Fulfillment houses are typically called warehouses or distribution centers that basically store inventory and ship parcels efficiently once they receive orders to do so. As a customer, you can log in to view the status of any order and find your tracking number.
If you will outsource your order fulfillment, you can easily make a warehouse distribution network. It will let you store your inventory in distant locations, take different orders from other nations, and then ship the ordered products to buyers from the closest warehouse.
Benefits Of Using A Fulfillment Network:
1. Shipping has always been outsourced through courier services, but today it is easy for the customer to log onto an outsourced distribution center to check out inventory status.
2. The process of outsourcing order fulfillment services will help the retailer to pay attention to marketing. Also, the business owners can pay attention to the overall growth plans for the company without having to think about deliveries and shipping hassles. Use this free time to expand your product lines and websites and venture into new avenues.
3. Maintaining a warehouse can be expensive because of security considerations, software developments needed to carry on the online transactions, and labor issues during peak seasons. But outsourcing helps cut down on employee overhead and capital costs.
4. Outsourcing allows you to reach out to foreign markets by giving your buyers local shipping rate advantages, local delivery times, and returns. When the buyer cannot examine a product before he pays for it, there are bound to be cases of return or exchanges. These cases are then handled by the fulfillment centers, which review the items and either dispose of them if they are damaged or return them to the inventory if exchanges are needed.
5. Outsourcing helps a business to grow without having to spend colossal funds on infrastructure or employees.
Things To Consider When Selecting Warehouses:
1. Always try something first before you actually start practicing it. You could get a free trial to send some inventory through shipping to see if it works.
2. You should choose the warehouse that is closer to the company.
3. Search for warehouses in bigger markets because only a single warehouse is not going to help to cut down on costs or expand your business.
4. Remember to read through long contracts and identify hidden commitments because you do not want hidden costs.
5. Your fulfillment provider must have the technological ability to enable you to plug into services like eBay or Amazon; get a free trial beforehand to ensure you enjoy such access before you send out inventory.
6. Ensure that your distribution center can offer you all the shipping options that you are presently offering to your clients and even more.
7. Choose a fulfillment center depending on your work patterns; it must be able to handle consistent orders daily and unprecedented orders during some parts of the year. Under no circumstances can the timeline be compromised.
8. Keep note of turnaround time because every warehouse has its own policies regarding processing. While for some shipping is carried out for only those orders arriving before 1 pm, for some others, shipping is executed on the following day when a 1 pm deadline is missed. When a next-day order is placed when the deadline is skipped, there is likely to be a delay of two shipping days and customers may get annoyed.
9. Customer service must be outstanding and you need smart men working for you if you are to succeed. This is the key to retaining buyers and many fulfillment centers even have specialized staff to do this. Typically their work consists of tracking the order right from the moment they are added onto the shopping cart until the client’s doorstep.
They must inform the customer about the order received and the expected time of delivery of the order. This department must look into special orders like packaging details, shipping preferences, and cases of returns or delayed deliveries.
10. Take note of order entry methods when selecting a fulfillment service provider. At times, they forward invoices directly to the warehouses, enter every order onto the web systems, and email a spreadsheet showing all the orders to be delivered in a single day. Sometimes this manual entering of data into a spreadsheet may be very tedious especially when the numbers of orders are very high.
It is advisable to spend more by shipping orders as they come because a same-day delivery may give you the extra edge over your business rivals. Therefore, always select a warehouse that gives you an order entry method suiting your needs and fitting your budget!