This is a guest post written by Jay Egger, originally published by Volusion.com. This article breaks down a few ways you can go about getting your products into your customers hands AKA order fulfillment. As Egger states, “…order fulfillment has become a crucial focal point for getting and retaining customers.” How are you delivering to your customers? Is it the most effective way for your business? Read below to find clarity. From Dropshipping to DIY: How to Show off Your Brand with the Help of Order Fulfillment For businesses engaged in ecommerce, order fulfillment has become a crucial focal point for getting and retaining customers. After price, shipping speed and cost are the most important factors in a consumer’s decision to make a purchase. A recent Walker Sands Future of Retail study showed that free shipping was the number one incentive people had for shopping online more, followed closely by one-day delivery and free returns. It’s becoming just as important for small businesses to have a forward-facing, customer-friendly shipping policies as it is for them to have a quality product at a great price. That’s why ecommerce businesses are looking for ways to optimize their ecommerce fulfillment process and maintain the integrity of their brand from the purchase process all the way through to the shipping experience. There are a lot of ways to optimize your order fulfillment. Some ecommerce entrepreneurs farm shipping processes out to third-party order fulfillment companies that take care of the storing, sorting, packing, shipping and returning of inventory. Other merchants want to maintain control and take care of shipping themselves. There are also methods of order fulfillment where retailers and vendors don’t handle or even see the products they technically “sell”. Instead, they act as a sort of conduit between wholesalers and customers. This is commonly called “dropshipping.” Many merchants like dropshipping because it allows them to focus on what makes them unique in their space—their marketing, their advertising, their product development, innovation and so on. Let’s break down the different ways businesses can fulfill customer orders and decide which one is best for you: Fulfilling orders on your own If you want to have total control and oversight over everything, you can store, pick and pack and ship everything out to customers yourself.