Here are some commonly used words in the fulfillment industry and their respective definitions:
3PL – Third Party Logistics, which usually means a company that helps in all stages of the logistics process, from initial shipping from the manufacturer/supplier to the storage and distribution to end customers.
E-commerce Fulfillment – This is a very specific area of fulfillment which involves the shipping orders from a company’s web store or shopping cart. The process usually involves integration of systems so that companies can send a fulfillment provider an order automatically and then the fulfillment company can send the shipping details and tracking back to the company seemlessly.
Freight Forwarding – Freight forwarding is the process of shipping your product internationally across country borders. This can include importing and exporting, and usually entails clearing customs, among other components.
Fulfillment – Fulfillment describes the process of fulfilling orders of product to end customers. It is also used to describe the process of assembling product so that it can be shipped to customers.
LTL – Less than truckload shipping, which refers to shipments that are larger in size than small package shipments (such as multiple pallets of goods), but smaller than a full truck load.
Merchant Account – A merchant account is necessary in order to accept credit card transactions, which is usually a requirement for a company that sells product on its website.
Pick and Pack – The process of picking orders and preparing them for shipment is referred to as pick and pack.
Supply Chain Management – Supply chain is used to refer to the entire process of sourcing product. It’s a larger scale concept than 3PL or logistics, in that it also includes the procuring of product.