When you run an ecommerce business online, stocking products consumers want is only part of the equation. In fact, that may be the easy part. The real key to achieving ecommerce success lies in the ecommerce fulfillment process: getting your merchandise from you to your customers quickly and safely.
Ecommerce has exploded in popularity in recent years. Competition is fierce and buyer expectations have never been higher. Customers want–or even expect– reliable, lightning-fast fulfillment at little to no cost. Delivering on these expectations can be the difference between success and failure for your ecommerce business.
Yes, managing supply chain operations is an integral part of any thriving online business, but you don’t need to do it on your own. Unless you are a very small operation with just a few SKUs, you will probably look to outsourced eCommerce fulfillment services for order handling and shipping. Outsourced fulfillment allows you to concentrate on your core business operations while the logistics of delivery and customer satisfaction are handled efficiently by your 3PL provider.
Want to Learn More about eCommerce Fulfillment Services?Talk to a WSI Team Member
So, what exactly are “eCommerce fulfillment services”? This phrase is used for a collection of services, activities, and workflows that businesses rely on to store their inventory, package products, and ship orders to customers. It’s a critical aspect of the eCommerce business model. Third-party warehousing and fulfillment are typically managed by logistics companies.
Say good-bye to slow, manual processes with seamless API and EDI integrations.
Increase visibility into your inventory via your very own customer portal and order management system.
Fast shipping and competitive transportation rates… you can have it all.
With a growing number of consumers preferring to shop online, the world of eCommerce is continuously expanding. This makes an efficient and robust fulfillment process more important than ever. ECommerce fulfillment services not only ensure speedy delivery of orders, but can also help businesses scale their operations and enhance the overall customer experience.
At WSI, we understand the critical importance of finding a fulfillment service providert that you trust. Thanks to our nationwide distribution network, and decades of experience at every step of the distribution and fulfillment cycle, we have earned the trust of many enterprise-level online retailers including Wayfair, Best Buy, Overstock, Lowe’s, Target, and more. These nationwide brands rely on our premium eCommerce fulfillment services and you can, too. We will ensure your products reach your customers efficiently, reliably, and on time, allowing you to focus on other essential aspects of your business.
While “eCommerce” refers to the buying and selling of goods or services online, fulfillment is simply the process that ensures these goods or services are delivered to the customer. Without robust fulfillment operations, an online business cannot thrive.
ECommerce fulfillment services involve several steps – from receiving and storing products at the warehouse, to packing and shipping an order once it’s placed. They also handle returns and exchanges, making the process hassle-free for both the business and its customers.
In the supply chain, eCommerce fulfillment services act as the bridge between the online store and the customer, ensuring the right products are picked from inventory, packaged securely, and shipped promptly.
The choice between outsourcing your fulfillment operations or keeping them in-house is a crucial juncture for any online business. Thus, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of third-party fulfillment against the goals of your business and its available resources.
There are many benefits to outsourcing eCommerce fulfillment services, including: scalability, cost-efficiency, operational efficiency, and speed. Improved order packaging and enhanced shipping reliability and accuracy helps enhance customer satisfaction. The result? Greater consumer trust, repeat purchases, and loyal customers. Outsourcing may also reduce operational costs, improving your business’s profitability.
Scalability of labor during peak seasons and access to advanced technology and expertise are other significant advantages to partnering with an outsourced fulfillment service provider. These allow even the smallest eCommerce operations to leverage the massive scale of their partners and punch well above their weight.
At WSI, we integrate these benefits seamlessly into our services. Across a large family of companies, our extensive network and experienced team offer a broad range of solutions for eCommerce businesses of any size. We take pride in leveraging all of that to offer you a scalable third-party warehousing and fulfillment solution that grows with your business.
ECommerce fulfillment services offer several features that cater to different aspects of the supply chain, along with various benefits and potential drawbacks.
Advanced Technology: Most large fulfillment service providers use advanced technologies for order tracking, warehouse management, and data analytics. Shopify Fulfillment Network, for example, uses machine learning to predict demand and manage inventory. (Of course, this does have its limitations).
