Top 10 Tips to Fulfill E-commerce Orders: Apparel Companies

top tips to fulfill e commerce orders: apparel companies
Optimize your eCommerce strategy for apparel fulfillment with these 10 quick tips.
Written by Francisca Silva
Category: eCommerce
March 22, 2024
5 min read


Optimize your eCommerce strategy for apparel fulfillment with these 10 quick tips.
Written by Francisca Silva
Category: eCommerce
March 22, 2024
5 min read

For apparel companies, efficiently managing e-commerce orders has become the forefront of a successful business model. This article presents ten essential tips to optimize your e-commerce fulfillment strategy, from selecting reliable suppliers to embracing the latest technologies.

Beyond the basics, the journey from warehouse to customer involves strategic decisions at every step. Effective returns management, optimizing warehouse layout, and ensuring top-notch packing and shipping quality are essential. Ensuring thorough oversight, prioritizing data security, maintaining open communication with customers, and keeping up with technological advancements are key strategies. These tips provide a roadmap for apparel companies to excel in e-commerce fulfillment, offering a competitive edge in the fast-paced digital marketplace.

1: Understand the Apparel and Distribution Network

Now is an opportune moment to refresh your understanding of supply chain dynamics, and in today’s landscape, it holds more significance than ever.

Having a comprehensive grasp of your supply chain operations is a potent tool, enabling brands to anticipate challenges and make proactive adjustments that nurture brand loyalty. 

Beyond the traditional contacts in the supply chain, like suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and freight forwarders, the role of 3PL (third-party logistics) providers is crucial in shaping the customer journey. They often serve as the initial touchpoint for a brand, influencing the first impression or delivering the anticipated experience for repeat buyers. Amidst the intricacies faced by fashion and apparel retailers, such as SKU complexity, returns management, quality control, and the integration of multiple channels, understanding the nuances of the supply chain becomes paramount.

2: Select Appropriate Suppliers and Manufacturers

To bolster your fulfillment strategy, think about broadening your supplier base to minimize risks associated with depending on a single source. 

You may also want to negotiate favorable terms to secure competitive pricing and uphold quality standards with suppliers.

All apparel companies should make it a point to collaborate with their manufacturing partners closely. This can help ensure timely production and order fulfillment.

3: Invest in Order and Inventory Management Systems

Inventory-related challenges are prevalent in apparel companies, yet they are surprisingly among the most preventable issues. Implementing inventory management systems, such as barcode scanners,  RFID technology, and cloud-based systems can effectively monitor and assess inventory levels and trends of your apparel company over time. Look for an inventory tracking system that provides real-time insight into stock levels. Consistently analyze sales data to identify trends and optimize your inventory levels accordingly.

 Reducing excess inventory frees up capital for other business needs and improves inventory turnover. 

Focusing efforts on inventory management alone presents ample opportunities to optimize your apparel business.

A Warehouse Management System (WMS), such as Shipedge’s WMS, is a tool that helps keep track of inventory in real-time. It can be accessed from workstations, the mobile app, or desktop computers and helps coordinate all operations in the warehouse. It keeps track of incoming and outgoing raw materials, products, and orders to ensure constant control over inventory levels.

Efficiently organizing your order processing workflow is crucial for delivering timely service to your customers.

 It’s widely recognized that a seamless checkout experience enhances customer satisfaction, fostering repeat business!

Explore the option of investing in order management software that seamlessly integrates with your e-commerce storefront. This way, you can automate order processing tasks wherever feasible, minimizing errors, accelerating fulfillment times, and simplifying daily operations. These order tracking systems are typically excellent at keeping customers updated on their shipment’s progress and dynamically managing orders as needed.

4: Effective Returns Management

Apparel companies face the challenge of managing returns effectively more often than other industries. According to Coresight Research, the average return rate for online apparel orders in the US stands at a staggering 24.4%.

This statistic, derived from a proprietary survey of decision-makers at US-based apparel brands and retailers, underscores the magnitude of the problem. With an estimated $155.8 billion online apparel and footwear market in 2023, the 24.4% return rate translates to a substantial $38 billion in returns, with an estimated $25.1 billion in processing costs for the same year. In light of these concerning figures, apparel retailers must adopt strategic measures to minimize losses.

READ MORE: Returns, Exchanges, and Reverse Logistics Made Simple

5: Optimize Your Warehouse Space

Warehousing and storage might not be glamorous, but they are essential aspects of order fulfillment that require careful consideration. 

If you don’t have enough space or resources to manage a warehouse for your apparel, outsourcing to a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider can be highly beneficial. 

