It’s not surprising that you’re on the hunt for someone to help with your shipping needs. Fulfillment is one of the hardest parts of a product business, and it’s something easy to get wrong. That’s why 39.4% of companies outsource part of the fulfillment process.
If you’re overwhelmed by the shipping process and are ready to lighten your load, working with fulfillment services can help. Keep reading to learn how to pick a fulfillment partner.
Look for a Center With the Right Experience
You won’t find a warehouse fulfillment center that has expert experience in every industry. While some companies might handle general merchandise, some products require a specialized process to ship.
Examine your current shipping process before you begin shopping around for a fulfillment center. Be prepared to ask questions about the process and experience potential vendors have for products in your industry.
If you can find a company with experience shipping the types of products you sell, they will make a better partner. You won’t need to worry about them not understanding the best way to handle your shipping process.
Check for Software Integrations
Technology has made it easier to collaborate with businesses everywhere. You shouldn’t need to manually send orders to your distribution center when you get an order. Technology can handle that for you.
Check and see if your fulfillment warehouse offers integration with the eCommerce platforms you use. You don’t want to manually generate reports and send your warehouse shipping data every day. Software can handle this automatically so that you can focus on the other parts of your business.
The same is also true for your inventory. Most eCommerce platforms can track stock automatically, but things are different when you sell across various channels. If your distribution center integrates with your software, you can be sure that you won’t make any sales for products that you run out of.
Find a Company That Can Scale
You won’t need many resources when you first start your business. Almost every warehousing service can handle low volumes of sales. The question is, can they keep up once you start sending a ton of orders?
Any company you work with should have the ability to scale with you as you grow. Ask your potential partners what kind of capacity they have and if they can expand their capacity in the future. If you work with a company that can’t meet your future needs, you’ll waste time and resources moving your distribution to another provider.
Your partner should also be able to respond quickly to rapid increases in orders. You can’t always predict when your business will go up, so find a company that can quickly adapt to your needs.
Find Someone With Many Shipping Options
Getting your products to your customers quickly and cheaply is the primary goal for outsourcing shipping. The biggest problem shipping providers face when shipping is when they have products that need different shipping methods.
If a distribution center primarily ships a specific type of product, there’s a chance that they don’t have shipping contracts with other providers. This means that if you have products that use different shipping methods, you can end up paying more than necessary.
Make sure you ask about shipping methods when you speak with fulfillment companies. They need to have contracts with several shipping services to offer rates that work for your needs.
Ask for References
Unless you’re doing business with a brand new fulfillment company, anyone you work with should have a list of customers from the past and present. If you want to get an unbiased view of a shipping provider, ask every company to provide you with references.
Talking with past customers will help you understand what the relationship is like with specific companies. While a fulfillment center might meet all your needs, they also need to be easy to work with. Your talks with other customers will help you figure out if you’ll mesh well with your partner.
If you want to get a head start on the process, look for reviews online. Most industries have online profiles for businesses. Get in touch with the highest rated ones first to save yourself some time when picking a fulfillment partner.
Sure, a shipping center can fulfill your orders anywhere in the world. The problem is that the further away you are from your customers, the longer the shipping process can take.
Try to find a fulfillment center located close to your primary customer base. If you live on the east coast of the United States, try to find a company with warehouses where your customers live. The same is true for anywhere else in the world.
If you ship to more than one region, it pays to work with a service that has several shipping centers. These centers will also allow you to grow to more regions in the future.
Ask About the Small Details
Things aren’t simple when working with a fulfillment center. You might be satisfied with the base costs of shipping your products, but that doesn’t always include the fees associated with the process. It’s important to understand these fees so that you can know your real cost.
The first fee to look out for is processing fees. Some distribution centers charge a flat fee for every item shipped. This fee can drive up costs and make working with a fulfillment center not profitable.
Another typical fee is a storage fee. If you have products that sit for a long time, you’ll rack up costs and not make any money. Make sure your storage fees make sense if you don’t have products that sell quickly.
Upgrade Your Shipping With Fulfillment Services Today
It takes a lot of work to create a shipping strategy that works well. Outsource this process to fulfillment services today so you can pass the work on to the experts. You’ll be able to guarantee a smooth shipping process and free up time to focus on the other essential parts of your business.
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