If you own a business that delivers products to customers, you’ve probably been presented with the option of doing your fulfillment in-house or outsourcing so someone else can do it at a lower cost. It's important that your customers get their packages on time and efficiently, but it's also important that you keep your shipping costs low, so choosing the right type of fulfillment can really make all the difference.
If you've just started out in the business world, there's a chance you don't know much about the differences between in-house and outsourcing for fulfillment services. Here's a brief overview to help you make the right choice.
In-House FulfillmentIf you choose to do your fulfillment in-house, meaning you or one of your employees would be responsible for packing, labeling, tracking, and shipping inventory, there are a few benefits, but also some negatives. First, you'd be responsible for all of the shipping and returns that come into your business. Along with handling everything else that a business owner needs to handle, you'd be the one that has to figure out how you're going to get your product to the customer, but you'll also have to sort out any problems and inevitable return issues.
If you plan on having one of your other employees take care of any fulfillment tasks, you're going to be paying the employee to do so, but you're also going to have to pay to have them trained. Fulfillment isn't as simple as heading to the post office and dropping off a package. It requires you to stay up-to-date with your customer, make sure the package gets to them in a timely fashion, and handle any problems that may arise. Because of this, training is expensive and also very necessary.
The final thing to know about in-house fulfillment is that you're going to struggle with organization. Staying organized is key for a business owner, so if your mind is all over the place trying to deal with fulfillment issues like Amazon shipping needs, you're not going to be able to focus on other crucial matters.
Remember: As your business scales, your problems will as well.
Outsourced FulfillmentIf you plan to outsource your fulfillment services, know that you're going to be saving some money. And outsourced service requires you to pay for the service as a whole, not a single employee. As a business owner, you may be looking for ways to cut costs here and there. This is a great way to do so.
Outsourcing and order fulfillment is also extremely efficient for the company head. You're not going to have to spend your days worrying about shipping needs and potential issues, so you're going to be able to spend more of your time, and your sanity, on things that really matter.
Finally, fulfillment services are properly trained and may even be experts in the field. They have more experience in the fulfillment industry than you do, so you’re not going to have to worry about training someone on something you’re not too focused on. Choosing a fulfillment service is a wise move.
Amazon Shipping NeedsBetween the two options, outsourcing is the clear winner in this competition. If you’re looking for the perfect ecommerce fulfillment service, you can trust Elevate Fulfillment with all of your Amazon shipping needs. By listing products directly on Amazon and entrusting shipping to an Amazon order fulfillment service, you can lower overhead costs dramatically.
The top three most influential factors in determining where Americans shop online are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%), and discount offers (71%). Of course, if their order doesn't arrive on time, then you can lose a customer forever. Elevate Fulfillment can help turn you into the place people want to shop!
Online shopping is huge in the United States. In fact, in 2016 retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. totaled $322.17 billion. That's where ecommerce fulfillment companies come in. If you want to get in on this lucrative market, top ecommerce fulfillment companies can help your business succeed. They're the hub for getting your product from your warehouse out to the person who bought it. And when searching for fulfillment companies, there are few questions you should ask.
Do You Offer Any Additional Services?
One of the first things you can ask a potential fulfillment vendor is if they offer any services other than just shipping your product. Some vendors will offer the customer and the client tracking and ecommerce shipping information, so everyone is aware of where their package is from the point of shipping to final delivery. This may seem like a small benefit, but to a customer, it means so much. Any that can make the customers experience to jump from a one to a 10 really should be utilized. If they do all these kinds of services, It's a pretty good sign that they take their jobs seriously.
How Is Order Accuracy Monitored?
People make mistakes, but a fulfillment company should do all they can to avoid it. Ask your fulfillment vendor how they track their order accuracy. Find out what kinds of technology they use to keep an eye on any mistakes that have been made and ask how those mistakes have been resolved. If you feel as though you aren't getting the full answer, it's okay to ask your fulfillment vendor if they have any references. After all, you want to make sure that you're getting the most out of your fulfillment vendor.
How Do You Operate Under Massive Order Pressure?
