The market for global fulfillment services is expected to reach $55.6 billion by 2021. The fulfillment services market has been growing steadily following eCommerce and retail expansion in emerging markets. Given the undeniable benefits of fulfillment services, the surge is not surprising.
As your business grows, fulfillment and shipping needs will require a commitment of time and resources. You might want to consider third-party fulfillment providers to make the process more efficient.
If you’re not familiar with fulfillment services, you’re in the right place. This guide will delve into everything you’d want to know about fulfillment services.
What Are Fulfillment Services?
A fulfillment service refers to a third-party warehouse that checks in products and prepares them before shipping the customers’ orders. The warehouse is the fulfillment center, where the processes take place. If you don’t want to handle your shipping, probably due to the volumes of orders, outsourcing is ideal.
With the several national fulfillment services available, you can’t miss an option that will resonate with your needs. You can check out Shopify fulfillment services or the Amazon fulfillment services to see the option that would work best for you.
For rapidly scaling businesses, your ideal fulfillment provider should have a smart inventory provision with a central view of the data across different warehouses. This approach will ensure flexibility. You can research more about each fulfillment network to know its strategy.
How Does a Fulfillment Center Work?
If you’re new to fulfillment services, it’s normal to want to know how the centers work. As an eCommerce business, you’ll have your inventory stored in the center to prepare for order fulfillment. Once a customer completes a purchase on your eCommerce store, the process begins.
The fulfillment service providers at the center pick the order, package it accordingly, and label it in readiness for shipment. The fulfillment center ships the products to a customer’s home or any other given address for business-to-consumer orders.
Third-party logistics providers complete the entire fulfillment process on your behalf. They will even negotiate the shipping rates with carriers. However, you might want to learn more about what to consider when choosing a fulfillment service to avoid partnering with unreliable service providers.
When Should I Consider Fulfillment Services for My Business?
You don’t have to use a third-party logistics provider for your upstart. Until your orders become overwhelming, you can manage your logistics in-house. One of the signs that it’s time to outsource is when fulfillment and shipping become too stressful or big to handle.
It will also help turn to 3PL if order fulfillment takes significant time you’d otherwise spend on core business processes. The order fulfillment process might stunt your growth if you cannot get orders to customers on time. If you’re in such a state, outsourcing should be a priority.
You might also seek 3PL services if your business is expanding and you’re running out of storage. Fulfillment service centers will help to store, package, and ship orders to your customers.
Benefits of Fulfillment Services
If you’re considering a fulfillment service, go for it. The benefits of using third-party logistics providers to fulfill your orders are undisputable. Here are some of the top reasons why fulfillment services are a great option.
Lower Shipping Costs
In a recent survey, 64.3% of consumers cited cost as one of the main considerations in product delivery. If your delivery charges are unreasonably high, you stand to lose clients and revenue. Fortunately, you can use 3PL providers to lower your shipping costs.
You can have your inventory in different regional fulfillment centers. It will be easier to lower costs since the products will be nearer to the customers.
You’ll Work With Experts
With in-house order fulfillment, the chances are that your employees will be handling the processes. Unless they have relevant skills in the field, several things can go wrong. Instead of gambling with this crucial part of your business, work with the experts.
The fulfillment centers are run by professionals who have experience in the sector. From logistics personnel to delivery persons, the experts will ensure that your customers get the best services. If you decided to hire all these experts to deal with your fulfillment, you’d be financially overwhelmed.
Focus on Other Business Activities
Fulfillment can take up a significant part of your working hours. Consequently, you’ll find yourself spending lesser time on the business. While order fulfillment is a significant part of your business, it shouldn’t be at the expense of other activities such as product development and marketing.
Outsourcing fulfillment services allow you to focus on your business. You’ll have more time to attract new customers as you use 3PL providers to give existing clients the best order fulfillment services.
Eliminate Inventory Storage
For most online retailers, managing physical spaces isn’t always a welcomed move. It can be overwhelming and expensive, especially if you’re looking to cut on costs. Outsourcing your fulfillment is one of the easiest ways to avoid storage inventory.
Besides, you’ll save yourself the hassle of packing boxes now and then and running to the post office. Fulfillment providers will allow you to rest easy as they will pack the supplies and visit the post office on your behalf.
Modern fulfillment providers have embraced technology to improve their fulfillment services. As such, every fulfillment process is documented in real-time. You can keep track of your inventory every step of the way in the comfort of your office.
Your customers can also track their orders until delivery. You’ll also track cases of lost orders and other eventualities with ease.
Fulfillment Services Are Ideal for Large Businesses
Fulfilling orders in-house can become a challenge as your business grows. You might need to consider fulfillment services to keep the process efficient regardless of the scaling. The benefits of outsourcing order fulfillment are worth pursuing.
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