Fulfillment Logistics for Ecommerce Shops
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Managing fulfillment logistics can be extremely challenging, especially when it’s your first dive into ecommerce. Between inventory management and fulfillment costs, to customer service and keeping customers happy, there’s no shortage of tasks that will always continue to need your attention.
That’s why many ecommerce businesses choose to work with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that provides order fulfillment services.
What are fulfillment logistics?
Fulfillment logistics is the part of the supply chain that involves transporting customer orders and shipments, storing inventory in an ecommerce warehouse, packing boxes, and delivering orders on time. Often fulfillment logistics and order fulfillment crossover in many ways as they both focus on fulfilling customer orders.
How outsourcing fulfillment logistics can increase revenue
When you outsource fulfillment logistics, you should partner with someone who is a strategic asset to your business. 3PLs can no longer be a cost center for your business — they should be the opposite and help you increase revenue by reducing abandoned carts, increasing average order value, and meeting expectations to drive repeat purchases.
Offer faster shipping
Shoppers want fast shipping, and good 3PLs help you provide this important offering. Working with a retail order fulfillment provider that has multiple warehouses means you can split your inventory and ship from distances that are closer to your customers.
This not only reduces transit times to get your order delivered faster, but also helps you reduce shipping costs. The right fulfillment logistics strategy can make or break your ability to meet customer expectations around affordable 2-day shipping while saving you money as well.
Reduce self-fulfillment errors
When you fulfill orders from home, it’s very easy to make mistakes — putting the wrong item in a box, slapping the wrong label on, etc.
It happens to the best of us. A 3PL’s fulfillment center is designed and optimized to be as efficient and effective as possible, from the equipment they use and labor flow, to their use of space and technology to increase accuracy. With these foolproof methods, their error rate should be much lower than self-fulfillment.
Save time on administrative tasks
Fulfillment logistics is an important part of running a business but likely not the focus of an ecommerce company that was started to bring their unique products to the world. Fulfillment logistics becomes more complex and time-consuming as you grow.
Keeping logistics and fulfillment in-house means your attention is on those activities, rather than generating additional sales, building your customer community, and improving your products. Smart business owners know when to take something off their plate and hand it over to the experts who specialize in fulfillment logistics, and focus exclusively on the things that only they can do.
Bulk shipping discounts
Because 3PLs work with all of the major shipping carriers, and tons of ecommerce companies use their fulfillment services, they can provide the best rates they’ve negotiated from their large volume.
With bulk shipping comes bulk discounts for other things ranging from packing materials to square footage, all providing benefits to their customers. Fulfillment logistics is expensive enough. Getting better deals is only going to help you save money over time.
4 signs you’re ready to outsource your fulfillment logistics
Fulfillment logistics can be managed internally to a certain point. Read on to learn if now is the time to outsource logistics and fulfillment If any of these signs resonate, you might just be ready.
1. Your order volume is hard to manage
When your business is doing well, it will grow. With growth, comes new challenges with fulfillment logistics, from not having enough hours in the day to keep up, to having to hire more people, to investing in the right space, and getting orders shipped out on time to not disappoint customers.
Ecommerce order fulfillment services are the easiest way to take the burden of fulfillment logistics off of busy ecommerce businesses and keep their sanity.
2. You need more storage space
Before brands outsource fulfillment logistics, they often store products in their garage, basement, office, or other rooms in their home. Some may get a storage unit, small warehouse, or office space to keep products in, but this is often a short-term bandaid solution at best.
To properly manage inventory, you need the right equipment, fulfillment centers, and team. You can get what you need from a third-party logistics provider to cover your logistics and fulfillment needs — without investing in the infrastructure, workforce, supplies, and more.
3. You’re spending too much time on inventory management
Managing inventory isn’t just just warehousing your products. If you’re spending time counting inventory levels, having trouble knowing the proper reorder quantity, or managing SKUs through guesswork, you may need help.
A 3PL should allow you to view real-time stock levels at each fulfillment center, proactively set reorder points to prevent stockouts, and get insights into the most valuable part of your fulfillment logistics: your products!
4. Your orders aren’t getting delivered fast enough
With today’s customers expecting the fastest shipping, you need an ecommerce fulfillment logistics strategy that can keep up with the retailers that set the precedent, or your customers may choose to shop from them instead.
If you’ve heard complaints about slow transit times, see a high cart abandonment rate at checkout, or aren’t offering the same shipping options as your competitors, you may need a 3PL to help you out.
How ShipBob manages logistics
Outsourcing your fulfillment logistics to ShipBob is simple. Here are the core steps:
1. Connect your store to our software through our builtin integrations
2. Import your products/SKUs
3. Send your products to our fulfillment center(s)
4. Wait for your customer to place an order
5. We pick, pack, and ship the order
We send ecommerce order tracking information back to your store to be shared with your customer
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