More often than not, businesses will start to see a huge influx of orders around the holidays. That means a fulfillment company needs to be prepared to handle them. Ask your fulfillment vendor how they handle the times of high volume and if they bring any extra staff on board during the holiday season. Customer satisfaction is one of the most important parts of running a business, so if your customers aren't happy with how and when they're getting their packages, no one's going to want to shop with you.
When searching for top ecommerce fulfillment companies, there are a few things you need to know. Take a look at the questions list above before settling on a vendor and don't be afraid to ask any of them.
If your company specializes in shipping products to customers, you understand the value of getting packages out on time and in good condition. A company that can ship efficiently is likely to have a high level of customer satisfaction and bring in high revenue.
When you're thinking about how to fulfill your order and ship them out, you're going to need the help of fulfillment vendors. While they are helpful, you need to know what to be on the lookout for when choosing fulfillment vendors. Let's take a look at some red flags.
They Don't Have Focused Employees
When working with an outside company, you want to make sure that everyone's goal is to make you successful. If they don't seem to have that in mind, there's a good chance they're not going to help you as best they can. If you can, set up a time to meet with the management team to discuss your goals. When you enter their building, pay attention to what's going on around you. Looking at the ambiance will help you identify whether they will be a good fit for your company. You may notice things like employees texting on the job or goofing off. This could be very bad for your company, as the employees may not be invested in their work. That certainly won't please your customers.
The Procedures Aren't Consistent
If you notice that one of the fulfillment vendors you're considering doesn't appear to have their procedures standardized, you probably want to avoid them at all costs. Any inconsistent processes can lead to mistakes and errors. If the vendor isn't doing something the same way each time, that could jeopardize their efficiency for fulfillment shipping. The fulfillment services need to have set instructions on how to do something so your customers can get their shipping needs handled on time.
They're All Talk, But No Action When it Comes to Technology
Nowadays, the most efficient way to get something from point A to point B is by use of technology. Package tracking services and custom order verification tech can make all the difference here! If shipping services aren't using up-to-date technology, chances are your package is going to be incorrect or on delay. Any potential errors can easily be prevented with the use of technology. Even if the vendors say they're going to use high-grade technology, make sure they are actually doing so.
The top three factors in determining where Americans shop online are price, shipping cost and speed, and discount offers. These factors prove that having a strong and efficient fulfillment service is crucial not only for the customer, but for your business as a whole.
By the year 2021, it is projected that retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. will reach $485.27 billion. With that being said, online shopping is clearly taking over the retail world.
Many people enjoy shopping online because it's easy, convenient, and quick. However, there are many other reasons why you might choose online shopping and shipping services, rather than actually going to the store and picking out the items in-person.
Returns are a BreezeJust as it is extremely simple to take part in online shopping and online shipping, it's also pretty easy to return any items one has received that they may not like or want. When someone orders a pair of pants or a dress online, they are able to try the item on from the comfort of their home and not have to worry about trying things on in a dressing room. If it doesn't fit, it can easily be returned without running back to the store to get a refund. Plus, the customer will not have to hurry up and make decisions regarding what to buy, as they can take as long as they want at home trying clothes on.
Gift-Giving Woes are a Thing of the PastFor those out there who may be terrible at remembering milestone events that require a gift, online shopping can help fix their mistakes. With shipping flexibility, customers can choose when to have an item sent to a friend or family member whose birthday was awkwardly forgotten. Depending on their shipping needs, they will be able to choose from standard shipping to next day online shipping services, so the recipient can have the gift as soon as possible.
Easy Way to Hide GiftsWith online shopping, one will be alerted when a package is about to arrive and when it has been delivered. This is perfect for the holidays as the item will come in a sealed box that doesn't show the contents. It's also helpful during the holidays as one can make sure no one is around to see the package since they will know when it is going to arrive.
In-store shopping has some competition. Many people are turning to online shopping because it's convenient, easy, and quick. So, watch out stores, and make sure you have a website.
