So you’ve made a sale on your eCommerce store via a fantastically designed site that uses the best online shopping cart system available on the market – that’s great, but what follows next is possibly the most important part of the entire customer journey.
That’s right, it’s fulfilment. Actually getting that purchased product to your customer efficiently.
For most busy online retailers, having another company handle your supply chain as well as all your warehousing, shipping and product deliveries is commonplace. With that in mind, choosing the right fulfilment company for your business should be considered a very important decision and one that shouldn’t be rushed or taken lightly.
When you consider each of the stages listed above in detail, you realise that each of them stands alone as a crucial interaction with your customer. The success of a fulfilment company can make or break that first impression, so effective shipping and delivery is absolutely paramount if you want to provide a good customer service.
So what should you be looking for when looking for a suitable eCommerce fulfilment company? We take a look at some key points below:
Flexibility & Pricing
The first thing you need to ask any new fulfilment company is how they choose to bill their clients. In an ideal world, you want to avoid large monthly or annual retainers, even if they initially appear manageable. Why? Well, if you stock and sell Christmas decorations, you won’t want to be forking out £500 in June, July and August.
Effective shipping and delivery are absolutely paramount if you want to provide a good customer service.Tweet this now
If you can, find a low flat-rate pricing structure that won’t dramatically rise up as your company grows. Obviously, incredibly fast growth will see your fees change – that’s unavoidable – but more manageable leaps forward should see your rate stay fixed.
Storage Costs & Rules
When taking service charges into consideration, you’ll similarly want to look at an eCommerce fulfilment service that keeps its charges low for storage capacity. No business wants to have to throw perfectly good products away just because they don’t have anywhere to store them.
That said, you don’t want to be forced to pay out for additional storage just to keep your products protected from the elements for example – find a fulfilment service that offers both low rates and no time limits. That way you can keep your products all under one roof for an extended period of time, and without breaking the bank.
Simple Pricing Structure
If you’ve found a company that will provide you with solid pricing, you then need to check the fine print – look out for any hidden fees or added costs that could rear their head.
Are packing slips extra? Do you incur fees if you need to speak to developers? Are you charged for every call in to the helpdesk? When you start to add all these extra costs up, the overall service price could be a lot more expensive than you originally thought.
As your business grows, your fulfilment capabilities need to grow with it. When deciding on your new eCommerce fulfilment provider, there are some scalability considerations you need to bear in mind.
Is their warehouse large enough to handle the volume of products you might one day generate? Are there enough employed staff? Is their technology capable of handling additional inventory?
While some of these considerations may seem some way off for your store right now, having to switch fulfilment service when business is booming could be a giant headache.
One of the biggest ways you can streamline your fulfilment process is with automation through various pieces of eCommerce software. High-quality fulfilment services will let you send product orders automatically from your eCommerce platform (like Magento) to your shipment provider, without any additional human input.
One of the biggest ways you can streamline your fulfilment process is with automation.Tweet this now
It’s these kinds of simple and straightforward processes that can save you time, which in the world of online retailing is the biggest commodity. Not every fulfilment service has this total automation, so choose your provider wisely if you believe this to be of value.
Experience & Reliability
Last but by no means least, we have the key credentials of the eCommerce fulfilment company. With the majority of businesses now choosing their services based on price, other aspects can be overlooked.
It makes sense to research the provider in question and get an understanding of where their business sits at this moment in time. Newer businesses are more prone to errors as their hardware and infrastructure isn’t quite up to scratch, and it’s these mistakes that can lead to missing, damaged or incorrectly labelled stock – all of which can ultimately lead to your company losing customers and revenue.