Order Fulfillment Centers
An order fulfillment center is a third party business that acts as the entire process post sale for your business. This is especially important for virtual stores, as the need to reduce costs as much as possible is crucial to businesses who compete selling the same items. In the past, sales were typically made due to several factors that involved a physical presence. A merchant needed a store that was convenient for customers to get to and find, and needed a sales staff that could effectively present the items to potential customers. Although price was always a factor, it was not quite as important as it is today due to the inability to effectively price shop. Most customers could only compare prices from the businesses located within driving distance, and as long as prices were relatively in the same place a sale could be made using that combined with the other factors discussed above. The online world changed the rules of the game, and now the presentation of items is done in a digital format that is much the same rom website to website. While differences in the structure of the website itself may have a motivating factor, as in how easy an item is to locate and purchase, generally the online shopping experience is the same across the board. Branding is not much of a consideration any more, aside from major players like Amazon or some of the other large sites. Essentially, the main factor for a customer deciding to purchase on one site or on another comes down to price and how quickly the item can be shipped.
When search engines began allowing for pricing comparisons to happen on like items, the entire landscape of online shopping changed. Once there was a time when online stores could outcompete with physical stores because they were not paying for the physical spaces that were necessary to present items. Online businesses could reduce prices due to the lack of overhead, but since the focus of shopping in general has shifted to the online space, now the online merchants themselves must find ways to reduce prices further in order to be the one presenting the lowest price. This comes down to cost reductions in areas that were once unheard of, and order fulfillment centers solve that issue. By contracting with a third party shipping fulfillment center, a business can position their inventory closer to their customers without footing the bill for the warehouse spaces. Because a fulfillment company will generally offer warehouse space that is shared with other customers, you are only paying for what you use. You can then position your inventory on both the west coast and east coast without added cost, putting the starting point for each and every order that is placed close to the individual customer. Every order will be received in the minimum time and for the minimum shipping charge, thus allowing the business to reduce costs and prices effectively while still maintaining their profit margins. Order fulfillment centers are a win win for customers and businesses alike.