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A fulfillment service is defined as a third-party company that provides these order fulfillment steps on behalf of another party, such as an online seller.

These general definitions can apply to many types of orders, from large business-to-business (B2B) orders to individual direct-to-consumer (D2C) orders. To help better understand exactly what 3pl eCommerce fulfillment service is, let’s walk through the different steps involved, starting with receiving.


Whether you outsource your order fulfillment to a company, or you choose to do it in-house, receiving inventory from your manufacturers or suppliers is the first step toward getting orders to your end customers. Here are the typical things that merchants or their fulfillment providers do once inventory is received at their warehouse:

  • Count each item to ensure the actual number of items matches the number of items ordered from the supplier(s)
  • Inspect the inventory to see if any items have been damaged

Inventory Storage

Once the inventory has been received, counted, inspected, labeled, and added to your warehouse management software, it is time for it to be shelved. Proper inventory storage is one of the most important aspects of maximizing the speed and accuracy of your order fulfillment operations.

Order Processing

So now your inventory has been inspected, sorted, and placed on shelves in the warehouse. Next comes order processing.

The first step in processing order is receiving that order. Once an order is placed online by a customer, there are a number of ways for eCommerce sellers to get that order to their fulfillment warehouse. The most ideal way is by integrating fulfillment software with your shopping cart to allow orders to be automatically received by your fulfillment warehouse.