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Quick Guide to Fulfillment Services
Hiring a fulfillment service will allow your company to expand its customer base to a whole new level. Fulfillment service providers will allow you to process, house, and ship more orders than you might be able to on your own, which will allow your product to reach more customers than ever.
By outsourcing your warehousing and inventory processes to a fulfillment service provider, you will have the opportunity to grow your business and focus more on developing your product to increase customer satisfaction. When deciding to hire a fulfillment service provider, it is important that you keep your business goals in mind and choose a company that has your business’s best interests at heart.
Standard Fulfillment Services
Also known as “order fulfillment” or “product fulfillment,” fulfillment services refer to the process of storing items, receiving orders, packaging, and then shipping items to customers.
If you are a small business that is growing, housing products and keeping track of incoming and outgoing orders can get overwhelming very quickly. Fulfillment companies can usually offer your business the following services:
- Storage and warehousing of your product until orders come in. Warehousing can also be furnished for refrigeration, temperature sensitivity, or special protection.
- Order processing through an online shopping cart, email, file upload (sent by you), or a manual input through a client portal.
- “Pick and Pack” service whereby an item is selected from your stock and then packaged for individual order. Identification of the product or customized notes can be added to the package if desired.
- Though fulfillment companies usually don’t provide their own shipping services, they do connect your product with a delivery provider and are usually eligible for discounts or package deals.
If you’re moving a lot of product around in your warehouse or back store room, you’ll need to purchase a skid steer loader to avoid injuries.
Benefits of Fulfillment Service Providers
Depending on the size of your business, the nature of your product, and the number of incoming orders you have, outsourcing your orders to a fulfillment house might be just the thing you need to continue to grow your business. If it is cost-effective for you, the benefits of hiring fulfillment services can be numerous.
- The space provided by fulfillment providers will allow you to stock more items at a time, preventing customers from having to wait for you to re-stock a smaller supply.
- The packaging services provided could end up saving you money on packaging you would otherwise purchase yourself.
- Hiring an outside company for your order fulfillment will free up time for you to focus on improving the product itself, and all the other aspects of running a business.
- Fulfillment houses can provide you with up-to-date information on inventory and order information.
Choosing a Provider
Though fulfillment providers can make your life significantly easier, they also take away a certain level of control from the business owner. If their service is not up to standard (your product is damaged, or customers are unhappy with the results) your business could be the one feeling the effect. When choosing a fulfillment company, you should be sure that they will perform the best job possible.
- Ask them all of the logistics, such as: Where are they located (always visit the location if possible)? How big is the warehouse? What are the minimum and maximum volumes they can handle? How do they handle mistakes?
- Be sure to check references of companies they have worked with in the past. Pay special attention to companies whose product is similar to your own.
- Have a clear understanding of how much you are expected to pay, what services they will provide, and what type of insurance coverage is included.
Fulfillment houses can be a great asset to a quickly-expanding business. They can provide your company with the extra space and resources it needs to package and ship as many orders as possible to eager customers. When considering hiring a fulfillment provider, be sure to shop around to be sure they are providing the highest-quality service.