For healthcare brands expanding their online store, a proper fulfillment process is crucial for long-term growth. Learn more about how to optimize your supply chain and how a logistics service provider like ShipBob can help.
What is healthcare fulfillment?
Healthcare fulfillment refers to the picking, packing, and shipping of vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals, medical devices, medical equipment, and other health and wellness products. Either done at home or in a small warehouse, or by a third-party logistics (3PL) company, healthcare fulfillment involves warehousing, inventory management, and shipping orders safely and efficiently.
How ShipBob helps healthcare ecommerce brands grow
Since healthcare fulfillment involves many ‘essential’ products that need to be delivered directly to consumers on time, your business needs the right location(s) to store inventory, the right technology to manage inventory and orders in process, and the right team to help pack and ship orders to customers. This is where ShipBob comes in.
If you choose to work with ShipBob, you can split inventory in the fulfillment center(s) of your choice, and expand into other locations as you grow. ShipBob offers a growing international fulfillment network with locations in the US, Canada, and Europe.
ShipBob’s fulfillment center locations are powered by proprietary warehousing management system (WMS) we built that connects to our merchant dashboard, which effortlessly integrates with your ecommerce store(s). At any time, you can view the status of any order in real time, monitor inventory levels, and and set reorder points to prevent stockouts. You can also view valuable, advanced data and analytics o help you make better business decisions.
Challenges of healthcare fulfillment and shipping
Without a 3PL, healthcare fulfillment can be challenge to get right. To stay competitive, you will need access to a robust fulfillment network and best-in-class technology. Here are some of the common challenges of healthcare fulfillment.
Ensuring order accuracy
In healthcare fulfillment, you need to make sure that customers receive exactly what they ordered. Otherwise, your business will have to facilitate returns and refunds on the order. This is not only time-consuming but also makes your business lose money, and possibly customers.
To ensure order accuracy, the correct items need to be located and picked from inventory, packed in the right packaging, and then shipped to the right address. ShipBob’s software lets ecommerce brands upload photos of their products for the picking and packing teams to see, has digital verifications for fulfillment associates each time an item is picked or packed, lets brands set packaging preferences, and has other safeguards in place to reduce the possibility of an order going out wrong.
Keeping up with demand
If you’re running a successful healthcare-related brand, your order volume will increase. Your ability to handle these spikes will make or break your ability to reach the next level of business growth. In order to scale, you will need to make some changes to be able to manage peak. Otherwise, be prepared for no walking space and a house full of inventory, angry customers, out-of-stock orders, and zero time for anything but packing boxes.
Creating a strong brand identity
Healthcare ecommerce markets can be competitive. To attract and retain more customers, you will need to create brand awareness and build a strong, positive image of your company. ShipBob offers several different packaging options and partners, so you can design a custom box or poly mailer with inserts that will delight shoppers and increase customer loyalty.
ShipBob’s healthcare fulfillment process
ShipBob’s system integrates fully with leading ecommerce stores. Once your account is configured, you can send inventory to ShipBob’s fulfillment center(s) and grow into more as you scale. ShipBob lets business owners monitor and manage the entire process from one central dashboard. Here is an overview of ShipBob’s order fulfillment process.
Step 1: Receiving inventory
A fulfillment expert will make sure that all the items that were sent have arrived and are in good condition. ShipBob requires merchants to fill out a Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) and affix the proper labels to each box. This helps us speed up the receiving process while managing inventory for thousands of customers.
Step 2: Items are located and picked
ShipBob’s proprietary warehouse management system (WMS) automatically assigns similar orders with inventory in the same area of the warehouse to the same picker to reduce the number of steps required to pick orders for a more efficient workflow. A picking list is automatically generated, which includes the items ordered, quantity, and where each product is located. Each unit that’s picked is scanned from the inventory container so inventory counts are updated in real-time, providing up-to-date stock levels for merchants.
Step 3: The items are packed
The next step is to securely pack orders and add the shipping label. At ShipBob, we use standard packing materials such as brown boxes, plain bubble mailers and poly bags, packing tape, and dunnage at no extra cost. We choose the best packing materials for each order to both protect your products and achieve the lowest practical dimensional weight. We also allow our merchants to use custom packaging to enhance the ‘unboxing’ experience.
Step 4: The order is shipped
By outsourcing fulfillment to ShipBob, you won’t have to worry about shipping orders yourself. We partner with major shipping carriers to negotiate shipping rates and have them pick up packages daily sorted by each shipping service. To keep customers updated on the delivery process, you can set up proper order tracking on your store.
How ShipBob helps healthcare companies
ShipBob fulfills orders for hundreds of online healthcare brands. Read on to see how we’ve helped healthcare companies scale their business.
One Drop is a digital health company that sells diabetes glucose meters, test strips, lancets, and more. They partnered with ShipBob back in 2016 and have been growing rapidly ever since.
“When we were launching our diabetes subscription service, we knew we needed a fulfillment partner who offered a tight Shopify Plus integration. Unlike most 3PLs that lack sophisticated, intuitive tools, ShipBob’s technology is modern. Their software even makes it easy to bundle products made up of multiple SKUs from our inventory, so it is packaged exactly as the customer ordered it.”
Doug Kern, VP, Ecommerce of One Drop
MDacne is the world’s first fully-customized acne treatment kit with an app that will analyze your skin and create a personalized skincare routine. MDacne partnered with ShipBob in 2017 and built into ShipBob’s Developer API. Since MDacne’s business is almost all subscriptions, ShipBob helps them offer reliable, affordable shipping that shows up at the same time each month.
“Because ShipBob has a lot of people to handle our orders and additional warehouses we can expand into, we can scale up with ease as we continue to grow quickly. If we ran our own warehouse, it would be much harder to hire people and we’d inevitably outgrow the space.”
Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne
Touchland is a fast-growing brand that upgraded the hand sanitizing experience to a whole new level. The brand launched in 2018 and grew quickly after a successful Kickstarter campaign, and then grew even faster after the COVID-19 pandemic hit (they sold out the first week of the pandemic and 34,000 customers on the waitlist). They partnered with ShipBob to help get orders to customers faster by using our distributed fulfillment network.
“ShipBob has been a great ally as they have fulfillment centers all over the US, facilitating a 2-3 day delivery time for any customer in the US.”
Andrea Lisbona, Founder & CEO of Touchland
Organic Olivia sells probiotics, herbal formulas, tinctures, capsules, juices, and syrups is “where healthcare meets self-care.” They partnered with ShipBob for healthcare fulfillment on all direct-to-consumer orders.
“Now we’re at two ShipBob fulfillment centers, and being able to have the analytics and see how everything is working together has been extremely helpful for me on the operations end. It definitely helps me with inventory management and seeing what’s going on. Even though we’ve grown, I haven’t spent more time on the business from an operations standpoint.”
Dana Varrone, Director of Operations at Organic Olivia
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