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Using Automated Order Processing as an Ecommerce Business

Automated order processing


Love the opportunities of ecommerce, but not the logistics? Process automation may be able to help. A quickly growing strategy in the industry, automated order processing can put your fulfillment operations on autopilot. Its capabilities completely transform the status quo while delivering next-level benefits in efficiency and accuracy. 

In this article, we explore what automated order processing is, how it works, and the potential advantages it can offer your business when implemented well.


What Is Automated Order Processing?

Automated order processing is a technology-enabled strategy designed to streamline the process of taking orders and completing transactions. It can include anything across the supply chain, from making payment transactions to tracking orders through completion. The ultimate goal of automated order processing is to reduce manual labor. In most cases, that also means cutting fulfillment times and costs.

How Does Automated Order Processing Work?

Being step-intensive, order fulfillment requires a lot from teams when done manually. First comes a notification email, then a manual order processing system, followed by multiple steps for inventory and shipping. Multiplied by 100, 500, 1,000, or more, it's no wonder why so many businesses have trouble fulfilling orders on time.

The Difference an Automated Order Processing System Can Make

Automated order processing solves a challenging problem in the ecommerce space; traditionally inefficient and step-intensive, logistics teams are used to the inconvenience of having to dot every I and cross every T to get products out the door.

First comes a notification email, then a manual order processing system, followed by multiple steps for inventory and shipping. Multiplied by 10, 50, 100, or more, it's no wonder why so many businesses have trouble consistently delivering orders to their customers on time and in perfect condition.

How Does Automated Order Processing Work?

Automated order processing is a technology-driven solution that uses software automation to streamline the entire order fulfillment process. Its main value lies in the software's ability to execute actions by itself. The wealth of advanced technologies out there today—AI, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision—enable automated order processing to get jobs done with less human intervention than ever before.

Automated order processing systems come in many different forms. A growing number of software development companies are entering the field with their own solutions, while some larger ecommerce platforms provide automated order processing in addition to their core services.

No matter the provider, though, virtually automated order processing systems work the same way. Here's a point-by-point breakdown of how an automated order processing system would process and fulfill orders for an ecommerce business:

1. Capturing Sales

Automated order processing fulfillment starts with an integrated ecommerce platform, like Shopify, that captures customer orders. The platform sends those orders to a cloud-based software system that automatically records and stores each order in a secure database.

2. Inventory & Fulfillment Management

If your inventory is split between multiple locations, the order processing system will determine the most convenient fulfillment source before sending out a fulfillment request.

3. Order Packing 

Next, the automated order processing system generates packing slips, labels, and other fulfillment documents that are printed or emailed to the warehouse where the order is located. 

4. Shipping & Tracking

Once an order has been packed by a warehouse specialist, an automatically generated shipping label is printed to be attached to the parcel. The automated order management system also creates tracking information for the shipment, which allows customers to monitor order status in real time. Ecommerce returns and exchanges can also be managed in the same way.

Benefits of Automated Order Processing

As with any business investment, the decision to incorporate automated order processing into your own operations should be taken with careful consideration. Is it worthwhile, or do you stand to lose more than you would gain?

The answer to the first part of the question, in most cases, is a resounding yes. Automated order processing offers numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes:

Enhanced Efficiency

The biggest benefit of automated order processing is its ability to drastically reduce the amount time and effort required to pack and ship a product. Warehouse staff can leverage software to simplify many of the steps involved in fulfilling orders, from finding the right inventory to deciding which size box to use. Advanced software even calculates shipping costs to streamline the printing of packing slips. 

Improved Customer Satisfaction

With the increased efficiency of automated order processing comes secondary downstream benefits like improved customer satisfaction. It goes without saying that buyers are happiest when their packages are delivered on-time, and by removing redundancies in the fulfillment process, you can bring that goal within much easier reach.

Peace of Mind

Software enabled order processing systems make it possible to track statuses in real-time and even pause specific shipments. That kind of peace of mind is invaluable when you’re managing large volumes of orders or working with multiple warehouse locations. With a centralized system in place, everyone has access to accurate up-to-date information at all times. 

Higher Profit Margins

Manual tasks are time consuming. From the hours needed for order information entry to customer data verification, the cost of labor can eat into your bottom line. Automated order processing reduces the need for manual data entry, creating cost savings that can be focused on other aspects of your business and help boost profit margins.

Reduction of Human Errors

Human error is natural. It isn’t something you want in high-stakes ecommerce fulfillment, though. Order processing software has the ability to significantly reduce mistakes by automatically determining what items go into which boxes, making size and weight related calculations for shipping, and directing warehouse staff with case-specific instructions.

How Automated Order Processing Works with a 3PL

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers offer online stores a convenient workaround for the complexities of ecommerce fulfillment. Not only does delegating the fulfillment process to them save plenty of time, money, and space, but it also takes advantage of their expertise in order processing automation.

Take Shipfusion, for example.

Our cloud-based order and inventory management system takes the order entry process one step further by integrating with ecommerce platforms and applying automation mechanisms to streamline fulfillment. Shipfusion software allows merchants to easily manage their logistics, including inventory, orders, and shipping labels while tracking stock levels in real-time. Shipfusion offers white glove integration with the biggest ecommerce platforms, including Amazon, BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Walmart, and WooCommerce, so you can get your order fulfillment process up and running instantly.

Automate Your Order Success Rate with Shipfusion

In a competitive field where the stakes are high - and customer expectations are even higher - your business can't afford to make mistakes. Automated order processing is a great way to reduce them, while Shipfusion's all-encompassing suite of solutions can make its benefits that much sweeter. Contact one of our fulfillment experts to learn more about how integrating our comprehensive ecommerce fulfillment services can help you scale your business and get ahead.