If your home-based or online business means more to you than just a hobby, you want it to grow with as much stability and strength as you can give it. Especially in these difficult economic times, keeping your small business healthy and thriving means making the right decisions under difficult conditions. It also all too often means making choices that seem, at least at first, fraught with uncertainty.
You’ve probably faced such difficult challenges before, when deciding on a product line to stock and choosing which platform would best allow you flexibility and “room” for your online store to grow. But those early growing pains are only the first steps your business will take on a larger road that will require even more difficult choices.
Facing The Fulfillment Challenge
Many online businesses face serious adversity once they reach a certain point of growth, becoming in many ways a victim of their own success. This “tipping point” typically occurs when the demands of product fulfillment and order processing outgrows the capacity and the resources that the business possesses. As demand outpaces the business’ ability to keep up, a bubble effect happens whereby the business loses customers for lack of the resources to accommodate their product demands.
Getting Help Isn’t As Hard As You Might Think
The easiest and most effective solution to this predicament, over the long run and in the short term alike, involves enlisting the aid of a third party logistics provider, also variably called a fulfillment service, warehouse fulfillment service, or mail order fulfillment service. These are highly-specialized, intensely flexible companies that specialize not in their own merchandise but in the merchandise of others. They are dedicated to mail order fulfillment, including successful completion of all the steps of the mail order process.
Many order fulfillment companies are also experts in customer service and customer relations, so they are even able to handle conflict resolution and consumer inquiries on your behalf. Client businesses need only to deliver their customer policies to the fulfillment company. The fulfillment company then hires, trains, and staffs the customer support team personnel who will field all consumer inquiries.
Fulfillment companies enter into a contractual agreement with their client businesses, an agreement that in most cases is legally binding. Small business owners are encouraged to research a number of fulfillment companies before committing to a partnership, making sure they’ve made the best decision for their own needs.