An efficient warehouse layout design is crucial at every stage of eCommerce management, significantly impacting logistics costs and overall profitability. By implementing an effective warehouse layout design, businesses can maximize their resources. Among various warehouse activities, order picking is particularly costly and should be prioritized for optimization to enhance overall warehouse efficiency.

READ MORE: Optimize Warehouse Layout for Maximum Efficiency and Productivity

6: Improve the Quality of Your Packing and Shipping

The way you package and ship your apparel items can greatly influence customer satisfaction and brand reputation.

Consider investing in environmentally friendly packaging options to minimize waste and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

Developing standardized packing procedures can also be beneficial, as it reduces errors, lowers shipping costs, and enhances the overall customer experience.

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7: Ensure Oversight at all Stages of the Process

Regularly monitoring and optimizing your cost management strategy is the most effective way to maintain robust and steady profit margins.

Continuously evaluating your pricing approach is essential to remain competitive while ensuring profitability is not compromised. 

Achieving this balance may take some time to discover for your brand, so patience and persistence are crucial. In the quest for a competitive pricing advantage, consider exploring options to reduce shipping costs. Delve into various possibilities to trim shipping expenses by negotiating with carriers for volume discounts, or consider using regional fulfillment centers to shorten shipping distances. Even the smallest reductions in costs can accumulate over time, providing your brand with the edge it needs to remain competitive in the crowded apparel marketplace.

READ MORE: Navigating E-Commerce Shipping: Expenses and Delivery Durations Across Zones

8: Data Security and Privacy Compliance

Address the critical importance of ensuring the security of customer data and upholding strict privacy compliance, particularly in response to the escalating emphasis on stringent data protection regulations. 

In today’s landscape, where data breaches and privacy concerns are at the forefront, implementing robust measures to safeguard sensitive customer information not only builds trust but also helps apparel companies navigate the evolving regulatory landscape effectively.

Confirm that your technology partners have the information security certifications you’re looking for. ISO 27001 is one of these certifications that ensures that the technology partner you are working with is up-to-date with standard practices regarding information security.

9: Guarantee Good Network Communication with Customers

Emphasize effective communication with customers during order fulfillment, providing tracking information and promptly addressing inquiries.

For instance, consider a customer purchasing an item like a shirt and desiring real-time updates on its delivery status.

Implementing clear and accessible communication channels, such as email, SMS, or the company’s app, ensures customers receive timely information on order status. This transparency builds confidence and mitigates concerns about the purchase’s progress.

Addressing inquiries through live chat, responsive hotlines, or social media engagement, contributes to heightened satisfaction, fostering positive customer relationships and encouraging loyalty.

Shipedge Horizontal Logo

10: Keep Up With New Technologies

Embracing technological advancements is paramount for apparel companies aiming to fortify their order fulfillment strategies. One pivotal area of technological integration is the adoption of automated order processing systems. These sophisticated solutions efficiently manage various facets of order fulfillment, from order tracking to inventory updates and shipping logistics. 

By automating these processes, companies can mitigate errors, enhance accuracy, and significantly expedite the fulfillment timeline, ultimately leading to improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In addition to automated order processing, using supplemental technology such as barcode scanners in the warehouse can help facilitate real-time inventory updates, offer precise insights into stock levels, and help reduce human errors from pickers in the warehouse.

Successful technological adaptation contributes to a more agile and cost-effective fulfillment process, ensuring that apparel companies can meet customer demands promptly and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving market.


As apparel companies strive to navigate the dynamic challenges of e-commerce, the importance of efficient order fulfillment cannot be overstated. The tips provided in this article offer a comprehensive guide to optimize processes and minimize the impact of returns on these businesses.

In the ever-evolving landscape of online retail, technology plays a crucial role, and this is where solutions like Shipedge Warehouse Management System (WMS) come into focus. Integrating advanced tools like Shipedge WMS provides real-time control over inventory, streamlining operations and contributing to a more agile and responsive fulfillment process.

As these companies grow and scale their operations, embracing technological advancements becomes paramount. The implementation of Shipedge WMS, with its capabilities showcased in the accompanying video, stands out as a pivotal step toward automating order processing, enhancing accuracy, and expediting fulfillment timelines. 

This not only ensures improved operational efficiency but also contributes to customer satisfaction, ultimately helping apparel companies maintain a competitive edge in the flourishing e-commerce market.

In essence, the fusion of strategic tips and advanced technologies, exemplified by Shipedge WMS, positions apparel companies not only to weather the challenges of growth but also to thrive in the ever-competitive landscape of online apparel fulfillment.

Discover how our WMS can improve your business

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