If your online shop sells physical items, you likely handled order fulfillment and delivery on your own initially. However, you realize that you’re spread too thin between advertisement, order fulfillment, customer assistance, and everything else as your customer base grows.
It’s time to give over the order fulfillment aspect of your business to a fulfillment firm once you discover that you can no longer manage everything on your own.
Finding a reputable fulfillment business is the challenging part. Not all partners for order fulfillment have the same skills or follow industry standards. Ensure you choose the most suitable 3PL for the job upfront, especially when it may require months or years to free your company from an unsatisfactory fulfillment relationship.
This article offers information on the roles of a fulfillment provider to assist you in selecting the most suitable and competent one for your company.
Sorting and Storage
The fulfillment business will sort and inspect the merchandise using the shipment information after they have received your inventory.
They scan your stock and enter it into their inventory management system. Most businesses employ a barcode and scanner-based internal stock-keeping unit (SKU) system. Because of this, you must label your goods before entrusting a third party with order fulfillment.
After notifying you and recording any damaged or missing inventory, your fulfillment firm should be able to store your products. The fulfillment business monitors your sales volume to decide how many products to hold in bulk storage and how many to keep close to packaging for speedy picking.
Adaptability and speed work together with scalability, and numerous online stores have had their potential for expansion stifled because their logistics supplier couldn’t increase services in response to a rise in sales.
It is the role of your fulfillment services company to scale your business and meet your expansion demands.
Assuming you start with fifty thousand shipments annually and quickly reach five million shipments annually. Your company’s management must be free to pursue profitable expansion without being constrained by concerns about the capacity of the back-end fulfillment operations.
Consider your online sales company as an aircraft, with your fulfillment supplier as the runway. The runway must have no restrictions and always be there to back your launch when it’s time to gain speed and take off.
Significant Distribution Footprint
One fulfillment facility is no longer sufficient in the contemporary e-commerce business. Shipping expenses will significantly increase because of the need to ship across far distances to customers when your wholesale fulfillment warehouse is only at one or two locations.
Even if that wasn’t happening, many online shoppers expect their orders to arrive within two days, and shipping from a single warehouse causes delays in delivery to a large number of customers throughout the country.
To give all of your customers quick and economical access to your inventory, a highly effective fulfillment service must strategically place your products throughout a nationwide footprint of warehouses.
Improving Customers’ Experience
Keeping an existing client is simpler than acquiring new ones. Your clients anticipate receiving the items they requested on schedule. And with numerous competing items on the market today, small firms frequently use customer service as one of their points of differentiation.
However, fast pick rates don’t matter much if error rates are large. Contrarily, when everything ships late, accurately chosen orders aren’t sufficient. Choosing a fulfillment partner who excels at every aspect of fulfillment helps you safeguard your brand and promote positive client connections.
Additionally, fulfillment centers provide email or phone service seven days a week, facilitating simple returns, swaps, and refunds. All of these aspects contribute to enhancing the client experience.
Customer loyalty is increasingly fueled by a positive fulfillment experience, which keeps them coming back to your business rather than one of your competitors. Your fulfillment company must fulfill orders efficiently and keep its word if your business hopes to succeed.
Effective Fulfillment Process
Many online retailers are unaware that the customer’s fulfillment experience begins after making an order.
Post-purchase activities from your fulfillment provider are necessary to keep your clients interested and returning for more. After a consumer makes a purchase, it’s essential to communicate with them clearly and effectively about the order confirmation, expected fulfillment time, and delivery date.
Throughout the last-mile delivery phase, they must be able to provide complete tracking information. Access to online shopping order tracking at all stages throughout the order fulfillment process is crucial for you and your consumers. It informs customers of what to anticipate from their delivery and notifies them immediately if there are any problems.
An inescapable aspect of operating an online store is order returns. Providing it is another duty of fulfillment companies. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost a sale because it’s an opportunity to further boost the consumer experience.
Offering Branded Packaging
For your company to stand out, fulfillment providers must be able to package your products exquisitely and distinctively.
It might be challenging to create an experience when you aren’t interacting with your clients directly. Because of this, several direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses invest in distinctive, personalized packaging to increase brand recognition, please clients, and enhance the unboxing experience.
An essential contact point for building brand affinity and engaging with customers is unboxing.
Branded packaging can distinguish your product from rivals if it is visually appealing and practical. Never forget that if you don’t deliver your goods in correctly branded packaging or are damaged upon arrival, your consumer is unlikely to make another purchase.
Choosing an Ideal Fulfillment Provider for Your Business
The fulfillment process in e-commerce significantly affects how customers feel after making a purchase. Making a great first impression on your consumer when they receive a delivery can encourage them to do business with you again.
The first factor you should consider when choosing a fulfillment firm for your organization should be meeting customer expectations regarding affordable and timely delivery.
What’s best for each vendor depends on the kind of service they require, though. If you want longer-term storage, a warehouse that keeps merchandise can be your solution.
Alternatively, partnering with a 3PL to manage the fulfillment, customer support, shipping, and end-to-end operations if you need a quick turnaround for large orders is your best bet.