One thing that makes ecommerce different from traditional retail is that your customer base is likely to be spread out across the country, and this presents a few unique challenges. Most businesses keep their warehouse and fulfillment center close to home, but this can actually limit your shipping capacity.
If you only have a fulfillment center in Richmond, Virginia, but your customer base lives largely on the East or West Coast, then your shipping rates will be high and your deliveries will take longer. ShipBob is a 3PL that can solve this problem for you with a system called distributed inventory.
Distributed inventory works like this: rather than shipping from one fulfillment center, you split your inventory across multiple fulfillment centers in various regions across the US. When a customer places an order, it’s shipped from the fulfillment center closest to the customer, and the reduced shipping distance gives you lower rates and faster deliveries.
“Luckily, ShipBob has fulfillment centers in major cities all over the US, so we can spread out our inventory across the country to reduce the shipping zones and costs associated with shipping orders to destinations that are far away. The more fulfillment centers we have inventory in, the more potential shipping addresses we can offer this 2-day option to. And the more people that we offer the benefit of free 2-day shipping to, the more conversions we get.”
Founder of My Calm Blanket
Order fulfillment services in Richmond, Virginia
Setting up ShipBob is simple: we can start fulfilling orders within days. Here’s how it works:
- First, sync your store with ShipBob’s technology (we guide you through each step of the onboarding process via your Onboarding Dashboard).
- Check your data and see where your customers live, then ship your products to the ShipBob fulfillment center(s) closest to your customer base.
- From there, retail fulfillment is a breeze: when an order is placed, picking lists are auto-generated at our fulfillment center, and the pick/pack/ship process begins.
- You can check the status of any shipment from your ShipBob dashboard (and the customer receives tracking info as well).
Order and inventory management
While we take care of the ins and outs of order fulfillment, you can monitor outstanding orders, see where they are in the fulfillment process, and check inventory levels in real-time all from your ShipBob dashboard. ShipBob’s dedicated merchant success team are always there to answer your questions and resolve issues immediately.
As an ecommerce merchant you probably have a tech stack in place, and you need a 3PL that can work seamlessly with your existing apps (including Developer API). ShipBob is integrated with many of the top solutions in ecommerce covering all different areas: from shipping platforms to branded, custom packaging tools.
White label service and packing supplies included
Many other 3PLs will sneak in hidden charges or plaster their name across your packages but not ShipBob. White label service is free with us (the only place our name appears is on the shipping label), and standard packaging materials are included in your ShipBob quote (you can also work with one of our packaging partners for a custom unboxing experience).
Why ShipBob is the best fulfillment solution in Richmond
ShipBob is truly a modern 3PL: We not only take care of fulfillment for you, but we leverage our proprietary fulfillment technology and extensive distribution infrastructure to optimize your shipping and ultimately boost your bottom line. Here are some of the ways we’ve done this for our customers:
Offer faster, cheaper shipping
One of the advantages of distributed inventory is that you can offer superior shipping options compared to using just a single fulfillment center. For example, one of our partners, Ample Foods, a nutrition company, was able to improve their 2-day shipping ground coverage by 103% after outsourcing fulfillment to us, while at the same time achieving 13% cost-savings to their bottom line.
One of the benefits of offering cheaper shipping options to your customers is that, since they have to spend less on shipping, they’re likely to spend more on your product. Iloveplum, a luxury tutu company, partnered with ShipBob and saw their AOV increase by 97% for orders that qualified for 2-Day Express Shipping.
Reduce cart abandonment
High shipping costs is one of the main reasons that customers abandon their carts. So, for the same reason that AOV tends to increase when customers have better shipping options, cart abandonment tends to decrease. This has happened with many of our clients, including MyCalmBlanket, a weighted blanket company, whose cart abandonment rate decreased by 18% after hiring us.
When is a third party logistics provider right for your Richmond-based business?
It’s important to outsource fulfillment at the right time. If done too soon, you won’t have the order volume to justify outsourcing, but too late and you miss out on opportunities for growth. That being said, there’s no simple rule for knowing when the time is right to hire a 3PL. Most ecommerce businesses have certain pain points that a 3PL can solve to unlock faster growth.
Here are some common ones:
- You devote too much time and energy to fulfillment.
- You want to offer fastershipping options, but don’t have the distribution infrastructure in place.
- You are using a single Richmond-located fulfillment center but are running out of space.
- Your order volume is increasing rapidly and you don’t have the team or resources to keep up.
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