Whether or not to outsource your order fulfilment can be a difficult decision if you don’t have any knowledge of the services. So to help out, we’ve come up with a beginner’s guide of what to expect from an order fulfilment partner. Below is a basic, easy to understand introduction to each feature they’ll provide and just how your eCommerce business will benefit.
By the end of this article, hopefully you’ll feel confident in your knowledge and ready to decide whether or not outsourced order fulfilment is for you!
Order Fulfilment Services
eCommerce integration is the first step toward merging your business with your chosen 3PL (third party logistics) partner. An exceptional fulfilment service will offer software that will easily integrate with your chosen shopping cart (Shopify, Magento etc.). This enables online orders to move straight from your online store, to a warehouse. It provides seamless communication between your cart and the warehouse team, allowing your orders to be fulfilled in a timely manner.
As well as integrating with your online store, your eCommerce fulfillment partner will also start taking your stock into storage in their warehouse. Shelving, racking and pallet storage will ensure your stock is safely and securely stored. Products will be organised by SKU (stock keeping unit) and staggered to ensure similar looking stock does not get mixed up. 54% of warehouses expect to expand the number of SKUs over the next five years, allowing more storage for growing businesses.
The best fulfilment services will have control of multiple warehouses, often all over the world, allowing you access to many more customers. No longer will you have to store (and potentially trip over) your own products; this will free up your time and allow you to focus on your eCommerce business.
Now that you’re all set with your chosen partner, you will be able to benefit from their management systems. An IMS ( inventory management system) will be available to you, allowing you to accurately monitor and manage your stock wherever you are. The IMS will also help you to track stock movement, orders, forecasting and other data, such as most popular order.
The best warehouses use Cloud-based, real-time fulfilment software which gives you the power to access your inventory anytime, anywhere and retain up to the minute control of your orders.
PICK AND PACK
Every element of your order fulfilment has been set up. Now your first orders are coming in, they will enter the pick and pack process. Pick and pack is the method of ‘picking’ an item from its place of storage, taking it to a ‘packing station’ and packaging it for shipping. Using a WMS (warehouse management system) staff will be set on the most effective pick route and be able to locate the correct products with ease.
By having a professional, dedicated, and enthusiastic team handling all your operations, you never need to worry about fulfiling orders again. With a 99.998% accuracy rate in the best warehouses, you can place your trust in your order fulfillment service.
Now that your item has been packed to your requirements, it will be labeled with the customer’s address and using previously set delivery options (which will be chosen by the customer, such as ‘economy’ or ‘urgent’). 72% of customers would spend more if they could be sure of same day delivery and you’ll be able to deliver. You’ll also be able to sell your products all over the world and not have to worry about the logistics of it.
The best fulfilment services will choose the cheapest courier option for your deliveries, but also will ensure that you have the fastest service available for the price.
92% of consumers will buy something again if returns are easy and any successful business needs to properly be able to handle returns. Your eCommerce fulfilment partner will expertly handle any returned goods. They will be taken and assessed for resale, but if they don’t pass inspection, they will communicate with you and decide what should be done. According to your decision, they will resell, destroy or return the products to you, allowing full control over the process and to ensure no stock loss, whilst sending out a replacement product by your wishes.
Your customers will make or break your business and how your fulfilment is handled will decide whether or not they are satisfied with their order. By outsourcing your order fulfilment, it will be handled by an expert team, who will do everything within their power to grant an exceptional customer experience. The orders, in excellent condition, will be sent out as fast as possible to ensure they end up at the correct address at the correct time. This will lead to grateful and satisfied customers.
Happy customers become repeat customers, leading to additional custom that will begin the order fulfilment process all over again.
We hope that this article has proven both interesting and informative and that you now feel confident that you have a basic knowledge of fulfilment. If this article has helped you decide whether to outsource your fulfilment, even better! Remember to research your 3PL partner and ensure that they provide a service that will suit your needs and requirements so that your business has room to develop and grow.
The author of this article, Hannah, is a Marketer for James and James Fulfilment.
About James and James:
Here at James and James, we’re passionate about technology-driven order fulfilment. We make it easy for eCommerce brands like you to delight customers, service international markets, scale quickly and gain a competitive advantage.
Our clients love the game-changing combination of control and visibility we provide, through market-leading technology across a seamless global presence – all expertly supported with dedicated customer care.
That’s why our clients love us, and their customers love them!
Visit us at www.ecommercefulfilment.com