It's difficult to find a translation. It's difficult to explain the concept. But we tried.
When we look up in a dictionary, fulfillment is “a feeling of realization, accomplishment, satisfaction; performance, materialization”, but when the term is applied to business, it's hard to find a definition that explains this process. We cannot call it logistics since this activity is linked to goods transportation... so, what is fulfillment?
In e-commerce or distance selling, the term fulfillment is used when an order is completed. The fulfillment process starts when an order is placed and, immediately, executed; the execution process is what ensures that the order is ready to be delivered to the customer. Delivering an order to the customer is much more than "packing and leaving at the post office".
Most of e-commerce and distance selling companies choose to resort to specialized companies when it comes to deal with their fulfillment. These companies handle the following tasks:
▹ Data registration and processing;
▹ Product storage;
▹ Production or product assembling;
▹ Packing orders in an envelope or a box;
▹ Labeling orders for shipping;
▹ Shipping through shipping companies;
▹ Notifying customers that their request is on its way;
▹ Processing payments;
▹ Managing customer support.
A fulfillment company may offer the possibility to extend your business: for example, if you want to launch a new product line, you don't have to worry about its distribution since there are companies that can handle it for you so you just can focus on your goal.
Besides, this type of company eases the whole shipping and return process. Because they work with different businesses and large volumes, they are able to negotiate the lowest flat fees, which in turn allow some traders to offer their customers free shipping.
So, what is fulfillment? It's the name given to the process or business behind an online/distance selling: from the moment a client orders until they receive it at home.