With the evolution of e-commerce and drop-shipping, there is the challenge of inventory management and storage. A fulfillment company is a big aspect of e-commerce players to help cope with high demand.
Constant stock-outs and over-selling by e-commerce merchants can be occasioned when a firm does not have the right systems in place. This in effect results in dissatisfied customers that can leave bad reviews on your site.
Fulfillment centers can help you maintain a healthy stock level commensurate with your level or anticipated demand. This also adds a multiplier effect to your customer satisfaction and overall rating.
An online business should concentrate its efforts and resources to enhance its competitiveness and customer experience, to be effective. Choosing the right fulfillment center can help you concentrate on the delivery of the core service.
What is the checklist of a good fulfillment center?
Let’s review the factors to consider when choosing a partner fulfillment center.
In order to arrive at any solution, customer satisfaction should form the basis of this decision. How is the target order fulfillment center supposed to deliver customer requests with ease?
Here’s is a breakdown of items that should form the basis of your decision: –
- Location of your Clients- If the bulk of your clients are in Asia, finding a fulfillment company that can handle overseas shipment is an added advantage to you. A company with existing networks to handle such client needs is vital in enhancing speedy delivery and elimination of complaints
- Items Ordered- The frequently ordered items can help you also settle on a fulfillment company. Ensure the target company can handle delicate, bulky, and emergency orders. This is central in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Client’s satisfaction and speedy processing of their orders should be at the heart of this process.
Location of the Fulfilment Centre
This location is a key factor as this will help you access their services and more importantly serve your clients better. If the major market is in the United States, having a fulfillment center with a huge network of warehouses throughout key states is an added advantage.
On the other hand, the proximity to transport hubs such as airports, waterways, and major highways goes a long way in enhancing service delivery. This can in turn reflect positively in your customer service and reviews.
Due to the varied needs to consult with them and put things in order, it is also important to have offices/warehouses that are accessible.
Customer Service and Support
Systems in place to enhance communication, feedback and general handling of the business are key. Good customer support helps eliminate delays for instance reflects on your business badly. Here is a simple checklist to help you narrow further the search: –
- Online Reviews- Look for online reviews as a pointer to quality service either in social media, 3rd party websites, and other recommendations. Reviews offer a different perspective on how fruitful the partnership will be.
- Dedicated lines of Communication- Having clear and direct contacts is important for fast-tracking of issues and speedy feedback. Look out for working phone numbers, fast e-mail replies, and responsive social media handles.
An organization with amorphous customer support is bad for your client’s needs and the perpetuity of the business.
The fulfillment centers ability to deliver goods in the overseas market is a critical aspect. E-commerce firms serve clients from all corners of the globe, thus the need to enhance shipment delivery.
Here is a two-point checklist that can help you narrow down your search: –
- Shipping cost- High cost of goods due to uncompetitive shipping costs can lead to abandoned carts. It is important to have a 360 degrees view of your target center to highlight these things.
- Network- An ideal fulfillment center should have a network of shipment harbors and other key networks or collaborations to enhance delivery to overseas markets.
A company with shipping experience is ideal because they have better prices mirrored in value, dealt with failed delivered, and has improved networks over time.
Technology and Support Systems
The systems being used by the fulfillment center is also one of the key considerations. You should conduct a preliminary investigation to ensure it will deliver without fail.
The inventory system in the fulfillment should be enhanced for B2B (Business to business) and B2C (Business to Clients) reconciliation. This helps in speedy reconciliation and real-time communications. This being an online business a responsive system, offers real-time updates, and signals such as re-orders are critical.
You should also examine the general use of modern technology both online and in physical locations. The employment of Artificial Intelligence, for instance, is a key pointer to the speedy resolution of orders and great customer support.
The Cost of the Agreement
You should focus your efforts on getting value for your money and getting the most affordable option. The magnitude of cost is felt in the end price of your e-commerce customers. A high cost in the fulfillment arrangement can ultimately make you uncompetitive in the market.
However, if a slightly high price comes with guaranteed deliveries, minimal service interruptions, and warranties, then it is worth every penny. The customers will appreciate the slightly high cost due to the added guarantees.
Packaging and Customizing Options
Scrutinize how consumer orders are handled as this gives an impression of the brand. You should ensure the packaging materials meet environmental standards, are secure, and maintains positive image of the company.
Fulfillment companies that offer customized packages complement brand awareness and marketing efforts.
Turn Around Time
The standard delivery time of your client orders is another aspect that you should weigh. Depending on the nature of the order, the time of delivery should be reasonable. Delays can affect your customer satisfaction and overall ratings.
Check online reviews to get hints on their ability and track records in keeping their word.
What is the Ideal Fulfillment Company?
E-commerce businesses can lose trust from customers if they experience delays, wrong deliveries, and mishandled requests. It is therefore wise to verify your target company’s ability to handle the delivery.
Using the above-suggested checklist, score each criterion to have a balanced view of their ability to deliver. The technical, customer service, experience, and pricing aspects should bring quality and delight to your clients.