As the current look of the e-commerce landscape seems to be in a schizophrenic hold between digital and brick and mortar, you need to be prepared no matter what happens.
The best way to prepare for the future is to have a fulfillment center to work with who wants to see you succeed. With the right fulfillment company in your corner, you’ll be providing great service to customers 24/7.
Here are four of the main elements to seek out in a fulfillment company.
While it might seem pretty obvious, lots of people looking for a fulfillment center are so focused on price, they overlook this major factor. If you choose a fulfillment center that is 5% cheaper than one that is nearer to your clientele, you could be doing your clients and your company a disservice.
When your customers order a product, they want to get it fast. If you’re selling products that mostly cater to a northeastern market with a fulfillment provider located in California, it’s going to be hard on your business.
Your customers will want to receive items fast and that distance could add an extra day of transit.
On top of that, if there is a mistake in your customers’ order, it will be very difficult to correct it from a distribution center that’s across the country. Location for your fulfillment company is important both when your business is successful but also when your business has issues.
If you find a fulfillment company that you could conceivably drive to, you could get more out of your relationship as well. Being able to touch the products you’re sending your clients, check in on how they’re doing, and come by to see new products could be good for business. The better your relationship is with the staff at your fulfillment provider, the happier your customers will be overall.
If you want to provide excellent service to your customers and clients, you need to have a fulfillment center in your corner who wants you to succeed. Without a strong and open channel of communication, it’s hard to get what you need from your fulfillment center.
Your first interaction with your center should give a hint of what to expect from working with them. When you first contact them, consider how quickly they get back to you. If you contact them on a Friday and don’t hear anything back until Monday afternoon, you know they won’t be around for help on the weekend.
Ask specific questions so that you can get a good feel for what they know about their own products and services. If you don’t get enough information from them, don’t keep trying to beg for information to help you decide to work with them. The onus is on your fulfillment provider to get you excited about working with them.
They should also take some time to get to know you, what you want from them, and how they can best serve your business. They should be able to offer helpful hints and tricks to giving your customers the best experience. You can’t put a price tag on good communication but you should be aware that.
3, Know Your Own Goals
In order to get the most out of your fulfillment center relationship, you need to know what you want from a center. If you start hammering them with questions and have only a bottom line to worry about, you’ll overlook important aspects of a business relationship.
You need to evaluate your current e-commerce situation if you have one. Think about what’s not working and make surer to avoid any elements that would keep you in the situation you’re currently in. Your next fulfillment provider should offer you things that your current center doesn’t.
Think about changes to your short-term operations such as how they can cut down on shipping times and cut down costs. They should be able to have concrete evidence that they have a high degree of order accuracy and a low return count. They need to also provide concrete data on how quick their customer response times are.
You should have some long-term goals as well. At your headquarters, you want to lower the work that needs to be done by your internal departments on managing operations. When your fulfillment center is handling things, you should be able to focus on growth.
IF you want to expand to new facilities, your fulfillment center should be able to offer satellite locations to serve your customers. See some more information here on how fulfillment should be benefiting your business.
4. They Should Align With You
Finding a fulfillment provider that aligns well with your intentions as a business owner is difficult but essential to providing the best customer experience. You want your business partnership to succeed and in order to do so, you need to be heading toward the same goal.
A long-term partnership can ensure that you have a relationship that your customers can rely on for years to come.
If the company working on your order fulfillment has a view of their own business as always looking to satisfy customers, you’re in good hands. You need a high degree of professionalism and creative problem solving to ensure that your customers are guaranteed good service.
They should also allow you to personalize the services that you need. If their limitations are too rigid or if they won’t work with you if your business slows down for a month or two, you need to find a better center to work with.
A Fulfillment Center Is The Heart of Business
Finding the right fulfillment center will ensure that your customers can be served well wherever you’re located. If they can provide the products and services your customers rely on, when they need them, you’ll be able to see unlimited growth.
If you’re planning your next marketing move to coincide with your new fulfillment company, check out our guide to ensure that it goes off without a hitch.