Shopify Order Fulfillment
If you’re managing a few orders a day, then Shopify’s ability to print an order and use that printout as a packing slip will not cause major problems – and is a great way to get started as a Shopify merchant.
Shopify also supports partial shipments, which you would use in the following example scenarios:
Pre-orders: If a customer places an order for multiple products but one or more of those items are out of stock, such as pre-order items, then you might want to fulfill part of the order so that items can be shipped separately as they become available.
Multi-location inventory: If a customer places an order for multiple items and one or more of them are stocked at different locations, then you will need to partially fulfill the order based on the location of each item.
Note: To use Shopify partial fulfillment, you can’t have automatic fulfillment enabled, so it’s a manual step in your workflow unless you have a Shopify order management system powering your fulfillment and inventory processes.
Shopify Amazon Fulfillment
If you’re using Amazon FBA to fulfill your orders then Shopify’s built-in Amazon fulfillment functionality will help you with this – but only if you have an Amazon seller account for the US or Canada. If you have Amazon accounts for other regions then you would need to use a third-party app or a back office or ERP integration with Amazon FBA functionality.
When using Shopify Amazon fulfillment, there’s also another complexity involved, which is that Shopify doesn’t allow you to stock an FBA product in another location. So if you’re using FBA for products that are also being sold in a retail store, then you would need to maintain separate product and inventory records. If not managed efficiently, this can cause overselling issues and inventory discrepancies, particularly if you have plans to sell on even more channels.
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Improve Your Shopify Fulfillment Process
As your business grows and once you’re starting to see hundreds of orders per month, managing multiple fulfillment efforts can quickly become unmanageable within the admin panel of your Shopify webstore. Your warehouse team need a tool with built-in warehouse management workflows to avoid mispicks, missed orders and a slow fulfillment process.
A few functions to look out for that can rapidly improve your fulfillment are:
Consolidated picking lists to efficiently process batches of shipments at once
Barcode scanning to speed up order verification and reduce errors
Channel specific packing slips to ensure desired branding across Shopify, Amazon, wholesale and more
Product location tracking (i.e. aisle, bay, shelf and bin)
Without these features, warehouse teams typically work at a slower pace in an effort to mitigate errors as best as they can, costing you more in processing time; or even worse, they maintain speed and make mistakes, leading to lost customers and negative reviews.
Shopify also doesn’t have any innate dropshipping capabilities. You can setup multiple locations that can represent each of the dropshipping companies you’re working with, but this is where the dropshipping functionality ends. Therefore, to successfully run a dropshipping business on Shopify, you’ll need to either use Shopify dropshipping apps or use an ERP or back office system with dropshipping functionality.
To conclude, any good Shopify order management system will have the basics of warehousing and order fulfillment covered; picking up orders from Shopify as they’re made, filtering them through to the appropriate fulfillment streams, facilitating order assembly through dedicated pick-pack-ship workflows and then updating Shopify with progress and tracking references.