Introduction to eCommerce Fulfillment eCommerce fulfillment is all the processes involved in delivering an order to a customer after they have purcha
Introduction to eCommerce Fulfillment
eCommerce fulfillment is all the processes involved in delivering an order to a customer after they have purchased a product online. This includes aspects such as inventory storage, picking, packing, shipping, and last-mile delivery. eCommerce retailers need to ensure that all these operations are done as efficiently as possible. A delay in any of them can have a snowball effect further down the line. Many large companies have the capability of handling order fulfillment in-house. But smaller companies may not have access to similar resources. So, in order to be on equal footing, they can seek to leverage the use of third-party fulfillment companies.
What are Third-Party Fulfillment Companies?
Third-party or 3PL fulfillment companies provide a wide variety of services related to eCommerce fulfillment. Not every eCommerce company can be equipped with the resources and technology needed to keep up with modern fulfillment expectations from customers. So, they can opt to partner with 3PLs. This helps to reduce the disparity between them and larger companies. 3PL fulfillment companies often come packed with the latest technology and features. Such as nationwide warehouse networks, WMS software, partnerships with shipping companies, and much more. This enables eCommerce companies that partner with them to offer ultra-fast delivery facilities and flexible return policies, among many others, to their customers.
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What Services Does 3PL Fulfillment Company Offer?
Receiving Inventory & Stock
One of the key services provided by 3PL companies is receiving inventory. Before clients buy the products from a shop, 3PLs receive and store them. Coordinating with freight forwarders and making sure product gets to the warehouse in excellent condition are the responsibilities of third-party logistics providers.
For the most effective product storage within a warehouse facility, 3PL organisations frequently use the aid of warehousing software. The application not only records location but also the time the products were delivered to the warehouse. Because it forms the basis for all the other processes in the logistics and fulfillment process, this service is essential.
Pick and Pack Services
To select and Pick a product is typically regarded as the first and most important step in the fulfillment process by 3PLs. The details related to purchase are communicated to the warehouse holding a retailer’s inventory as soon as an order is received. The retrieved items are then prepared for shipping and transportation after being taken out of storage.
Depending on a number of variables, packing can take many different forms. A few examples of these variables include;
- The size of the retailer’s inventory,
- the amount of items in an order,
- and the branded materials it has purchased
.Any shipping requirements can be handled by a top-notch 3PL supplier, and items can be packaged as cheaply as feasible.
For the purpose of delivering goods to clients as rapidly as possible, a clear eCommerce shipping plan is essential. 3PL providers with years of experience with shipping and transportation can develop the right shipping strategies that consider all the variables in question.
3PL services go beyond just delivering products to customers. Returns Management commonly referred to as return logistics, is typically handled by 3PL companies. A seasoned third-party logistics company is aware of how to efficiently manage returned goods. They can assist a retailer in creating a return policy that will allow profit margins to remain above the danger zone.
5 Important Factors to Consider While Choosing a Third-Party Fulfillment Company
Services and Pricing Related to Your Requirements
3PL companies generally provide a wide range of eCommerce fulfillment services. There may be certain facilities that you are specifically looking for so you need to browse your available options and analyse which one would be the best fit for you. Because a 3PL cannot also fulfill all. Certain fulfillment companies also prompt you to opt for their entire spectrum of services, while some enable you to choose only the ones you need. Additionally, not all 3PL companies are priced equally so consider your available budget while choosing an option.
Existing Reputation and Amount of Experience
It is important to conduct some research. The first is to know the satisfaction levels of existing and prior customers of various 3PL companies to shortlist which one would be the right fit for you. Speaking to people directly or start looking at online reviews. This can help you can discern what type of issues people had and whether they were resolved swiftly and satisfactorily. A company that has been in the fulfillment industry for a long time will also have more experience in dealing with various challenges and unforeseen circumstances that could occur. So this is also an important factor when making a decision.
Customer Support Services
If you run an eCommerce business, you would be aware of how important competent customer support is. Similarly, you should choose a company that has good customer service so that if any issue or query arises, it can be dealt with instantly. Certain companies offer facilities like 24/7 customer support through phone or email, while some have timing restrictions. This is a factor to judge how important having round-the-clock customer support is to your business.
3PL companies are generally the most beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses. The reason is that they don’t have the finances or technology to keep up with bigger brands on their own. However, the central goal of most eCommerce companies is to eventually expand and sell as many products as they can. So it is important to partner with a 3PL fulfillment provider that has good growth potential and can match their services according to the additional demand. This is extremely important if you are making a long-term decision.
3PL fulfillment companies offer varying degrees of coverage. Mainly in terms of factors such as warehouse networks, serviceable pin codes, and more. If your demand comes from a certain area, but the fulfillment company that you want to partner with doesn’t offer services to that area. This should be a sign to automatically disqualify them from your list of potential companies. Similarly, if you need to store your products in a certain area, you need to look for companies that have warehouses close by.
Conclusion: Importance of Choosing the Right Fulfillment Company for Your Business
The 3PL fulfillment company you partner with has multiple impacts on your business as they are responsible for ensuring that your customers receive their orders intact and on time. Therefore, this decision should not be taken lightly. Especially if you will be using the same service for the next 3 or more years. What is good choice when it comes to choosing a 3PL? It can be the difference between happy customers and increased sales, and unsatisfied customers that only have negative feedback. It is also important to analyse your requirements and budget so that you can choose the best option that closely matches them. While there are many good options in the market, the lobes listed below have the most impressive set of features:.
- WareIQ: Based in India, WareIQ is a quickly growing eCommerce fulfillment firm provides a wide range of services, including a network of fulfillment centers around the country, super-fast shipping through more than 20 shipping providers, a personalised WMS, no minimum order requirements, and much more.
- Deliverr: Deliverr offers a variety of eCommerce solutions, including online customer support, integration with various selling platforms, transparent pricing, and much more. Deliverr began offering its services in 2017 and is situated in the US.
- Red Stag Fulfillment: Red Stag Fulfillment is another US-born fulfillment business. It offers cutting-edge services like a big warehouse network, video surveillance, same-day delivery, and many more.
- ShipBob: Based in the US, ShipBob is an eCommerce fulfillment business. The company offers a wide range of eCommerce services. These are quick shipping, a WMS that can interact with different platforms, and a network of fulfillment facilities that span the globe.