Managing complex e-shipping
E-fulfillment is a direct to end consumer shipping model and is referred to as the B to C (business to consumer) shipping model. Born out of catalog sales, e-fulfillment has quickly given way to internet sales.
The process may seem simple: sell the item and ship it to the customer. However, the process actually involves multiple SKUs, forecasting sales, inventory storage, collecting credit card payments, picking/shipping multiple items from a single order, negotiating discounted shipping rates, and processing returns the process becomes complex.
The functions that e-fulfillment provides for the internet retailers can be broken down into four categories:
Order transfer, or order capture, can be outsourced at many different points. An order can be sent to the e-fulfillment service with all the data necessary to process, ship, and order or Southern Fulfillment Services can decide to have the fulfillment company handle everything from the checkout on their web page. Benefits include eliminating the need to transmit orders, verify shipment, or send tracking information.
Order processing includes preparing the order for pick and pack, credit checks, pick list creation, invoicing and label creation. When dealing with multiple e-tailers order processing is critical to ensure order accuracy, picking and packing efficiencies, and combining large order volumes to take advantage of full truckload (FTL) hub induction shipping rates. The grouping of orders is critical to make the process as efficient and cost effective to be able to provide customers the most competitive pricing.
Pick, Pack & Ship
Accurately picking the correct SKU’s to fulfill the order, inspecting them for any quality defects, packing the finished goods in a shippable container with proper packaging to protect the product and sending it from the fulfillment facility to the end consumer. The pick and pack process can include:
- Custom pack assembly or manufacturing processes if items are made on demand. Once the orders are picked, assembled and packed they are shipped.
- Shipping can include all service levels from the major carriers, consolidators, regional carriers, and white glove services depending on what the e-tailer is selling, delivery expectations, or perishability of the product.
- The e-tailer must partner with a matching e-fulfillment partner to meet the specific requirements of the product and target customer.
Customer Service and Returns
After-sales services include sending ship confirmations back to the e-tailer and final customer, providing the customer with tracking information, updates, and final delivery confirmation. If the e-tailer also contracts out customer care, Southern Fulfillment Services may also become the point of contact to their customers through traditional phone customer service, email communications and chat support. Returns can also be credited or replaced by Southern Fulfillment Services as needed. With durable goods, returns can include rework/repackaging, claims to the manufacturers due to quality issues, cleaning or refurbishing products, or restocking resalable goods.
At Southern Fulfillment Services we have been shipping direct to the end consumer since our inception and we have the staff in place with years of experience shipping millions of packages directly to the customer’s home. We have the economies of scale to provide our fulfillment customers with competitive rates without the headaches that go along with managing the entire process. We take the pressure of the “mechanical” portion of your business so you can concentrate on marketing your products, generating sales, and satisfying your customers. Grow your business and retain your current customer base by partnering with Southern Fulfillment Services to handle each of your customers as if they were our own.
Learn more about our e-fulfillment services. Click here for a quote or call us at 772-226-3605 for more information.