For many eCommerce businesses, outsourcing order fulfilment is a very smart and necessary move, especially with recent COVID-19-related postal and shipping disruptions that have affected people worldwide. The logistics network of a fulfilment company will enable faster and more effective solutions in getting your product to your customers, as well as saving you the headache of processing the dispatches yourself.
For the latest updates on COVID-19-related postal and shipping disruptions, visit The UK Chamber of Shipping site: https://ukchamberofshipping.com/coronavirus-covid-19-update/
For some, the thought of handing their operation over to an external party is quite scary and may stir up the fear of loss of control over their business. However, a decent 3PL (Third-party Logistics Provider, basically a fulfilment warehouse company) will offer a trial period of their services so that you can see if it's the right thing for you. During this period, your worries should be eased and you'll have enough time to think about a permanent decision.
We understand there's a lot to worry about when looking to outsource order fulfilment as you are essentially searching for a business partner, so here are a few common myths we'd like to disprove for you:
Think about how much it would cost to set up your own warehouse facilities, hire staff, provide staff with training, pay for all the security and dispatching software, shipping costs and the time it costs to pack and fulfil all your goods. The price tag is pretty hefty right?
It is wise to work all of this out on your own and then compare the costs of both setups ( in self-fulfilment and in outsourcing fulfilment). You'll most likely find that you could make up to a 70% saving on your operation costs if you outsource your fulfilment. This is excluding the time and hassle that outsourcing will save you, from overheads and facility maintenance. It's also important to make sure that you only get billed for what you use and ship, ask questions to make sure there are no hidden charges.
There are some highly competitive fulfilment companies out there, but pricing isn't everything, be sure to think about location if you need ease of access and how transparent the information provided by the company has been so far. These are all indicators of what a working relationship with the company will be like, and ultimately, the success of your business.
Action point: Calculate your costs and be aware of the potential huge saving you could make through outsourcing and be sure to research prices and shop around.
Fulfilment is perfect for small to medium businesses as it keeps your labour and overhead costs low. You don't need loads of products, you only need one. Pick your partner company carefully to ensure that they are the sort of people you want to work with.
Again, ask lots of questions to make sure that you and the company are on the same page regarding what you want to achieve for the business by working with them. Working with a smaller warehouse, in some cases, might actually be to your advantage, as their approach to your orders could be more attentive, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
Action point: Ask to speak to other similar-sized business owners who already work with your chosen fulfilment company. Their experience and advice is invaluable.
This is completely untrue - the success of your business directly affects the success of your fulfilment company so they definitely care a great deal about you and your market! A fulfilment company has a vast network reach with other businesses they work with, as well as shipping partners. These connections are of a great benefit to any business owner and you never know where they might take you so by joining a 3PL, you are also stepping into a large pool of business and profit potential.
Action point: Sign up to free trial and test the service out. This is by far the easiest way to see whether a 3PL is the one for you.
Sign up here for a free trial.
Quite a lot of food for thought for you eCommerce business owners out there. Good luck!
The Team @ Cloud9 x