With all the sales channels constantly being explored and added by eCommerce merchants a large need has been created. Sure most 3PL order fulfillment companies can connect a Shopify website to their system and import orders, but what if you are using multiple warehouses to ship orders regionally across the globe? As many Shopify users know, a standard pre-wired connection to a warehouse system will import all orders placed on that website regardless of region or what products it is.
The good news is, there is a solution being provided by one of the most innovative order fulfillment software companies to hit the market in a long time. ShipStation allows users to connect a multitude of the most popular eCommerce platforms and marketplaces to their accounts, and then establish single pre-wired connections with order fulfillment service providers like InterFulfillment to be in full control of their shipping like never before. For anyone that understands the challenges that multi-channel eCommerce order fulfillment presents, this is music to their ears.
In this article, we will explore 3 incredible ways that using ShipStation can take your third-party order fulfillment logistics to a whole other level. But first, let’s explore what it takes to set yourself up.
The first step is to outline your own personal sales channel requirements and ensure they are compatible with ShipStation. Most popular eCommerce website platforms (WooCommerce, Shopify, etc) are compatible but it doesn’t end there. Increasingly popular marketplaces are available and more are being added on a regular basis. There is a monthly fee required to use ShipStation, but it is low when you consider what can be saved in connection customization costs and the monthly fees typically associated with each connected sales channel. When you are a ShipStation user you can connect as many sales channels to the platform as you wish at no additional set-up cost or monthly fee.
Now that you have done the research or contacted ShipStation to confirm your channels are compatible, you must ensure your order fulfillment providers are capable of providing a stable pre-wired connection to your ShipStation account. InterFulfillment offers pre-wired connections to their customers for a small one-time fee, with no additional monthly fees. That is the kind of 3PL service provider you are looking for.
Establishing this compatibility on both the ShipStation side and the side of your order fulfillment provider will guarantee you will be able to enjoy every bit of the advantages you can get from their features on both ends. Now that you have confirmed compatibility its is time to see how this setup will help you streamline and automate your order fulfillment like never before.
Advantage One: Automated Geographical Order Filtering
When you connect a sales channel directly to your 3PL service providers system, they will typically have all your orders placed on that sales channel automatically transmitted, and subsequently shipped. Sure, this works for a lot of merchants. It is a simple straightforward solution. But what if you want orders shipped in a specific region shipped by one warehouse, and orders placed in another region shipped to another?
Even if this is not the case for you now, as your company grows, it may be a valuable feature in the future. You will be free to explore regional shipping without having to worry about creating a custom connection to your provider’s system. This is all done using the incredible two game-changing features that ShipStation offers all users. The first is called Triggers.
A trigger is something you can set up in ShipStation that says if an order meets certain criteria, do something with it. In this case, you will want to Tag the order. In this example, let’s explore you being a merchant with inventory ready to deploy from 2 different InterFulfillment order facilities. One is in Toronto, Canada, and the other is in Vancouver, Canada. You want orders that ship to the western part of Canada to transmit to the Vancouver facility for processing and orders that are intended to ship in the eastern part of Canada to transmit to the Toronto facility. As a ShipStation user, you can do this on your own in minutes without any kind of custom coding.
Simply set up a trigger that tells ShipStation to tag orders shipping to western provinces with the tag ‘WEST’ and those shipping to eastern provinces with the tag ‘EAST’ and then report these tags to InterFulfillment support. They will set up their system to only pull orders with the tag ‘WEST’ to their Vancouver facility, and those with the tag ‘EAST’ to their Toronto facility. Presto, instant geographical order filtering is set up in minutes that allow you to ship your orders more efficiently than ever before. And it is all automated, no additional order management is required.
Advantage Two: Multiple Sales Channels In, Multiple Shipping Channels Out
Do you find yourself always needing new sales channels added to order fulfillment solutions? This can prove costly and cumbersome. Sometimes you may have multiple shipping channels and each one requires a connection to your new sales channel. But what if all of your shipping channels were connected to one single consolidated platform that supported all of your sales channels as well as the new ones you are adding.
For this example let’s explore a merchant that has a connection to Amazon Canada Marketplace but has decided to expand to the Amazon USA Marketplace. If you have connected your Amazon Canada sales channel directly to InterFulfilment via a pre-wired connection, you will simply need to do the same with your Amazon USA sales channel. It is not the end of the world, but there will be an additional connection fee. But then again, what happens when you need to add Amazon UK? These one-time fees can really add up. And although as of the date of this article InterFulfillment doesn’t charge any per connection monthly server fee, most other fulfillment operations do.
This can all be avoided by having one single sales channel connected to InterFulfillment, and that is ShipStation. Since there is no additional cost when you connect a sales channel to ShipStation and your connection to InterFulfillment is already in place, you can add additional Amazon Marketplaces to your connection to your heart’s content. And it gets even better. You can continue to add marketplaces that are compatible with ShipStation, such as Best Buy, Walmart, Rona, and many more. Multiple channels connected to your ShipStation, and one single connection to your order fulfillment provider. Talk about an incredible advantage!
Advantage Two: Order Information Transmitted in Real-Time
Sure, all your order information will end up where you want it to go automatically, but what happens once your orders are processed and shipped? This advantage is simple, once your order is transmitted to your order fulfillment provider, they will pick, pack and ship it (in the case of InterFulfillment, the very same day). Once your order is processed and shipped, your tracking number and order status will likely be updated on your service provider’s system, but will it transmit back to your sales channels?
The answer is quite simple, yes. InterFulfillment uses 3PL Central to power its system, and if you connect to your ShipStation, your order status, and tracking numbers will automatically be transmitted back to your sales channels. Your partners will be notified and your customers will be notified. The orders will be marked as shipped, a tracking number will be provided, and a carrier email will be sent to the email associated with the order. Best of all, since so many marketplaces have strict shipping requirements, if you have this setup with a reliable order fulfillment partner like InterFulfillment, you can rest assured your orders will be processed according to the requirements each sales channel has and will be shipped within their time limits. Automation and peace of mind are all provided by great software and a great 3PL order fulfillment service.
Conclusion: Customizable Connections at the Fraction of the Cost
If you have ever encountered the most common software connection challenges that come with being a multichannel eCommerce merchant, you fully understand why these advantages that ShipStation provides can really take your 3PL order fulfillment to another level. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is simply so much you can do and so much money that you can save by pairing ShipStation with a reliable order fulfillment partner like InterFulfillment that it is really incredible.
Before deciding how you will connect your sales channels to your order fulfillment provider, do yourself a favor, and explore ShipStation. You will quickly learn that not only can this help initially for your current requirements but can also help you going forward. Offering you flexibility and savings. Talk about a next-level match made in heaven!