So you’ve decided to outsource your order fulfillment. That’s great! Outsourcing your fulfillment is an excellent way to save yourself time and money, as well as getting rid of the complications of dealing with the whole pick, pack, and ship process yourself. Even after you decide to outsource there is an even more difficult decision: choosing a fulfillment partner. There are hundreds of fulfillment companies out there. Some excel at certain kinds of product fulfillment, others at certain industries. One thing is for certain, make sure you choose the right service for your product, because choosing the wrong one can not only distract you from growing your business, but can actually harm your company. Don’t just choose the cheapest service you can find either. Choosing a quality provider can provide you many advantages that will save you more money in the long run.
The first thing to determine is what kind of fulfillment you’re looking for. Are you shipping frozen meals or food items that need special refrigerated sections? Are you shipping large furniture? Maybe children’s toys or electronics? Every fulfillment provider has certain types of products they specialize in fulfilling, so be sure to ask about their current customers and if they can handle your product.
Choosing a service which specializes in your product can increase the speed and accuracy of your fulfillment. Once you’ve decided what kind of fulfillment you want, you’ll need to decide on the scale. Do you ship 200 orders a month, or 1000? Many fulfillment providers have a certain level of monthly volume they require from their customers, so choose a provider that’s a good fit for the size of your company. You’ll also want to make sure they will be able to sustain your growth. Finally, if you’re selling online, you’ll need to choose a provider that is able to integrate with your shopping cart, which leads to the next point: Technology.
Great fulfillment providers have specialized software that is optimized for eCommerce order fulfillment. Even though there are hundreds of fulfillment companies out there, not all of them were built with eCommerce in mind. Traditional warehousing companies are not good fits for modern online stores. Ask your potential fulfillment partner what kind of technology solution they used to manage your order fulfillment. Does it allow you to see and manipulate your orders in real-time? Does it allow you to approve or disapprove orders? Is it cloud-based? Do you get low-inventory alerts so you’re on top of your fulfillment? These are essential questions you should ask, not just to see if they have the technological capability to enable you to compete in today’s market, but to see how much control they offer you over your fulfillment.
Visit us next week to see what other critical advantages there are to hiring the best fulfillment provider for your business.