eCommerce sales are skyrocketing, with no signs of slowing down! In 2019, eCommerce surpassed 10% of total retail sales, contributing nearly $190 billion to the economy as a whole.
While some companies use eCommerce as an extension of their storefront sales, others separately solely through the internet. These are two very different business models that share one thing in common: both can do even better with a fulfillment center. A fulfillment center is a facility that stores, packs, and ships products that move relatively frequently.
Top 10 Benefits of Using a Fulfillment Center
Here’s our list of the top ten benefits of using a fulfillment center – in alphabetical order, of course (we’re all about organization at The Fulfillment Lab).
1. You Can Benefit from Their Experience in Fulfillment
Let’s face it, you’re not looking to be a fulfillment expert, you’re trying to run a business! By outsourcing your storage, packing, and shipping to an experienced and reputable fulfillment center, you gain the experience of their employees as well as their software and equipment. They know the business like the back of their hand and are in the trenches every day, sometimes around the clock. By partnering with a fulfillment services provider, your fulfillment process can become seamless.
2. Extend Your Reach
It’s expected that there will be more than 2 billion global digital buyers in 2020. With a global population of around 7.7 billion people, that’s nearly 25% of the world’s population shopping online!
So, as you can see, it pays, quite literally, to go global. With a fulfillment center that has an international network and understands the rules and regulations of other countries, you can take orders from all over the world and take your business to the next level.
3. Free up Your Space
This is an easy one! Many startup eCommerce companies are working out of their basements, attics, garages—just about anywhere they can store products and supplies. Often, these “work spaces” become an unorganized mess of bubble wrap, boxes, and other packing supplies. With a fulfillment center, you can unload all these duties off to your service provider so you can focus on more important aspects of your business—like keeping your customers happy.
4. Improve Your Customer Service
You know what they say: it’s easier to keep a customer than find a new one. Research estimates that companies could be losing as much as $62 billion each year due to poor customer service. And today, with so many competing products on the market, customer service is often one way that small businesses differentiate themselves.
Many fulfillment centers offer 24/7 support through email or phone, allowing for easy returns, exchanges, and refunds. Not only that, fulfillment centers are better able to provide same-day delivery options or guaranteed delivery dates. All of this works to improve the customer experience.
5. Improve Your Focus
Many small business owners are also jugglers! They’re crafting products, sourcing suppliers, building marketing campaigns, taking customer calls, and much more.
Why take on packing and shipping too? By outsourcing to a fulfillment center, you can narrow your focus to the most important activity—growing your business!
6. Improve Your Scalability
Small eCommerce startups may be able to manage their own order fulfillment for a while, and many do. But as they grow in size and gain more traffic to their site, it can become overwhelming for business owners, who become unable to fulfill orders quickly enough, resulting in disappointment for customers (or worse, a loss of customers).
By outsourcing fulfillment, you’ll be better equipped to handle an increase or perhaps even a massive seasonal influx of orders.
7. Lower Your Shipping Costs
Many fulfillment centers have a network of national and global facilities, resulting in bulk delivery discounts that can benefit your business. In addition, UPS and FedEx base their shipping rates primarily by zone. So, if you house products within more than one fulfillment center, there are fewer zones to cross to get your products to your customers, resulting in savings. This can allow you to pass the savings on to customers or even offer free shipping, which more than 50% of U.S. consumers say influences their online purchase decisions.
8. Offer Customized Packaging
A good fulfillment center (wink, wink) thinks outside the box—and inside the box! For most eCommerce sellers, the first time a customer will experience their product is when it arrives at their door; and these days, a battered brown box wrapped in duct tape isn't going to cut it.
Customized packaging options let you create your own custom shipping boxes, coupons, and inserts, upgrading your packaging to make it fresh and exciting every time someone makes a purchase; often, this can be based on demographics, spending behaviors, birthdays or anniversaries, and more. This helps build loyalty and turns customers into brand advocates.
9. Reduce Your Operating Costs
It’s not cheap to rent space, maintain quality control, hire employees, buy packing supplies, and perform your own shipping—all while keeping the lights on! By outsourcing fulfillment, you can eliminate these overhead costs and begin sharing space and resources with hundreds or even thousands of other sellers.
By taking advantage of economies of scale, you get the best possible prices and terms! In addition, with a fulfillment center, you generally pay one flat fee, and then only for services you used, such as when an order is picked, packed, and shipped.
10. Take Advantage of Their Technology
Technology offers many benefits for eCommerce retailers, from monitoring inventory to tracking shipments, payment processing to customer data security. Of course, acquiring these systems requires a big financial investment—and there’s a learning curve! Many fulfillment centers, however, already have this state-of-the-art software, so eCommerce retailers gain access to the most cutting-edge software available, for very little.
The Fulfillment Lab is Here for Your eCommerce Shipping Needs
In an increasingly competitive and ever-evolving online market, order fulfillment needs to move just as quickly as eCommerce businesses themselves. Along with the ten benefits listed above, you can count on The Fulfillment Lab for complete transparency into the fulfillment process using our cutting-edge order fulfillment software.
We are literally changing the way fulfillment is handled! To learn more about how we can help your eCommerce business boost efficiency and improve its customer experience as your end-to-end fulfillment partner, contact us today!