Purchasing goods online has become a massive trend in the recent years. Consumers shop and pay online, and the seller has those products delivered to the client’s doorstep. For the online retailers, the order logistics element of their business is crucial. Fast and accurate delivery reflects positively on their brand and reversely, shipping delays or wrong delivery (and the absence of a well-defined returns process) can harm their business. The good news is that an online retailer can avoid the pain and the hassle by using 3rd party logistics for their Ecommerce Order Fulfilment Services.
Online order fulfillment services cover the entire process on behalf of the online retailer. From goods in (bulk from manufacturer) and warehousing, to order processing (pick, pack & despatch) and final delivery (last mile) to the end customers. This fulfillment service should only be outsourced to a reliable, specialist third party. Success hinges on trust and commitment of this partner to care about the retailer’s business as if it was their own.
Using outsourced Order Fulfilment services are quickly becoming the standard in ecommerce, from the USA to Europe and the UK.
Let’s have a look at the benefits offered by Ecommerce Order Fulfilment Companies.
Benefits of Outsourced Order Fulfilment
- Online retailer spends no time and effort to gain all the experience of order fulfilment in-house. That time can be spent on growing his core business instead.
- No need to deal with warehousing and all the related cost (insurance for theft, fire or back-up plans for business continuity).
- Using the latest technology, from barcode scanning to laser pick indication, a (reputable) fulfilment company will always have a much better quality of picking. Less things-gone-wrong means a better customer experience.
- Benefit from the fulfilment companies’ network of shippers and available options, without having to build that network yourself.
- Enjoy the better shipping/ courier rates that fulfilment companies can negotiate based on their combined volume of shipments.
- Customs and tax regulations differ from country to country. A good 3PL has seen it all before and can advise you on the best route, eliminating the pitfalls.
- Going Omnichannel, or in other words branching out to more marketplaces, involves getting your systems integrated. Stock positions need to be accurate and pricing should be reliable. For an online retailer, every bit of development is costly. For a fulfilment house, adding a new marketplace is often as simple as flipping a switch.
How to ensure that you pick the best Ecommerce Order Fulfilment partner
Given the huge responsibility that you put with a 3PL partner, choosing the right one can be a tricky job. You should obviously take the time to build a relationship and find the right “company cultural match”. This is a strategic decision that will have an impact on the future of your business. Check their background, ask for references or client testimonials.
Make sure you get a well-defined proposal that includes all possible cost, from packing disposables to average pick time per order. Some charge for storage or pick-face fees, others won’t. Cost also depends on the number of daily orders and your collection of different products (SKUs). If you have thousands of different products and sell only a few orders a day, you may even find it hard to find a 3PL that is willing to take you on.
If you start out, see if you can kick-off with one country, or one product group, or even one fast-mover. When your trial goes great, go all guns blazing!