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1. What is order fulfillment?

How to fulfill orders on Shopify: The ultimate guide

Master the process of Shopify order fulfillment with our comprehensive guide, tailored specifically for entrepreneurs, artists, and ecommerce businesses. As a cornerstone of online operations, mastering order fulfillment can be the difference between success and failure in the digital marketplace. Our guide aims to simplify the process, offer step-by-step instructions, and provide actionable tips. We will also explore how to maximize your operations using innovative solutions like Gelato, a world-leading print on demand platform.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Order fulfillment on Shopify refers to the entire process from receiving an order to delivering it to the customer's doorstep, involving steps such as order processing, inventory management, picking and packing items, and shipping.

  • Shopify offers a built-in fulfillment network, Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN), which allows inventory storage in their warehouses for quicker shipping, but it also integrates with Gelato, a global print on demand platform.

  • Setting up your Shopify store for order fulfillment involves choosing the right Shopify plan based on your business needs and configuring your store's settings, such as shipping methods, tax rates, notifications, and checkout process.

  • Fulfilling orders on Shopify includes receiving and reviewing the order, processing it, shipping it, and possibly automating some of these steps using various Shopify apps.

  • Gelato's print on demand service is a valuable tool in order fulfillment on Shopify, eliminating the need for inventory storage and management and handling logistics for a seamless order fulfillment process.

What is order fulfillment?

02_What is order fulfillment

Order fulfillment refers to the entire process, from receiving an order to delivering it to your customer's doorstep. It involves tasks such as order processing, inventory management, picking and packing items, and shipping.

Understanding Shopify order fulfillment

Shopify order fulfillment is the process that begins once a customer has made a purchase from your online store and ends when they receive their purchased items. It is an essential part of the ecommerce journey that requires precise execution to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain your store's reputation.

The order fulfillment process on Shopify

Shopify's order fulfillment process is highly user-friendly and automated. Once a customer places an order, it appears in the Shopify admin panel, ready for fulfillment. The typical steps include reviewing the order details, packing the items, printing a shipping label, sending the package via your chosen carrier, and notifying the customer about the shipment. With Shopify, you can manage all these steps from a single dashboard, offering convenience and efficiency.

Benefits of efficient order fulfillment

An effective order fulfillment process has several benefits.

  • It can enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring timely and correct delivery of orders.

  • It can help maintain inventory accuracy, minimize order errors, and reduce shipping costs.

  • An efficient fulfillment process can lead to repeat purchases, positive reviews, and customer referrals, all crucial for the growth of your Shopify store.

Shopify’s built-in fulfillment services and third-party integrations

Shopify offers its built-in fulfillment service, Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN), which enables you to store inventory in Shopify's warehouses spread across the country, making shipping faster and more efficient. However, Shopify also allows integration with Gelato - the world's largest print on demand platform with a presence in 34 countries, giving you the opportunity to sell your products globally and have them produced locally close to customers. With an on-demand production model, Gelato eliminates the need to hold inventory, offering ecommerce businesses the flexibility to sell their products at scale.

Setting up your Shopify store for order fulfillment

03_Setting up your Shopify store for order fulfillment

Before diving into fulfilling orders, it's essential to configure your Shopify store appropriately. This will ensure a seamless experience for both you and your customers.

Choosing the right Shopify plan

Shopify offers various plans, each with its own features and pricing. Carefully consider your business needs and select the plan that aligns with your goals and budget. Don't forget to take into account any specific order fulfillment features offered by each plan!

For example, if you anticipate a high volume of orders, you might want to opt for a plan that includes advanced inventory management capabilities. This will enable you to keep track of your stock levels in real time and avoid any stockouts or delays in order fulfillment.

On the other hand, if you're just starting out and have a limited budget, you can begin with a basic plan and upgrade as your business grows. Shopify provides the flexibility to switch plans at any time, allowing you to scale your order fulfillment operations accordingly.

Configuring your store's settings

Make sure to review and adjust your store's settings to optimize the order fulfillment process. Set up shipping methods, tax rates, and notifications to keep your customers informed.

Shipping methods

Consider offering multiple options to cater to different customer preferences. This could include standard shipping, expedited shipping, or even free shipping service for orders above a certain threshold. By providing a variety of shipping options, you can meet the diverse needs of your customers and enhance their overall shopping experience.

Set up tax rates

Different regions may have different tax requirements, and it's crucial to comply with the applicable regulations. Shopify offers built-in tax calculation features that can automatically calculate and apply the correct taxes based on your customers' locations.


Keeping your customers informed about the status of their orders is crucial for building trust and ensuring customer satisfaction. Set up automated email notifications to provide updates on order confirmation, shipment tracking, and delivery status. This will not only keep your customers in the loop but also reduce the number of inquiries and support requests related to order fulfillment.

Checkout process

Customize your checkout process to streamline the collection of important customer information. Collecting the necessary details, such as shipping addresses and contact information, at the time of checkout will help expedite the order fulfillment process. Consider implementing a guest checkout option to minimize friction for customers who prefer not to create an account.

