Order fulfillment process

What is order fulfillment?

Order fulfillment is defined as the process of receiving, picking and packing, and delivering orders to customers. It sounds simple, but order fulfillment 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 Fulfillment can help. We provide order fulfillment services to retailers of all sizes. This enables you to outsource the order fulfillment process to the experts, and focus your time and energy on other things.

Learn more about our order fulfillment service


What are the steps in the order fulfillment process?

There are usually five key steps in the process:

  1. Goods in: you send your inventory to a warehouse or fulfillment center
  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 dispatched to the customer via a courier
  5. Returns: products are returned to the fulfillment center for processing.

At James and James, these steps are all managed and optimized by our order fulfillment software, creating a seamless experience for you and your customers. Here’s how our order fulfillment process works. Got any questions?

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Goods in: a James and James team member unloads a box from a truck, as part of the order fulfillment process

1. Goods in

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

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

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 fulfillment later.

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James and James's UK fulfillment warehouse, showing a mixture of pallet and pick storage

2. Warehousing and storage

Next, we find a place for your stock in one of our fulfillment 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 fulfillment software.

Learn more about warehousing and storage

Pick and pack: a James and James team member packs an item in a box, as part of the order fulfillment process

3. Pick and pack

Pick and pack is the step in the order fulfillment 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.

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Shipping: a parcel is place into a container, as part of the order fulfillment process

4. Shipping

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

Our eCommerce shipping solution ensures that 98% of orders are dispatched 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.

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Returns management: a James and James team member scans the barcode of a returned product

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 fulfillment 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.

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

Why outsource the order fulfillment process to someone else?

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

You will:

  • reclaim time to focus on sales and marketing
  • reduce the cost of staff, storage and shipping
  • delight your customers with smooth delivery and returns.
Discover more in our free white paper

Want to know more?

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