The maximum amount a person is willing to wait for a delivery is 4.5 days.
Your business may not be anywhere near that number. If that’s the case, you might want to look at using the services of a fulfillment company. In doing so, you’ll be able to dramatically speed up delivery times, without having to fork out a ton of money.
Read on to learn more about how a fulfillment center can help your business. If customers are frustrated with your shipping times, this post will show you how fulfillment services can speed up your shipping.
What Does a Fulfillment Center Do?
If you run a business that sells physical products, you may find yourself struggling with the shipping side of your business. Especially if your business is experiencing rapid levels of growth.
For instance, as your business grows, you may introduce new product lines. However, you might find it hard to manage all this stock and store it in an organized fashion.
You might also find it difficult to deal with the large volume of orders associated with your business. You may not have enough staff to package and process the items so that they’re sent out in a timely fashion.
A fulfillment company can help you deal with all these issues.
The primary goal of a fulfillment company is to store your products and send them out to customers whenever there’s a sale. They’ll pack your goods, notify the customer the items are in transit and also take care of any returns.
Fulfillment companies have relationships with businesses that provide packaging supplies and shipping. Because of this, you may experience lower packaging and postage costs, as a result of using the services of a fulfillment company.
A fulfillment company will also provide you with detailed data on your stock levels.
You can then use this information to ensure none of your popular products ever go out of stock. This can help you maintain steady profit levels as you can avoid periods where you have nothing to sell.
Location Is Important
Ideally, you want to find a fulfillment company that can service locations which are important to your business. Suppose your business is based in Texas, but a lot of your customers are in Florida.
In a situation like this, it’s a good idea to pick a fulfillment company based in Florida. In doing so, you can ensure customers experience fast delivery times. You can also reduce the costs associated with shipping because items don’t need to travel as far.
If your customers aren’t based in any one location, the least you need to do is make sure the center ships nationwide.
Look for Industry or Product Experience
It’s important you find a fulfillment company that has experience with your industry, or the kinds of products that you sell.
Suppose you sell refrigerated supplements. If you can find a fulfillment company that’s dealt with a similar kind of product before, you’ll eliminate a lot of headaches.
Such a company will already have the infrastructure and best practices in place to deal with a product like yours. This reduces the odds of them making a mistake that might lead to you losing stock due to improper storage.
A center that has experience with your product category, will also know which shipping companies they should use. This means they won’t have to go through any trial and error to find a reliable shipping partner.
This can reduce the costs associated with stock becoming damaged/unusable, during shipping. It can also reduce the frustration your customers will have to face should products become ruined in transit.
Do They Make Use of Any Special Technology?
You may want to ask the fulfillment company if they use any software to help them handle client orders.
If they do make use of some specialized software, it means they’re less likely to make a mistake as human error becomes less of an issue. It also means their business is more efficient, which can result in lower costs for you.
It’s also a good idea to ask if they use any robotic assistance within their warehouse.
For instance, they might use a robot powered by AI, which picks an item from the warehouse shelf, as soon as an order comes through.
It’s worth choosing a fulfillment center that uses this kind of technology because it allows for faster processing times. This, of course, ensures your products will reach customers in a timely fashion.
Ask about Their Processes
Before working with a fulfillment company, it’s beneficial to ask about the processes they have in place, should something go wrong.
You might want to ask how they track the quality of their work. It’s also helpful to ask them about the systems they’ve installed so you can keep a close eye on how orders are being fulfilled.
You should ask them about the protocols they have in place, should certain events occur.
So, what will they do if you run out of stock? How will they handle customer refunds? How quickly can they switch to another shipping company, if the existing one has a problem or provides poor service?
By asking these questions you’ll be able to separate the reliable companies from the unreliable ones.
Ask about Packaging
If you want to maintain some kind of branding on your packaging, you need to make this clear to the fulfillment company ahead of time.
This is because not all centers will provide you with specialized packaging. As long as you bring this up ahead of time, a center should tell you whether they can cater to your needs or not.
Are You Going to Use a Fulfilment Center?
If you’re struggling to meet the shipping expectations of customers, a fulfillment center can help you turn things around.
Finding a good fulfillment company can be challenging, and it may take a bit of trial and error before you find one that’s reliable.
This process can be difficult to go through, but the payoff will be worth it.
That’s because, at the end of it, you’ll be able to get products to customers faster than your competitors can. And if you can do that, there’s a good chance you’ll be in business for a long time.