E-commerce business is becoming the new business trend that a lot of people are already exploring. It offers profitable opportunities without the need to rent spaces for product display. However, it also requires you to work with third parties such as order fulfillment service, responsible for processing the orders and delivering them to your customer’s doorsteps.
Unless you want to do them all yourself, the E-commerce business is already complex as it is. You wouldn’t want to go through the trouble of personally delivering the items, would you? That would consume not only your precious time but your money as well.
Sure, you can choose to do it on your own. Let’s say you can secure the necessary papers needed for the shipping or delivery services, but what if you have emergencies that you need to attend to? What if you are currently employed and do not want to work as an online seller full time? This is why a shipping fulfillment service is essential.
Foremost, shipping fulfillment refers to the systematic steps on receiving, processing, packaging, and delivering orders from your shop to customers. Fulfillment service refers to the third-party companies that provide the benefits mentioned earlier on behalf of another party, such as online sellers. The question is, how does it work? What exactly is an order fulfillment service?
Shipping Fulfillment Process
Once your customer confirms the order button, it will alert your order fulfillment partner. They will be responsible for the following procedures, such as sorting the item and packing them.
After the inventories, the order fulfillment company will pack the order and get them going. Take note; the packaging is an integral part of the order process that will either secure your reputation or destroy it. Make sure the company you are working with has a good and reliable packaging system. Otherwise, your customer won’t be too happy to find his order tampered with or damaged.
The third process would be shipping. Again, it would be best to work with an order fulfillment company that is quick in delivering the orders. This will give you a plus star when your customer is satisfied with the service as most of them are in a hurry to get their orders.
Sometimes, for some reasons such as damaged, tampered products, or fake ordering, your items will be refunded and delivered back to the warehouse.
4 Types of Shipping Fulfillment Services:
1. Outsourced Shipping Fulfillment Service
Outsourced order fulfillment service involves storing, sorting the stocks, packing, shipping, ordering, and refunding. This is mainly chosen by companies with no storage space or staff. The third-party company also handles the inventory as part of their service. Outsourced method is a good option if you do not want the hassle of managing the operations.
2. Drop shipping Fulfillment Service
Dropshipping fulfillment service is similar to outsourced fulfillment service, except it does not have an inventory. This type of service does not have the products it sells in its stocks. Instead, it buys it from a third party and has them do the delivery processes. It is a good business that requires little investment, but it can be an excellent start for people who want to explore online business.
3. Hybrid Shipping Fulfillment Services
Hybrid order fulfillment service focuses on providing online sellers with customized, specific products and oversized items. This method employs the combinations of a dropshipping and in-house system. You can use the in-house method for custom items that need to be assembled. Whereas you use dropshipping for bulky products. Moreover, the hybrid method, given its flexibility, is deemed to be the most cost-effective order fulfillment type.
4. In-house Fulfillment Service
An in-house fulfillment method involves the hands-on management of warehouses and shipping operations by businesses. It has its warehouse, facilities, resources/equipment, and staff. This method is mostly employed by well-established businesses or businesses who want to control every detail and transaction.
Why You Need to Have your E-commerce Business Use Shipping Fulfillment Service:
A. It is easy to start and grow.
-It involves small capital, and you do not need to study for a degree to start it. It would be best if you familiarize yourself with the basics, and with a good laptop, you can begin this very day. In this business, you won’t be troubling yourself finding a warehouse to store your items or sourcing out physical stores to buy products (for reselling purposes), opening up a physical store, and delivering the products yourself.
As you go about your business, knowing more about marketing and sales will give you an advantage of growing it and expanding your customer base globally.
B. Management is easy.
It is easy to manage since you won’t be dealing with physical products and have no commitments. Once you have found the right products and the right business partners, you will be able to pull it off.
It increases and sustains your reputation as a seller when orders are quickly delivered and received. You will also be able to focus on growing your E-commerce business without thinking of another complex process such as shipping orders. This will provide you with a competitive edge.
C. Cheap investment
-Starting a business can be very intimidating and scary, considering you need to use the money for that. You will need inventories to track your product’s records and stock rooms to store your products. However, in dropshipping, you will not need any of those costly operations. You need to open an online store, source out products, and launch them in it.
Compared to traditional business, you will only be using your computer for the entirety of the procedure. Since it is a cheap investment, you will also reap smaller returns. Nevertheless, once you build up your platform successfully, your profit will increase.
D. Flexible and saves time
Since you won’t need to manage a warehouse or physical store, you can run this just about using only your laptop. You can also work at the time that is most convenient for you. However, to keep it running, you will need to regularly check your online store, keep updated with your business partners and customers. It saves you the trouble of getting legal papers to process delivery services.
Elements of Shipping Fulfillment Service:
As an online seller, you must know the basic information of order fulfillment services. This way, you are able to track, scale, and understand how it works. In case of lapses that may come soon, you will know where and what to look for.
1. Storage Place
A storage place is where you can receive orders. It is where you can stack and store products. Storage areas can be in the form of a warehouse, garage, stock room unit, basement, etc. To maximize the space, a good space layout should be planned and constructed appropriately. This way, items with different features are separated either by rooms or shelves, boxes, bins, and bags. These items are primarily bulky orders; fragile items, wet products, dry products, and lightweight products are separated from each other to prevent possible damage.
2. A place to sort and pack orders
Every shipping fulfillment service needs a spacious area to sort and prepare the orders. Since they have an expansive client base, they will need a much bigger one to operate as orders keep coming up. An organized place will help the employees sort and pack the orders without worrying about bumping into each other and risking the items. In the worst-case scenario, you might exchange or lose the items.
3. Shipping materials
Shipping materials include boxes, plain newsprint, bubble wrap, air pillows, packing tapes, and packing staplers used in packing orders. Packing should make use of durable materials that would prevent damage to orders.
4. A space for packing slips and invoices
Packing slips and invoices are inserted or stapled on the item necessary for tracking and inventory. Organized space for such activity will allow accuracy and prevent missing packing slips into an item.
5. Shipping and Cargo
Shipping and cargo area requires a wide range of space to accommodate trucks delivering orders. Also, it should be spacious enough for discharging loads from trucks before they are transported manually into the warehouse.
Here are also tips on how to find the right order fulfillment service to partner with:
- Check the company’s license to operate.
- Check the company’s insurance and bonding.
- Review the company’s reputation and history.
- Review the company’s customer service.
- Make sure to check their website for reviews and recommendations.
- Ask for feedback from 3 to 5 previous customers or current clients.
- Check the price rates of their service.
- Make sure to keep your options open.
- List down prospective order fulfillment companies, research their background and service, and compare.
Bottom line is if you are aiming to secure and improve your company’s operation and reputation, you need to find the right shipping fulfillment service. You will need to equip yourself with the necessary information about how order fulfillment works, marketing and sales operations, shipping, and how you can use order fulfillment service to improve your business. This will provide you the advantage and opportunity to stay competitive in the industry.