For online shoppers, it is just about placing the order and getting it delivered at their doorstep, but for e-commerce merchants, the process from order creation to its delivery is a relay race. This e-commerce chain is what we call as Product Flow.
So, when we talk about product flow in e-commerce, it is about all the steps that are involved in between the Order Placed and Order Delivered.
Let’s have an in-depth analysis on how the e-commerce flow works and not just the product flow:
The e-commerce cycle can be classified into two parts:
1. Customer’s Journey from Check-in to Check-out
Starting with the customer’s journey:
1-A. Visitor enters the website/store
The e-commerce workflow starts from here, when the visitor enters your website with a purchase idea in his mind.
1-B. Searches for the product:
Visitor searches for the desired product either by typing the product name in the search box or by following a hierarchy (Category - Sub-Category - Product Type)
1-C. Adds the product to the Cart:
After finding the desired product and getting assured of the product quality, visitor finally adds items into the cart.
The item remains in the cart even if the visitor leaves the cart, termed as cart abandonment. Next time when the shopper arrives, he can continue to shop right from where he left with a condition that the item is available or say in-stock.
1-D. Proceeds to Checkout:
After the item is added into the cart, the checkout process begins. It is the checkout page where the conversion depends.
1-E. Fills all the mandatory inputs:
Visitor is required to put all the necessary fields to place an order. It includes the name, email, address fields (shipping and billing address) and payment page. Name and address fields are automatically filled if the visitor is an existing customer and has saved the address.
1-F. Makes the payment:
The total cart amount is reflected in front of the visitor including the taxes and the shipping fees. The visitor is then presented with a number of payment options to choose from.
1-G. Order Placed:
Once the payment is successfully made, a message displays that the order is successful, confirming the order. The details regarding the order are sent to the customer’s contact number and email address.
2. Product Flow
Now, from here onwards, the work of the management starts:
2-A. Order is sent to the warehouse:
After the confirmation, the order details are sent to the warehouse.
2-B. Seller processes the order:
Product Packaging is done and the seller initiates the order to be ready for shipment.
2-C. Courier partner picks up the order:
After the seller gives it a green signal, the courier partner picks up the order and leaves for the delivery.
2-D. Order reaches the nearest shipping centre/logistics partner; Order shipped:
The order status is changed to “order shipped” once it reaches the shipping hub.
2-E. Order sent to the provided address; order delivered:
A delivery partner collects the order, goes out for delivery and delivers the product at the customer’s address.
This is the complete e-commerce workflow.
The process also includes the return part where customers can raise a return request for receiving an unsatisfactory product and get a refund or replacement for it, only if the return’s terms and conditions are matched.