In the business world, the order fulfillment process refers to the period of time that elapses when a company receives a customer order request to the time it gets put into their hands. It's a crucial part of the online shopping experience, which is why many legacy businesses are finally working to improve their fulfillment shipping services.
In the digital world, ff there is even one mistake made during the ecommerce fulfillment, there's a chance that the customer won't get their product on time or at all, leaving them angry and frustrated. Thanks to social media and online reviews, these dissatisfied customers can spread their bad experience to the entire world.
Since it is such an important part of ecommerce, there are things that should be done to improve the order fulfillment process. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Keep Everything OrganizedOne major task to ensure success is to make sure that everything is constantly organized. For instance, making sure that your inventory is grouped from fastest moving to slowest moving will help to make sure that your most popular items are constantly in stock. Put your most popular items closest to the packaging area so that those things can be packed the quickest. This will definitely help to make packing and shipping more streamlined, especially during the busy holiday season.
This year, the average United States customer will spend about $1,800 on ecommerce purchases, and that number rises with each passing year. That's clearly a lot of purchases to keep track of, so it's important to stay as organized as possible.
Integrate Your Systems for Ideal Online Shipping ServicesTo ensure the fastest, most accurate shipping, it's important to make sure that your ordering and fulfillment systems are integrated with each other. This means you should have your inventory and sales management services in sync with each other at all times. Having these things all lined up will help keep track of what is happening within all aspects of your business.
Have Your Processes AutomatedAutomating your businesses can help speed up the order fulfillment process. Now, this doesn't mean you should invest in robots or a high-tech conveyer belt (yet). Instead, it's in reference to something much simpler. If you are able to do so, look into getting high-quality scanners that can help keep track of what is coming in and out of your stock in real time. Even better, you don't have to spend a ton of money to automate your shipping department. There are different apps that you can download to your tablet or smartphone which will allow for automation. With another busy Cyber Monday and Holiday Shopping Season on the horizon, time is running out to catch up with the competition.
Taking the steps to make your order fulfillment process more speedy and successful will not only help you stay organized but will also ensure that your customers will keep coming back. In the ecommerce industry, you need to do everything you can to avoid bad customer experiences.
It's estimated that by 2021, Ecommerce sales in the U.S. will reach a total of $485.27 billion. With such a huge sale volume to be projected, many businesses have realized the benefits of outsourcing their fulfillment services to a third party fulfillment vendors. If your business is still performing its own product order fulfillment, then you should also consider the many advantages of outsourcing. Some of these advantages include:
Focusing on What You Do Best
When you outsource your fulfillment needs, you are no longer being held down with needing to staff storage facilities and handle shipping. Shipping can also have its own issues, like moving physical inventory, packing and shipping orders, and sometimes having storage issues.
This leaves you with more time for the things that matter the most to you, and what you do best. Marketing your products, increasing your sales, expanding your business, and enhancing your website. This is why fulfillment services for small businesses are incredibly advantageous.
Allowing You To Use The Latest Technology
Technological innovation is one of the biggest and most important reasons for outsourcing your fulfillment needs. A fulfillment center will provide a wide variety of resources for you to use. Including customized real-time reports for monitoring your orders, inventory, and Ecommernce shipping. You won't need to invest in software or programmers for yourself, as the Ecommerce fulfillment service will have made these investments for you.
Saving On Costs
The cost of doing your own shipping can be more than it appears. You need to include storage space, racking, moving equipment, payroll, software, security, insurance, and more. However, when you use a fulfillment service, you have no capital expenditures. Also, the overhead costs incurred by a fulfillment center are distributed across multiple clients and projects.
In addition, you will only have to pay for the services that the fulfillment center performs for you. This makes expenses more predictable and improves cost control.
Fulfillment services for small businesses are one of the best investments that a budding entrepreneur can make. Not only will you see an increase in efficiency, but you'll also see increases in revenue and have more time to focus on tasks that more directly benefit the business. Contact us today for your fulfillment services quote.
Elevate has been in the order fulfillment and warehousing business for over 10 years. Our processes are solid, our performance impressive, our cost savings epic and our dedication to customer service and helping our clients succeed is 100%!