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Understanding BigCommerce Fulfillment

April 03, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

This comprehensive guide equips you with everything you need to know about BigCommerce fulfillment. We’ll delve into BigCommerce’s built-in features, explore popular integrations, and unlock strategic tips to optimize your delivery process and impress your customers.

BigCommerce Fulfillment Overview

BigCommerce empowers online businesses with a robust set of features and functionalities to streamline their fulfillment processes.

BigCommerce Fulfillment Overview
  • Inventory Management: Gain complete control over your stock:
    • Track stock levels in real time.
    • Receive automatic inventory updates.
    • Manage product variations effectively.
  • Order Processing: Automate tedious tasks and streamline workflows:
    • Send automated order confirmations to customers.
    • Generate packing slips efficiently.
    • Manage order fulfillment processes with ease.
  • Shipping Options: Provide flexibility and transparency to your customers:
    • Set up real-time shipping rates from various carriers.
    • Offer various shipping options to cater to different customer needs and budgets.
    • Display estimated delivery times at checkout.


BigCommerce caters to businesses of all sizes.  As your business grows, you can adapt your fulfillment strategy seamlessly:

  • Startups: Leverage BigCommerce’s built-in features for efficient in-house fulfillment during initial stages.
  • Growing Businesses: Integrate with third-party fulfillment services (3PLs) to scale storage and fulfillment operations as your order volume increases.
  • Established Businesses: Use BigCommerce’s advanced features to manage complex fulfillment needs, such as multi-warehouse inventory management.


BigCommerce empowers you to choose the fulfillment approach that best aligns with your business model and resources:

  • In-House Fulfillment:
    • Maintain complete control over the process, including storage, picking, packing, and shipping.
    • Requires dedicated resources and infrastructure.
  • Outsourced Fulfillment (3PL):
    • Partner with a third-party logistics provider to handle storage, picking, packing, and shipping on your behalf.
    • Frees up your time and resources to focus on other aspects of your business.
    • Involves additional costs associated with 3PL services.

Additional Integrations:

BigCommerce has a comprehensive App Store with many third-party integrations to enhance your fulfillment capabilities:

  • Fulfillment Services: Integrate with leading 3PL providers like ShipBob, ShipStation, and Fulfillify to automate order fulfillment tasks.
  • Shipping Carriers: Connect with major carriers like USPS, FedEx, and DHL to offer real-time shipping rates and manage shipping labels directly within your BigCommerce store.

Fulfillment Options for BigCommerce Merchants

BigCommerce offers a variety of fulfillment options for different business sizes, order volumes, budgets, and desired levels of control. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the prominent fulfillment strategies for BigCommerce merchants:

1. Self-Fulfillment:


In this model, you have full control over the fulfillment process. This means inventory is received, housed, and dispatched from your own facilities, which could be a warehouse, a physical retail location, or even your home. You are responsible for managing every aspect of fulfillment, including:

  • Inventory Storage: Renting or owning warehouse space to store your products.
  • Order Picking & Packing: Manually select and package orders for shipment.
  • Shipping: Partnering with various carriers (USPS, FedEx, DHL) to arrange deliveries.

This has its advantages and disadvantages:


  • You fully oversee the entire fulfillment process, ensuring brand consistency and quality control.
  • No additional fees


  • Scalability limitations
  • Requires dedicated personnel for inventory management, picking, packing, and shipping.
  • Negotiating competitive shipping rates with major carriers might be difficult.

The self-fulfillment method is particularly well-suited for:

  • Small businesses with a manageable volume of orders, where the operational scale allows in-house handling without overwhelming resources.
  • Businesses that prioritize tight control over their branding and product presentation, ensuring each package meets their specific standards for customer experience.
  • Companies operating with limited budgets where saving on external fulfillment costs can significantly affect overall expenses.

2. Dropshipping:


In the dropshipping model, the fulfillment process is handed off to a third party, often a wholesaler, manufacturer, or supplier.

