You can sell great products. But the whole impression of the purchase can be spoiled by ill-mannered and unpunctual couriers, the inability to track the order, picking errors as well as constantly changing delivery times.
Up to a certain volume of sales, online stores are able to organize and control logistics on their own. But when it becomes problematic to cope with the influx of orders, it is better for business owners to delegate this fulfillment to an operator.
What is fulfillment for eCommerce?
Order fulfillment is everything that happens from the moment the customer places an order to the moment they receive it. Traditionally, fulfillment services consist of the following stages – receipt and storage of goods in the warehouse, order processing as well as packaging and delivery.
Some companies offer additional services:
- CoD or cash on delivery – after receiving payment from the customer, the online store receives a notification about the completed order as well as money to the account;
- assistance in obtaining the VAT number of the country in which you plan to officially conduct business;
- legalization of products;
- contract manufacturing;
- a complete package of product branding (for example, the development of a corporate packaging design);
- SMS informing the customer about the status of the order and the time of arrival of the courier;
- inventory of goods in the warehouse.
How it works
An order fulfillment operator makes the life of an online store much easier:
- Picks up goods from a supplier or an online store, marks them and adds them to the CRM system.
- Sends the goods for storage to the warehouse, creating all the conditions for preserving its aesthetic and functional properties.
- Processes each order received through customer calls to the call center or requests from the site.
- Transfers the order for pick and pack or pack and ship according to all the requirements of the delivery or postal service.
- Monitors how the delivery of goods through delivery, transport or postal companies proceeds and, if something goes wrong, fixes these issues.
- Accepts payment in cash or through the terminal, draws up all the necessary invoices and then transfers the funds received to the account of the online store.
- Helps to process returns – records the reasons, checks the goods for damage, repackages and sends them back to the warehouse or to the online store and also returns the money to the customer.
Why you need an order fulfillment provider for e-commerce
Still in doubt if you need fulfillment? Then take a look at the list of benefits from such cooperation:
You save your time and resources
Effective logistics is impossible without a lot of well-organized processes (warehouse management, cargo transportation, inventory and order processing, delivery, legal nuances). With all the desire, online stores cannot perform such operations at the professional level, and organizing their own logistics department for most companies is either impossible or unreasonably expensive.
Transparent logistics allows the online store to be faster than competitors
If an online store is overwhelmed with orders, it noticeably loses the speed of their processing and delivery. As a result, the customer often gets what they want when it is no longer expected. Order fulfillment guarantees fast delivery, which is an important competitive advantage that motivates customers to return to your online store.
Order fulfillment helps e-commerce businesses to scale
Fulfillment service easily copes with the load during seasonal or holiday fluctuations
At the same time, the quality of the services provided does not change, which, in turn, only increases customer loyalty.
Order fulfillment allows you to save on delivery costs
Order fulfillment centers cooperate with many local services, so they can choose the most optimal delivery scheme.
Order fulfillment makes it easier for businesses to go international
Entering a foreign market means not only new sales channels, but also many difficulties. International order fulfillment operators will help with the legalization of business in another country and the launch of all logistics processes.
How to choose a fulfillment operator
There is no definite answer. It all depends on what is important to you. And yet, when making your decision, pay attention to the following factors:
- Variety of services. In addition to the classic list of “storage–delivery”, some order fulfillment operators can create a new product, develop a beautiful corporate package design, maintain the site – there are many options.
- Location of warehouses. They should be sufficient in the main country of your business. And if you are going to enter the international market, specify to which countries the orderfulfillment operator is able to quickly deliver your customers’ order.
- Warehouse volumes. If your company is scalable and turnover is growing uncontrollably, make sure that all products can fit seamlessly into the operator’s warehouses.
- Tariffs for your store. The cost of fulfillment services is not always obvious. Some operators set a single tariff for all customers, others – for each individual operation, and others even set a percentage of the customer’s turnover. To accurately determine the cost of fulfillment specifically for your business, ask the manager leading questions and always read even the smallest clauses of the contract.
- Mode of operation. It is important to know what the schedule is for weekends and holidays.
- The number of courier and postal services with which the order fulfillment operator cooperates. Another advantage is its own delivery service.
- Delivery terms. Everything is simple: the faster, the better.
- Online chat. It is important that the fulfillment service has good management. One of the indicators is an online chat where you can quickly discuss all the questions that arise with the manager.
- Customer reviews. Nobody can tell you about a company better than its clients. Of course, unforeseen overlays and the human factor are still there, but you can still get an overall impression.
Doubt whether your business needs fulfillment?
Contact Dropex managers and find out if your online store needs fulfillment services.
Dropex is an order fulfillment operator with warehouses in Hungary, Romania, Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
In addition to standard fulfillment services, Dropex offers many additional services: work with cash on delivery, contract manufacturing of goods under the client’s brand, legalization of products for sale in EU countries, tax consulting and much more.
To find out more about the conditions and cost of cooperation, visit the Dropex website.