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August 28, 2020

Beginners Guide on the Shopify Order Fulfillment Process

The rise of e-commerce is perhaps one of the biggest changes of this century. Every smart seller knows that there is a lot of money to be made when you venture into online selling. Shopify offers the best option for launching your online store easily and quickly. However, the challenge comes when you start receiving orders. If you are not familiar with the Shopify Order Fulfillment process, you may lose your customers due to delayed deliveries.

If you want to ensure that you are doing the right thing when running your Shopify store, we will walk you through the journey from when an order is placed to the time it reaches your customer's doorstep. Familiarizing yourself with the Shopify platform will come in handy if you want to run a successful online business. Here are some guidelines for running seamless fulfillment orders on Shopify.

What is Order Fulfillment?

Order fulfillment is the process that takes place from when the seller places an order to the time they receive the product. All aspects of order fulfillment are geared towards getting the product to the final consumer fast and in excellent condition. It involves the warehousing of the products, order handling and processing, shipping and delivery to the client, and finally, the exchange, returns, and refunds. It’s a whole process with individual aspects that are all geared towards completing orders on Shopify.

Some products that are not in stock can be pre-ordered by the buyer. This means that the order might take longer to fulfill until a time when the products are available. Other store owners use Dropshipping and print on demand services for a substantial part of their order fulfillment. In these types of businesses, fewer steps are taken in fulfilling an order.

The process of fulfilling orders on Shopify are as follows:

  • The process starts when inventory is received
  • Products are then stored in a warehouse
  • The process of order handling and processing kicks in
  • The product is then shipped and delivered
  • In case of defects and shipping damages or delivery of the wrong product, returns, exchanges, and refunds are completed

Can Shopify handle fulfillment on my behalf?

The short of the answer is No. they do not handle fulfillment on behalf of sellers. It's up to you to use the Shopify platform to run your store. You will note that the whole process is user friendly, especially if you are using manual order fulfillment, which allows you to be involved in order fulfillment. But if you are using the automated order fulfillment, then the entire process is a piece of cake. With this process, you do not require to wait for orders, as the whole process is executed within the system. A good example is software downloads where a customer can download software, set it up on his device, and the process is over without the seller needing to do anything.

How does manual Shopify order fulfillment work?

Manual order fulfillment gives the seller total control of the whole process. From the time they receive an order, ship, and finally deliver to the client. This type of order fulfillment is encouraging because you can get customer feedback directly, which will work at improving the quality of your product.

Here is how the manual fulfillment process is executed in Shopify

  • After logging into your Shopify admin, go to Orders
  • Select and Click on the number of orders you want to fulfill
  • Click to create a shipping label in the unfulfilled section and buy a shipping label for your order. This method can only be effective when shipping through Shopify, but if not, then do the following:
  • Select ‘mark as unfulfilled’ and enter the tracking number
  • Click to fulfill the items to mark the order complete
  • Click ‘buy shipping label’

Partial Manual fulfillment

  • Log into your Shopify admin and go to orders
  • Find and click the number and the order you want to fulfill partially
  • Select ‘Create shipping labels’ in the unfulfilled section and buy a shipping label for your order
  • Check on the fulfillment page
  • Make a change on the number of items to fulfill for each line item in the Items section
  • Click to buy a shipping label

You will have to repeat the same process until all the orders are fulfilled. Don't forget to mark as fulfilled once the whole process is over. If you ascertain that you are unable to fulfill, then you want to refund the customer for the unsupplied goods.

Manual fulfillment for multiple orders in Shopify

  • Log into your Shopify admin and go-to orders
  • Select and click the number of orders you want to fulfill partially
  • Select Create shipping labels in the Unfulfilled section and buy a shipping label for your order
  • Go to the fulfillment page
  • Make a change on the number of items you want to fulfill for each line item in the item section

This process can be repeated until the order is fulfilled, if not, you can decide to do a refund, but don't forget to mark the order as fulfilled

Canceling fulfillment orders (automatic and manual fulfillments)

You can cancel a fulfillment order. The order status returns to unfulfilled. You can then buy a new shipping label or create a new fulfillment order altogether.

Why learning how order fulfillment works on Shopify is important

As a seller who wants to grow your online business, understanding how order fulfillment works on Shopify is crucial. Otherwise you might find yourself with a huge cancellation and return rates. Hence, understanding your business and your clients will help you to come up with an order fulfillment strategy that’s unique to your business model. The automatic process can work well with organizations with large product catalogs. A small business that deals with handmade items and requires personal involvement by the Shopify store owner can do well using manual order fulfillment.


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