What Does Awaiting Fulfillment Mean? How Does It Impact E-commerce Businesses?
Shopping online can be puzzling, primarily when you do not know what different tracking statuses mean. Imagine seeing a bunch of phrases on your screen, like “awaiting fulfillment,” and not understanding where your package is!
For businesses, it means a lower customer satisfaction rate and multiple inquiries—causing wastage of time and effort. Hence, it is advisable to be aware of the awaiting fulfillment meaning and learn how to differentiate it from other updates.
This guide can help you understand how to decipher tracking statuses and improve the online shipping experience!
What Does Awaiting Fulfillment Mean on an Order?
Often, you may see the phrase “awaiting fulfillment” on your USPS tracking page. But what does it mean?
It refers to the initial stage of your order processing journey, wherein the company has not yet started packing your items. To get a better idea of what awaiting fulfillment means, let us see how the entire process of online buying works:
- You browse through a website and add things you like to the cart.
- You complete the payment and place an order.
- The brand or business receives your order and accepts it.
- This business forwards the order to its warehouse or logistics center.
- The warehouse collects the items you ordered and packages them.
- Once this department finishes the packaging process, it sends it to the USPS office for mailing.
You may see the status “awaiting fulfillment” between the time when the warehouse gets the item request and starts packing it. Since the company may need to deal with hundreds or thousands of orders daily, this update may remain unchanged for a few days.
You do not need to worry about it because the awaiting fulfillment meaning says that the company can process your order very soon. Usually, there is a specific timeline between when you place an order and when the company’s warehouse fulfills it. So, inquire about the number of hours or days for fulfillment before you order something.
After the order awaiting fulfillment process completes, you may get an “in transit” or “awaiting shipment” notification. It means that USPS has received your package and initiated the delivery process.
Also, please note that the order fulfillment procedure consists of assembling, packaging, and labeling. Hence, you may see the “waiting for fulfillment” update until the warehouse adds the address label, postage, and Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB).
We know not all companies have a separate logistics department. And it makes in-house order processing daunting, leading customers to see the “awaiting fulfillment” message for a long time. Also, businesses with in-house teams might struggle to keep up the efficiency of their mailing activities and save costs.
Therefore, PostGrid’s direct mail services help companies of all sectors print and ship mailpieces in no time—and at discounted rates.
What Is the Difference Between Pending Fulfillment and Awaiting Fulfillment?
The words pending and awaiting may mean the same, but not when we speak of logistics. When you see the “awaiting fulfillment” message, the company has already sent over the invoice. And it is somewhere in the warehouse waiting for the staff to assemble it with the package.
You can decrypt this update in many ways:
- The company has seen and verified your order.
- Your payment was complete, and the business will process your request soon.
- An invoice is created and sent to the warehouse or the packaging department.
- You can download the invoice and get a delivery estimate according to the company’s shipping policies.
However, if you get the “pending fulfillment” notification, it means:
- The eCommerce company is yet to draft the invoice and send it to the concerned department.
- Your order fulfillment is initiated and in process.
The second possibility is good news for customers because they are one step ahead in their mail arrival cycle. However, the pending fulfillment meaning does not always refer to it, so you need to wait until you see another update on your screen.
Yet, many eCommerce companies use pending and awaiting fulfillment interchangeably, which means you would only see one of these two statuses at all times. However, remember that at this stage, you are several steps behind the delivery process. Sometimes, it can take several days or more than a week to see a change in your tracking update.
We understand that it is hard to decrypt what does awaiting fulfillment mean and what to do next. Several departments within a company work together simultaneously to verify your order and get it out for shipping. For instance, the inventory department confirms whether you have the item in stock. And the accounts department compiles the billing details and drafts the invoice.
It is not uncommon for customers to get the pending fulfillment status at these stages. Additionally, the marketing and sales department should receive the details to make reports and match them with their goals.
Imagine your marketing team sent a personalized postcard to a customer a few days back, and you get an order from them today! It is a positive campaign response, and you must inform all the involved teams. The point is that an order goes through several departments before it is finally out of the “order is waiting for fulfillment” phase.
How Long Does Awaiting Fulfillment Take?
Another question customers ask after they know what is awaiting fulfillment is how long it takes. We wish there were a clear-cut answer to this query, but it depends on several factors.
After making a purchase online, you may feel uneasy seeing the order status awaiting fulfillment update. You can contact the retailer or eCommerce company you bought from immediately and inquire about your item. However, they cannot give you an accurate delivery date because the labeling and shipping process is still due.
Also, the timeline depends on the availability of the products. Most eCommerce brands place orders with their manufacturers after someone buys the items—delaying the packaging process. Thus, it is not entirely in the business’s hands to fulfill your order as soon as you hit the ‘buy now button.
You have no option but to rely on the “order status awaiting fulfillment” message to know when you can expect your package delivery.
Smaller companies with less merchandise and faster teams can accept, process, and ship orders speedily than large-scale corporations. Hence, customers get the “awaiting fulfillment” message more often and for longer when they purchase from big, reputed brands.