Step-by-step guide to fulfilling orders on Shopify with Gelato

04_Step-by-step guide to fulfilling orders on Shopify with Gelato

Fulfilling orders on your Shopify store with Gelato is a seamless process that allows for a broad range of possibilities. Let's go through the step-by-step guide to ensure you can take full advantage of Gelato's print on demand (POD) services.

Connect to Gelato

First things first: connecting your Shopify store to Gelato. Here's how you do it:

1. Open the Shopify app store and look for the Gelato app.

2. Click on the "Add app" button to initiate the integration.

3. You will then be redirected to your Shopify admin page. Here, you need to enter your Shopify store URL and then hit "Install app."

4. You will be prompted to authorize Gelato to access certain information from your store. Complete this step to finalize the integration.

5. Once the connection is made, you can sell your existing products, or you can create new ones using Gelato's sustainable and fast POD services.

Start Selling

Once you're set up with Gelato, the next step is starting to sell. Here's what happens:

1. A customer visits your Shopify store and, impressed by your products, places an order.

2. The order information is automatically synced to Gelato's system, marking the beginning of the fulfillment process.

Let Gelato Handle the Rest

With Gelato, you don't have to worry about the fulfillment process. Here's how it works:

1. Gelato takes over the order details and forwards it to the nearest production partner from its extensive network of partners in 32 countries.

2. This production partner takes care of producing the product close to the customer's location, thereby ensuring quick delivery and reduced carbon emissions.

3. Once the production is complete, the item goes through a quality assurance check before it's ready to be shipped.

The Order is Shipped

Lastly, the product is delivered to your customer. Here's what happens:

1. After the final quality check, the product is packed securely and shipped to the customer.

2. Gelato ensures quick and reliable delivery. Since the product is manufactured closer to the customer, transportation distances are shorter, leading to reduced carbon emissions.

3. Your customer receives their order, with the process being as transparent and efficient as possible.

By utilizing Gelato's services, you can provide your customers with a superior shopping experience while simultaneously reducing your store's carbon footprint. It's a win-win!

Tips and tricks for efficient order fulfillment

05_Tips and tricks for efficient order fulfillment

The key to success in ecommerce lies in optimizing every aspect of the business, and order fulfillment is no exception. Below are some proven tips and tricks that can help streamline your order fulfillment process on Shopify and ensure an exceptional shopping experience for your customers.

Leverage the power of Shopify Fulfillment Network

Shopify's Fulfillment Network (SFN) is designed to make your order fulfillment process smoother and faster. It allows you to store your products in Shopify's warehouses scattered across the country, enabling quicker shipping to customers no matter where they are located. SFN also automates the fulfillment process, from inventory management to return handling, saving you time and resources.

Optimize inventory management

Accurate inventory management is vital for efficient order fulfillment. With Shopify's robust inventory management system, you can track fulfilled and unfulfilled items, set up automatic reordering of products, and minimize the risk of overselling. Regularly audit your inventory and utilize the advanced features of Shopify's system to avoid stockouts, partial order fulfillment, or excess inventory.

Automate order fulfillment

Automation can be a game-changer as compared to when you manually fulfill orders. Let's explore the benefits and tools available to automate this process. Automatic fulfillment can help reduce errors, save time, and improve overall efficiency. By setting up automation workflows for tasks such as order processing, inventory management, and shipping notifications, you can focus on other critical aspects of growing your business.

Shopify offers a vast array of apps that can streamline your process through automatic order fulfillment. From inventory management apps to shipping automation tools, explore the options available to automatically fulfill orders without hassles.

Implement batch fulfillment

Batch fulfillment is the process of fulfilling multiple orders simultaneously. Shopify allows you to fulfill multiple orders at once, reducing the time spent on order fulfillment. You can group orders based on common factors like shipping method or destination, then fulfill them all at once to increase efficiency.

Personalize your packaging

Personalizing your packaging can improve your customer's unboxing experience and help your brand stand out. Whether it's a simple thank-you note, branded packaging, or small freebies, these small gestures can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Maintain open communication with customers

From the moment an order is placed until it's delivered, keep your customers informed about their order status. Shopify automates this process by sending confirmation and shipping emails or text messages to customers. However, make sure to be proactive and accessible in case of delays or issues, as clear communication can help manage customer expectations and maintain their trust.

Mastering order fulfillment on Shopify with Gelato

In an ever-evolving digital world, the shift towards on-demand production and local printing is reshaping the ecommerce landscape. One key player spearheading this transformation is Gelato, the world's largest platform for local print on demand. By providing a comprehensive solution for entrepreneurs, creators, and global brands, Gelato enables businesses to sell their products globally, yet produce them locally in 32 countries. This opens the doors to a market of up to five billion potential consumers.

With Gelato, your Shopify store can offer a wide variety of products, such as t-shirts, wall art, mugs, phone cases, photo books, etc., produced on-demand and shipped straight to your customers' doors. You only pay for the products ordered, eliminating the need for inventory storage and management. Gelato not only takes care of product creation but also handles the logistics, ensuring a seamless order fulfillment process.

So, are you ready to take your Shopify store to the next level? Join the Gelato family today, and let's revolutionize your order fulfillment process together. Sign up for Gelato, and start exploring the vast possibilities it brings to your business.


Next steps

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