Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide

Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide

As more businesses leap towards omnichannel fulfilment, it becomes more important to deepen our understanding of what it is and how it works. This is because to implement it successfully, a brand must rethink its whole strategy – and that can only be done if you have a sufficient understanding of what omnichannel fulfilment is to begin with. 

And to help you with that, we have created the perfect guide! In this blog, we will help you navigate all the aspects of omnichannel fulfilment and, prepare you to deal with the challenge of bringing it to the centre of your business more confidently. 

So, without further delays, let’s dive right in. 


  • What is Omnichannel Fulfilment?
  • Omnichannel Retail: What to Expect
  • What are the Advantages of Omnichannel Fulfilment?
  • Top 5 Tips for Omnichannel Fulfilment
  • Achieving Perfect Omnichannel Fulfilment with Canary7

What is Omnichannel Fulfilment?

First things first, let’s have a look at what omnichannel fulfilment is. In simple words, it is a process that involves picking, packing, and shipping orders for not just one sales channel, but multiple. These sales channels can range from brick-and-mortar stores to a digital shop and may even include online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, AliBaba, and many more websites. 

When trying to understand omnichannel fulfilment, it is important to distinguish between multi-channel fulfilment and omnichannel fulfillment. Although also used to serve multiple channels, multi-channel fulfilment involves a demarcation between all the processes. For example, each channel’s inventory and order management is different and aligned with that particular channel only. 

Omnichannel fulfilment can be a part of your business in many forms. For example, it can take place in warehouses and fulfilment centres, but it can also be carried out in-store or be a part of something like warehouse-to-alternative pick up location as well. 

On the other hand, omnichannel fulfilment is more targeted towards integrating and amalgamating processes for all the channels together, and ensuring that everything aligns with each other as smoothly as possible. 

Omnichannel selling is a dynamic experience that allows businesses to reach out to a wider audience, boost their sales, and create a stronger place for themselves in their respective industries.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - What is Omnichannel Fulfilment

Omnichannel Retail: What to Expect

When moving towards omnichannel retail, there are quite a few things you need to prepare yourself for. However, first and foremost, you need to understand that it is a challenging, quite demanding experience that requires a lot of effort and attention. 

Omnichannel fulfilment is nothing like ordinary fulfilment. In this process, the stakes are considerably higher, an increased number of elements is involved, and you have to invest more resources as well as energy. 

Yet, to say it is impossible to do this wouldn’t be right! The challenges presented to you can be tackled easily – given that you know what they are in advance. 

Which is precisely why this list of challenges will help you deal with omnichannel fulfilment in a much more advanced manner. 

Challenge 1: Streamlining order management

One of the biggest challenges of achieving successful fulfilment is streamlining order management. If your order management is efficient and advanced enough, you can give way to a smooth and profitable setup for sales on every channel. However, since multiple channels are involved, it can be quite hard to ensure that  every channel’s order taking and processing mechanisms are smooth and seamless. 

Many businesses are prone to ineffective order management, which also leads to increased possibility of back orders, unsatisfied customers, and even an increase in the costs you incur. For this reason, this is quite a concerning challenge for businesses.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Streamlining order management

Challenge 2: Achieving inventory visibility

A high-functioning inventory is the backbone of a successful omnichannel fulfilment experience. However, in order for your inventory to be high-functioning, you have to achieve inventory visibility. This proves to be quite difficult for businesses as they struggle to be up-to-date with the inventory at all times; which creates a lag in inventory management and, may slow down your overall omnichannel fulfilment efforts. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Achieving inventory visibility

Challenge 3: Optimising warehouse space

Another area that can present a challenge to businesses in regards to omnichannel fulfilment is organising warehouse space. In order to enable the ideal flow for omnichannel fulfilment, it is important to make sure that your warehouse space is set in accordance with the goals of your omnichannel strategy, and sometimes it can be hard to do this. 

Of course, you need to work on making your warehouse omnichannel-friendly from scratch, and it can be challenging when you consider that you have to move away from some processes and rearrange elements that have been a part of your business for years – and this is the transition that most businesses struggle to make, although it is necessary. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Optimising warehouse space

Challenge 4: Getting extra help

Although achieving seamless fulfilment for a single channel without extra help is convenient, this is not the case for omnichannel fulfilment. Omnichannel efficiency may require you to add value-added services, like 3PL or 4PL support for some elements of your fulfilment experience. The challenge arises when businesses don’t have enough resources to get this help. 

