Have you thought about a fulfillment center for your eCommerce business?
It does seem like a logical way to free up time, increase sales, keep customers happy and save on shipping costs.
However, let’s back up a little first and understand what is a fulfillment center and does your business need to have a fulfillment house taking care of its warehousing and shipping?
What Is A Fulfillment Center and Does Your Business Need One?
A fulfillment center is an ideal solution for small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses that want to scale, add more products, increase sales and at the same time, keep costs low.
A fulfillment center takes care of all your warehousing and shipping worries, ensuring that customers get their products on time, leaving you plenty of time to source new products, get publicity and other things that usually are put on the back burner because you’re so tired trying to get products out the door.
A fulfillment center is ideal for online store owners who:
1. Lack space for additional products
If you want to scale by adding more inventory, but lack the physical space to do so or the budget to get a brick-and-mortar store or warehouse, a fulfillment service will do the trick.
They’ll give you the space you need for additional products at a cost that’s easy on the pocket.
2. Want to reach newer markets
Do you want to expand your reach and increase your sales by targeting say, the Australian market?
A fulfillment service located in Australia can help you do that. They take care of the shipping and other regulations while you can simply slap on a “We ship to Australia” banner on the site! It’s that simple.
3. Are keen to free up time and focus on core strengths
Do shipping and packaging make you want to curl up in a corner and die? Do you often find yourself dropping the ball on sending the orders out leading to unhappy customers?
You aren’t alone. Most product-based business owners find the greatest joy in sourcing products, creating new products, or strategizing how to scale or even, pitching the press. But shipping… not so much!
That’s where a fulfillment house can step in and ease your workload while helping you to do what you do best.
You can rest easy knowing that orders are going out nice and easy without you having to lose your mind over it!
When I was two years into my t-shirt business and received a HUGE order from Whole Foods, I spent almost an entire week just packing and shipping. I wasn’t able to focus on sales, marketing, customer service or anything else. That’s when I knew that I outgrew my current system of packing and shipping everything myself and decided it was time to outsource it to a fulfillment center.
4. Need to reduce costs
What happens when you decide to add more products to your range? You need to hire additional hands to help you with packaging, inventory management or shipping.
Not just that, say you decide to rent your own warehouse? Can you imagine the annual cost for that, especially when you think about slow seasons? And honestly, every business has a slow season. Would you want to pay for the warehouse rental, electricity, and other expenses when you aren’t really making much? I think not.
Using a fulfillment service helps you reduce those costs and gives you the flexibility you need with your payments.
How to Choose a Fulfillment Center that Meets Your Needs
Like with all things in business, I recommend you do your research and check important details like:
- Credit ratings
- Years in business
- Customer testimonials or industry reputation
Besides these important details, I recommend you also dig deeper and look at fulfillment houses that cater to your industry or niche. These fulfillment houses will know the intricacies of your industry and be sensitized to any special requirements that need attention.
Here are some questions you can ask as you are interviewing prospective fulfillment centers: