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    Last Updated | April 3, 2022

    Overview: What does it mean to fulfill an order on shopify?

    Order fulfillment is a tardy and complex process. It can ‘make or break’ a business as most customers is either enticed by the process or completely discouraged to follow through with their purchase. The order fulfillment procedure starts after the customer has placed an order and it ends upon shipment of the product to its customer. It consists of the following steps:

    • Assembling the products and packaging them according to their respective requirements.
    • Labelling order for shipment.
    • Shipping the package to the customer via a mail carrier.

    The mentioned steps seem simplistic; however, they consist of many intricate details such as updating order status to the customers via email and the “Orders” page on the Shopify website.

    Prior to the initiation of the order fulfillment process, the website owners are required to set up their fulfillment method. The types of fulfillment methods are as follows:

    • Fulfill local delivery orders
    • Custom fulfillment service
    • Manual order fulfillment
    • Automated order fulfillment
    • App driven order fulfillment
    • Fulfillment for multiple orders and locations

    Moreover, the sellers must also decide the fulfillment strategy that they want to use. These include:

    • Self-fulfillment: No third-party involvement for shipping the products to their buyers.
    • Working with a fulfillment partner: The Shopify partner assigned for order fulfillment will handle the shipping and tracking of the orders.
    • Dropshipping: Order is sent directly to the dropshipper and thereon handled by them.

    Furthermore, the sellers need to analyze the fulfillment costs, packaging methods, and shipping strategy to decipher the set fulfillment method that they want to implement.

    What is reverse order fulfillment?

    Any professional Shopify design agency enables sellers to carry out a ‘reverse order fulfillment processes. This is intended to deal with the returns of products by customers. The process starts when the customer returns the product. It consists of the following steps:

    • Track returns status
    • Send shipping labels to customers for the returns
    • Restock the return in the merchandise
    • Refund the amount of the returned item to the customer

     

    Does Shopify automatically fulfill dropshipping orders?

    What is dropshipping fulfillment?

    Dropshipping fulfillment implies that the business does not physically hold the items in stock. They are kept in the inventory of a third-party supplier and the order fulfillment process is carried out by them directly. The seller does not have to handle any supply chain thus this is considered a convenient means to fulfill orders.

    Why is dropshipping order fulfillment beneficial?

    • Cost effective: No cost of holding inventory thus lower investment and lower overhead costs of conducting the business.
    • Easy to initiate a business: Avoids the hassle of deliveries and the tardy process thus more entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter the market.
    • Easy to expand business and enable scalability due to low costs and lesser tasks thus increasing productivity with just a few workers on the team.

    Automatic Fulfillment of Orders

    Automatic fulfillment is fast and easy. The automated fulfillment option is available on the Shopify site, and it just needs to be activated for it to be used. It is best suited in three situations:

    • Using a third-party fulfillment service for the order
    • Sales consist of digital download instead of tangible products that require packaging
    • There are no products for Shopify pre-order

    Dropshipping is done by a third-party. The Shopify dropshipping process consists of the following steps:

    1. Customers place an order
    2. The store automatically sends it to the dropshipper
    3. Dropshipping supplier prepares the customer’s order
    4. They then ship the order directly to the customer

    Dropshipping Apps

    These apps are Shopify integration solutions, and they work automatically as they update the order status automatically upon shipping the item. Shopify also deploys order fulfillment with Amazon via fulfillment service integration with the platform. After its activation, the sellers need to add Amazon shipping rates to their Shopify domain and then configure the new and old products for the process to progress further. However, this integration with Amazon is although involvement with a third-party, it still requires manual fulfillment. Upon configuration, Amazon syncs with the orders every hour. After syncing, the seller needs to request Amazon to accept or reject the order. The response by Amazon will then lead to manual fulfillment of the order.

    Conclusion

    Shopify can automatically fulfill dropshipping orders, however, that feature must be activated by the seller first. It is not a mandatory condition, but Shopify suggests sellers using dropshippers to enable automatic fulfillment as it is convenient and useful for them. It is also recommended to integrate or use a payment gateway for automated orders by hiring any Shopify web development agency.

    How to Auto Send Shopify Orders to Dropshipping Suppliers?

    As observed earlier, it is more efficient to automate the order fulfillment process coupled with payment process when sellers are using dropshipping suppliers. To auto send Shopify orders to dropshipping suppliers, a certain database is used. There is a wide variety of databases to choose from, however, the following scenario will be based upon Airtable database. The database will automatically sync and update the orders from Shopify in short time intervals.

    Why should a seller automate dropshipping in Shopify?

    1. Shopify Optimization: It optimizes the sales process thus generating higher sales and profits for the business.
    2. Automating sales make it less time consuming thus higher productivity.
    3. Cost effective: Due to automation, not many people are needed on the workforce thus cutting back on costs.

