Managing fulfillment logistics – only if it was that easy, right? While big ecommerce platforms will always run into roadblocks, nothing is more daunting than operating an ecommerce business that sales hundreds/thousands of products. In fact, it’s even tough for smaller ecommerce merchants, dialing in your logistics for fulfillment can be a challenge. From customer service and satisfaction, to inventory management and fulfillment costs, there’s a wide range of tasks and workflow that will always continue to need your attention. For those of you that are new to E-com, you’re still getting your feet wet, still learning lessons as you go. However, for those of you that are selling hundreds, thousands of products a day, fulfillment logistics is KEY to your success.
Every business owner that does large volume knows the responsibilities and time commitment involved in operating a successful fulfillment operation. Because of the “time” commitment and other factors, many ecommerce businesses choose to work with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that provides order fulfillment services. By doing so, it allows them to free up time, resources, equipment, and capital.
What Are Fulfillment Logistics?
Fulfillment logistics is the part of the supply chain that involves transporting customer orders and shipments, storing inventory in an ecommerce warehouse, packing boxes, and delivering orders on time. In many cases, fulfillment logistics and order fulfillment crossover as both of them focus on fulfilling customer orders.
Yes order fulfillment and fulfillment logistics relate to one another in more ways than one. While they do differ in ways, they relate to one another more, especially when it comes to fulfilling orders for customers.
Can Outsourcing Fulfillment Logistics Increase Revenue?
If you’ve been thinking about your logistics fulfillment, specifically considering to outsource fulfillment logistics, you may be wondering if it’s the right move. Yeah, it’s a big decision, we have those conversations with our clients all the time.
First and foremost, you should always make sure you’re partnering with a fulfillment company that will be a strategic asset to your business. Experience matters, results matters, you need a partner that has real-world experience. Choosing the wrong fulfillment partner could potentially hurt you, that is always a possibility. You have to do your research, there’s a lot of fulfillment partners to choose from.
Let’s get back on track, can a 3PL partnership increase your revenue? The answer is yes. In fact, many of our clients here at Thill Inc. are seeing spikes in revenue as these companies have made a sound investment. The right partner can help you increase revenue by reducing abandoned carts, increasing average order value, and meeting expectations to drive repeat purchases.
What else can it help with?
(1) Save Time, Effort, And Energy
When you operate an ecommerce store or multiple stores, you know fulfillment logistics is a key to running a successful business. As you start to grow, so does the challenges, right? As your business grows, fulfillment logistics begins to get more complex, difficult, and it will take more of the most precious asset you have, “your time.”
If you’re operating fulfillment in-house, it has your full attention versus your attention being focused on the growth of your company. See the problem? There’s so many other areas your attention should be focused on – growing sales, creating new products, improving products, building a strong community of raving fans to name a few. You’re not doing yourself a favor by being focused on your fulfillment, it can be outsourced. However, when it comes to YOU, you can’t be replaced.
The most successful entrepreneurs know when to unload work and take it off their plate – this is a big element to their success. You always want to be a few steps ahead, if you’re growing, this is the time to start thinking about your next steps.
(2) Getting A Better Shipping Rate At Less Costs
Shipping is always a big expense for ecommerce stores. This is where a 3PL company can help once again. Major 3PLs like Thill work with major shipping carriers (FedEx, USPS, UPS) and since hundreds of our clients rely on our fulfillment, we’re able to provide very competitive shipping rates.
Bulk shipping is another opportunity for your business to save money. When you do bulk shipping, you get deep discounts and we’re able to pass this savings to our clients. Fulfillment logistics is expensive on its own, if you can save your business money, isn’t it worth checking that lead out? Yeah, probably so.
(3) Faster Shipping For Your Orders
We now live in a world where delivery expectations are at an all-time high. Shoppers want fast shipping and if you can’t deliver on time, they’re going to go to your competitor. This is again another area where 3PLs can help. Working with a retail order fulfillment provider that has multiple warehouses gives you the opportunity to split your inventory and ship from areas that are closer to your customers.
By doing so, it allows you to reduce transit times so orders are delivered quicker. It can also help you reduce shipping costs. When you have the right fulfillment logistics strategy in place, you’re going to see you’ll be able to meet customer expectations better while also fulfilling orders fast. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
(4) Reduce Self-Fulfillment Errors
If you fulfill orders from home, you likely already know how easy it is to make mistakes. When you’re first getting started, a few mistakes can make a huge difference in success or failure.