When you receive orders, you forward the details to the dropshipper, who then ships the products directly to the customer. This approach essentially “drops” the need for retail inventory management in the supply chain.


  • Low upfront costs as no warehouse space or fulfillment staff is required.
  • Access to a broader range of products without managing your inventory.


  • Limited control over product quality, branding, and shipping processes.
  • Your business reputation is tied to the supplier’s fulfillment performance.

Dropshipping is ideally suited for:

  • New businesses operate with limited capital as it reduces the need for a significant upfront investment in inventory.
  • Companies interested in testing new products in the market without the risk of purchasing inventory upfront.
  • Businesses aiming to quickly expand their product offerings without the constraints of inventory space and capital.

3. Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Providers:

Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Providers:

With the rise of ecommerce, the need for fulfillment services, also known as 3PLs (third-party logistics), has grown. Companies providing these services, such as Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment and ShipBob, allow businesses to outsource their fulfillment requirements. This delegation enables business owners to allocate more time to other crucial aspects of their operations, like marketing and product development.


  • 3PL providers offer the infrastructure and expertise to handle large order volumes efficiently.
  • Multiple warehouse locations for reduced shipping times and costs.
  • Many 3PLs offer additional services like packaging customization and kitting.


  • Additional costs
  • Less control over the fulfillment process compared to in-house fulfillment.

Fulfillment services are particularly beneficial for:

  • Growing businesses aiming to scale operations without the need for heavy investments in warehouse space and fulfillment personnel.
  • Established businesses in search of more sophisticated fulfillment solutions and additional services that provide extra value.

4. Combination of Multiple Methods

You’re not limited to just one fulfillment model for your entire business. Merchants selling their own products often enhance their inventory with dropshipped items. For example, you might handle fulfillment in-house from a West Coast location while using a third-party fulfillment center on the East Coast to reduce shipping times. 

The approaches to fulfillment can be as diverse as the businesses employing them. If certain products have longer shipping times, it’s important to clearly state this in both your shipping policy and the product details, a subject we’ll delve into in the next chapter.

The BigCommerce App Store offers multiple integrations designed to enhance your fulfillment capabilities. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular ones:

1. ShipBob:


As a leading 3PL provider offering a comprehensive fulfillment solution, ShipBob stores your inventory across a network of strategically located warehouses, ensuring fast and reliable shipping to your customers.

Key Features:

  • Multi-warehouse fulfillment for faster delivery times and reduced shipping costs.
  • Real-time inventory management and order tracking.
  • Customizable packaging and branding options.
  • Integrations with various sales channels and marketplaces.

Pricing:  Starts at a base fee and scales based on storage space, pick & pack volume, and shipping costs.

Ideal for: Businesses seeking a scalable fulfillment solution focusing on fast shipping times and advanced features.

2. ShipStation:


ShipStation is a cloud-based shipping platform that connects with various carriers and fulfillment providers, simplifying the shipping process. It lets you compare shipping rates, print labels, and monitor shipments from one centralized dashboard.

Key Features:

  • Real-time shipping rate comparisons from various carriers (USPS, FedEx, DHL).
  • Automated label printing and shipment tracking.
  • Integration with major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
  • Customizable packing slips and branding options.

Pricing:  Tiered pricing based on monthly shipment volume.

Ideal for: Businesses that require multi-carrier shipping options, want to automate manual tasks, and sell across multiple channels.

3. Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF):

Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF)

Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a service provided by Amazon that enables you to utilize its vast fulfillment network to store and ship products to customers who place orders via your BigCommerce store.

Key Features:

  • Access to Amazon’s extensive fulfillment infrastructure for fast and reliable shipping.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon Prime (FBA) eligibility for Prime members.
  • Inventory management tools within your BigCommerce store.

Pricing:  Per-unit fulfillment fees based on product size and weight.

Ideal for: Businesses seeking to tap into Amazon’s established fulfillment network and benefit from Prime two-day shipping for their customers.

