Did you know that the e-commerce fulfillment industry is worth more than $84 billion? Running an e-commerce business is one of the best ways to create staggering levels of wealth while becoming your own boss and gaining financial freedom. Getting your e-commerce business off the ground will take some work, but it’s possible if you use the right tools and resources.
Part of growing your business is taking the right steps to choose a fulfillment service to work with. Finding the right options for fulfillment services takes some research, but the benefits are worth the time investment if you’re dedicated to making your small business a success.
The good news is that you’ve found the perfect guide to picking the right fulfillment service for your business’s order fulfillment needs. Keep reading this article to learn more today!
Tips for Choosing a Fulfillment Service
Picking a fulfillment service involves more than Googling your options and picking the one with the best-sounding name. The research that you put into the product shipping process could make or break your business operations. You can’t afford to make the wrong decision, especially when 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first two years.
Here’s a closer look at some of the tips that you need to use when finding a fulfillment service for your business.
Look for Quick Shipping Speeds
Keeping your customers happy is essential when you’re running an e-commerce business. The most effective way to do this is to ensure that your goods arrive at their doorsteps when they’re expecting them. Your options for fulfillment services are dedicated to getting your products from Point A to Point B with the most efficiency possible.
You risk losing loyal customers if you can’t achieve fast shipping speeds. The longer your delivery times are the worse reviews your company will receive.
Great fulfillment services will have multiple convenient locations. They’ll also have systems and fulfillment software features in place to boost productivity. The shipping speeds are among the most important aspects of a service.
Make a List of Must-Haves
It’s also smart to know what your essential needs are when looking for a fulfillment service. If you want your business to grow and flourish then you need to provide it with the resources that it requires. If your business ships food items then you need to work with a service that has experience shipping food items.
The fulfillment service should also have the proper licensing and certifications to handle shipping your goods. The best approach is to be clear about your business’s needs. The fulfillment service should return that favor.
Look for Multiple Locations
You should also choose a fulfillment service that has a variety of locations. The more locations they have the better your business will run. This is especially true if you have customers who are located throughout North America.
A major reason behind finding a fulfillment service with numerous locations is the fact that they can ship items more quicker. You’ll also see money on shipping expenses since the products that you’re selling need to travel a shorter distance.
Fulfillment services that only have one location will cost you more money. The longer that your orders are traveling the more they’re burning your money. Multiple warehouses will decrease that burden on your business and allow you to keep your customers happy.
Compare the Costs
Odds are that you’re working with a budget when you choose a fulfillment service. You need to prepare to compare costs prior to making a hire. It’s true that money makes the world go round, but it doesn’t always pay to hire the most expensive option.
Many business owners will look for options that allow them to save more money. This is a great strategy, but the best approach is to look for the best value for your money.
The same principle applies when it comes to choosing the cheapest option. There is likely a reason why it’s the cheapest option on the market, and you get what you pay for. Try to find options for fulfillment services that are affordable and that meet all of your business’s needs.
Ask Lots of Questions
The best way to learn more about your options for fulfillment services is to ask a ton of questions. You will never ask a dumb question when you’re interviewing potential partners that will help you grow your business. Any hesitations or doubts that you’re harboring are things that you need to bring up with the fulfillment service.
They should have no problem providing the reassurance that you need. They can provide the information that will help you discover the right option for your business’s needs.
Remember to have a notebook and a pen or pencil nearby when you call these fulfillment services. You should write down their answers to your questions so that you know what to expect. This makes narrowing down your shortlist much easier than trying to remember everything in your head.
Make Use of References
References are also important to use if you’re trying to explore options with the best product shipping process. Whether the fulfillment service stood out for its swag pack or its shipping speeds, it never hurts to ask your peers about who they use for their shipping needs.
A great approach to take is to ask the shipping provider for a list of references. You then should follow up on those references and find out what their clients think of the services that they’re providing. This is the most effective way to verify the claims that the fulfillment service is making when they present their case to you.
Visit Their Warehouses
Visiting the warehouses that belong to the fulfillment service will give you first-hand insight into its operations and efficiency. It’s your chance to learn more about order fulfillment and see the employees in action. This is a great idea if your business is located in close proximity to the fulfillment service.