Even those with the resources and can make the required investment may not know which 3PL is the best for their purposes; and for them, the challenge is to choose help that can make a contribution towards their omnichannel success strategy. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Getting extra help

Challenge 5: Handle returns and exchanges

It is hard to handle returns and exchanges as it is, but handling returns and exchanges as a part of the fulfilment experience is even more challenging as it requires dealing with an increased amount of products. Reverse logistics, therefore, is quite a hard area in the world of omnichannel fulfilment, which is why it turns out to be more challenging than businesses often expect it to be at first. 

Considering that each sales channel probably has its own return policy and the return and exchange process for your orders must align with these policies specifically. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Handle returns and exchanges

Challenge 6: Maintaining customer interactions

The whole point of omnichannel fulfilment is to get more customers onboard. However, getting more customers on board means having to deal with more customers too! As such, handling customer queries and satisfying all customers equally, regardless of what channel you are serving them on, can be hard to achieve. 

So, in a way, omnichannel fulfilment is not only about handling back end logistics, but also maintaining customer interactions and ensuring that everything is going well even at the forefront of your process.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Maintaining customer interactions

Challenge 7: Being in access to the right integrations

Omnichannel fulfilment depends on advanced integrations between not only all the channels you are catering to, but also different departments of the business. For this to occur, you have to get your hands on the right integrations. A few that could help you would be eCommerce integrations, carrier integrations, and marketplace integrations. Making these a part of your business could help you get the extra edge you need to achieve success in the area of omnichannel fulfilment. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Being in access to the right integrations

What are the Advantages of Omnichannel Fulfilment? 

As mentioned above, we understand that omnichannel fulfilment can be challenging. However, we will always encourage businesses to take the leap and get to – considering that it can give you benefits that will improve your strategy and make it way more profitable. 

Here is a list of benefits that working on omnichannel fulfilment can help you achieve:

It boosts your revenue and sales 

Since you are catering to a wider audience with omnichannel selling, perfecting omnichannel fulfilment can help you boost your revenue and sales. So, if, as a business, dwindling numbers on your revenue report are bringing you down, all you have to do is turn your attention towards omnichannel fulfilment. Omnichannel fulfilment will put your business out there, attract more people, which means more sales and a better revenue. If done the right way, omnichannel fulfilment can also help you cut back on the money wasted on rectifying mistakes and making improvements – all of which can make your strategy a lot more successful.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - It boosts your revenue and sales

It allows accurate inventory control

The more in control you are of your inventory, the better it can work in your favour. When you are working towards achieving the ideal omnichannel fulfilment experience, you have to be in touch with your inventory. This allows for more accurate inventory control, which puts you in a better position to identify lags and shortcomings beforehand, and take steps to minimise their impact on your operations. This way, you can ensure that your inventory processes are in optimal condition and continue contributing to your overall strategy. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - It allows accurate inventory control

It enhances customer satisfaction and improves customer retention

When you provide customers with good services and great quality products on not just one channel but every channel, you are giving way to increased customer satisfaction. Increased customer satisfaction is a great way to improve your brand image in front of all your customers. It can also help you improve customer retention: the happier your customers are, the longer they will stay with you and the more you can focus on developing the right relationship with them. For this reason, omnichannel fulfilment is necessary to improve customer retention and make your brand a customer-favourite without putting much effort.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - It enhances customer satisfaction and improves customer retention

It establishes stronger brand perception

As a brand, you are only as good as your customers consider and perceive you to be. For this reason, you have to work on giving off the right brand perception. When fulfilling orders on a single channel, it can be quite hard to give effect to this. On the other hand, if you are focusing on omnichannel fulfilment, you can more easily impress your customers and hence, improve your brand image on multiple channels rather than only one. Because of this, it is almost always easier for omnichannel brands to win over clients and outtake their competitors – and that should be a reason enough for you to consider going omnichannel today!

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - It establishes stronger brand perception

It gives you a better insight into your progress

When focusing on omnichannel fulfilment, you are automatically more attuned to your activity. This means you are in a much better position to judge how well you are doing as a business, and where you stand. As such, omnichannel fulfilment gives you a better insight into your progress and strengthens your view of your operations. Due to this, you have a clearer idea of what changes you need to make in order for things to be executed perfectly, and most businesses would agree that this kind of leverage helps them achieve the best of the best. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - It gives you a better insight into your progress

When all these benefits are introduced to your fulfilment strategy, it will become even better and put you in a considerably stronger position in front of your customers. 

