Why Outsource eCommerce Fulfillment
Today’s consumers are seeking instant gratification when it comes to their purchases. The problem with trying to speed up order fulfillment internally is that the more time a company spends on trying to improve internal supply chain operations, the less time it is spending on other aspects of the business such as product selection/quality as well as market visibility.
Secondly, eCommerce fulfillment requires a great deal of time and expertise. Renting or buying warehouse space, hiring and training staff and providing a safe and secure environment are just a few considerations. There is also the issue of speed. Seasoned fulfillment providers have mastered order processing over the years and therefore can offer faster turn-times.
Fulfillment providers can also save you money by take advantage of economies of scale. They have optimized their processes for receiving, storing, packaging and shipping thousands of items a day, as opposed to dozens.
Save on Shipping
There are several ways fulfillment companies can help brands reduce their shipping costs. Typically, fulfillment companies have multiple warehouses or distribution centers that are situated near carrier hubs or within close proximity of the customer. Location alone can save brands upwards of 30 percent on their shipping costs.
Secondly, fulfillment providers have sophisticated software that calculates the optimal way to ship a parcel. Also, because they are high-volume shipper, fulfillment providers can often negotiate a better rate with large carriers. They also receive bulk discounts on packaging and shipping materials.
After brands reach a certain threshold of monthly orders, ensuring accuracy becomes increasingly difficult. Wrong items shipped, damaged or broken products and shipments to the wrong address are just a few of the issues brands can face when order volumes increase and a solid process is not in place.
Fulfillment providers offer sophisticated processes that kick into gear the moment the product hits the loading dock until the time it’s delivered to the customers. Merchandise is inspected multiple times for accuracy and documented to ensure continuous process improvement. Stringent handling policies, experienced workers and specialized labels ensure that delicate items are stored and packaged with the utmost care.
Customer Service Counts
Besides speed and accuracy, there are other advantages to outsourcing fulfillment. Strong customer support is a critical factor in maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. Keep in mind there are often two types of customer service questions – those relating directly to the product (features, benefits, etc.) and those relating to the delivery of the product (availability, tracking, returns, etc.).
While many brands are equip to discuss the specifics of their product, they are typically not prepared to the answer logistics questions. With proper training a reputable fulfillment provider can staff a customer service team that can handle both product and fulfillment calls, saving brands the time of hiring, training and paying internal resources.
Is Outsourcing Right for You?
The advantages of outsourcing order fulfillment to boost customer satisfaction, throughput, accuracy and customer service are clear. Brands interested in outsourcing their fulfillment should choose a company with a tested and proven track record of helping companies reduce their overall costs, enhance transition and consistently deliver a positive customer experience.