September 26, 2023
Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing Fulfillment, Part 3
This article is part of a three-part series on how to shift from in-house to outsourced fulfillment operations. You can read part 2 here.
So you’ve made the decision to outsource your fulfillment operations to a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) fulfillment provider—what’s next? You need to pick a reliable outsourced fulfillment provider to partner with. In doing so, ensure that you make a note of the essential questions to ask your potential fulfillment provider, take a look at their case studies, and check out what fast shipping programs they can automatically qualify you for.
Outsourced fulfillment can be a scary step, but when taken at the right time, it’s an exciting and profitable one. Overwhelmed by being the ‘jack of all trades’ at your company? By using a 3PL fulfillment partner, you can take the extra step to completely outsource and unify your ecommerce fulfillment—gaining control of the mayhem and lightening your daily workload.
Reasons To Unify Your Ecommerce Fulfillment
One of the biggest barriers to achieving and benefiting from effective and efficient fulfillment is scattered processes—and it affects more online retailers than you think. Say you started out on eBay, fulfilling orders in-house. Then you expanded to Amazon and used FBA for ease. And then, you started out on Walmart, outsourcing fulfillment to get on Walmart TwoDay Delivery. That’s three different fulfillment solutions, more than three different warehouses, and multiple carriers.
A single, unified fulfillment solution brings with it myriad benefits, including:
Different fulfillment solutions offer different speed guarantees. You need to deliver within 3 days or less to be eligible for eBay Guaranteed Delivery, but you might struggle to match the same speeds for the Amazon orders that you fulfill in-house.
Unifying your ecommerce fulfillment solutions gives you access to fast shipping programs across all of your sales channels. This not only pleases your current customers, but it also qualifies you for fast shipping programs to increase visibility, reduce cart abandonment, and ultimately sell more products.
Free delivery is one of the biggest conversion influencers online, but it can come at a cost to your business. You can offset the cost of free shipping by unifying your ecommerce fulfillment.
Using only one fulfillment solution means that you pay less money transferring your stock to multiple places, and can spend less money on warehousing space and staffing costs. Plus, you also have the freedom to choose the fulfillment solution that offers you the most significant savings on storage and shipping fees.
Imagine how much time is eaten up processing, labeling, and shipping your packages with separate providers. Having a disjointed fulfillment process can lead to repetition, reduced productivity, and wasted time.
A unified fulfillment strategy avoids the repetition involved with sending orders and stock to multiple warehouses, communicating with multiple fulfillment providers, and logging into multiple systems.
The time saved by only doing these tasks once can be reinvested into business growth and even faster deliveries for your customers.
4. Automated Stock Control
A split fulfillment process makes it difficult to view, manage, and organize your stock effectively across multiple sales channels. Not only do you need to log into different inventory management systems to download accurate stock levels, but you must also monitor stock for each sales channel to avoid overselling.
This drastically limits your sales potential on each channel and can be easily avoided. When using a unified 3PL fulfillment partner, your inventory can automatically update across all online marketplaces after a unit is sold—maximizing stock availability and preventing overselling or selling out.
Humans like consistency. It’s why we always buy the same brand of washing powder, follow the same holiday traditions, and visit the same dinner spots. Your online store is no different. Customers expect the same delivery service from your brand, regardless of where they buy, and a unified fulfillment strategy powers you to achieve this.
Your deliveries should be sent with the same care, attention, and urgency regardless of the sales channel—helping customers to build trust in your brand and return to buy more.
6. Customer Service
When handling multiple fulfillment avenues, it becomes difficult to monitor, control, and improve the service delivered. Missing packages, late deliveries, and damaged items can become a regular occurrence without attracting your attention—affecting your ratings, customer happiness, and profits.
Using one fulfillment provider gives you greater control over the delivery service your customers receive, helping to impact your online ratings and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) figures positively.
Unifying your ecommerce fulfillment gives you the ability to extend to other marketplaces and shipping programs, fast. When using a mix-and-match combination of in-house fulfillment and FBA (for example), marketplace expansion is something that you simply can’t manage on your own or afford to pay for through multi-channel FBA.
Unifying your ecommerce fulfillment with a multi-channel 3PL fulfillment partner enables you to maintain your Amazon Prime badge through Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), offload your in-house fulfillment to an expert, and automatically qualify for other sales channels and fast shipping programs on various marketplaces.
Striving for Unified Ecommerce Fulfillment
It’s all too easy to get so carried away with online expansion that your ecommerce fulfillment becomes disjointed, difficult, and ineffective. While a unified ecommerce solution requires some research into fulfillment providers, some effort to switch processes, and some time to get used to, the benefits significantly outweigh the downsides of a disjointed fulfillment strategy.
Unifying fulfillment brings more time, happier customers, and sustainable business growth. At Flexport, we make it easy to unify your ecommerce fulfillment experience; simply connect all your listing tools and sales channels to your Flexport account to view fulfillment insights all in one place. Learn more about partnering with Flexport as your strategic 3PL fulfillment provider here.
The contents of this blog are made available for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any legal, business, or financial decisions. We do not guarantee, represent, or warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the contents of this blog because they are based on Flexport’s current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions, about which there can be no assurance due to various anticipated and unanticipated events that may occur. This blog has been prepared to the best of Flexport’s knowledge and research; however, the information presented in this blog herein may not reflect the most current regulatory or industry developments. Neither Flexport nor its advisors or affiliates shall be liable for any losses that arise in any way due to the reliance on the contents contained in this blog.
Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing Fulfillment, Part 1
Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing Fulfillment, Part 2
5 Key Questions To Ask When Choosing a 3PL Fulfillment Provider