Are You Considering Outsourced Order Fulfilment?
Order fulfilment is the process of receiving, packing and delivering online orders to your customers. As soon as your e-Commerce business takes off you can decide to outsource this process to pick and pack warehouses like us, that are often referred to as fulfilment companies or third-party logistics providers (3PLs).
When you do, we can describe step by step what will happen.
Your stock gets delivered to us, described as Goods In.
We store it safely and securely in our high security warehouse
We link up our Warehouse Management software and Order management Software to your eCommerce platform – whether it’s Amazon, eBay, Shopify or another. This will place your stock on your platforms and every order you receive is automatically sent to us for processing.
Pick and pack services
Our staff will carefully pick the right items for each order, pack them in appropriate packaging and get them ready for dispatch.
The order is dispatched to the customer using a courier service such as Royal Mail or DPD – most fulfilment houses offer a wide range of shipping options at more competitive pricing than you will be able to get as a single user because of their volumes.
Customers can return orders to the fulfilment centre, which handles them according to your instructions – for example, unwanted items are put back in storage, damaged items are sent to you.
You can read more about our order fulfilment service here.
Are you ready for outsourced fulfilment?
Fulfilment houses are designed to achieve economies of scale – they store items from hundreds of retailers under one roof, and develop processes to pick, pack and ship them all as accurately and efficiently as possible.
This means there are a couple of scenarios in which you won’t be able to outsource your order fulfilment:
You stock one-off items
If you sell antiques or vintage clothing, for example, you probably only stock one of each item. As such, it’ll be cheaper and easier for you to ship direct to customers, than send your stock to a fulfilment centre to manage and dispatch.
You want custom packaging
If you’re keen to send orders wrapped in bows and tissues or sprinkled with glitter, fulfilment centres are unlikely to help you until you’re consistently taking hundreds of orders a month. Only then will you achieve economies of scale.
You stock large, oddly shaped items
Most fulfilment centres use standard packaging and shipping services, hence restrict the products they work with. For example, we like items that fit most couriers requirements less than 0.25 cu.mtrs.
Most companies start out fulfilling their own orders, and some eventually add a third-party solution as they scale. The problem is, it’s difficult to know when to make the switch. Especially if you’re bootstrapping your business.
We meet a whole range of companies who can see the benefit ecommerce fulfilment services. For us tailoring a solution to suit their needs today and as they grow is key to both us and them.
There are some common things that have driven most of our clients to choose outsourced ecommerce fulfilment services.
1. Cyclical or Uneven Sales
If Order levels and stock levels rise and fall as with seasonal sales your work load and capacity will vary rapidly. This will cause inefficiencies in your fixed overheads of rent and wages. A fulfilment warehouse will only charge you for what you are using .
2. You’re Too Busy
If you find yourself spending most of your day picking and packing or running backwards and forwards to the post office, you will not be spending enough of your time running the business. Your time is much better spent Buying and Selling. A fulfilment warehouse will take all that pressure away and free you up to build your business.
3. Lack of Infrastructure
You may already be using a warehouse, but you have outgrown their capacity to expand with you. When you outsource to well established e commerce fulfilment service that specializes in logistics, they’ll be better equipped to adapt to the changes quickly.
Third-party warehousing and fulfilment doesn’t suit everyone. An experienced fulfilment warehouse will talk you through the pros and cons and show you all you need to know and whether it’s the right choice for you.