For instance, Amazon does not fulfill orders in real time after you buy something. It works on a batch basis—compiling several orders, printing invoices in bulk, and fulfilling them simultaneously. Thus, all the customers get the “waiting for fulfillment” status until every order is packaged and shipped. It makes things cheaper and more efficient for Amazon, but you can face delays.
Typically, most businesses complete order fulfillment within two to three business days. You get an email that the sender has packaged your items and shipped them via postal services or other courier companies. Simultaneously, you can see a change in your order status from “awaiting fulfillment” to “in transit.”
You can see the real-time delivery update on the USPS website if you get a tracking number. Otherwise, wait a few days according to the estimated arrival time and contact the seller.
Understanding Your “Awaiting Fulfillment” Tracking Updates
After ordering something via an eCommerce business, you may see these tracking updates other than awaiting fulfillment or pending:
Submitted for Fulfillment
Usually, “submitted for fulfillment” appears on your tracking status page before you see the “awaiting fulfillment” update. It is to inform customers that the business gave your transactional a green signal and submitted the item details and order form to the processing department.
Please note all the updates regarding “awaiting fulfillment” may seem similar because there are only a few minor differences. But learning the accurate descriptions can help you predict your mail arrival times effectively.
Sometimes, the “submitted for fulfillment” status may never show up, primarily if the eCommerce business has a fast and efficient order processing system. Thus, the update directly jumps to “order is waiting for fulfillment” after the transaction completes.
However, it’s good to receive additional tracking updates because you know the seller is working to fulfill your order at the earliest.
This message also appears before the “awaiting fulfillment” update and means the company is yet to acknowledge your order. You do not need to worry because this status will likely change within 24 to 48 hours.
But, some companies take longer than the standard “awaiting fulfillment” time because of several internal discrepancies. For example, they might not have the necessary resources to process bulk mail, or there could be a shortage of packaging materials, etc.
If you need assistance sending large mail volumes and leave behind lengthy shipping processes, try PostGrid’s direct mail API. It allows you to prepare your mailpieces, print them, and line them up with the click of a button.
Customers are more relieved to see “partially shipped” instead of “pending fulfillment” when they track their orders. This update says that the brand has fulfilled and shipped one or a few of your items.
But why do eCommerce businesses split shipments going to the same recipient?
The reason can be that they didn’t have a few items in stock, so they fulfilled the available ones. Thus, the other products are still “awaiting fulfillment,” but the status shows “partial fulfillment completed” or “partially shipped.”
Often, these cases might also occur when you order items from different categories. Imagine you order skincare products and apparel from the same brand. But, you may see “awaiting fulfillment” for one range and “in transit” for another because the items are from different sections.
The “shipped” tracking message is very straightforward—it refers to those items on their way to your address. Unlike “awaiting fulfillment,” this update lets customers relax because they know their package is already in the USPS delivery infrastructure and will reach you soon.
It is the second best update you can receive, and there are only a couple of days until the mail’s arrival date. Also, once you see the status change to “shipped,” your order is now secure with USPS, and you can get it at your doorstep soon.
Please remember that you won’t see “pending fulfillment” or any related statuses after getting the “shipped” notification. Instead, you get USPS tracking statuses, like in item scanned, in transit, out for delivery, etc.
It is the best message customers can get after doing online shopping. The “awaiting fulfillment” notification asks you to wait. But, the “delivered” status says that the wait is finally over, and you can have your package at your shipping address.
It may also mean that:
- Your mail is with a carrier who is now at your doorstep.
- The mailperson already marked your package as “delivered,” and it should be with you in a few minutes.
If you know what does pending fulfillment mean- you may also be aware of the significance of updates, like “shipped” and “delivered.” Most eCommerce companies might not give a timeline for “awaiting fulfillment” but offer the predicted delivery date once your mailpiece is out for shipping.
Please note: If your delivery status shows “delivered,” but you didn’t receive the item, check near your garage door, in the driveway, behind the plant on your porch, etc. Sometimes, the carrier leaves the mailpiece in another safe area if the mailbox is full.
Reasons Why Your Mail Status Shows “Awaiting Fulfillment”
Often, you may notice that it takes a business longer than usual to change the item update from “awaiting fulfillment” to “awaiting shipment.” Perhaps, there are some significant reasons you must be aware of, like:
Improper Warehouse Management
Today, most eCommerce businesses focus on improving their delivery speeds. Hence, seeing the “awaiting fulfillment” isn’t such a bad thing unless there are some other problems.
For example, sometimes, sellers cannot locate the products you ordered. A delay in finding the item can also cause the “awaiting fulfillment” status to remain for a longer time than usual. It may happen because of improper warehousing, wherein the workers don’t follow the systematic arrangements. The result? All the products are over the place, and the employees need at least a few hours or days to find the ordered items.
Every company has an internal communication system that connects all the departments and drives consistency. However, there could be an internal communication issue within the organization if your mail status does not change to “shipped” from “pending fulfillment” for long enough.
