Ecommerce Fulfilment Vs. Direct-to-consumer Fulfilment: What is the difference?

January 3, 2022 Written By Hemant Parmar

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Ecommerce Fulfilment Vs. Direct-to-consumer Fulfilment: What is the difference?

WAD (without a doubt)! You had dreamt of that unreal day when your eCommerce business was so busy that you struggled to fulfill orders. Now that your store has achieved this level of victory, what do you do to keep your customer happy? Well, you need to measure your logistic and shipping methods.

Can’t thank more to Amazon for setting a great standard; your customers expect the same a quick and accurate delivery. You might be thinking, how could you achieve that? So eCommerce fulfillment can be a great way; what if it’s far different than order fulfillment.

When there are so many definitions to define the fulfillment process, whether eCommerce or direct-to-consumer, it is not surprising that there’s confusion over what these workflows involve, even we consider both are the same. Here, you will know how both are different from each other. Hence, the devil is always in the details.

What is Order Fulfillment?

As the name suggests, order fulfillment is a method of acquiring your products into the hands of your consumers. The process involves many steps, starting from receiving inventory and ending when the customer gets the ordered product. The following are the steps of order fulfillment:

  • Obtaining inventory shipments
  • Keeping inventory
  • Fulfilling orders
  • Packaging of products
  • Processing returns

The order fulfillment can be done either in-house or by partnering with a third-party logistics company. Ultimately, order fulfillment aims to ship the ordered products to every customer as soon as possible and without any trouble/issue.

Also read: Level up Order Management and Fulfillment with Mobile

What is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) eCommerce?

D2C is very easy to understand and learn, the process of selling products directly to consumers from their online store without a third party. When it comes to the traditional retailer business model, it is like manufacturers>wholesaler>distributor>retailers>consumer.

The D2C eCommerce is used to remove gatekeepers or intermediaries! And we already know that consumers prefer more to shop directly over keeping manufactures in between buying processes.

The reason retailers have not implemented D2C is that if manufacturers start selling direct-to-consumer, they’d have to sell individual products. And we know that the retail industry is all about selling products in bulk.

Also read: How D2C Brands Aim to Scale Their Business Online?

Ecommerce Fulfillment vs D2C eCommerce – What’s the Difference?

It is not wrong for D2C fulfillment and eCommerce fulfillment to be grouped, all credits to the outstanding growth of online selling. But now we can see that in retail, D2C is the hottest trend, tis become essential to define where and how these strategies differ from each other.

We have put together all the factors here to let you know how they differ. Let’s dive in!

1. Selling Channels are different

Both eCommerce fulfillment and D2C eCommerce are different when it comes to selling channels. Since eCommerce fulfillment is pretty simple, retailers need to operate an online sales channel.

While in D2C, there’s an offline sales channel since you are selling direct to consumers without adding a third party or someone else. It’s a one-way thing that will help your business grow.

ECommerce fulfillment has some form of online selling as it doesn’t have to be direct. Choosing a provider or getting delivered by Amazon or another marketplace would be a form of eCommerce fulfillment. And that will not be considered into D2C eCommerce.

2. Mediators

Perhaps the finest difference between eCommerce fulfillment and D2C is the mediators’ role in the fulfillment process. Direct-to-consumer is referred to as direct selling because there are no third parties.

We can say that there are no distributors, stockiest, or wholesalers present in the supply chain. We can consider many differences between eCommerce fulfillment and D2C, and one of the biggest is mediators to meet fulfillment.

Even you have seen many brands taking advantage of third-party services like Amazon instead of selling directly. There is a downside to this, as brand building suffers and control over crucial touchpoints in the customer experience is compromised.

3. Approach to customer data

Customer data might have nothing to do with fulfillment when viewed at first glance. The fulfillment process can enhance the post-purchase experience, transforming the fulfillment process into a competitive advantage.

Social media and other digital marketing channels are typically used to discover D2C merchants. In addition to engagement rates, conversion rates tell brands what content types resonate with viewers and drive store visits. Cookies can tell sellers what pages consumers view on the website, allowing brands to push relevant and informative content that increases conversions.

By comparison, third-party ecommerce marketplaces can take the form of a black box. The fact that you do not directly control these channels makes it impossible for you to know exactly what path consumers took to purchase your product – or why some chose not to.

Also read: How to Gather Valuable Information about Your Customers to Increase eCommerce sales

The high churn rate you experience could also result from friction in your post-purchase experience. It is difficult to determine what steps you should take to fine-tune the fulfillment process without having access to these data.

4. Outsourcing is different

The next and most important thing that we can consider is outsourcing fulfillment as it can be the same. Yes, many brands today use third-party fulfillment processes to meet customers’ needs and wants.

Today, if we talk about fulfillment, we can see that even big brands are using outsourcing suppliers like Amazon to meet their daily orders. When it comes to D2C eCommerce, it is also true because somehow, it also matches order fulfillment.

Also read: The Benefits of Outsourced IT Support for Retail and Ecommerce

However, expanding in-house fulfillment can cost a lot to brands, and it’s not a cost-effective idea. These could be the reasons why eCommerce and D2C eCommerce is different, and no wonder you’d be surprised knowing that outsourcing is common between them.

Know the difference!

Choosing eCommerce fulfillment vs. D2C commerce should be easier than ever. Use this article to grow your business now. We have compiled the most interesting and important factors that hopefully will clarify why they differ from each other.

Need help in improving eCommerce fulfilments? M-Connect Media can help. We have an in-house eCommerce Consulting team who know how to grow and fulfill your orders. Get in touch with us for more information.

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