Do You Know How Your Online Order Reaches You Finally?
If you know one thing about preschoolers, you should know this. They ask about 400 questions in a day! As a parent you must be prepared to give the right answers to all those questions. Answers that make sense to children. That’s what Mandeep believes at least. Mandeep works from home, so you can say Mandeep is a stay at home parent. In between Mandeep’s calls, work, and looking after the children he has a lot going on and finds online shopping the most convenient way to get everything from groceries to home supplies. So, almost inevitably, one day Mandeep’s daughter got curious. “How does this work?”, she asked, “You click on the computer and the delivery uncle comes home, but how?” Mandeep, like most of us, was stumped at the question so he promised to find out what happens.
Some help from Google introduced him to the systems Amazon used worldwide. Some more digging around on Quora and the like convinced him that this was the template most online retailers were basing their own processes on. Here’s what he learned about the intriguing world that goes abuzz behind the scenes as soon as you click ORDER.
As you hit ORDER
Let’s talk more about Amazon. Did you know? Amazon’s delivery system is nothing like what most people imagine. What most people imagine is that as they order that toothbrush from Amazon, the merchant gets a notification and couriers your order to your house. With Amazon, this is seldom the truth. If Amazon were to let the merchants courier like this, the courier or shipping charges would hit the roof! But as we know, Amazon shipping is quite cheap or at most times there’s no shipping cost at all!
Order fulfilling at the Fulfillment Center
International Amazon has enormous warehouses to store everything that Amazon sells. Before the merchants start selling their products online, they need to ship their products to these Amazon fulfillment centres. This is called the “Inventory model”. Once you hit “Order”, all Amazon has to do is check for the product at the fulfillment centre of your city and then proceed with the next steps. Just compare the courier charges from within cities and across different cities across the country and you will see the difference.
In another option much the same thing happens except the merchants only “exhibit” their wares on the platform and they ship the goods once the order reaches them from Amazon. This is called the “marketplace model”.
Why varying delivery Times
Sometimes what you want is not available in the fulfilment centre that serves your town, say for example the book you ordered from Amazon is an international publication. Then most likely it will have to be fulfilled from another city or country. Or in case you order that special “Madras Filter Coffee”, which is stored and shipped from a specific Chennai store to ensure that crisp, smooth freshness. The shipment from another location makes all the difference in the delivery times.
Systematic Conveyor systems
During gifting seasons like Diwali, Christmas, or peak sale season times, Amazon gets orders in the hundreds and thousands! Even though you yourself never have to touch and pick your products, there is a person at the warehouse actually doing the shopping for you as soon as your order reaches them. Those huge warehouses are so big that conveyor belts move the products after the person in charge, sorts, checks, and bar codes your item against your order. It then moves to the next process of packaging.
The bar code has all the information about where your item has to be shipped. The conveyor belt is set in motion, but this time it’s packaged, stamped with your address and goes to the right collection box where the courier company trucks collect them all for the final shipping process.
In India, Amazon tweaked their international process to make things easier for local sellers. Instead of the merchants sending their items to big godowns or warehouses, the Amazon delivery person picks it up straight from the merchants. This process is called Easy Ship which helps in faster delivery to your doorstep too. This is a “hyperlocal” extension to the ecommerce story and many prominent eCommerce retailers are exploring the route now.
Now doesn’t that all make sense? You click to order, the Amazon delivery guy picks it up from the seller, Amazon packs it and couriers it. The delivery boy brings it to your doorstep and collects cash if you have chosen COD. But if you aren’t home or don’t have cash, you can convert your COD to eCOD with PayPhi. – pay digitally when you know your order is out for delivery. So, now you know how it actually works!