Integration Issues: Some eCommerce platforms may not integrate smoothly with certain fulfillment services, leading to potential issues with order tracking and inventory management.
There’s a lot that goes into building a successful eCommerce company. A great product, a strong marketing campaign and getting products to customers as quickly as possible.
But as your company continues to grow, you’ll have a harder time keeping your fulfillment in-house. At some point, you’ll need to expand your logistical operations––either to keep up with increasing demand, because you want to expand your customer base, or both.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by outsourcing your supply chain to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. This will help save time and money while allowing you to free up internal resources that can be used for other important operations (like sales, marketing, and product development).
Choosing the right eCommerce fulfillment service is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business’s success. Here are some factors you should consider when making this decision:
The right eCommerce fulfillment service should also offer seamless integration with their clients, multi-channel fulfillment, and access to multiple fulfillment warehouses. Seamless integrations ensure that the service can connect smoothly to your eCommerce platform, while multi-channel fulfillment allows you to manage orders from different sales channels in one place. Multiple fulfillment warehouses mean your products are stored closer to your customers, leading to quicker, more reliable delivery.
At WSI, we understand that choosing the right eCommerce fulfillment service can be challenging. Our expert team is here to help guide you through this process, ensuring that you select a service that aligns perfectly with your business needs and goals.
Ecommerce fulfillment services streamline the process of getting your products from the warehouse to the customer. They handle inventory management, order processing, packing, shipping, and customer returns. Once an order is placed on your online store, it’s forwarded to the fulfillment service, which picks, packs, and ships the order directly to the customer.
Benefits include improved efficiency and speed of order delivery, enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced operational costs, greater focus on core business operations, scalability during peak seasons, and access to advanced technology and expertise.
Costs vary depending on the service provider, the volume of your orders, storage needs, and the complexity of your shipping needs. Common charges include receiving fees, storage fees, and order fulfillment fees (pick and pack, shipping). Some providers may also charge for additional services like kitting or custom packaging.
Key factors to consider include the provider’s shipping speed, range of services, pricing structure, reliability, scalability, technology and integration capabilities, and the geographical coverage of their warehouse network.
Yes, many ecommerce fulfillment services handle international shipping, managing customs and import taxes on behalf of your business. However, ensure this is part of their service offering before choosing a provider.
Fulfillment services can improve the customer experience by ensuring fast, reliable delivery, professional packaging, accurate tracking, and hassle-free returns and exchanges. These factors significantly contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Several reputable fulfillment services include Amazon FBA, Shopify Fulfillment Network, or Fulfillment.com. The best service for your business will depend on your specific needs and objectives.
Fulfillment services typically use advanced systems to track and manage your inventory in real-time. They receive and store your products in their warehouses, updating stock levels as orders are processed. Some services also provide demand forecasting and low-stock alerts.
Fulfillment services manage returns by receiving the returned items, inspecting them for damage, and restocking them. They can also process exchanges by shipping out replacement items to customers. This process is typically governed by your business’s return policy.
A good eCommerce fulfillment service can significantly improve delivery speed. They have efficient picking, packing, and shipping processes, and their network of warehouses often allows for quicker delivery to customers in various locations.
Small businesses can benefit by saving time and resources, as the fulfillment service handles storage, packing, shipping, and returns. It also allows small businesses to scale rapidly without large investments in warehousing and logistics.
ECommerce fulfillment services can handle increased order volumes during peak seasons or business growth. They can easily adjust to fluctuations in order volume, freeing you from having to manage extra staff, equipment, and warehouse space.
In today’s dynamic eCommerce landscape, reliable and efficient fulfillment services are indispensable. By improving efficiency, reducing operational costs, and providing scalability, these vital services contribute significantly to the growth and success of any online business.
As a world-class eCommerce fulfillment services provider, WSI takes pride in leveraging our scale and experience to support eCommerce businesses of all sizes. To learn more, simply reach out to one of our expert team members today.Connect with an expert