If you’re not close to the warehouse then it’s a good idea to ask about getting a virtual tour of their facilities. You can see every corner of their warehouse without ever leaving your office or your home. Still, visiting in person will give you an idea of what the area is like and where your inventory will get stored and shipped from.
Try a Test Run
Using a test run with your options for fulfillment services is a great way to try out the service before committing to them. Odds are that the service will cost you a nice chunk of change, but a test run could save you some hardship in the future. Start by sending the warehouse a small amount of your inventory and have them ship it out when they’re sold to your happy customers.
You need to monitor their performance with the eyes of a hawk to make sure that they can keep up and get your orders out to customers at the speed of light. It’s also your chance to see if there are any kinks in the product shipping process. You can solve those issues and get your orders sent out with greater efficiency when you choose to use a test run.
Benefits of Using a Fulfillment Service
Now that you know the best way to find and choose a fulfillment service, it’s important to dive into the benefits that you’ll gain from the money that you’re investing in these services. You need to make sure that you’re getting what you pay for when comparing fulfillment services.
Here’s a closer look at the ways in which your fulfillment service will benefit your business operations.
Focus More On Your Business
A big perk that you’ll enjoy when you choose a fulfillment service is the fact that you can invest more time and energy into growing your e-commerce business and developing new products. You won’t need to keep track of all of your orders and get them shipped out in a timely manner once you’re letting the fulfillment service take care of these tasks.
Your focus can shift back to building a strong marketing strategy, generating more sales, and coming up with new and innovative ideas for products and designs. You can leave all of the stress and tedious tasks to the logistics professionals. It’s a great strategy when you’re starting out, especially if your business is starting to overwhelm you.
Lower Your Costs
It sounds crazy to think that you’ll lower your costs by spending money on a fulfillment service, but that’s the truth of the matter. A fulfillment service will have all of the best software and resources to ship your orders and track your inventory without you needing to lift a finger.
They will use software and artificial intelligence to make the impossible seem like a walk in the park. You won’t need to spend money on a facility where you can store your inventory since the fulfillment service will take care of that for you. That expense is built into what you’ll pay each month when you choose a fulfillment service to work with.
After your business starts to take off, you could face a dilemma about where to store all of the products that you have in your inventory. That concern goes out the window when you hire a service to help you with the product shipping process. They’ll have the space to store your goods so that they don’t get damaged or go bad while you’re trying to sell them.
The fact is that most start-ups don’t have the storage or the resources to manage their orders as they start to expand their operations. You can take a load off of your shoulders when you explore the best options for fulfillment services in your area.
Anyone who has run an e-commerce business in the past knows all about the expenses that are associated with shipping goods out to your customers. One of the big advantages of choosing to work with a fulfillment service is the fact that you’ll save money on shipping costs. You’ll benefit from wholesale shipping costs rather than paying for each package that you ship out, which adds up in a hurry.
This is especially true when you’re sending out large orders each time with the fulfillment service. Don’t forget that you can negotiate the shipping rates that you’re getting through these fulfillment services. If you’re a strong negotiator then you can save even more money by taking this route for your business’s needs.
Lower Shipping Material Costs
The shipping material costs also have a tendency to add up over a period of time. If you want to avoid spending excessive amounts of money on material costs then it’s best to hand that responsibility over to the experts at a fulfillment service. You can even enjoy free packaging for smaller items that you’re producing and selling, which is a huge benefit to consider.
Better Customer Service
An e-commerce business is only as good as its customer service. If you want to grow your business and expand your customer base then you need to maximize your business’s customer service through a fulfillment service. A fulfillment service will be happy to provide customer service on a 24/7 basis so that you can keep all of your customers happy.
Their support staff will provide help over the phone as well as through email inquiries. It allows you to grow your business in a number of ways.
Now You’re Prepared to Choose a Fulfillment Service
Taking the right steps to choose a fulfillment service is key if you have big plans to grow your e-commerce business from a startup to a titan of your industry. Make sure that you find out about the resources that they use and the fulfillment software features that they invest in. It’s also wise to take time to compare fulfillment service costs and to tour their warehouse facilities.
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