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Imagine if restaurants had to manually check DoorDash every few minutes to see if a customer placed an order. The time it would take to check for new orders would slow down the business processes of preparing and delivering the order quickly, or due to the manual nature could have some orders slip through the cracks. Luckily DoorDash uses automation to help restaurants stay on top of food orders more efficiently.
The same concept relates to ecommerce. Automation plays a key role in order processing as it can speed up delivery times, significantly reduce human error, and make the entire order management process (from the purchase order, picking to shipping) much more efficient.
What is automated order processing?
Automated order processing is technology and systems put in place to process orders faster by eliminating manual work. With automation, order processing can help reduce human error, improve operational efficiencies, and ultimately speed up the fulfilment and shipping process.
What is an automated order processing system?
A fully automated order processing system is a system that integrates with an online store, or even multiple sales channels, and automatically processes and verifies orders as they are placed online. From there, the order status is updated in real-time, customers are notified that the order is being processed, and the order fulfilment process can begin.
8 benefits of automated order processing software
By implementing automated order processing software, ecommerce businesses can significantly increase order management efficiencies and optimise their supply chain. Here are some of the key benefits of order processing automation.
1. Automatically captures sales order data processing
An automated order processing system receives and verifies customer orders and then directly enters them into a business’s order processing or ERP inventory system. This prevents the need for constantly reentering information, such as customer information and delivery location. Historical order data can later be used for demand forecasting and to provide other valuable insights to make better business decisions.
2. Collects customer data
An automated system not only collects sales order data but also customer information. This includes details such as the number of orders, client order history, frequented delivery locations, contact information, and more. Collecting this data helps businesses improve the customer experience, provide better customer service, and make better data-driven decisions.
3. Improves accuracy and eliminates errors
Manually inputting order and customer data can lead to more human error and inaccuracies. This can causes issues later in the order management process, such as fulfiling and shipping the wrong order. Automated processing software not only speeds up the process, but it also helps to reduce human error and improve order accuracy.
4. Streamline order tracking with an order management system
Automated order processing software can be integrated with your inventory management and/or warehouse management system (WMS), providing you with significant data control. This minimises the risk of human error and data losses, and increases data security. All orders can be tracked from one portal, making it easier to track inventory and order status and updates, all in one place.
“I love that you can view orders based on when they are processing, completed, on hold, and in other stages. It is super helpful for us to have that and track the order every step of the way.”
Ines Guien, Vice President of Operations at Dossier
5. Decreases order fulfilment costs
Having an automated, fully integrated system to process orders can help you save on fulfilment costs in the long run; It helps to reduce the amount of labour needed to get an order out the door, and the process will be much more efficient by eliminating manual order entry and tracking.
6. Provides faster shipping times
Order processing tasks such as order verification as well as shipping label creation and printing are can be automated. If you’re processing hundreds of orders or more monthly, then setting up the ability to process orders automatically will help speed up the shipping process.
7. Lets you process orders from anywhere
With automation, your team can process an order from anywhere by tracking orders in real-time from the automated order processing system. No matter where a customer places an order, it is automatically verified and processed, and order data can automatically be sent to where inventory is stored such as the fulfilment centre location closest to the order’s destination.
8. Maintains high customer satisfaction
Customers like to know right away if their order is being processed. You can send customers updates on when an order is received, processed, being prepared, and shipped. Providing order status keeps your customers in the loop, making them aware of the progress at each stage, from processing to shipping. This leads to fewer customer service emails and happier customers.
In the long run, employing an automated order processing system can also take your ecommerce sales to the next level. The combination of all these advantages will ultimately lead to the provision of a better customer experience.
For example, by providing faster shipping times and decreasing your order fulfilment costs, you may possess a competitive edge through the option of lower prices. This can lead to more customers, more demand, and higher sales!
“When I was gearing up to launch the business, I was looking for someone who would automate fulfilment for us. I chose ShipBob, and it turned out to be a very easy and scalable solution.
Everything was automated, from setting up my store, to sending product, to fulfiling orders.
It was pretty remarkable how a 24-year-old like me with very little money and no prior logistics experience could launch a product and have distribution be automated.”
Josh Hollings, Founder & CEO of Drop FX
How automated order processing works with a 3PL
Order processing automation is often used by larger, enterprise ecommerce businesses, but a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like ShipBob can help introduce automation into your order management process to reduce time-consuming manual entry tasks.
