You may not think much about what happens when you click “Buy Now” on a product on an online retail store. However, there is a complex process that is started when you click that button that results in the product or products ending up at your door for you to open!
So, what exactly happens to get your item to you? There are several steps on a parcel’s journey that usually happen. The whole process from warehouse to customer is known as the order fulfillment process and usually goes a little like this:
The Item Arrives at the Inbound Dock
Before an item is purchased, it must arrive at the warehouse or fulfillment center. The area where new products arrive before they are put into stock is known as the inbound dock, and the products usually arrive here in trucks and are loaded onto pallets before being placed on shelves.
The Item is Logged as in Stock and Appears Online
Once each item is placed into stock, the online store is notified, and the number of this item available is changed on the website to reflect the number of items that are in stock in the warehouse. The customer can now purchase the item online.
The Order is Logged by the Retailer
Once the order has been placed on the online store, the retailer makes a note of this (this is usually automated), the number of this item displayed as available on the site is reduced, and the customer receives an order confirmation email.
he fulfillment center receives a notification, and the process of sending the item out to the customer begins. Timely and efficient order fulfillment is critical for retailers.
The Item is Taken from Stock and Packaged
This package is then driven from the warehouse to a distribution center. In some cases, this step is absent, and the item is delivered straight from the warehouse to the customer.
However, distribution centers are often used over longer distances. The drivers are probably glad for this break in the journey!
The Package is Delivered to Your Door by a Courier Service
Once the package has reached the distribution center, the final step in the journey is the delivery of the parcel to the home of the customer. This is carried out by a courier service that uses drivers to bring you the item you purchased.
The journey of a parcel is not always the same every time. It can vary depending on the specific online store, as different companies use different processes. When it comes to international shipping, things can get even more complex, with parcels having to pass through customs.
If the customer is happy with the item, this is the end of the journey. If not, the parcel may have to go all the way back!