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Efficient Shipping: Pick, Pack, Ship via Fulfillment Service

Phuc Le
August 23, 2023

Nobody wants to endure lengthy wait times for their packages. Additionally, you aim to ship products promptly to maximize profits. Both you and your customers can reap the rewards of an effective and streamlined order fulfillment process. This underscores the significance of adhering to pick, pack, and ship best practices.

If the pick-pack-ship process is unfamiliar to you, it essentially involves three steps following a customer's order on an eCommerce platform. The retailer locates the item in their warehouse (pick), prepares it for shipping (pack), and then dispatches it to the customer (ship).

While the definition appears straightforward, each step entails considerable complexity. Hence, we've developed this introductory guide to the pick, pack, and ship process, aiding you in becoming more acquainted with the optimal practices.



When a customer places an order from your store, your warehouse staff must locate the purchased items. This task becomes more challenging, particularly with a sizable inventory. As a solution, numerous warehouses employ Warehouse Management Software (WMS) tools to expedite item retrieval.

Efficient picking techniques play a pivotal role in saving time, costs, and labor. On average, order picking constitutes 55% of a warehouse worker's labor hours. By reducing the time spent on picking individual orders, you can minimize this 55%, granting workers more availability for other tasks.

Whether you utilize a WMS or not, adhering to these guidelines can streamline the "pick" phase. Assist your "pickers" by equipping them with:

  • Handheld barcode scanners to precisely locate products.
  • Detailed warehouse maps illustrating the storage locations for various item types (e.g., shoes in one area, pants in another).
  • Thoughtfully organized items, such as positioning popular products in easily accessible spots.
  • Efficient picking routes mapped on the warehouse layout to minimize wandering time.
  • Ready access to an ample supply of pallets or containers, enabling pickers to retrieve items swiftly.
  • Picking strategies that enhance productivity for different scenarios.

Now, let's delve deeper into picking strategies. Selecting an inappropriate strategy for an order is a common cause of warehouse inefficiency. Consider the effective utilization of the following strategies.

1. Piece Picking:

Piece picking emerges as the most prevalent and straightforward approach, backed by extensive data. Research shows that for small orders, piece picking is highly efficient, with an accuracy rate of over 99%. However, its efficiency diminishes for larger batches, where order completion times increase by approximately 20% compared to alternative methods.

2. Discrete Picking:

Supported by robust metrics, discrete picking, akin to piece picking, emphasizes accuracy. Studies have demonstrated that this method boasts an accuracy rate of up to 99.5%. While time-consuming, it ensures fewer errors, reducing the cost of returns by an average of 15% and increasing customer satisfaction by 12%.

3. Batch Picking:

Batch picking's effectiveness is underscored by operational data. Warehouses employing batch picking methods have reported a 30% reduction in picker travel time. This method proves particularly advantageous when applied to items situated further within the warehouse, cutting down order fulfillment time by approximately 25%.

4. Wave Picking:

Data-driven insights validate the efficiency of wave picking strategies. Warehouses that utilize wave picking experience an average increase of 18% in order processing speed. Moreover, this method caters well to suppliers facing a high volume of daily orders, resulting in a 22% reduction in order backlogs.

5. Zone Picking:

Zone picking's efficacy is substantiated by empirical evidence. Warehouses that implement zone picking witness a 40% decrease in picker travel distance, leading to an overall reduction of 30% in order processing time. This specialization-based approach minimizes item retrieval time, contributing to a 17% increase in picker productivity.

6. Part-to-Picker:

The superiority of the part-to-picker method is backed by both cost and time savings. Implementation of automated systems for part-to-picker picking has shown a reduction of up to 40% in labor costs and a corresponding increase of 25% in order fulfillment speed.

7. Combined Picking:

Data-supported analysis highlights the benefits of combined picking methods. The fusion of zone and batch picking has resulted in a 15% improvement in overall order accuracy, while the amalgamation of zone, batch, and wave picking has led to a 20% reduction in order lead times.

Incorporating these insights, you have the flexibility to blend various picking methods to suit your warehouse's specific needs. However, it's paramount to communicate these strategies clearly to your pickers to ensure optimal execution.



Upon successfully locating all the items listed for picking, the subsequent crucial step is to expertly pack these items for shipment. Research findings emphasize that efficient packing reduces the occurrence of damages during transit by up to 25%, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction.

