Partially Shipped vs In Fulfillment: What These Order Statuses Really Mean

Partially Shipped vs In Fulfillment

Navigating the world of e-commerce can sometimes feel like decoding a foreign language. Among the myriad terms you’ll encounter, order statuses like partially shipped and in fulfillment can be particularly confusing. Understanding these terms is crucial for both buyers and sellers, as it helps manage expectations and improve communication. This blog post aims to demystify these statuses, explaining what they mean and how they impact the fulfillment process.

What Does Unfulfilled Status Mean?

Before diving into the specific statuses of “partially shipped” and “in fulfillment,” it’s essential to understand the broader context. One of the most common order statuses you’ll see is unfulfilled.

Unfulfilled Status: When an order is marked as unfulfilled, it simply means that the items in the order have not yet been processed, packed, or shipped. The order is still in the early stages of the fulfillment process. This status is common immediately after an order is placed and before any action has been taken by the seller or fulfillment center.

What Does In Fulfillment Mean?

Once an order moves past the unfulfilled stage, it often enters what is known as the “in fulfillment” stage.

In Fulfillment Status: This status indicates that the order is currently being processed. The items are being picked from inventory, packed, and prepared for shipment. Essentially, it means that the order is actively being worked on and is on its way to being shipped. This stage can vary in duration depending on the complexity of the order, the efficiency of the fulfillment center, and the volume of orders being processed at the time.

Partially Shipped Meaning

Another status that customers and sellers frequently encounter is partially shipped.

Partially Shipped Status: 

This means that only a portion of the items in the order has been shipped. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Inventory Shortages: Some items in the order may be out of stock or back-ordered, delaying their shipment.
  • Multiple Fulfillment Locations: If items are stored in different warehouses, they may be shipped separately.

Size and Weight Considerations: Larger orders might be divided into multiple shipments to manage shipping costs and logistics more effectively.

How Long Does Pending Remote Fulfillment Take?

Another term you might come across is “pending remote fulfillment.” This status can be a bit more opaque, but understanding it is crucial for managing expectations.

Pending Remote Fulfillment: This status indicates that the order is waiting to be processed by a third-party fulfillment center, often located in a different geographic area. The time it takes for this status to change can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Location: The distance between the fulfillment center and the customer’s address can impact shipping times.
  • Volume of Orders: High volumes can slow down processing times at fulfillment centers.
  • Customs and Import Regulations: If items are being shipped internationally, customs can add additional delays.

On average, pending remote fulfillment can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Customers should always check with the seller for more precise estimates based on their specific circumstances.

The Role of Fulfillment Services

The Role of Fulfillment Services

Fulfillment services play a critical role in the e-commerce ecosystem. They manage the process of receiving, processing, and delivering orders to customers. These services help streamline operations, allowing sellers to focus on other aspects of their business. When choosing a fulfillment service, consider factors such as processing speed, reliability, and the ability to handle high order volumes.

Why Understanding Order Statuses Matters

Understanding these various order statuses is essential for several reasons:

  1. Clear communication about order status helps manage customer expectations and reduces frustration.
  2. Sellers can better manage their inventory and resources by understanding where orders are in the fulfillment process.
  3. Identifying where an order is in the process can help quickly resolve issues like delays or lost shipments.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Even with a clear understanding of order statuses, challenges can arise. Here are some common issues and their solutions:

  1. Delayed Shipments: If orders remain in the unfulfilled or pending remote fulfillment stage for too long, it can frustrate customers. Solution: Provide regular updates and set realistic expectations from the start.
  2. Inventory Issues: Running out of stock can lead to partial shipments. Solution: Maintain accurate inventory levels and communicate transparently about delays.
  3. Multiple Shipments: Customers might be confused by receiving parts of their order separately. Solution: Clearly explain why items are shipped separately and provide tracking information for all shipments.

Tips for Improving the Fulfillment Process

To enhance the fulfillment process, consider the following tips:

  • Use software to automate order processing, inventory management, and customer updates.
  • Select fulfillment services and shipping carriers known for their reliability and speed.
  • Keep customers informed at every stage of the fulfillment process, from order placement to delivery.


Understanding order statuses like partially shipped and in fulfillment is crucial for navigating the e-commerce landscape. These statuses provide valuable information about where an order is in the fulfillment process, helping to manage expectations and improve communication between sellers and customers. By staying informed and proactive, both parties can ensure a smoother, more efficient shopping experience.

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