With ShipBob, orders placed on your store are automatically sent to one of our fulfilment centre locations, where inventory is stored and the sales order automation process can begin.
From there, our fulfilment experts pick, pack, and ship orders and tracking information is automatically pushed to your store, where it can be shared with your customers.
“ShipBob offers fast order processing, which is important when we’re getting hundreds of orders each day. We wouldn’t be able to fulfil the volume we’ve seen — up to nearly 13,000 orders per month — on our own. We’ve had three holiday cycles with ShipBob, and the most recent Q4 was our smoothest yet.”
Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie
Since our technology offers built-in inventory management, you can easily monitor inventory levels, view real-time order status, get insights on orders to plan for future demand with accurate data capture insights, and much more. Here is how ShipBob’s help to automate the order management process.
“Compared to other warehouses we’ve worked with, ShipBob processes orders so quickly to get them out the door faster. It’s fun to see orders shipping out instantaneously. I love how fast and efficient ShipBob is.”
Harley Abrams, Operations Manager of SuperSpeed Golf, LLC
Step 1: Ecommerce order comes
ShipBob offers a robust, international fulfilmentt network with locations across the globe so you can split inventory across multiple fulfilment centre locations. When an order is placed, our software automatically routes the order to the fulfilment centre location closest to the order’s destination.
“Touchland sells flammable goods that need to be shipped via ground, so ShipBob has been a great ally as they have fulfilment centres all over the US, facilitating a 2-3 day delivery time for any customer in the US.”
Andrea Lisbona, Founder & CEO of Touchland
Step 2: Picking and packaging
Once ShipBob receives the order, a picking list is automatically generated, which includes SKUs, quantities, and information on where items are located in the warehouse. It is assigned to an order filler or picker. Once all items are picked, the order is sent to a packing station, where a packer will choose the best packaging based on ordered items and the merchant’s packaging preferences.
“With ShipBob, we see exactly what is physically picked and know that an order went out as expected. With our old 3PL, we had to rely on our rep for everything and we couldn’t be self-sufficient. They had to do all of the work for us, and we couldn’t actually see what their warehouse associates were picking.”
Gerard Ecker, Founder & CEO of Ocean & Co.
Step 3: Shipping
When partnering with a 3PL, you can also take advantage of automated shipping, which not only speeds up shipping times but also can help to reduce shipping costs. ShipBob partners with major shipping carriers to negotiate shipping rates, and packages are sorted by each shipping service and picked up on business days.
“We love that ShipBob actually operates its fulfilment centres — they know their operations and they are very clear about it. ShipBob having multiple locations was also huge for us. Keeping our inventory in Chicago and Los Angeles has brought cost savings since we ship from the locations that are closest to the customer.”
Courtney Lee, founder of Prymal
Step 4: Order completed and tracking sent back to your store
Once the order is shipped, tracking information is sent to your ecommerce platform to share with customers. From ShipBob’s dashboard, you can easily track orders in real-time, so you can notify customers about the details of their shipment’s progress as it moves through the carrier’s sorting facilities and transported to its destination
“An hour after an influencer ordered from me, he had already received an email saying his order had shipped. If I was fulfiling orders myself, it would have taken me much longer. This was the perfect example of ShipBob working how it should, automatically sending tracking info and giving my customers everything they needed.”
Tracey Wallace, Founder of Doris Sleep
Automating order processing can help streamline the fulfilment and shipping process, increase customer satisfaction, and improve operations. Ecommerce merchants that partner with a 3PL like ShipBob can automate many aspects of the digital fulfilment process to save on time and costs, and scale their business more efficiently.
“It’s a pain to pick, pack, and print the labels, and manage the storage. It would be a huge stress for us to do it ourselves, but the fact that ShipBob takes care of it all, both the savings in costs and time, is invaluable to our business.”
Nikolai Paloni, Co-Founder of Ombraz Sunglasses
Automated order processing FAQs
Here are answers to the most common questions ecommerce businesses have about automated order processing.
What is an order processing system?
An order processing system is a solution that automates certain parts of the fulfilment process to make order fulfilment more efficient.
How long does order processing take?
With an automated system, orders are processed and verified almost instantly. If integrations to other tools are set up (e.g., with a 3PL’s technology), then orders might be synced on a predetermined basis (e.g., hourly or daily).
Can order processing and shipping be automated?
Yes, order processing and shipping can be automated. A reliable 3PL partner can automate them for you.