In many instances, warehouse employees are responsible for both picking and packing, making it imperative to ensure they have access to an ample supply of appropriate packing materials. A study conducted among warehouses with well-stocked packing materials revealed a 15% reduction in packing time, resulting in a 10% increase in overall order processing efficiency.

It's essential to recognize that, despite their occurrence within the same warehouse setting, pickers and packers are often distinct roles. A comprehensive analysis demonstrates that segregating these roles yields a 30% reduction in order processing errors, contributing to an 8% increase in customer satisfaction due to accurate and timely deliveries.

Once the picker has successfully retrieved the items, they are directed to the packing station. Just as picking strategies warrant meticulous consideration, the selection of optimal packaging for each order is crucial. Studies have shown that the utilization of customized packaging, based on the nature and fragility of items, results in a 20% decrease in instances of damaged goods during shipping.

The inclusion of a packing slip with each order is a widely endorsed practice. Data-driven insights underscore its impact on order accuracy, revealing a 98.5% accuracy rate when packing slips are employed. Moreover, customers who receive orders with packing slips report a 15% higher likelihood of becoming repeat buyers.

Packing slips should encompass a range of information for utmost transparency and communication. This includes the customer's address and contact details, which studies confirm serve as redundant safety measures in the event of label detachment or damage. Furthermore, packing slips containing an exhaustive list of items and their corresponding quantities allow customers to cross-reference and verify their orders, resulting in a 12% reduction in post-delivery inquiries or returns.

Notably, inclusion of out-of-stock items on the packing slip, alongside prior customer notification, aligns with customer-centric practices. A survey of e-commerce customers revealed that 87% felt more positively towards a brand that openly communicated out-of-stock items in the packing slip.

Moreover, each item's SKU or UPC number holds immense value. This data, while essential for your inventory management, also aids in speedy dispute resolution. A study involving dispute cases found that having SKU/UPC information on the packing slip led to a 40% reduction in dispute resolution time.

Lastly, incorporating personalized messages on packing slips has demonstrated significant impact. Brands that added personalized thank-you notes witnessed a 20% higher rate of positive reviews and a 15% increase in customer retention over a six-month period.



The process of delivering products to customers efficiently and reliably is a paramount concern. Shipping carriers play a vital role in this equation, acting as the bridge between your business and the end consumer. When coupled with a well-structured fulfillment service, the choice of shipping carriers can significantly impact the overall customer experience and the operational success of your business.

Fulfillment services, often offered by third-party providers, encompass a suite of services including warehousing, order processing, packing, and shipping. This integrated approach streamlines operations and allows businesses to focus on core activities, leaving the complexities of logistics in capable hands. To optimize the synergy between fulfillment services and shipping carriers, careful consideration is essential.

When discovering shipping carriers to align with your chosen fulfillment service, several factors come into play:

  • Geographic Coverage: The geographic expanse of a shipping carrier's network bears a direct correlation to your market reach. A comprehensive study by DHL Express revealed that 41% of consumers abandon their online shopping carts due to insufficient delivery options, highlighting the importance of aligning the carrier's reach with your target audience.
  • Delivery Speed and Options: The velocity of delivery is a paramount concern for consumers. A survey conducted by UPS found that 54% of respondents abandoned a cart due to shipping timeframes not meeting their expectations. Opting for carriers that offer varied delivery speeds caters to diverse customer preferences.
  • Reliability and Tracking: Reliability in deliveries profoundly influences customer trust. A study by Convey reported that 98.1% of customers expect real-time visibility into their shipments. Shipping carriers renowned for accurate tracking, on-time deliveries, and effective handling of exceptions contribute to a satisfying customer journey.
  • Special Services: A diverse product range may necessitate specialized shipping services. The Journal of Business Logistics found that 62% of customers would pay extra for a better delivery experience, underscoring the value of specialized options such as temperature-controlled shipping or fragile item handling.
  • Customer Service: Efficient customer service during shipping-related inquiries enhances the overall experience. A survey by NewVoiceMedia demonstrated that 47% of customers chose to switch brands due to inadequate customer service. Collaboration with both your fulfillment service and shipping carrier ensures prompt issue resolution and customer satisfaction.

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