traveled and time taken. 

Similarly, during the packing stage, you can auto-generate and print box and pallet labels, inserts, and shipping documents in a matter of a few minutes, further slashing the order cycle time. Finally, the fulfillment software’s shipping carrier integration lets you choose the right carrier that delivers at the most optimal speed to minimize the delivery time.

Get greater inventory visibility and access data in real-time 

Another major advantage of order fulfillment software is its real-time inventory tracking capabilities, which play a crucial role in maintaining accurate inventory levels in both e-commerce and omnichannel commerce. 

Fulfillment software integrates with barcode scanners and RFID readers to provide comprehensive insights into each product, SKU, and inventory, including their levels, locations, and movements. This real-time visibility allows businesses to make informed decisions about inventory replenishment, stock allocation, and order fulfillment

By accessing up-to-date inventory data, businesses can avoid stockouts and overstocking situations to prevent lost sales and increased inventory holding costs. In fact, a Zebra study states that by eliminating overstocking and stock issues, businesses can reduce inventory costs by 10%.

Easily track key KPIs and performance

Fulfillment software helps you track key metrics related to fulfillment and warehouse management and operations, such as order cycle time, order fill rate, order lead time, pick rate, dock-to-stock time, etc., seamlessly in real-time. 

Access to important performance indicators will offer you valuable insights into the fulfillment process and help you detect areas for improvement. For example, order picking could be an area of concern; in such cases, you can implement picking strategies such as batch picking and zone pickling to optimize the process, 

In short, access to real-time operational data can help speed up the process, reduce order fulfillment costs, and enhance customer experience. Additionally, the implementation of an order fulfillment software lets you assess the performance of each associate in the fulfillment center and optimize labor productivity. 

Offer enhanced customer experience 

To attain success in today’s competitive e-commerce industry landscape, offering your customers the best delivery experience is pivotal. Did you know that 85% of US buyers will not shop again from the same business after having had a poor delivery experience? That is why offering an error-free and faster order fulfillment experience to your customers is now more important than ever. From picking the right product to shipping it in the best possible way to prevent damage, fulfillment software ensures 100% accuracy and efficiency throughout the process. 

For faster delivery time, let’s take the example of automated workflows in fulfillment software, which ensure that orders are swiftly processed in reduced turnaround times and meet customer expectations for timely delivery. Furthermore, the algorithmic built-in checks and balances in the software ensure the right product is always picked, packed, and shipped to the customer every single time! 

Additionally, with order fulfillment software, you can offer your customers real-time visibility and make returns processing a seamless experience—both contribute to creating a stellar customer experience.

Hopstack order fulfillment software CTA

Factors to consider when choosing an order fulfillment software 

Before zeroing in on an order fulfillment software as a business, you must consider multiple factors and variables. For example, is my order volume high enough to invest in fulfillment software? Will the order fulfillment be ROI-positive for me? Here are some of the common factors to consider: 

Assess your business needs 

The first step in choosing fulfillment software is introspection. Keep in mind your business's unique requirements, including order volumes you are dealing with, types of products and SKUs, and sales channels you are on (e.g., online orders, retail, wholesale). Additionally, ensure the fulfillment software helps you meet any specific industry regulations or compliance standards. For example, if you are dealing with perishable products that come with expiry dates, you need fulfillment software that comes with robust FIFO and FEFO workflows. 

Scalability

When choosing order fulfillment software, do not be fixated on the current state of your company. In fact, choose a software that can accommodate your business's growth trajectory. Consider whether the software can handle increases in order volume, expansion into new markets, and the addition of new product lines and SKUs without significant disruptions or costly upgrades.

Cost and ROI

Evaluate the order fulfillment software's total cost of ownership (TCO), including initial setup costs, subscription or licensing fees, integration costs, ongoing support, and potential savings from increased efficiency and reduced operational costs. Assess the return on investment (ROI) based on the system's ability to improve order accuracy, speed up fulfillment times, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Check out our free fulfillment ROI calculator now

Integration capabilities

Ensure that the fulfillment software integrates seamlessly with your existing software applications, such as eCommerce platforms, inventory management systems, accounting software, shipping carriers, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, etc. This seamless integration eliminates data silos – a major business killer – streamlines data exchange and enhances operational efficiency.