    Shopify Integrations

    Two ways to auto send Shopify orders to dropshipping suppliers is via a Shopify app that connects the sellers with the suppliers or use a common database such as Airtable. A Shopify app such as DSers can help connect suppliers with the sellers. Automatically storing new orders in a single database that is used by both parties will enable instant updates and it sends customers an email notifying them that the order has been fulfilled and the estimated delivery time.

    How to completely automate dropshipping in Shopify?

    • Automate sales:
      • Product research: Easier navigation of top selling products through platforms like BigSpy.
      • Product listing: All product elements are added onto the website directly.
      • Order processing: Templates auto-populate the orders from the shopping carts and marketplaces and then redirect it to the dropshipping supplier. Once order is fulfilled, they inform the seller with a notification and thus allowing the seller to enable customer service.
      • Tracking information: Integrating with apps that provide daily updates of delivery status will automate the process of having to respond to customer queries on delivery time.
    • Automate marketing:
      • Emails: Create automatic email drips on Shopify, free of cost. They can be divided into categories to suit the need of different scenarios.
      • Ads: Using apps, Facebook ads can be structured and operated automatically.
      • Social Media: Social media management tools enable scheduling of posts and events beforehand so that they can be updated without manual supervision.
    • Automate inventory and updates
      • Pricing: Set it according to global standards so that they adjust automatically.
      • Product updates: Set commands on what action to take if inventory is low or there is a new product variant in the market that needs to be added to the inventory.

    What does time to fulfill mean on Shopify dropshipping?

    “Time to fulfill” on Shopify dropshipping typically includes the steps after the customer has placed an order up to the order is shipped to the customer. The process in between is the work of a dropshipper if they have been hired by the seller to control the transaction. Once the order is received, the time to fulfill order begins. The store will automatically send the order to the dropshipper. This is the automatic fulfillment of orders procedure. However, prior to this process being carried out, it is essential that the fulfillment service (i.e., the dropshipper) has been enabled on the Shopify domain.

    How to activate a fulfillment service?

    1. On the Shopify admin, go to Settings and then go to Shipping and Delivery.
    2. Under the “custom order fulfillment”, check the “Add fulfillment service” option.
    3. The user will be required to input the name and email address of the fulfillment service.
    4. Click “Save” so that the changes are implemented.

    Note: When the store marks an order as “fulfilled”, the dropshipping service directly receives it along with all the order details so that they can start fulfilling the order for the seller.

    Shopify also has a feature that allows for automatic order archiving once the items have been paid for and shipped to their desired location.

    How to delete a fulfillment service?

    Shopify does not use only one dropshipper and it is possible that they will keep changing throughout the course of the business. Therefore, it is important to remove the fulfillment service when its no longer a part of the Shopify team.

    1. On the Shopify admin, go to Settings and then go to Shipping and Delivery.
    2. Under the “Accounts and integrations”, select the “Manage integrations” option.
    3. Click “Edit” on the fulfillment service that is longer of any use.
    4. Click “Delete”.
      1. Upon clicking this option, if there is any inventory that the dropshipper holds, Shopify will allow the user to redirect the inventory to another location.
      2. Once the location is chosen, click “Delete” again for confirmation.

    How do you fulfill orders on dropshipping Oberlo Shopify?

    What is Oberlo?

    Oberlo is a dropshipping service designed for Shopify- it is exclusively for the platform. It helps the sellers find all the trending products and add them to their store. It also allows for imports from consumer popular platforms such as AliExpress. To use Oberlo, it first needs to be downloaded from the Shopify App Store. Thereon, sellers can easily find products on Oberlo from its dashboard and AliExpress.

    Fulfilling Orders on Oberlo

    Oberlo automates majority of its fulfillment process. Oberlo offers a basic plan and a pro plan. Using either of the plans allows the user to track the order as well on Oberlo. The different types of fulfillment orders are single orders, multiple orders, and changing the shipping method. Changing the shipping method depends on the customer’s preference. Those who do not choose their preferred shipping method are assigned the cheapest method available. The choice can be made in “Order Review”.

    Fulfilling Single Orders

    1. Click “Orders” on the Oberlo dashboard.
    2. Orders that need to be fulfilled are given the “To order” heading.
    3. Choose the desired order and click “Order product”.
    4. The AliExpress page will open where the product will be added to the cart and shipping information of the customer will be filled.
    5. Enter payment information and then place the order.
    6. The status of the product will then be “In processing”.

    Fulfilling Multiple Orders

    1. Click “Orders” on the Oberlo dashboard.
    2. Check the orders that need to be fulfilled.
    3. Click the “Place (number) AliExpress orders.
    4. Process the chosen orders.
    5. Click “Pay for all orders” and then enter payment details.
    6. Finally, place the order.

    How can Amazon fulfill shopify drop shipping orders?

    Amazon now requires multi-channel fulfillment to fulfill Shopify orders. These sync inventory levels and provide updated tracking details of the orders. WebBee is based on order fulfillment through syncing inventory levels. ByteStand provides delivery updates and tracking details. Pipe17 is also used for smooth order fulfillment processes through Amazon.

