When it comes to eCommerce order fulfillment, not all 3PL providers are created equal. Here is why it is important that you choose the right order fulfillment company for your business model. Unfortunately, most 3PL services companies offer one-size-fits-all business solutions. Typically these are legacy operations that have been around long before the eCommerce boom. They have not adapted (or continued to adapt) to the ever-changing landscape of the order fulfillment eCommerce marketplace. This is not a good fit for most.
This is what makes choosing an order fulfillment company that specializes in eCommerce order fulfillment is so important. Choosing a provider that isn’t suited for your business can be costly in more ways than one. Here are some important things to keep in mind that will help you make the right choice.
Sales Channel Capability
Some eCommerce businesses have a single sales channel which is simple enough. Confirming the compatibility with your current sales channels is important. For example, if you sell your products on Shopify, you need to confirm that the order fulfillment company offers connections to Shopify and what it will cost for you to connect your shop to their system. Typically these connections transmit orders from the sales channel platform to the order fulfillment system and once the order is processed and shipped the order fulfillment system updates the order status, transmits a tracking number, and adjusts inventory levels on the sales channel.
Although all this seems simple enough, one important thing to consider is your specific business needs now and how you may sell your products in new ways in the future. You want to have an idea of future sales channels you may want to offer your products on and confirm that the potential fulfillment provider you are considering has an affordable solution for them as well. That way, when the time comes and you’re ready to expand, you know you’re all set. Choosing an order fulfillment company that specializes in eCommerce is a great way to ensure this.
Same-Day Order Processing
If you have ever sold products online, you know that customer service is a huge component. If you don’t have a fulfillment provider that offers same-day order processing you will find your customer service team getting the same requests over and over. Eager customers ask if their order has shipped or what their tracking number is.
Having a 3PL order fulfillment company that promises same-day order processing will virtually eliminate these types of customer service requests. As soon as an order is picked packed and shipped the customer will receive a notification via email from the carrier as well as the order fulfillment system. This will make a huge difference for your customer care team. It will keep labor costs down and allow them to focus on more important requests that require their attention.
Same-day processing will also get your orders where they need to go faster. These are factors that will improve customer experience and have them singing your praises in your reviews. Any 3PL order fulfillment company with eCommerce expertise knows how important this is and goes above and beyond to process orders the very same day they are transmitted. Do yourself a favor and ask about it before signing on.
eCommerce Dropshipping Expertise
New eCommerce marketplaces are springing up every day. This is great news any way you look at it because eCommerce merchants have more and more options of platforms to sell their products. Even huge companies like Walmart and Best Buy now offer merchants the opportunity to post and sell their products on their official websites right alongside their own. This is a tremendous opportunity. The quality traffic these websites receive is substantial and provides you with brand exposure that simply can’t be overlooked.
So what’s the downside? Well if you want to explore these new opportunities, you need an order fulfillment provider that understands the protocols of each of these marketplaces. Every marketplace has different packaging and shipping requirements. Orders must be shipped a certain way, and often with very specific carrier accounts. Be sure to ask any potential provider about their experience shipping products sold on these marketplaces.
Real-Time Shipping Updates
Technology and information drive eCommerce. As there are changes in an order’s status you want to know as soon as possible and in real-time. Not only will this help you make important decisions but it will also make sure your customers are in the loop when their orders are processed. All this will happen automatically and in real-time with the ride order fulfillment provider.
What you are looking for is a solution provider that will transmit your orders to their system as soon as they are placed, and once they are shipped will update you in real-time. The name of the game in eCommerce is automation, and this type of automation will give you a significant edge. It will keep your customers happy, and will virtually eliminate the need for any logistics-related data entry. The future is now. Take advantage of the latest 3PL technologies by partnering with the right order fulfillment company.
If you take one thing away from this article it is that asking the right questions is crucial when making your choice. This is a classic measure twice and cut once business scenario. Do not under any circumstances simply choose the cheapest option at surface value. You get what you paid for. If the best option is also the cheapest, then more power to you, but that is certainly not always the case. Often a different solution may appear cheaper on the surface, and the costs of choosing the wrong provider can be even higher.
Take your time, verify the services and features you need, and the capabilities you will look for when the time comes to expand. If you do all this, you will no doubt end up signing on for services from a provider like InterFulfillment which has boasted an eCommerce specialization since its inception.