Handling order fulfillment is one of the trickiest parts of running an ecommerce business, especially if your goal is to offer your customers the fastest, most affordable shipping options.
First, there are the logistical challenges of storing, securing, and managing your inventory, setting up a pick and pack system, and supervising daily order volume. Then, there’s the question of shipping: how do you offer competitive prices and delivery times without breaking the bank?
Many ecommerce merchants struggle with this because they only use one fulfillment center. For example, if you’re using a Memphis-based fulfillment center but your customers live in various regions across the US, then shipping to, say, California or Massachusetts will be expensive. The key to faster ship times and lower costs is to reduce shipping zones, and ShipBob is a 3PL that can do this for you.
We do it with a system called distributed inventory: we operate a network of fulfillment centers across the US, and you can ship from one or all of them. This way, you can optimize your shipping by storing your inventory nearer to where your customers live.
ShipBob can improve your bottom line, save you time, and help your business scale with ease.
“Before ShipBob, we used a fulfillment center that frankly couldn’t scale with us. Since moving to ShipBob we’ve grown 30% year over year, which is a testament to their scalability, service, and technology. I feel really fortunate to have found ShipBob when we did.”
Carl Protsch, Co-Founder of FLEO
Order fulfillment in Memphis
Onboarding with ShipBob is simple and requires no coding, and once your store is synced the entire retail fulfillment process is on autopilot with minimal input needed from you. Here’s how simple it is to setup fulfillment with ShipBob:
- ShipBob operates several national fulfillment centers: to start, review your data and identify the ShipBob locations that are nearest to your customers, and ship your inventory to those locations.
- Complete the onboarding process using your ShipBob dashboard (we walk you through each step).
- Orders placed at your store are forwarded automatically to the optimal warehouse.
- Our fulfillment professionals pick, pack, and ship the order, with tracking info sent to the customer (and accessible to you as well).
Split your inventory
One of the big advantages ShipBob offers over traditional 3PLs is that you can split your inventory across multiple fulfillment centers, rather than operating out of one Memphis fulfillment center. This reduces the number of shipping zones your packages cross, which means lower rates and faster deliveries.
Optimize your shipping
ShipBob’s technology also streamlines your shipping, automatically finding the fastest and most cost-effective options. Combine this with our distributed inventory system and you’ll quickly reduce shipping costs on each package shipped while also offering better options for your customers.
Access advanced inventory & order management software
ShipBob’s platform also comes with inventory and order management software built in that allows you to meticulously track the entire warehousing and fulfillment processes. View real-time inventory counts, set reorder points, and search for outstanding orders all from your ShipBob dashboard.
Why ShipBob is the top choice for Memphis ecommerce vendors
With ShipBob, you can extend your shipping reach across the country (or even the globe), rather than overpaying to ship from a Memphis fulfillment center. And we can help your business in a number of other ways as well.
Access new markets
If you’re handling all your fulfillment in-house, then there’s probably a sharp limit on what you’re capable of shipping and where you can ship orders to. That’s fine when you’re in the early stages of your business and just growing, but it can hold you back over time.
One of our clients, Timbuktu Labs, partnered with ShipBob for the launch of their record-breaking debut kids book Rebel Girls, which had over $1.7 million in crowdfunding and over 33,000 backers on Kickstarter. In a single campaign we shipped 20,000 backer rewards across 75 countries, and Timbuktu stuck with us for 3 successful holiday season campaigns.
Optimizing your shipping can have a major impact on metrics like Average Order Value (AOV). The reason why is simple: when customers see expensive shipping options in their shopping cart, they’re more likely to drop an item or two to manage the overall cost. By lowering the cost of shipping, you’re encouraging customers to order more — which ultimately reduces cart abandonment.
We’ve helped some of our clients achieve significant improvements in AOV: one of our clients, luxury tutu brand iloveplum, improved AOV by a whopping 97% for orders that qualified for 2-Day Express Shipping.
Boost order volume
Your store’s order volume can only grow as fast as you can fulfill orders, and for most ecommerce merchants that ceiling is fairly low. But with ShipBob, your order volume is decoupled from in-house limitations: we’ve got the distribution infrastructure, resources, and professionals to handle any amount of order volume.
The founder of outdoor company Kula Cloth, Anastasia Allison, spent most of her time on the ins and outs of fulfillment until she outsourced to ShipBob. No longer having to spend time packing boxes, she was able to refocus her business and achieve 3x growth.
How to outsource fulfillment to a 3PL at the right time
The right time to outsource fulfillment will vary for each business depending on factors like order volume, storage and time constraints, shipping costs, and more. Fulfillment is an ever-shifting puzzle, so, by taking over the entire process, a 3PL can benefit your business in a multitude of ways. If you’re experiencing any of the problems listed below and they’re hampering the growth of your business, then consider outsourcing:
- Your order volume fluctuates seasonally and you struggle to keep up with fulfillment at certain times of the year.
- You lack the resources or desire to build a distribution infrastructure yourself.
- Your in-house fulfillment process is inefficient and error-prone, and you want to improve it.
- You are shipping from a Memphis fulfillment center, and want better shipping rates for customers that live elsewhere.
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