    Amazon stores the inventory and is responsible for packaging and shipping the Shopify orders to the customers. Their shipping rates are also relatively affordable. The range of shipping rates consist of standard, expedited, and priority. Moreover, the multi-channel integration makes the business scalable. There will also be faster shipping as Amazon is a wide database and can store products in different warehouses.

    Paid Shopify apps can automate the process of syncing the orders on Shopify with Amazon and requesting Amazon to fulfill the order. Once the automated process takes place, and the option of “Fulfill orders” is clicked then the status will be “Pending fulfillment”. The status will change to “Fulfilled” if Amazon accepts it and “Unfulfilled” if it rejects it. The order status is “Open” if the orders have not been synced with Amazon. This indicates the seller to do contact the appropriate party to solve this issue. The deactivation of Amazon is also simplistic. Hence, Amazon is a convenient option to use for dropshipping orders on Shopify.

    How to partially fulfill an order on shopify dropshipping?

    A partially fulfilled order is when a customer places an order for multiple products, out of which one or more are not available due to pre-orders or location problems. In such cases, dropshippers can first deliver the items that are available and then later deliver the rest.

    Different ways of partial fulfillment of orders

    1. Fulfilling multiple orders at once manually: Shopify allows the sellers to use the bulk order fulfilling feature. It is useful when there are multiple products that are ready to be shipped, “in bulk” as the name suggests.
    2. Fulfilling orders based on location: If a customer orders products from multiple locations, then the merchant can fulfill the order partially based on location. They can carry out “location prioritizing” to set a particular sequence of order fulfillment based on the different locations.
    3. Fulfillment Holds: While checking out, merchants may present the customers with an upselling offer. This puts the fulfillment on hold in case the customer decides to add more products to the cart upon seeing the upselling offer. However, it only stays on hold for an hour if the customer does not complete checkout.
    4. Canceling a fulfillment: Pending orders can be canceled. However, if a dropshipper is involved then they must be informed of the cancelation.

    Process of partial fulfillment

    1. Go to “Orders” page on Shopify admin.
    2. Click on the unfulfilled order number.
    3. Click “Mark as fulfilled”.
    4. On the Fulfillment page, check the items from the items list that are being fulfilled.
    5. Enter tracking number of the item provided by the shipper in “Tracking information”.
      1. This tracking URL will be accessible by the customer through email or confirmation messages.
    6. The sender can decide whether to send shipping details to the customer right at that moment. If so, then they must choose the “Send shipment details to your customer now” option.
    7. Click “Fulfill items”- this will automatically refresh the status of the items to either “fulfilled” or “unfulfilled” based on the previous steps.
    8. The fulfillment details and tracking information can then be viewed in the fulfillment section of the order.

    Important points to take note of:

    • Sometimes Shopify might choose the incorrect shipping carrier based on the tracking number that the seller inputs. In such cases, the seller will have to choose the shipping carrier themselves from the drop-down menu provided on the site.
    • If the consumer has ordered from multiple locations, then the seller must check the name of the location before fulfilling the items. After picking the desired location, they must save the changes so that the page is refreshed to specific items from that location.
    • Shopify has a built-in feature for a single consumer order from multiple locations. If the order can be fulfilled by using the items of a single location stock, then the unfulfillment card will display all the items in a single list. However, if the former is not applicable then the unfulfillment section will comprise of available items divided by location.

    How to hold a fulfillment?

    1. Go to “Orders” page on Shopify admin.
    2. Click on the order number that needs to be on hold.
    3. Click the “…” option and choose “Hold fulfillment”.
    4. Select the reason behind holding the fulfillment.
    5. Then click hold fulfillment to confirm the process.
    6. Steps 1 and 2 will be repeated to release the fulfillment.
      1. Instead of “Hold fulfillment”, the button “Release fulfillment” will be clicked.

    How to cancel a fulfillment?

    1. Go to “Orders” page on Shopify admin.
    2. Click on the order from the “Fulfilled” orders list.
    3. In that section, click “…” and then “Cancel fulfillment”.

    Folio3 is a Shopify development partner and certified experts in the migration of existing stores to Shopify. Our team has extensive knowledge of the platform, which enables us to meet our clients’ needs quickly and effectively. We offer full-service solutions for all stages of your business journey – hire our Shopify developer in order to  starting out as a new store owner on Shopify, to scaling up your business with advanced features like multi-store management or inventory management.

    Folio3 is the leading Shopify migration and development partner. We are a certified Shopify Expert, meaning we know every aspect of how Shopify works. We use our expertise to help businesses migrate their stores from other platforms or create their own app for their store on the Shopify platform. Our team is made up of experts in web design, ecommerce, marketing strategy and programming languages like Java Script and Ruby on Rails.


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    Folio3, a Software Powerhouse established in 2005, is one of the leading eCommerce solution providers for SMBs and Fortune 500. The Company has expertise in diverse industries such as Animal Care, Retail, Automotive, Food and Agriculture, and Health care. From ecommerce store design and development to full-scale ERP deployment and integration, Folio3 has done it all.