The Pros and Cons of Order Fulfillment
Online shoppers are increasingly savvy with their expectations about product delivery. That’s a good reason for retailers to perfect their order fulfilment. Another one has to do with e-commerce sales – by 2020 it’s expected to reach $4 trillion. In the light of these data, you should do your best to provide your customers with a smooth delivery. Whatever your niche is, e-fulfilment can help you with it.
What is e-fulfillment?
To begin with, e-fulfillment encompasses everything from the checkout stage to picking, packing, shipping and even managing returns. It’s a kind of logistics backend that ensures positive customer experience during and after the transaction. With competent and solid e-fulfillment service on your side, you stay competitive. How can you handle fulfillment in your store then? Do it by yourself or partner with a third-party service.
Many retailers choose to fulfil orders using their own resources. While you have a total control of all orders with, say, 100 orders per month, things may look daunting with 500, 1,000 or 5,000 orders per month. As your store grows, fulfilling orders becomes too time-consuming.
Partly a hands-off process that consists in sending products to 3PL (third-party logistics) to store, pack, and send them to your customers. It takes the bulk of the fulfillment hassle off your shoulders but allows little control over products. We will discuss the positives and negatives of the third-party fulfillment below.
Pros of outsourced e-fulfillment
As with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to the 3rd party logistics.
Cut the time and costs
E-fulfillment is time and money-saving. You don’t have to rent a warehouse, hire new employees or spend countless hours on packing and shipping. Tracking orders and handling the logistics for returns is a non-issue either. The outsourced companies will often monitor the inventory for you. Best of all, it’s possible to negotiate better rates for high shipping volumes.
Focus on growth
Don’t reinvent the wheel by setting up your own fulfillment centre. The market abounds with qualified e-fulfillment partners that will do the hard part for you. So, in the end, you only engage with meaningful activities like developing a product, marketing or expanding into new markets.
Scale it easily
The influx of orders can give you many headaches and stress. A reliable e-fulfillment partner on your side will do the legwork for you, especially at the time of sudden spikes in sales. What’s more, everything happens without negatively impacting your customers’ experience.
Cons of outsourced e-fulfillment
Vendors make mistakes
You can’t avoid it. Vendors can deliver the wrong item to the wrong address. Not to mention that the product or package can get damaged along the way. Mistakes happen even to the most experienced e-fulfillment experts.
If unboxing the item is a central part of your customer journey, then generic packaging is dramatically out of place. There is absolutely no room for branding your package. Keep this in mind when you decide to outsource fulfillment.
It strains your budget
With outsourced fulfillment, you may end up with higher rates than if doing it on your own. This holds especially true if products sit on the shelves. You’ll still be charged for keeping, picking, packing, and shipping the inventory. To be on the safe side, calculate the overall costs to see if outsourcing really pays off.
Do it differently with CodesWholesale.com
If you still don’t want to drain your business with either of the above options, perhaps digital business is what you’re looking for. What if order fulfilment in your store was made with one-click? It would take seconds to send a game key to your customer. Plus, all the product sourcing, game key sourcing, in this case, is already done for you. CodesWholesale ensures that orders fulfill automatically and land in your customer’s inbox. Overall, you gain significant time and cost savings with automated email delivery.
To sum up:
- Your customer is happy as he/she can play a game instantly
- You save money on storage, picking and shipping physical games
- Chances that you end up with overstocks are less than zero
- You only pay for games that you sell
Now that you know the upsides and downsides of e-fulfillment are, you will be able to make an informed decision. If in-house and outsourcing options are not your choice, there’s always a better alternative – CodesWholesale.com. Keep in mind that customers have great expectations about a product delivery. Following Amazon steps, your competitors are perfecting it to bridge the gap between the cost and speed. And what are you doing to stay competitive?
If you’d like to learn more about logistics models in eCommerce, read this article.
About the author
- E-commerce owner and blogger. A trained accountant and an avid gamer. Healthy food aficionado.
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