How to choose the right integration for your business:

Selecting the most suitable BigCommerce fulfillment integration requires careful consideration of several factors:

  • Business Size & Needs: Startups might prioritize cost-effective solutions, while established businesses may require advanced features and scalability.
  • Order Volume: Choose an integration that efficiently handles your current and projected order volume.
  • Inventory Management: Integrations offering real-time inventory visibility and multi-warehouse support can optimize stock control.
  • Budget: Compare pricing models and features to find a solution that aligns with your financial constraints.

Pro Tips:

  • Read customer reviews and case studies to gain insights into other businesses’ experiences with different integrations.
  • Explore free trials or demos many integration providers offer to assess their functionality firsthand.
  • Seek guidance from BigCommerce support or consult an ecommerce fulfillment specialist for personalized recommendations.

Strategies To Optimize Your BigCommerce Fulfillment

A well-oiled fulfillment process is the backbone of any successful ecommerce business. BigCommerce empowers you with various features and integrations, but strategic planning is crucial to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction. Here are key strategies to optimize your BigCommerce fulfillment:

1. Master Inventory Management:

  • Accurate Stock Levels: Implement a system to maintain precise inventory data. Regularly conduct physical inventory checks to avoid overselling or stockouts.
  • Demand Forecasting: Analyze sales trends and predict future demand to ensure you have adequate stock levels to meet customer needs.
  • ABC Analysis: Prioritize inventory management for high-value (A) and critical (B) items to minimize stockouts for these crucial products.

2. Leverage Technology:

  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): Utilize WMS software to automate tasks like inventory tracking, order picking, and warehouse layout optimization.
  • Multi-Channel Inventory Management: Integrate your BigCommerce store with other sales channels to maintain consistent stock levels across all platforms.
  • Barcode Scanners: Equip your warehouse staff with barcode scanners to expedite picking and packing processes, reducing errors and increasing order fulfillment speed.

3. Strategic Warehouse Locations:

  • Centrally Located Warehouses: Consider placing inventory in warehouses close to your major customer base to reduce shipping times and costs.
  • Fulfillment Network Optimization: For businesses with a large customer base spread across the country, explore establishing a network of strategically located warehouses to ensure faster deliveries.
  • 3PL Integration: Partnering with a 3PL provider with a network of warehouses can offer a wider geographical reach and potentially lower shipping costs based on economies of scale.

4. Streamline Order Picking and Packing:

  • Picking Strategies: Implement efficient picking strategies like zone picking or batch picking to minimize travel time within the warehouse and expedite order fulfillment.
  • Packing Optimization: Utilize standardized packaging materials and procedures to ensure efficient packing while minimizing wasted space and reducing shipping costs.
  • Pick Lists and Packing Slips: Utilize clear and concise pick lists and packing slips to minimize errors during the order fulfillment process.

5. Optimize Shipping Options:

  • Offer a Variety of Shipping Speeds: Cater to different customer needs by providing a range of shipping options, including standard, expedited, and overnight delivery.
  • Negotiate Competitive Rates: Compare rates from various carriers and negotiate volume discounts to reduce your overall shipping costs.
  • Real-time Shipping Quotes: Integrate your BigCommerce store with shipping carriers to offer real-time shipping quotes at checkout, improving customer experience and transparency.

6. Prioritize Customer Communication:

  • Order Tracking: Provide customers with real-time order tracking information so they can easily monitor the status of their shipment.
  • Clear Communication: Communicate any delays or unforeseen circumstances promptly and transparently to manage customer expectations.
  • Returns Policy: Establish a clear and customer-friendly returns policy to address any issues efficiently and maintain customer satisfaction.

Remember, a smooth and efficient fulfillment experience directly translates into happier customers, increased sales, and a thriving online business.

Bottom Line

BigCommerce isn’t just about setting up your store; it’s your fulfillment partner, ensuring quicker deliveries, eliminating fulfillment worries, and fostering a thriving business. You should leverage its comprehensive features to see the changes they can bring to your business.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.