Customizable 

Customizability is a crucial factor to consider when selecting an order fulfillment software, as it ensures that the solution can be tailored to meet your specific business requirements and adapt to evolving needs. For example, choose a fulfillment software that lets you define order processing steps, warehouse automation rules, and exception handling procedures to align with your operational requirements and business needs. 

Let’s say that in your business, all orders that need to be sent to the Pacific Northwest region should only be assigned to USPS; the software you choose must allow you to configure such automation rules easily.   

Features to look for in order fulfillment software

When selecting an order fulfillment software for your business, it's crucial to consider various features that will streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. Here are some key features to look for:

Multi-channel integration 

In today's burgeoning omnichannel retail market, customers expect a seamless shopping experience across various channels, including eCommerce platforms, brick-and-mortar stores, marketplaces, and social media channels. 

An order fulfillment software with multi-channel integration capabilities enables you to manage orders from different sales channels within a single platform. This integration eliminates the need to manually reconcile orders from disparate sources, reducing the risk of errors and delays. Look for software that supports integrations with popular eCommerce platforms (e.g., Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce), marketplaces (e.g., Amazon, eBay), and other sales channels.

intelligent order fulfillment with multi-channel integration

Guided order processing 

Choose fulfillment software with guided order processing features. These features provide step-by-step guidance to associates during the order fulfillment process, ensuring consistency and accuracy. Additionally, this feature helps reduce errors and minimize training requirements for new employees by presenting relevant information and prompts at each stage of order processing. 

From order entry to shipment preparation, guided workflows ensure that orders are processed efficiently and according to predefined business rules and best practices.

order processing by hopstack software

Flexible fulfillment workflows 

Every business has unique fulfillment requirements, ranging from simple pick-pack-ship operations to more complex processes involving kitting, assembly, or customization. A flexible fulfillment workflow engine allows you to design and customize workflows tailored to your specific business needs. 

Whether you operate a direct-to-consumer eCommerce business or manage wholesale distribution, the ability to configure workflows based on order types, customer segments, or product attributes enhances operational efficiency and agility.

Robust shipping module

A robust shipping module is essential for managing the shipping process efficiently and cost-effectively. Look for features such as rate shopping, carrier integration, label printing, and shipment tracking to streamline shipping operations and provide visibility into the status of each shipment. 

The shipping module should support multiple carriers and shipping methods, allowing you to choose the most appropriate option based on factors such as cost, delivery time, and destination.

Check out our free multi-carrier shipping rate calculator 

order fulfillment software shipping module

Inventory and order tracking 

Real-time inventory visibility is critical for effective order fulfillment and inventory management. An order fulfillment software with robust inventory tracking features provides accurate and up-to-date information on stock levels, locations, and movements. Additionally, order tracking functionality allows you to monitor the status of each order in real-time, from receipt to delivery. 

inventory optimization and tracking module by Hopstack fulfillment software

Advanced analytics 

Advanced analytics capabilities enable you to gain valuable insights into your order fulfillment operations, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. Look for features such as customizable reports and dashboards that provide visibility into key metrics such as order accuracy, fulfillment cycle times, inventory turnover, and shipping costs.

A powerful analytics module empowers you to optimize processes, identify areas for improvement, and drive continuous performance improvement across your fulfillment operations.

Hopstack fulfillment software analytics dashboard

Hopstack for intelligent order fulfillment

With Hopstack WMS, you can consolidate all your online and bulk wholesale orders into a single dashboard, achieving complete visibility and control and never missing out on any order. Additionally, by utilizing Hopstack’s proprietary algorithms, picking and fulfillment times can be significantly improved, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

Furthermore, businesses can create flexible fulfillment workflows to cater to specific customer needs, orders, geographies, and sales channels, enhancing adaptability and responsiveness to market dynamics. To know more about how Hopstack can supercharge order fulfillment, talk to our product specialist today

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