top of page

What is a Fulfilment Service UK? Process & Strategies 2024

Updated: Apr 26

Fulfilment Service UK

Fulfilment services UK, typically defined as the process of fulfilling a sales order according to the customer's requirements, carries far more significance than its definition implies. In today's landscape, customers wield considerable influence, possessing greater knowledge and expectations. Efficient order fulfilment plays a pivotal role in shaping your brand's reputation, driving company profits, and fostering client retention.

Sales are the lifeblood of any business. However, without effective order

fulfilment, the sales process cannot materialise.

See a full list of fulfilment centre pros vs cons here.

What is a fulfilment service UK?

A Fulfilment Service UK is the comprehensive process of receiving and processing goods for distribution to customers.

What does a fulfilment service UK entail?

Fulfilment services UK involves meeting the specifications of a sales order, ensuring the delivery of goods as promised at the point of sale. This process encompasses three primary stages: receiving, processing, and shipping.

Why is order fulfilment significant?

Businesses generate revenue by selling goods, products, or services either to other businesses (B2B) or directly to consumers (D2C). Regardless of the business model, a sale remains incomplete until the purchased items are in the hands of the customer. Fulfilment services UK represents the critical conclusion of the sales process and lies at the core of every business operation.

Fulfilment services UK Process

Fulfilment services UK

Fulfilment services UK process occurs within one or multiple distribution centres and usually encompasses tasks such as inventory management, supply chain management, order processing, quality control, and customer support for addressing issues or facilitating product exchanges or returns.

Receiving inventory

Inventory reception involves receiving goods from various sources, including third parties, other company departments, or internal warehouses, as well as pipelines for fluid products or digital data from databases. Regardless of the source, incoming inventory undergoes counting, inspection, and inventorying to verify the correct quantity received and assess its quality. SKUs or barcodes on the received products are utilised during reception and storage procedures, as well as for retrieving goods from internal storage at a later stage.

Inventory Storage

Inventory storage begins once goods arrive at the Fulfilment services UK, where they undergo inventorying before being either promptly distributed or transferred to short- or longer-term storage. Ideally, items are stored for only as long as necessary to facilitate the organised distribution of goods for current sales, rather than being held for future sales.

Order Processing

Order processing involves the implementation of a management system that governs the picking and packing activities for each newly received customer order. In the online marketplace, order management software can be seamlessly integrated with the shopping cart on an ecommerce website, automating the initiation of order processing.


A team of pickers or automated warehouse robots retrieve items from the warehouse based on the instructions provided on a packing slip. This slip contains detailed information, including lists of item SKUs, product colours, sizes, quantities, and their respective locations within the fulfilment centre's warehouse.


During the packing stage, packing materials are chosen by either a packing team or automated fulfilment robots with the goal of minimising dimensional weight. This weight is determined by multiplying the package's length, width, and height, aiming to optimise space on delivery trucks and potentially reduce shipment costs.

Additionally, packing teams typically include return shipping materials and labels to accommodate customer exchanges or refunds if needed in the future. A number of different packaging materials can be used from paper to bubble wrap and the ideal material will be used to best protect the items within.


The order is directed to a shipping channel via a number of different ways. Fulfilment services UK base their shipping methods on rules. This can be either by weight, size and delivery time frame. Additionally, most carriers have specific packaging regulations aimed at optimising their shipping space and profitability. Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to shipment delays if carriers refuse to accept the order. SoFulfilment services UK are well placed to know these requirements and are able to best provide the shipping solution. It's typical for shipping routes to involve multiple carriers. For instance, Roya Mail for smaller and lighter items and DPD for larger heavier items.

Returns Handling

The returns processing commences by incorporating shipping materials and a return label with the original customer's order. Upon receiving a returned product for exchange or refund, a meticulous process ensues to determine whether it is suitable for restocking. Products with defects or those that are soiled cannot be restocked. Returns processing entails conducting quality control checks and categorising returned items accordingly. Subsequently, returned products are either replenished in stock, returned to the vendor if required. A smooth returns handling process is key to the customer experience.

Fulfilment services UK Challenges

Fulfilment services UK

Inventory Management

Effective inventory management is crucial to prevent stockouts, which can result in customer dissatisfaction, compromise the overall customer experience, and damage brand reputation. Once this damage occurs, it can be challenging for companies to rectify. However, there are instances where customers are more understanding, such as shortages and delays caused by widespread weather events, natural disasters. Fulfilment services UK have a clear understanding of these changes and have rebuts processes in place to support and advise on such instances. This is also key for peak season demands and a clear plan is key to overcome any peak season demands.

Demand Planning

Conversely, maintaining excessive inventory incurs higher storage and carrying expenses and elevates the risk of demand decline before sales. Precise prediction and planning of demand levels are vital to ensuring sufficient stock levels without falling into shortages or overstocking any specific item.

How Do You Choose an Fulfilment services UK Strategy?

Select an Fulfilment services UK approach based on the capabilities and resources accessible within your organisation. If there is a shortage of fulfilment and logistics expertise and resources, outsourcing to a fulfilment services UK might be the preferable option. Conversely, if your company possesses adequate in-house capabilities, internal fulfilment could offer greater control over operations and costs. For companies with intermediate levels of in-house talent and resources, a hybrid model might be advantageous, providing some benefits of both outsourcing and internal fulfilment.

Fulfilment services UK Models

Fulfilment services UK models have undergone refinement over several decades, yet their fundamental principles remain valid for compelling business rationales. There are four primary Fulfilment services UK models available, each catering to specific business requirements:

1. In-house: In this model, all order fulfilment processes are managed internally within the company.

2. Third-party: This model involves outsourcing all order fulfilment tasks to a dedicated order fulfilment vendor or another third-party service provider.

3. Drop shipping: With drop shipping, the manufacturer produces and ships the order directly to the customer. This model is advantageous for start-ups and e-commerce businesses as it reduces entry barriers and minimizes overhead costs. However, it can also lead to challenges in terms of inventory management and order fulfilment control, as well as potential delays in shipping due to the manufacturer's location.

4. Hybrid: The hybrid model combines elements of two or more of the aforementioned models. For instance, a company may opt to handle order fulfilment internally for certain products while outsourcing fulfilment during peak seasons, such as the holiday period. Additionally, they may choose to utilize drop shipping for large or bulky items directly from the manufacturer.

Outsource to a third-party Fulfilment services UK

Blue30 is a UK based Fulfilment services UK offering a number of services to ecommerce sellers and brands.

Check out the full list of our services provided here. You can also book in a free call to discuss your requirements and what we have to offer here. Alternatively get a free quote here.

fulfilment service uk


bottom of page