Ah, the ol’ order fulfillment crossroads. Here you are, a determined eCommerce business owner, facing yet another major decision. So far, you’ve probably stuck to internal turmoils — product sourcing, website creating, store marketing, etc. Now, it’s time to think above and beyond.
If you’ve stumbled upon this article, it’s likely that you’ve started to question what your operations can realistically handle in-house. Congrats — that means you’re already thinking big! But what can you tangibly gain from partnering up with a 3PL? Keep on reading to find out!
1. More Time for Dedicated Growth
Let’s be real here… besides fulfillment centers, who enjoys packing boxes all day? Granted, you may be a gifted packer, but, as a business owner, you probably have more on your mind than tape and cardboard. It’s not just packing boxes — you also have to take orders to the post office, buy more supplies, and perform daily cleanup. Even hiring employees to help you out adds yet another set of responsibilities to your busy day.
By outsourcing fulfillment, you can kiss those burdens goodbye! Business owners are always amazed by just how much free time they have when they don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty of logistics. Time taken away from fulfilling your own orders means more time spent marketing, expanding, and kicking butt.
2. Savings Galore
Money makes the world go ‘round. Or maybe that’s love. Regardless, money is important. It’s the commerce in eCommerce. So… wouldn’t you want to have more of it? That’s right — fulfilling orders in-house may be costing you a pretty penny.
See, when you’re a small business, you usually get small discounts — think about how buying in bulk is usually cheaper than buying items individually and you’ll have the right idea. Because fulfillment centers process such a high volume of orders, they’re able to negotiate killer rates with shipping carriers. The good news? These savings trickle down to you! Talk about friends in high places.
3. Upgraded Technology
In the early stages of your business, you might’ve been keeping track of your inventory manually, perhaps by using a spreadsheet and tallying sales yourself. However, as you scale, it’s imperative to revamp your software (or lack thereof). Customer information, tracking numbers, and the like just become too much for pen and paper. Not to mention, sticking to the old school route inevitably increases the chance for human error. Not good!
A savvy fulfillment center will have it covered when it comes to technology. Ideally, inventory, order, and warehouse management will be bundled together to promote a seamless, user-friendly experience. In fact, you’ll find that a boost in technology will make you wonder how you even got by before!
4. Improved Flexibility and Endless Opportunities
Experimenting goes hand-in-hand with eCommerce. Whether you’re adding new products or creating fresh bundles, a fulfillment center worth its salt will be able to flawlessly adjust to whatever is thrown its way. As your business changes, you should rest assured that your 3PL has your back!
Additionally, if you’ve ever thought about going brick-and-mortar, you probably already know how challenging shipping restrictions can be. It’s certainly no easy feat to undertake all by yourself, but, luckily, fulfillment centers are well-versed in the intricacies of retail.
The same applies to international shipping, which takes things up a notch by applying a unique set of regulations, restrictions, and guidelines to 195 countries. And that’s not even covering the financial aspect of it — international taxes, for instance, are notoriously tricky. Sometimes, it’s better to just leave it to the pros.
5. Happier Customers
There are many ways to keep customers happy, such as delivering their orders accurately and on time. The sheer manpower of a fulfillment center makes that all the more likely to happen, which means you’re halfway there when it comes to customer satisfaction!
Of course, stuff happens. Delays, returns, and cancellations can all put a real damper on things, but the silver lining is that these challenges give you a chance to make a lasting, positive impression on your customers. 3PLs can help with that by providing a wealth of information at your fingertips, which you can then pass on to your shoppers. Also, because of the technology we mentioned earlier, you can easily make order adjustments and handle returns — no stress included!
There you have it, folks! If you knew outsourcing was the imminent path for your business, but weren’t quite sure what the full benefits were, we hope we were able to clear up your questions and doubts! And, with that, we send you off onto the next step of your eCommerce journey. Good luck!