If you own an ecommerce company or home based business and you find yourself wanting to outsource your fulfillment and warehousing needs to a third party fulfillment service provider, there are several things you must understand about how fulfillment services operate.
Understand How Fulfillment Companies Make Their Profit
Fulfillment service companies typically base their product model on culling a percentage of your sales. This percentage is usually based on the number of products they warehouse, pick and pack, and ship to your customers. The more product successfully delivered to customers, the higher their profit. This arrangement – part of a legally binding partnership with the ecommerce or home business client – gives the fulfillment service company a powerful incentive to perform efficiently and in the client business’ best interest.
Understand How They Receive and Process Your Customers’ Orders
For optimum efficiency in the order fulfillment process, you want a fulfillment service company that’s able to access your shopping cart software and directly begin assembling, processing, and shipping your orders without direct participation from you. As a third-party fulfillment provider’s role is managing logistics, it follows that the fulfillment service company you choose should be able to initiate the logistics process without your involvement.
Familiarize Yourself With Their Facilities
Any reputable fulfillment service company will maintain a clean, safe, efficient warehouse and shipping facility as a matter of ethical business practices. Nevertheless, you owe yourself the peace of mind of touring the facilities either in person or by virtual tour, to make sure your entering into an agreement with a fulfillment service company that understands the importance of professionalism in handling your product. After all, if they won’t maintain their own property, why should they care about yours?
Most fulfillment service companies will happily provide references from other ecommerce or small business clients who will attest to their performance quality. Don’t hesitate to inquire with several such references from each potential fulfillment service company before making your final selection.
Research the Online Community
Ecommerce and small business owners participate in an entire community of message boards, forums, help sites and tutorial webpages that can help you in your selection. You might find the answers to your questions already posted, or find the right community in which to voice your uncertainties and/or concerns. Such information will help guide you to making the right fulfillment service company selection.