What is order fulfilment?

Order fulfilment is defined as the process of receiving, picking and packing, and delivering orders to customers. It sounds simple, but order fulfilment is about more than putting products in the post – it’s about creating a brilliant experience for your customers every time.

That’s where James and James Fulfilment can help. We provide order fulfilment services to retailers of all sizes. This enables you to outsource the order fulfilment process to the experts, and focus your time and energy on other things. Want to know more?

James and James's order fulfilment software, ControlPort, on laptop and mobile devices

What are the steps in the order fulfilment process?

There are usually five key steps in the process:

  1. Goods in: you send your inventory to a warehouse or fulfilment centre
  2. Warehousing: your inventory is stored ready for orders to come in
  3. Pick and pack: the items in each order are collected and assembled in a parcel
  4. Shipping: the parcel is despatched to the customer via a courier
  5. Returns: products are returned to the fulfilment centre for processing.

At James and James, these steps are all managed and optimised by our order fulfilment software, creating a seamless experience for you and your customers. Here’s how our order fulfilment process works.

A James and James team member unloads a box from a van, as part of the order fulfilment process

1. Goods in

The first step in the order fulfilment process is goods in – also known as receiving.

We create an account for you in our order fulfilment software, enabling you to integrate your store, set up your products, and send your inventory to one of our international fulfilment centres.

We receive your stock and check it carefully. We then add barcodes, photos, weights and dimensions for each item to the system. This lays the foundations for accurate, efficient fulfilment later.

2. Warehousing and storage

Next, we find a place for your stock in one of our fulfilment warehouses. We put small, fast-moving lines into pick storage, ready for speedy delivery, while larger items remain on pallets.

Thanks to the information we collect on each item as part of goods in, we can segregate and trace batches, and only charge you for the exact space your items take up.

You can monitor exactly where your stock is and how much you’ve got, in real time, using our cloud-based order fulfilment software.

One of our fulfilment centres
A James and James team member takes items from a picking trolley at a packing desk

3. Pick and pack

Pick and pack is the step in the order fulfilment process that has the biggest impact on customer experience. It ensures the correct items arrive on time and free from damage.

Through our people, processes and technology, we pick and pack with an industry-leading accuracy of 99.999%, updating you and your customers on each order in real time.

We also offer a range of recycled and recyclable packaging and void fill options as standard, ensuring each order is packed safely and securely.

4. Shipping

Once your orders are picked and packed, the next step is to despatch them to our global courier network.

Our eCommerce shipping solution ensures that 98% of orders are despatched same day. Each one is automatically allocated to the most cost and time-effective shipping service, and your customers can track its progress in real time.

In short, we deliver the fast, affordable and trackable shipping that keeps customers coming back for more.

James and James's fulfilment software being used in the fulfilment centre

5. Returns management

92% of shoppers say that they’ll buy from a business again if the returns process is easy. As part of the order fulfilment process at James and James, our returns management service creates this simple experience.

We first eliminate returns that should never happen – due to incorrect or damaged items. We then make it easy for customers to initiate and track returns online.

Finally, we receive and process returns quickly, enabling you to refund customers and re-stock products fast.

A James and James team member unloads a box from a van, as part of the order fulfilment process

1. Goods in

The first step in the order fulfilment process is goods in – also known as receiving.

We create an account for you in our order fulfilment software, enabling you to integrate your store, set up your products, and send your inventory to one of our international fulfilment centres.

We receive your stock and check it carefully. We then add barcodes, photos, weights and dimensions for each item to the system. This lays the foundations for accurate, efficient fulfilment later.

One of our fulfilment centres

2. Warehousing and storage

Next, we find a place for your stock in one of our fulfilment warehouses. We put small, fast-moving lines into pick storage, ready for speedy delivery, while larger items remain on pallets.

Thanks to the information we collect on each item as part of goods in, we can segregate and trace batches, and only charge you for the exact space your items take up.

You can monitor exactly where your stock is and how much you’ve got, in real time, using our cloud-based order fulfilment software.

A James and James team member takes items from a picking trolley at a packing desk

3. Pick and pack

Pick and pack is the step in the order fulfilment process that has the biggest impact on customer experience. It ensures the correct items arrive on time and free from damage.

Through our people, processes and technology, we pick and pack with an industry-leading accuracy of 99.999%, updating you and your customers on each order in real time.

We also offer a range of recycled and recyclable packaging and void fill options as standard, ensuring each order is packed safely and securely.

4. Shipping

Once your orders are picked and packed, the next step is to despatch them to our global courier network.

Our eCommerce shipping solution ensures that 98% of orders are despatched same day. Each one is automatically allocated to the most cost and time-effective shipping service, and your customers can track its progress in real time.

In short, we deliver the fast, affordable and trackable shipping that keeps customers coming back for more.

James and James's fulfilment software being used in the fulfilment centre

5. Returns management

92% of shoppers say that they’ll buy from a business again if the returns process is easy. As part of the order fulfilment process at James and James, our returns management service creates this simple experience.

We first eliminate returns that should never happen – due to incorrect or damaged items. We then make it easy for customers to initiate and track returns online.

Finally, we receive and process returns quickly, enabling you to refund customers and re-stock products fast.

The front cover of the white paper, 5 Ways Outsourced Fulfilment Can Help Your Growing Business

Why outsource the order fulfilment process to someone else?

Outsourcing your order fulfilment to a third-party provider, such as James and James, can help you grow your business.

You will:

Discover more in our free white paper

Don’t just take our word for it

We’re one of the best-recognised order fulfilment companies around. Since 2010, we’ve been awarded for growth and innovation, certified to handle food and organic produce, and sponsored for digital business growth by Northampton County Council and the EU.

Want to know more?

Tell us more about your needs and one of our Fulfilment Consultants will get back to you within one working day.