It happens to the best of us. A 3PL’s fulfillment center is designed and optimized to be as efficient and effective as possible, from the equipment they use and labor flow, to their use of space and technology to increase accuracy. With these foolproof methods, their error rate should be much lower than self-fulfillment.
(5) Losing Too Much Time With Admin And Other Tasks
Fulfillment logistics is an important part of running a business but likely not the focus of an ecommerce company that was started to bring their unique products to the world. Fulfillment logistics becomes more complex and time-consuming as you grow.
Keeping logistics and fulfillment in-house means your attention is on those activities, rather than generating additional sales, building your customer community, and improving your products. Smart business owners know when to take something off their plate and hand it over to the experts who specialize in fulfillment logistics, and focus exclusively on the things that only they can do.
Should I Outsource My Fulfillment Logistics?
To the obvious question: should I outsource my fulfillment logistics? Honestly, it depends. Fulfillment logistics can be managed internally, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right move for you.
- Your Order Volume Is Growing – If your business is starting to grow and doing great, you’ve likely found yourself managing more fulfillment. Anytime you see growth, you’re going to have new challenges and fires to put out. With fulfillment logistics, you’re likely seeing you just don’t have enough time in the day to keep up. If your order volume is seeing continuous growth and that volume level is high, you should definitely consider outsourcing your fulfillment.
Ecommerce order fulfillment services would be the quickest way to immediately outsource fulfillment logistics so you can focus on growing your ecommerce businesses. If you partner with a 3PL, you can choose to outsource parts of your fulfillment or all of your fulfillment.
- You Need More Storage Space – Every growing company gets to the point where there isn’t enough space to go around. For businesses that haven’t outsourced fulfillment logistics, they’ll usually store products anywhere they can – storage lockers, rental home, garages, basements, offices, or other rooms in their home, etc. While this can work for some time, the process is never efficient as it needs to be and that can cause trouble later down the road.
When it comes to properly manage inventory, it’s vital that you’re using the “right” process, you need the right team, proper storage space, equipment, supplies, and everything else that is involved to manager inventory correctly. The good news, everything you need can be provided by a third-party logistics provider to cover all of your logistics and fulfillment needs. That means you’re not going to need the capital to get equipment, warehouses, staff, and others.
- You’re Spending Too Much Time On Inventory Management – You know that the most important asset in your business is your inventory. Thill Inc. works with companies that have as high as $10,000,000 put into inventory every month. Yet, many business owners don’t treat their inventory as the most important asset, or it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In other cases, some of you are likely spending too much time on inventory management. Where’s the middle ground? Managing inventory is not just warehousing products. For those of you that are spending time counting inventory levels, and still having troubles, a fulfillment logistics company can help.
With state-of-the-art technology, Thill Inc. allows you to see your stock levels at each fulfillment center in real-time. The features inside allow you to make real-time decisions when you need to make them the most. While we can’t speak for other 3PLs, we do know a fair amount of them do have order management software (OMS). This software helps you make better informed decisions, helping you with reorder points, preventing stockouts, and more.
- Your Orders Aren’t Getting Delivered Fast Enough – Customers want their products fast, expectations are at the highest levels ever, how fast is your orders getting to customers? If it’s not fast enough, a new ecommerce fulfillment logistics strategy may be able to help.
If your competitors are selling the same products as you and they offer better shipping opportunities, who do you think customers will go to? Are your customers upset over your shipping times? If that is the case, a 3PL fulfillment may be able to help.
How Thill Inc. Manages Logistics
Outsourcing your fulfillment logistics to Thill Inc. is simple. Here are the core steps:
1. Connect your store to our software – we have dozens of integrations (Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Ebay, Amazon, etc.)
2. Import your products/SKUs
3. Send us your products to our fulfillment center(s)
4. Wait for your customers to place orders
5. We then pick, pack, and ship your orders
A lot of customers ask this, we do send ecommerce order tracking information back to you so it can be shared with customers.
Get Started With Thill Inc.
Here at Thill Inc., we have fulfillment warehouses strategically placed all over the country to help you get your products to customers faster.
Our top of the line order fulfillment software will help enhance all of your fulfillment.
If you want to learn more, be sure to send us a message.
You can always reach out via the phone too – just call the number in the top right hand corner.