Top 5 Tips for Omnichannel Fulfilment

Does omnichannel fulfilment sound tricky to you? We don’t blame you, because it definitely can be a little tricky to perfect. Between streamlining major fulfilment processes and making sure your customers are fully satisfied with all your efforts, it can be hard to make sure you are moving in the right direction in regards to omnichannel fulfilment. 

However, we have picked out these top 5 tips for omnichannel fulfilment that will help you improve your strategy and make sure that you are not unnecessarily struggling to bring the perfect fulfilment experience to your operations.

Make sure you break down silos between channels

If there are any hindrances that restrict interconnection between all your channels, you can simply not achieve omnichannel perfection. Any silos that do this will also cause delays in your order processing capabilities, which can seriously dent your brand image in the customer’s eyes. 

Therefore, it is indubitably important for businesses to work on promoting collaboration and interconnection between different channels that you deal with. For example, if your eBay order processing should be connected to your Amazon order processing as well, this would allow you to keep a count of the total orders you are completing and avoid any inventory related problems.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Make sure you break down silos between channels

Prioritise communication between all departments

Working towards omnichannel success not only means connecting different sales channels together, but it also means enabling communication and interconnection between all the different departments of your business. So, you have to make sure that there is a clear line of communication between sales, marketing, logistics, and shipping departments. The more interconnected these departments are, the more easily you can ensure that your fulfilment strategy is fit enough for omnichannel processing. 

This is also the best way to speed up omnichannel fulfilment, and speed is an important element in ensuring that you are on the right track with your omnichannel efforts. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Prioritise communication between all departments

Leave no channel behind

Again: the whole point of omnichannel fulfilment is to cater to different channels together. As such, it would be better to make sure that you don’t leave any channel behind. Try to break out of your comfort-zone and tackle as many channels as you can. Don’t limit yourself to Amazon and eBay; get out there and try to sell your products on every channel that will have you. 

It may sound like it’s a little too much, but when you have the right omnichannel fulfilment set up in place, you can very easily tackle multiple channels together – which again, will only be beneficial for your business! 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Leave no channel behind

Streamline and strengthen inventory management, order processing, and shipment

You have to work on all fulfilment processes in order for your omnichannel fulfilment to be successful as a whole. Therefore, you have to streamline and strengthen inventory management, order processing, and shipment. Only when all three of these are operating seamlessly can you expect success on the omnichannel side. 

Remember; omnichannel fulfilment means dealing with an increased order volume. To support that without having to deal with any problems along the way, you have strengthened all the relevant processes.

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Streamline and strengthen inventory management, order processing, and shipment

Work towards an integrated approach 

Without integration, omnichannel fulfilment is simply not possible. If you weren’t prioritising an integrated approach earlier, now is the time you start doing that, especially if you are a business keen on solidifying its omnichannel success. 

There are quite a few ways you can achieve integration in your fulfilment experience; however, the best is getting a software system that provides you with top-notch integrations. For example, a warehouse management system that connects you to ERP systems, courier programs, and even eCommerce platforms will help you make sure that not only the back end of your business is streamlined, but also that you are achieving a considerably high level of efficiency on the front end of your business as well. 

Canary7 - Omnichannel Fulfilment Guide - Work towards an integrated approach

Achieving Perfect Omnichannel Fulfilment with Canary7

The right tools and technology can do wonders for your retail strategy, and we are sure that you know that by now. 

If you want to succeed in omnichannel fulfilment, you have to integrate an advanced software solution that can help you to streamline all the required aspects of your experience. Not only that, you must look for an option that also provides you with a large range of integrations, to ensure that you are not leaving any stone unturned with your omnichannel fulfilment efforts. 

In this regard, there is no better option than Canary7. Not only is Canary7 the perfect omnichannel fulfilment software, it is also the best way to connect the back end of your business with the other solutions. As such, Canary7’s fulfilment capabilities offer you the chance to work on bringing a greater level of integration to your business, and making it a lot more advanced on multiple levels. 

Not convinced? Why don’t you check us out and see if we are the right fit for you or not!

Colleen Ballantine

Colleen Ballantine


UPDATED ON: 24th Jan 2023

Colleen is a marketing specialist at Canary7, writing in-depth blog content on warehouse management, inventory control, and logistics. With extensive industry experience, Colleen focuses on delivering informative and insightful posts

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