What is Order Fulfillment? Order Fulfillment Statuses Explained 2024

What is Order Fulfillment? Order Fulfillment Statuses Explained 2024

If you’re a newbie in the world of e-commerce, order fulfillment can be a pretty complex concept. Just as complex, is understanding the many order fulfillment statuses. It’s important to know what these statuses mean to get a full grasp on what exactly is going on with your customers’ orders and what stage they’re at in the process. Decoding these statuses can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Whether you’re a rookie just learning about order fulfillment, or a seasoned seller needing to brush up your knowledge, Phase V is breaking down each order fulfillment status so you can stay in the know.

What’s an Order Fulfillment Status?

Let’s break it down. First off, order fulfillment is the process that takes place as soon as a customer purchases a product online up until it arrives at their door. There are many steps in an order’s journey—this journey is the activity known as order fulfillment.

Next, order fulfillment status refers to the stage that a product is currently at in its journey. These statuses shed light on which step of the fulfillment process an order is in, which is essential for any business to know. Knowing these statuses can help you ensure your customer’s order is on time and facilitates transparent communication to consumers about delivery.

Young lady use cellphone order online shopping product and paying bills with banking app with transaction successful. Stay at house, Quarantine activity, Fun activity for coronavirus prevention.

Steps in the Order Fulfillment Process

Understanding each step of the process can help you better understand these order fulfillment statuses. The following is the stages of order fulfillment:

  1. Receiving: Inventory is sent to a warehouse, received by the team, and stored away in its designated storage location.
  2. Picking: Once an order is placed, a picker will locate the items, and pick each item in the order from their respective locations.
  3. Packing: The items are packaged securely with a shipping label to be sent to the customer.
  4. Shipping: The order is shipped to the customer. 3PLs often have preferred carriers with negotiated rates, ensuring the most cost-effective shipping method.
  5. Delivery: The order makes it successfully to the customer’s door.
  6. Returns: Though not ideal, returns happen. This stage is where the customer will send back the items to then be inspected and either disposed of or restocked by the fulfillment team.

Understanding each step of the fulfillment process will help you decode the order fulfillment status.

Decoding Order Fulfillment Statuses

Now, here’s what you came for—let’s break down these order fulfillment statuses. Be aware that some statuses are referred to differently by each shipping carrier and third-party logistics (3PL) provider.

  • Unfulfilled or Pending: The order has been placed, but has not yet started the fulfillment process.
  • Awaiting Fulfillment or Processing: The order has been processed, but hasn’t shipped yet. This means that the order is in one of the earlier stages of the order fulfillment process such as receiving, picking, or packing.
  • Shipped: The order has been dispatched and is on its way to the customer.
  • Out for Delivery: The order has left the final distribution center and is in the hands of the delivery driver for final delivery.
  • On Hold or Exception: When an order has an exception or is on hold, there has been some type of delay encountered. This delay could be for various reasons such as weather, incorrect shipping information, or an unavailable recipient when attempting delivery. However, there are plenty of possible reasons. The order will still be delivered, but something has prevented this from happening.
  • Delivered or Completed: The order has reached the end of its journey. This means that it was delivered and all necessary follow-up actions have been taken.

The Role of an Order Fulfillment Status

As mentioned, knowing order fulfillment statuses is essential for e-commerce business owners. But why? It helps businesses:

  • Track an order’s progress
  • Update customers on the status of their order
  • Limits errors of order getting lost or misplaced
  • Enhances customer experience by providing full visibility

To Outsource or Not to Outsource

Order fulfillment can be difficult to handle yourself as your business grows. As order volume grows, it’s imperative that your order fulfillment strategy can scale with you. If you’re finding it hard to keep up, it’s time to outsource to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. 3PLs are experts in order fulfillment, ensuring accurate and fast fulfillment… a.k.a. happy and loyal customers.

At Phase V, order fulfillment is our thing. With a 99.95% accuracy rate in fulfillment, we guarantee thousands of deliveries daily. 3PLs like Phase V also offer e-commerce sellers tailored services for whatever business goals they wish to achieve.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, knowing the order fulfillment statuses and stages can make a world of a difference in your logistics strategy. More transparency to buyers means a better customer experience. A better customer experience means higher customer retention rates and increased revenue. This combination is guaranteed success for your e-commerce business in the long run.


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