What to Consider When Outsourcing Order Fulfillment
Running a small ecommerce-based business might seem like a cinch – at least for the first few weeks. Inevitably, though, the orders are going to start coming in more quickly than you can keep up, and you’ll need to make some decisions about how to proceed. Outsourcing to an order fulfillment company is almost always the best solution, and you can learn more about the reasons why below.
A Day in the Life
Running your ecommerce business probably looks the same almost every day. Some days are busier than others, but for the most part, it entails:
- Checking orders that came in overnight. Then, of course, you will need to pick and pack those orders and prepare them for shipping.
- Checking social media and ad performance. You’ll want to know what people are talking about in regard to your company, and you’ll also want to know whether you’re generating any real leads with your marketing campaigns.
- Checking your inventory. Whether you check via a database or you count your actual physical inventory, there’s a good chance that you’ll check your stock at some point during the day.
- Contacting vendors. If you’re running low on anything, you’ll need to ask your vendor to send it.
- Shipping orders. Now that you’re finished picking and packing those orders, you’ll have to make sure they get where they’re going. You will need to add the inserts, tape the box closed, and head off to the post office or courier.
If you only have a couple orders a day, this may not seem like a terrible thing. However, imagine this process for 50 different orders every single day. What about 100? If your goal is growth, it will happen. Fortunately, an order fulfillment company can do most of this on your behalf.
What Order Fulfillment Entails
Though you should be able to customize your order fulfillment experience to your needs and preferences, most of the time, you get to choose from a wide variety of useful services. These include:
- Inventory storage and management. Rather than renting a warehouse and counting your inventory all the time, hand it over to the pros. In the long run, it will likely save you money and plenty of headaches, too.
- Inventory reporting. Each week, you can get a detailed report of your inventory so that you can keep track of your sales and how things are going.
- Vendor account management. The order fulfillment company will remain in contact with your vendors to order more supply as needed – and as per your instructions.
- Picking and packing. The company’s employees will search for your items in the warehouse and pack them into boxes.
- Packaging assembly and kitting. Need a special package that requires assembly? What about a kit to send to your customers? Order fulfillment services can provide these, as well.
- Custom packaging inserts. Flyers, cards, stickers, and even free gifts are all available to your customers at your request.
- Numerous shipping options, including expedited shipping. Rather than constantly renegotiating your shipping costs, let an order fulfillment company with longstanding relationships with all the couriers handle it.
- Order reporting in real time. The company’s software will integrate with your ecommerce platform and let you see sales and other activity in real time.
Your business may be small now, but it absolutely will grow – especially if you really pour your heart and time into it. An order fulfillment company will do two things to make this even easier. It will save you a great deal of time by handling logistics on your behalf, and it will also reduce your stress so you can focus on the things that will help your business keep growing.