The best e-commerce fulfillment services are the ones that will give you a leg up on your competition. That’s why ensuring you have a good partner in this area is essential. An e-commerce fulfillment partner can help your business grow in several ways, but if you don’t know what to look for when searching for one, finding one that will work with all your requirements can be challenging. Here are essential things to keep an eye out for when choosing an e-commerce fulfillment company:
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), one of the most important factors shoppers consider when buying products online is speed. They want to know how quickly orders can be processed and shipped and whether they can get their items the same day or overnight. Additionally, if your company ships across state lines or overseas, you need an e-commerce fulfillment service to keep up with these needs and supply chain demands.
The best way to determine how fast an e-commerce fulfillment company can deliver orders is by asking them directly: “How quickly can you process my shipment?” Also, ask about delivery times within your city or region; some companies offer same-day delivery while others may be able to ship overnight depending on where you live in relation to their warehouse and shipping hubs.
One thing to look out for is scalability. As the e-commerce market continues its explosive growth, you’ll want to make sure that your fulfillment partner will be able to scale with it. This means that they’ll need to have the ability to handle large volumes of orders and peak periods in addition to multiple warehouses, shipping carriers, and more.
According to Statista, e-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.3 trillion USD by 2025—a staggering amount! A fulfillment partner who can’t keep up with this level of demand isn’t going to be able to serve you well over time.
The packaging is the first impression your e-commerce customers will have of you; if that’s not an important one, we don’t know what. According to the Paper and Packaging Board, 7 out of 10 consumers believe packaging design has an influence on their buying preferences. Suitable packaging should be appropriate for the shipped item—it should protect it from damage during transit without creating additional costs or waste during manufacture. It also needs to be safe and secure; if you’re shipping fragile items like glassware, china, or antiques with valuable content inside them, think fine jewelry, then nothing short of a reinforced box will do. Then there’s easy access: make sure your packages are easy enough to open so that customers don’t spend five minutes struggling with tape or scissors just trying to get into them!
Finally, think about how recyclable or reusable these boxes might be after they’ve served their purpose; while many recyclable materials aren’t always used because they’re more expensive than traditional ones on account of production costs associated with recycling facilities in each region where they’re sold and shipping costs between regions, this shouldn’t stop you from at least considering making some changes here before making commitments elsewhere.
Real-Time Inventory Tracking
Tracking inventory is essential to ensure that your customers receive the best possible service. However, if your warehouse is using a manual system to track inventory, it can be challenging to keep up with changes in stock levels. This can lead to problems like out-of-stock products and delayed shipments for customers.
Real-time inventory tracking allows you to see how much stock you have on hand at any given time. Purchasing new goods or processing returns from customers allows you to make informed decisions about how much more of an item you need before placing another order or sending out a shipment. Real-time tracking also makes ordering new goods less stressful because there won’t be any surprises when it comes to delivery—you’ll know exactly what’s coming and when!
Safe and Secure Warehousing
There are many things to consider when looking for a fulfillment services provider, but safety and security should be at the top of your list. According to the US Department of Labor, warehouse accidents account for 15% of all unintentional fatalities, a quarter of all injury claims, and an enormous 95 million missed work days per year.
A safe and secure e-commerce fulfillment service will have strict policies regarding employee training, equipment maintenance, workplace safety procedures, and more. You can rest assured that your products will be handled carefully at every stage, from pick-up to delivery. What should you look for in a safe and secure fulfillment center?
The best fulfillment centers will have a comprehensive safety program in place, including but not limited to:
- Training programs are updated regularly to reflect industry standards and changes in technology.
- A clearly defined process for dealing with potential hazards that may arise during their workdays, such as fires or floods.
- Regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections of equipment, machinery, and other items used in the fulfillment process.
- A comprehensive fire safety plan in place, including emergency exits and evacuation procedures.
- An established procedure for dealing with injuries or other emergencies may occur at the facility.
- A system for reporting accidents and near misses, as well as a process for addressing recurring issues.
Reliability is essential for your customers and your business. You need to know that the e-commerce fulfillment service you choose will be there when you need them, whether on Christmas Eve or during a busy season like back to school.
For example, let’s say that one of your products has to be shipped out by 10 am each day to reach its destination before noon local time. The fulfillment center should have enough manpower on staff to meet this deadline consistently, or they may not be reliable enough for your needs.
In summary, the e-commerce fulfillment services you choose should be able to handle all of your shipping needs. They should offer fast and reliable delivery and provide transparency into their services and pricing, so there are no surprises up front. It’s also essential for them to work with your sales channels without requiring too much additional work. If these factors seem like something you haven’t entirely found yet from an existing provider or if they simply sound like something that would benefit your business model, then it might be time to look at some new options!