Online Fulfillment Services
When an entrepreneur starts an ecommerce business, they are generally envisioning a business which is easy to run, reaches a large amount of potential customers, and has low overhead. Many times, the decision to utilize the online space to sell items as opposed to a traditional brick and mortar location has to do with the reduction in rent and physical build out/maintenance costs, and the costs associated with employees. An online store utilizes little to no employees in it’s sales process, with the entirety of the labor going into maintaining and marketing the website or sales process. One of the most bitter pills to swallow for many ecommerce merchants is the necessity to maintain a physical warehouse space in order to maintain inventory, and managing a staff that will complete the fulfillment process on each order that is placed through the website. The answer to becoming completely virtual is the securing of online fulfillment services.
Online fulfillment services are third party businesses who warehouse, maintain and process your inventory as well as doing the physical fulfillment tasks that will result in orders being received by customers. Generally, this will mean that the inventory that is sold on your website is housed in their warehouses and orders placed through your website are pulled from that inventory by their internal staff. This staff is then responsible for packing the order in the method that is specified, correctly addressing the package to the customer and arranging the shipping. While many online fulfillment services have the ability to accomplish this task, it is important to do your research in order to choose the best fit for your business.
Many online fulfillment services do not have the ability to integrate with your ecommerce shopping cart systems. In these situations, the orders will be placed on your website and will be routed to you as a notification. You will then need to notify your online fulfillment service in some way, usually either by a phone call or by an email, at which point you will transmit the order information to them for processing. More evolved and specialized online fulfillment services like Ship My Orders utilize software to receive the order when it is placed within our offices through a bridge between your online processing software and ours. This bridge allows us to integrate directly with your shopping cart so that you as the owner do not need to verify or transmit orders, and instead the order will be processed and fulfilled exactly as if you had your own warehouse and employees utilizing an internal system. This automated process allows you to not be directly involved in the fulfillment process if you so wish, freeing up your time and resources for more important matters.
In addition to being able to not be directly involved in the routine processing of orders, using an online fulfillment services also allows you to avoid the long term commitments and potential pitfalls of either over or underbuying warehouse space and staff. If you purchase a warehouse space based upon current sales and then need to expand, you may have a difficult time scaling up. If you have planned on increasing sales and find the opposite has happened, you may be paying far more money every month than you need, and putting your business in jeopardy as a result. This is also true with employees, who need to be maintained and trained in order to achieve the goal of effective operations. Employees are one of the biggest expenses that a business can have, and if you have either too many or too few you will have issues. Contracting the services of an online fulfillment agency removes these responsibilities from you, allowing you to scale up or down as necessary without the need to move, renegotiate leases or train new employees.
The last benefit to choosing the correct online fulfillment service is proximity to the customers of the warehouses that the service uses. East coast customers will receive orders faster and cheaper if they are originated at East coast warehouses. West coast customers benefit from origination happening at West coast warehouses. While the location of a warehouse is going to only be appropriate for benefiting customers in their half of the country, businesses like Ship My Orders operate from warehouses strategically positioned on major shipping routes for both the East and West coasts. This means that your orders can be routed through the warehouse most appropriate for that particular customer, saving shipping charges on each and every order as well as having orders received in the shortest timeframe each and every time. The benefits of choosing the correct online fulfillment service are many, contact Ship My Orders today to find out how we can benefit you.