One of the biggest expenditures for those who retail online is their
shipping and fulfilment. There are many costs involved before the
product reaches the customer and every part of the procedure needs to be
done well to ensure a successful transaction; crucial for success. Bad
fulfilment, poor order processing and delayed deliveries can make your
customers extremely unhappy and eliminate the chance of more business
and good word of mouth. So, ensuring that you get your items delivered
in a speedy fashion needs to be the top priority in a marketing
strategy. The major online retailers such as Amazon and eBay have their order processing and fulfilment needs down to a fine art and this greatly contributes to their huge popularity and massive success.
So why consider multiple delivery options for your order processing?There are many more options for order processing, shipment and delivery services than ever before and this is due, in part, to the recent gyrations in fuel pricing which has put a real squeeze on internet retailers of late – making comparing carriers and fulfilment options more important than ever before. Many online retailers rely extremely on parcel shipping, when prices go up such as fuel this means that the shipping costs also go up to cover this and this is what can greatly affect profits. Companies need to find the money for these losses whilst still retaining customers and making sales, this can produce many difficult decisions such as increasing product prices or losing labour – it can, however, be aided by the correct logistics.
When you have many products needing to be distributed, it can be extremely beneficial to look into multiple delivery options that can help your business reach further – whilst keeping profits high. By outsourcing through various different companies for your fulfilment needs you can keep many costs down, there are companies who will charge extra for rural deliveries, deliveries off standard routes and overseas shipping – using different companies for each need means you won’t be charged extra for varying deliveries.
You could even consider self-fulfilment, which does have many advantages. It can be done by any company who simple has the room to store products prior to order processing, have access to a printer for address labels, able to order packaging and willing to stand in post office queues or deliver products by hand, or through in-house staff. This is extremely cost effective, as well as providing you with the knowledge that items have been packed safely, securely and in tact. Outsourced fulfilment is where you hand over control of order processing and shipment to another company. They will be responsible for everything from picking and packing to storing and distributing which saves you a lot of time resources and why this is the most popular form of fulfilment.
Drop shipping for your orders processedAnother option to consider is drop shipping, this is where products are ordered through your website and you put the order through to the wholesaler or manufacturer which supplies the products; acting as a kind of middle man. With drop shipping there is no chance of you having excess stock as you only purchase items when an order is placed. Drop shipping is extremely low risk, you won’t do any of the hard work and yet take a cut of the profits and you will only ever pay for what you are guaranteed to sell.
Another way to go could be through mixed fulfilment. This involved utilising a large range of fulfilment options to get items to customers. You can use self-fulfilment for high volume, low-margin products, go for drop shipping for the more high margin products and to fill out a store with items you wouldn’t be able to personally stock.
Many companies will use more than one warehouse, branching out across seas with the objective of lower labour costs as well as products being able to be dispatched from more than just one warehouse in one country. A highly popular country for order processing, product manufacturing and shipping is India. This is due to the mass of cheap land and droves of people seeking employment. India also is in the heart of Asia and geographically closer to large purchasing countries such as the USA than the UK is. Geographically, India is in a triangular shape to the south of Asia, what this means is that there are many ports for shipping – a huge advantage for fulfilment purposes. If you are a company who ships internationally then it makes perfect sense to have distribution in place from more than one country enabling your business to reach further.
Finding a reputable company like Fairway Fulfilment & Logistics to offer every service you could possibly need, saving time, money and resources is a difficult task and one which is extremely exhausting but it can be done. You need multiple delivery options for a fulfilment provider to be the most cost effective and this means things like – Economy Lightweight which will be a lower cost shipping service for items under a certain weight. Economy Post, which is a cost effective service for mid-weight items. Standard Ground, which is a delivery service that is for all weights of products that are being shipped on ground in one country i.e. not via sea or air. Expedited Service, which is a standard delivery within 2-3 days of order processing for both heavy and light products. Overnight delivery is something which can only be done nationally – unless you do have other stocked warehouses overseas if that is where the order was placed, this is usually the most expensive form of shipping but in the current climate beating your competitors means you have to have the edge – such as next day / overnight deliveries available.
Something that is available to be in place is the many online facilities, now considered essential for smoothly ran order processing and fulfilment needs. Many outsourcing companies have the ability to manage order processing online, update stock inventory, place orders and track items during the transportation from shelf to customer. This is a hands off way to keep an eye on the fulfilment side to your company, meaning although you have handed over control you can still be fully aware of what’s going on.