How E-commerce Fulfillment Can Boost Your Sales
Whether you own a startup or have been in the industry for decades, it is vital to keep your business grow. This includes finding the right e-commerce fulfillment company that can help you serve more customers.
E-commerce fulfillment services can be one of the most effective ways to provide excellent customer service. It also helps you keep existing customers and turn them into repeat buyers.
That's because having a steady customer base is vital for any business to succeed. More so, if you want to expand to international markets.
What is E-commerce Fulfillment? 🤔
Before we start, let's first define what e-commerce fulfillment is.
In a nutshell, it is a process of shipping a customer's order on time. This part of the supply chain involves receiving and storing your inventory, processing orders, picking and packing items, and transporting items to the customer's doorsteps.
For this to work, you need to team up with a fulfillment company or manage your inventory yourself. What's important is that you can deliver an item safely and without hassle. Otherwise, it will add friction to your customer service.
This explains why a lot of large e-commerce businesses partner with an e-commerce fulfillment company. That's because they can coordinate and schedule shipments with carriers such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx.
Most of these providers will also charge you with a flat monthly fee for storing your items. This will depend on the number of bins/palettes in their facility.
Now that you know what e-commerce fulfillment is, it is time to learn how it can improve your sales.
Get Your Products to Market Faster ⏱
Working with an e-commerce fulfillment company can help you handle product distribution with ease. Doing so enables your product to reach your target market a lot faster.
Most e-commerce companies follow a “guided selling” pattern. The store has laid out the categories, and users are free to browse and buy the products themselves.
These days, most e-commerce sellers realize that getting their products to the market is not as easy as they thought. There will be supplier issues, legal obstacles, and a whole lot of problems that they have to face.
But with the help of an order fulfillment company, you have one thing less to worry about. That's because they can help you sort any technical problems in the supply chain.
As a result, you will gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Add More Sales Channels 💲
When most companies and brands are starting, they usually have one sales channel. It can be their website or social media channels. But this process is quite limiting, especially if you want to expand your business.
With an order fulfillment company, you can open up more sales channels. That way, you can cater to more customers, especially if you have an e-commerce business.
That's because you have a wider market reach, and you will need to align your business with their needs if you want to boost your sales. Also, don't forget to promote your products at the same time and there are plenty of ways for you to do so.
Decrease in Expenditures 👏🏼
In an attempt to decrease your business expenses, fulfillment centers will let you sell your products more.
There are a lot of overhead costs involved in running a company. But you can reverse it with the help of an order fulfillment company.
That's because you do not have to worry about renting a warehouse to keep your inventory. You also do not have to hire someone who will manage your inventory.
A fulfillment company can deal with that. Thus, you can free up your time and budget and use it in other areas of your business.
Prepare for Fluctuation 📈📉
There are also instances that your company will experience peak demand. Luckily, a fulfillment company can help you prepare for the peak season.
When you can store more products in the warehouse, even as the market fluctuates, you can still meet these high demands.
Without a warehouse, companies will lose a lot of money during peak times because of expensive shipping costs.
An e-commerce fulfillment company lets these costs remain the same throughout the year. That way, it will not end up hurting your business.
Grow Your Business 📊
Some businesses are scared to venture into e-commerce because of the amount of work that goes into it. They are also afraid that they might compromise the quality of their products in the long run.
But when you outsource your business with an order fulfillment center, it allows you to put your business on the map. Fulfillment centers can also help you grow your business by expanding your market and supplier reach.
For one, they can handle the shipping, packaging, labeling, and inventory management.
This opens your business to a plethora of customers to come in, which increases the number of products that you can sell. As a result, you get to boost your revenue.
⭐️ Check out this article on e-commerce cross-selling for more ways to grow your e-commerce sales.
Provide Various Shipping and Carrier Options 🚚
The most successful stores offer various shipping options (1-day vs.3-day shipping) and carriers (UPS or USPS).
And this does not only allow you to provide different delivery options. You are also giving your customers the option to pay extra for expedited service.
Regardless, this idea can come in handy if you want to offer international shipping.
Have Seamless Returns Experience ⏎👏🏼
Establishing a seamless return policy ensures customer satisfaction.
Mind you; some stores offer customers an "interactive returns process." This allows customers to return items without having to contact support or logging into their accounts.
Keep in mind that customers do not like hassle. Hence, you must have a seamless return policy.
Your process could be as simple as letting your customers input their ID and email address. And then, they can choose an item that they want to return, state their reason, and generate a return shipping label.
New Way to Handle Inventory 🤔
An order fulfillment center is also well-equipped in processing inventory. This ensures that the items listed on your online store are up-to-date.
A lot of work goes into it, from making sure that the item was shipped correctly to removing it from your inventory. Doing so avoids any confusion.
There will also be instances where the customer needs to replace or return a product. If a small business has its hands full in cases or situations like these, it can be challenging to focus on other aspects of its business.
