Pick and Pack Services: UK Guide for Ecommerce Merchants

Pick and pack warehouse worker in a high vis vest scans a product on a shelf holding a clipboard

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Pick and pack services refer to the warehouse process of selecting items from inventory and packaging them up for delivery.

When a customer places an order online, warehouse operatives receive a notification and then physically select the items from different parts of the warehouse. This “pick and pack” phase of order fulfilment is the last step before parcels are collected by courier services. To get an idea of the costs associated with each stage of order fulfilment, read our article.

This quick guide covers the need-to-know information on pick and pack services, with top tips on how to choose a supplier.

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What are pick and pack services?

Pick and pack services ensure products are accurately and efficiently selected, ready for safe delivery to the customer. Warehouse staff usually have a tablet (or sometimes a printed list) with the type and quantity of items to collect from the shelves.

There are several methods of picking and packing, and the strategy depends on the warehouse manager. Items may be picked for one customer at a time, for a batch of customers, or in warehouse zones. The first strategy is best suited to smaller warehouses, while the latter two are more efficient for larger order fulfilment centres.

Right now, the pick and pack services in the UK are almost exclusively reliant on human workers. Some European warehouses are using drones in parts of their inventory management. It is not yet common for robots to pick and pack inventory items in general as humans are much more accurate at selecting items. However, the main inefficiency of pick and pack services is the time it takes to walk across the warehouse floor – comprising up to 50% of the picking process.

Pick and pack warehouse worker in a high vis vest scans a product on a shelf holding a clipboard

Do I need to use pick and pack services?

Pick and pack services are essential for growing ecommerce businesses that can no longer operate out of your back room. If you’re no longer able to physically locate, collect and box up products your customers have ordered online, then you need pick and pack services.

Here are some types of businesses that need pick and pack services:

  • Homeware retailers
  • Sports ecommerce
  • Cosmetics companies
  • Food shopping services
  • Supplements ecommerce
  • Pet food suppliers
  • Clothing retailers
  • Electronics (machines or parts) businesses

Any small or medium-sized business that needs a warehouse or order fulfilment centre to handle their inventory needs pick and pack services.

Who are the best pick and pack services in the UK?

For the best efficiency in turnaround time between order placement and package delivery, ecommerce merchants need speedy pick and pack services. UK business leaders can expect improved customer satisfaction and better review scores of their ecommerce services when pick and pack is running smoothly.

But who should you choose to pick and pack your products?

You can use our quick form to request a match with a top order fulfilment supplier in the UK. We’ll go through our trusted pick and pack service providers and hand-pick a few to get in touch with you.

Below we share some of our recommendations for top pick and pack service providers:

James and James

James and James ecommerce fulfilment automatically receives orders triggered via their cloud-based software (called ControlPort). You’ll get live tracking as well as inventory management options.

Pick and pack services are kept efficient with warehouse floor software that calculates the most efficient walking route for operatives. They promise to pick, pack and ship 98% of orders on the same day with 99.9% accuracy.


Parcelhub pick and pack services let you choose personalised packaging so you can deliver the best possible customer experience. This is particularly convenient for personalising subscription services, which change on a monthly basis. They’re rated 5/5 stars on Capterra, which is great news for trusting their software.

Based in Nottingham, Parcelhub fulfilment services includes integrated reporting and stock control. They’ll provide bespoke pricing based on exactly what your ecommerce requirements are. Parcelhub is specifically aimed at SMBs, so they’re experienced with supporting smaller businesses.

However, if you go with them you’ve got the benefit of their connection to a wider parcel processing network as they’re part of the Whistl group. The £600m parent company recently began a £12m fleet development initiative.


Fulfilit offers more price transparency than some suppliers, with a dedicated cost calculator on their website. Packaging supplies are already included in the quoted price.

Located inbetween Derby and Leicester, Fulfilit can get your orders packed carefully and sent out efficiently no matter where they’re going. Like other providers, their inventory management runs on the cloud meaning you can conveniently view stock updates no matter where you’re working.

Their unique benefit is picking and packing items within 45 minutes of the order’s arrival. Dispatch takes place the same day via your chosen courier service.

Next Steps

Now you’ve got a solid understanding of how pick and pack services work in the UK, you’re ready to find your ideal supplier. Simply answer a couple of questions about what exactly you’re looking for and we’ll ask trustworthy ecommerce fulfilment providers to give you a call.

Or, if you need more information about pricing, why not take a look at our ecommerce fulfilment cost guide? It explains the kind of price points you can expect for different kinds of services, including picking and packing.


What is a pick and pack service?
A pick and pack service refers to the process of physically collecting items from a stockroom or warehouse and preparing them for delivery. Warehouse operatives walk between locations in the warehouse, pulling out the specified products ordered by a customer. The items are then put together and placed in a bag, box or parcel.  

The pick and pack process usually begins as soon as a new order comes in to ensure there are no delays in the customer receiving their items. In the majority of cases, picking and packing is done by humans as opposed to robots, as humans can check they’ve found the right product and ensure it reaches the parcel intact.

What is a picking and packing warehouse?
This simply refers to a dedicated, indoor facility where your business’ stock is housed and prepared for delivery. Once your ecommerce business has outgrown your front room, you’ll need to store your inventory in a dedicated storage facility, such as a picking and packing warehouse. Picking and packing services refers to the process where staff pull items off the shelves which customers have ordered and place them in a box or package for delivery.

These days, you can rely on third-party logistics (3PL) to take care of inventory management, picking, packing and dispatch logistics. This builds efficiency into your ecommerce business because you save time, effort and energy as well as space.

How do I know whether I need pick and pack services?
In the exciting first few months of starting your ecommerce business, it’s easy to stay up all night wrangling parcel tape and paper packaging. But if you’re going to scale, you can’t expect to continue handling all of the orders by yourself.

Unless you live in a warehouse, you’re going to need professional storage and management of your inventory. If you’re tripping over half-packed orders and cardboard boxes every time you come home, it’s time to invest in 3PL, including pick and pack services. Put simply, it’s the only way to organise, streamline and scale up your operations as an ecommerce merchant.

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.