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During the early days of e-commerce, order fulfilment meant that there was a higher chance of having direct interaction with an online shop. After the development of shopping carts and online credit/debit card transactions, there were no more phone calls to be made to place your order. In some cases, customers had to mail out checks, then wait for the product to arrive.

As the eCommerce industry started to expand, so too have the payment methods. Today, payments are moving towards an automated accounting system and so has product fulfilment of orders made on an online shop.

Below is the most frequent order process of product fulfilment with the majority of online stores today.

  1. Product order is placed via a standard shopping cart.
  2. An email autoresponder sends an order confirmation to the customer.
  3. Placed order is added to a fulfilment database.
  4. An email autoresponder sends shipping alert to the customer.
  5. Tracking information is then provided so the customer can follow product delivery.

This type of product fulfilment takes into account what the customer needs.

However, not all of the five steps can be applied to e-commerce in Africa, especially with many people having a phone number compared to an email or a mobile money account compared to a credit/debit card.

In this case, defining your payment and shipping policies in your FAQ section can be an excellent way to help customers know what to expect when shopping from your eCommerce store.

In some cases, it may be smart to add a human touch when working with clients. Shopify lets you access your customer’s basic information like phone number, which you may use to make a phone call to confirm the order that was placed on your online shop.

However, as your business starts to scale, you will need to move your process to a more automated system.

At the moment, these are the best payment options to use in Africa;

  1. Cash on Delivery
  2. Direct Mobile Money Payments
  3. Use of Payment Gateways like Flutterwave

There are fulfilment options right now in Africa;

  1. SafeBoda in Uganda
  2. Gokada in Nigeria

Ensuring customer service delivery can be a game-changer for your business. We advise store owners to make a phone call as soon as an order is placed on their eCommerce store. 

Product fulfilment is one of the hardest parts in eCommerce, make sure you use a reliable courier or logistics partner to get your orders fulfilled to your customer in a timely and secure fashion.

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