Many ecommerce business owners struggle to focus on creating the best product and growing their business when most of their time is spent on fulfillment logistics. But when customers expect shipping to be faster and cheaper than ever, it’s equally important to have a solid shipping strategy in place.
One of the best ways to get started with an effective shipping strategy is to understand shipping zones. Shipping zones are the units used by mail carriers to measure the distance a package must travel from its point of origin to its destination.
Shipping zones also determine the shipping cost: the further away the destination is from the package’s origin, the more zones it crosses and the more expensive and time-consuming shipping is. The key to bringing your costs down and delivering faster is reducing the shipping zones packages must travel through to reach its destination.
This is where ShipBob comes in.
We’re a 3PL fulfillment provider that helps businesses lower their shipping costs and delivery times. One way we do this is with a distribution method known as distributed inventory. You can store your products in one or multiple fulfillment centers located in various regions across the continental US.
This method allows you to follow the data and store your products closer to where your customers live, which reduces shipping zones, rates, and delivery times.
And more efficient shipping isn’t all you get with ShipBob. Read on to learn why more and more ecommerce brands are choosing to outsource fulfillment.
Why do customers choose ShipBob?
Health and wellness brand Synchro started out shipping orders with ShipBob, but as they grew, they wanted to explore other fulfillment options. They found that only ShipBob could follow through on promises to bring down shipping costs and transit times. Synchro now ships over 3,000 orders per month, and offers 2 shipping to 80% of their customers.
“We loved our implementation experience, and our Onboarding Specialist and Account Manager have been so accessible, invested, open, and hands on. They are awesome and on top of it — I’ve known what’s going on every step of the way.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
How ShipBob fulfills orders for Virginia-based ecommerce businesses
ShipBob doesn’t have a single fulfillment center in Virginia. Instead, we have fulfillment centers located on the West Coast (Moreno Valley, California), the Midwest (Chicago, Illinois), the East Coast (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and the South (Dallas, Texas).
The fulfillment center you choose doesn’t necessarily have to be close to where your team operates. You can actually save money and enhance your shipping strategy by taking a data-driven approach to choosing the right fulfillment center location(s). Here’s how it works:
- Talk to a fulfillment expert that will act as your logistics consultant.
- Go through a robust implementation process.
- Connect your store to ShipBob’s technology and shipping your products to the fulfillment centers closest to where your customers reside.
- Orders placed on your store are automatically forwarded to the fulfillment center with your inventory.
- Fulfillment professionals pick, pack, and ship the order.
- Tracking information is sent to the customer (and you can view it as well from your ShipBob dashboard).
- You get advanced analytics into your sales performance, transit times, and other distribution metrics.
Real-time inventory tracking
Many ecommerce businesses struggle to keep accurate track of their inventory counts, then stockouts happen, and orders get delayed or cancelled as a result. Not with ShipBob. Our platform makes inventory tracking easy by setting automatic reorder points, so you automatically receive a notification when counts are getting low.
ShipBob’s proprietary software is simple to setup and requires no programming or coding. We provide a robust implementation program that helps you get your online store synced to our software, set your shipping options, and explains all of ShipBob’s processes.
2-day shipping options
With your inventory distributed across multiple fulfillment centers, reaching customers in any corner of the US is that much easier and quicker. Reducing shipping zones means lower rates and better margins, which you can pass along to the customer in the form of affordable 2-day shipping. We also offer a 2-Day Express Shipping Program that enables 2-day shipping for all customers located in the continental US — even if you decide to store inventory in one US fulfillment location.
How ShipBob can help your Virginia-based business use shipping to grow faster
Though ecommerce businesses often treat shipping as an afterthought, shipping is such a critical part of the customer experience in ecommerce that it can make or break your business. It’s one of the main factors that customers will use to judge your business and will determine whether they come back (or if they’ll buy in the first place).
By optimizing your shipping, ShipBob can benefit your business in numerous ways.
Save on your bottom line
One of the biggest retail fulfillment services that we provide for our customers is lowering shipping rates by reducing shipping zones. Lower shipping rates not only let you offer your customers better options, but they improve your bottom line as well.
Case in point: ShipBob client Ample Foods achieved 13% cost-savings to their bottom line after partnering with ShipBob, while at the same time increasing 2-day ground shipping coverage by 103%.
Scale order fulfillment
With ShipBob, there are no limits to growth. We offer the infrastructure, team, and technology to handle any amount of orders (and we can save you a ton of time in the process).
For example, CBD company Nature’s Ultra was able to scale rapidly and achieved 9,900% growth year over year after partnering with ShipBob. By splitting their inventory across 3 different fulfillment centers, they’re able to offer 2-day shipping to 100% of US customers.
Reach customers all over the country (and the world)
If you are only shipping from a Virginia-based fulfillment center, then shipping to the West Coast (and many other parts of the US) will be expensive. With ShipBob’s help, you can store your inventory in any region and reach customers in all corners of the US.
International shipping is also possible in terms of shipping across the world and by utilizing ShipBob’s global locations. After partnering with ShipBob, Timbuktu Labs was able to ship 20,000 backer rewards to 75 countries for a single Kickstarter campaign, and then went on to sell 3.5 million books worldwide. They’ve been with ShipBob for four years and counting.
Knowing the right time to outsource fulfillment to a 3PL
Not every ecommerce merchant will benefit from outsourcing: if you’re in the earliest stages of growth and only have a few local customers, then radically upscaling your fulfillment capacity won’t do you a ton of good. But there are many situations in which outsourcing to a 3PL is beneficial, and not all of them are related to order volume (though that’s important).
If you recognize any of the following scenarios, it may be time to outsource:
- You devote too much time, resources, and energy to fulfillment.
- You lack the expertise or desire to master distribution and fulfillment.
- Your warehouse is messy and overstocked, and you’re struggling to find product and match your inventory levels.
- You want cheaper shipping rates and faster deliveries.
- You want to provide two-day shipping.
- Your inventory or order management systems are out of date and you’re looking for a higher-quality proprietary software.
If the above fulfillment needs match yours, working with an order fulfillment company could help. Whether you need to expand or scale your ecommerce warehousing, implement an inventory management system, lower fulfillment costs, or just smooth out your fulfillment process, ShipBob has the services you need. We work with many online businesses and specialize in getting ecommerce orders out as cost-effective and efficient as possible.
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