The benefits of using a fulfillment service
Fulfillment companies take care of the physical storage and distribution of your product, offering your business several advantages. An established, professional fulfillment service has the resources and the expertise to keep your orders flowing smoothly and your customers satisfied.
They have the flexibility to deal with fluctuations in demand, something that would be difficult to manage with in-house resources. Many order fulfillment services offer kitting and even light assembly services. You can source parts from different manufacturers, and the fulfillment service will be sure that your customers receive everything they need.
Product fulfillment services also use sophisticated tracking systems, from order to picking and packing to shipment and delivery, so you know in real time the status of any order. Many tracking systems can be integrated with your e-commerce platform, for added convenience for both you and your customer.
Save Money on Storage and Shipping
Product fulfillment services provide the storage space, so there is no need to build your own, saving capital expense, overhead and personnel. Because they ship in bulk, fulfillment and distribution services can get much lower rates on both shipping and shipping materials, and they pass these discounts on to you.
Outsourcing your warehousing and distribution also allows you to choose a strategic location to take advantage of lower taxes and levies in certain jurisdictions, or to minimize shipping costs. Overall, the savings in storage and distribution costs are so great that most small- to medium-sized businesses find it cheaper to contract with order fulfillment services than to manage their own distribution.
How to Choose a Fulfillment Service
Look for a company that can provide for any special needs you may have, such as cold storage and transportation for perishable goods. Discuss what services you will need and the fees for those services; be sure everything is upfront to avoid miscommunications or surprises.
Also ask about the company's staffing. How many permanent employees do they have? How many temp workers? How do they handle peak periods or unexpected volume?
Be sure to check references and talk to satisfied clients; shipping and handling errors will reflect badly on you, not the fulfillment center. Ask about their policies about product damage or shrinkage. Under what circumstance does the fulfillment service take responsibility? Ask to speak to current customers that use the services you are interested in, to find a vendor who can meet your needs.
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