Improper communication can cause several problems, like picking the wrong products, not getting the number of items right, etc. They delay the order processing activity, leading to the “awaiting fulfillment” message lingering around the customers’ tracking pages for too long.
These things can tarnish the company’s reputation and decrease customer satisfaction. Also, the customers might ask for a refund if the “awaiting fulfillment” update does not change for a while.
It is one of the warehouse’s primary jobs to order items that are not in stock. Thus, they can be ready to fulfill customer orders without any delays. Also, they do not need to rely on the manufacturer at the last minute to help them move ahead from the “pending fulfillment” phase.
Businesses must know when to order and how much to avoid such problems. Customers hate waiting around seeing the “awaiting fulfillment” notification, primarily when they need the products urgently.
A robust inventory management system can help you fulfill orders on time and keep up with your customer’s expectations.
How to Improve Your Order Fulfillment Process?
After you learn what does awaiting fulfillment mean, you can take specific steps to improve your shipping system and attract more customers.
Below, we have enlisted some ideas to help you:
Focus on Your Post-Purchase Experience
No matter how much effort you put into improving your website design and UX, the post-purchase customer experience matters more. For instance, let us assume you have a fantastic website with a fast checkout process. You can convert customers, but what happens if they get the “awaiting fulfillment” message for days?
It creates a negative impression, and you may lose those customers forever. Hence, concentrate on your post-purchase activities to reduce the “awaiting fulfillment” times and speed up deliveries.
It can be hard to catch up in a world where Amazon offers overnight to next-day mailing. But you can still beat your competitors by working on your “pending fulfillment” timeline.
Automate Your Shipping Tasks
Automating your activities to save time and money is a no-brainer. You can automate everything from order processing and changing the “awaiting fulfillment” status to delivery.
Automation enables eCommerce businesses to track all their “pending fulfillment” orders in one place and process them accordingly. Plus, it lets sellers keep tabs on every customer and record their buying behaviors.
PostGrid’s direct mail services can help you integrate print and mail into your marketing CRMs to fetch data and draft mailers speedily. Also, they allow you to print the items and mail them all in one go. Thus, you can use PostGrid to send invoices, customer receipts, terms and conditions sheets, reply mail, etc.
Forecast Demand and Improve Your Returns Policy
Always order more than you need instead of making customers wait with an “awaiting fulfillment” tracking status. It ensures that you can fulfill any order in the least time possible and ship it. Don’t forget to send the confirmation email to your customers with the tracking number—another task you can automate.
Also, have a seamless returns policy to make your customers feel confident about buying from you. If you cannot fulfill an order, try canceling it and remove the “awaiting fulfillment” update. Similarly, it is better to let customers return your items (majorly when you delivered them late) instead of garnering negative mouth publicity.
How Can PostGrid’s Direct Mail Solutions Help Businesses With “Awaiting Fulfillment?”
PostGrid’s online print and mail services enable businesses to prepare, produce, and ship their direct mailers effortlessly. Companies of all industries can send several transactional and marketing mail to their audience online using our solutions.
Also, PostGrid can help solve the issue if your customer’s order is stuck on “awaiting fulfillment” because of a missing invoice or delay in printing the bill.
It allows you to create mailers using our in-built templates and API integrations and print them via reputed printing vendors across the country.
Here is a case study of how PostGrid helped an eCommerce business deal with “awaiting fulfillment” and similar issues:
The client wanted to add marketing inserts to every order to boost repeat business and create a positive image. However, they didn’t have adequate time and resources, like additional printers, a team of designers, etc. Thus, almost all their orders were stuck in the “pending fulfillment” stage for several days until they started getting complaints.
Also, the company lagged in printing invoices, customer statements, bills, coupons, etc. Thus, the shipping process was always slow and dull—waiting for the in-house staff to take care of every small detail and update the “awaiting fulfillment” status.
Thus, they approached PostGrid to help with their direct mailing tasks and reduce “pending fulfillment,” and here’s how it improved their operations for the good within a week:
- Address validation: PostGrid’s address verification API cross-checks every delivery address on your list before mailing. Thus, you can ensure that all your customers have legit addresses and none of the orders are fake. Also, it reduces mail returns and wastage.
- Design and printing: Our direct mail API helped the client draft and print invoices, order forms, coupons, and other inserts simultaneously. Hence, their customers didn’t need to worry about “awaiting fulfillment” because the company shipped the orders quickly.
- Distribution: PostGrid did the heavy lifting for the eCommerce business to presort items, add IMBs, and drop them off at the Post Office. Thus, they had more time to solve “awaiting fulfillment” issues than to handle logistics.
Every customer is excited to receive their package after browsing a website for hours and buying products. The “awaiting fulfillment” message can act as a hurdle between you and your customers—making them lose interest and confidence in your brand.
Thus, you must fulfill your orders speedily and get them on the customers’ way in no time!
PostGrid’s automated direct mail solutions can assist you during the process and help tackle the “awaiting fulfillment” tracking update. Request a demo now to learn more!