Most ecommerce merchants focus their energy on product development, web design, branding, and customer service. But, there’s a critical component that often gets overlooked: order fulfillment.
Fulfillment is the lifeblood of an ecommerce business: it determines how quickly and cost-effectively you can get your products to the customer’s door, it ensures you have the right amount of product on hand at the right time, and that you’re keeping track of daily order volume. Inventory management, order management, supply chain optimization, shipping and logistics — it all comes down to fulfillment.
That’s the benefit a 3PL can provide: streamlining all these processes and making your business more efficient. But not every 3PL is well-positioned to do this, especially when it comes to the advanced technology of modern ecommerce stores.
ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL built for ecommerce, and we bring something unique to the table: a distribution system called distributed inventory, where you store your inventory in multiple fulfillment centers closer to where your customers live. By reducing the distance each package must travel, you can lower your costs, offer faster options, and improve your bottom line as a result.
Why ecommerce brands choose ShipBob
ShipBob partners with ecommerce brands from around the world because of the proven results ShipBob delivers:
“We understand that whatever Amazon does, we also need to do or we are going to lose business. The cost of offering free 2-day shipping through ShipBob is more than covered and offset by all of the additional orders and revenue we’ve gotten as a result.”
Founder of My Calm Blanket
Ohio 3PL fulfillment services
Fulfillment with ShipBob starts with a simple onboarding process that requires no coding at all (unless you want to build something custom with ShipBob’s Developer API). It works like this:
- First, sync your online store with our technology and ship your products to a ShipBob fulfillment center (or multiple fulfillment centers, depending on where your customers live).
- Each order placed at your store is forwarded to us, and the order is prepared and shipped by our fulfillment professionals.
- You and the customer receive tracking info for the package.
- You get full visibility into the order process, along with a variety of inventory and order management tools at your ShipBob dashboard.
To understand how distributed inventory can benefit your business, let’s take a look at shipping zones: the cost of shipping a package is determined by how many shipping zones it crosses.
Storing your inventory closer to where your customers live reduces shipping zones, which allows you to ship more cost-effectively (and speed up delivery times as well). This, in turn, enables you to offer 2-day shipping to customers no matter where they live.
ShipBob doesn’t just enhance your shipping with our distributed infrastructure, though: our technology also automatically searches rates for different mail carriers and finds the best shipping option for each package. Our partnerships with major mail carriers and shipping apps also gets you access to features like bulk shipping discounts.
Inventory and order management software
As a full-stack fulfillment solution, we don’t stop at just shipping your packages: partner with ShipBob and you get a full-suite inventory and order management system that allows you to view the fulfillment process in real time, track ecommerce inventory levels, set reorder points, and more.
How ShipBob can help your business scale
Every ecommerce business goes through growing pains, and more often than not some of those pains are related to retail fulfillment. Outsourcing to a 3PL can help free you from troublesome constraints on your time and focus, while also benefiting your bottom line in a myriad of ways.
Increase 2-day ground shipping coverage
Amazon has shaped the modern ecommerce landscape, and customers now expect affordable 2-day shipping on their purchases. Most ecommerce businesses don’t have the resources to offer 2-day shipping at an affordable margin, but with ShipBob’s distributed inventory you can.
Here’s an example: supplement company Ample Foods partnered with ShipBob and saw 13% cost-savings to their bottom line, while at the same time increasing 2-day ground shipping coverage.
Access new markets
With a more extensive distribution infrastructure in place, you can not only offer more affordable shipping rates and faster deliveries, but you can also extend your shipping reach all over the country (and the globe). We’ve helped hundreds of ecommerce companies fulfill thousands of orders across the world with international shipping solutions.
One of our clients, Timbuktu Media, hired ShipBob to handle fulfillment for their smash-hit debut book series Rebel Girls. 20,000 backer rewards were fulfilled across 75 different countries.
Free up time for you and your team
It’s not just that fulfillment is complicated and multi-faceted: it’s also a major time suck that eats up your limited energy. Once fulfillment is outsourced to ShipBob, we can fulfill any amount of orders and you don’t have to lift a finger.
Case in point: sunglass brand Rainbow OPTX saw their order volume increase 2.5x and their Average Order Value (AOV) go up by 24%, while at the same time saving 120 weekly hours on packing boxes and shipping.
When is the right time to outsource fulfillment to a 3PL?
The right time will vary business by business, but it mostly comes down to what parts of fulfillment are holding back your growth: whether it’s shipping speed and cost, the pick/pack/ship process, inventory management, order management, or something else. If you recognize any of the following problems, then you can likely benefit from hiring a 3PL:
- Your shipping speeds are too slow, or you are charging customers too much for shipping and losing business.
- You are struggling with ecommerce warehousing: inventory counts are off, or your warehouse is disorganized and run inefficiently.
- Your fulfillment team is making too many errors, and you want to professionalize the fulfillment process.
- You have a single Ohio-based fulfillment center and want to expand your shipping reach.
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