Luckily, your partner fulfillment center can handle this.
Helps You Access More Global Customers 🌍
When you are starting, it can be challenging to penetrate the international market. This explains why only big brands are doing this type of venture.
But nowadays, distance has become a past obstacle. That's because you can team up with an international e-commerce fulfillment company. The key here is to look for a company based on your target foreign market.
Say, you want to cater to people in Singapore. Then consider a fulfillment center within the country. For one, they are knowledgeable of the country-specific regulations when it comes to e-commerce.
Thus, you can take your business to the next level.
Improve your Customer Service 🙌🏽
It is more comfortable and more affordable to keep an old customer than look for a new one.
Research reveals that companies lose approximately $62 billion yearly because of poor customer service.
With a lot of brands and businesses competing for customers out there, impeccable customer service is one way small businesses can stand out from the rest of the pack.
Most e-commerce fulfillment centers offer customers 24/7 email and chat support.
They also provide convenient returns and exchanges. E-commerce fulfillment centers also offer a same-day delivery option, as well as a guaranteed delivery date. All of this works to enhance the customer experience.
Lower Costs in Shipping 💰⬇
Most e-commerce fulfillment centers provide a network of national and global facilities. Thus, you'll get discounts for bulk deliveries which help enhance your business.
Apart from both UPS and FedEx are basing their shipping rates depending on the zone.
When you place your products in different fulfillment centers, the fewer zones you'll need to cross. Thus, you get to save more in operation costs.
This lets you pass your savings to your customers, or even offer them free shipping. Mind you, more than 50% of US consumers base their purchasing decision on free shipping.
Provides Customized Packaging 📦
For a lot of e-commerce sellers, the first time customers will experience their product is when it arrives at their doorstep. That's why a battered-looking box that's wrapped in duct tape won't cut it.
Having customized packing options allows you to come up with customized shipping boxes, inserts, and coupons.
This allows you to upgrade your packaging, making it both fresh and exciting the moment the customer lays their eyes on the product. You can base it on demographics, birthdays, spending behaviors, anniversaries, and more.
Doing so helps build brand loyalty, turning your customers into loyal brand evangelists as well as helping your brand to stand out.
Their Experience is Beneficial 😍
You're not trying to be an expert in order fulfillment. Instead, you're trying to run a business and make a profit out of it!
When you outsource a part of your e-commerce process, you are leveraging their tools, connections, and expertise. Some operation you can outsource to an e-commerce fulfillment provider are the following:
- Inventory management
- Picking and Packing
Moreover, they know the ins and outs of the business like the back of their hand.
When you partner with an experienced order fulfillment provider, you can build a seamless process.
Free Up Your Space 🧐
Are you working up your basement, attic, garage, or anywhere in your home to store your items?
Over time, these workspaces can quickly become disorganized and filled with bubble wraps, boxes, and packing supplies.
Of course, a DIY warehouse can be an affordable option. But it won't be a sustainable method in the long run if you're planning to expand your business.
Financing and operating a warehouse requires a lot of logistic experience. Outsourcing a fulfillment provider will take this hassle off your shoulders.
When you work with an e-commerce fulfillment center, you don't worry about that. That's because they can handle your inventory management requirements.
Thus, you'll focus on the more vital aspects of your business, such as keeping your customers happy.
Enhance Your Focus 👀
Many small business owners tend to juggle a lot of things. They're coming up with products, sourcing suppliers, creating marketing campaigns, answering customer queries, and so much more!
So, why do you have to take in packing and to ship your products as well?
Outsourcing an order fulfillment provider helps you narrow your focus on what's essential to your business.
Maintain Your Branding ℬ
Many business owners fear that they'll lose their branding if they choose to outsource a part of their e-commerce process.
It might be unclear if another company gets stamped on your items and packages that get shipped to your customers.
Luckily, you can maintain that continuity the moment you outsource your logistics. The best part is that a reputable third-party provider can offer something seamless to your customers.
Technological Benefits 💻
Outsourcing lets you use existing technologies for more effective delivery.
A fulfillment company has professional management systems, specialized fund management, shipping management, tracking infrastructure, the latest software, and trained staff.
Instead of spending time and money to create your own, it is better to leverage your fulfillment partner's technology. Ideally, you integrate the platform with your fulfillment partner's technology.
Outsourcing your e-commerce fulfillment helps you expand your business and reach new markets.
Sure, having an online store means that you can reach international customers. But that does not mean that you can deliver to them. So, choose your e-commerce fulfillment partner wisely!
Partnering with a reliable e-commerce fulfillment company that can help brands have a successful e-commerce strategy can help you keep your customers. That’s because they can help you provide excellent customer service.
So if you are thinking of expanding your online business, it is imperative to consider the best e-commerce fulfillment partner.
This article was written by Jake Rheude. Jake is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.