The One Key Difference That Sets The Fulfillment Lab Apart

“Why should I purchase the products or services I need from your company instead of some other one? What makes you so special?”

When The Fulfillment Lab (TFL) was still just a vision, Rick Nelson, who is now TFL’s CEO, was asking himself these questions. He knew that if he was going to create and grow a successful business, he needed to be able to put himself into the shoes of consumers and answer these questions on their behalf.

If you’re familiar with The Fulfillment Lab, you know that everything worked out in the end! But, let’s take a more in-depth look at the company, its CEO, and the one key difference that sets TFL apart. 

The Fulfillment Lab Opens Its Doors

Rick Nelson didn’t always plan on going into—let alone owning—a fulfillment business. However, during college and after graduation, Rick worked for Florida Central Binder, where he received hands-on experience on how to run a business. From there, he and his wife started the Almost Home After School Center, raising funds to build a 5,000 square foot center for children. 

This unique history, in which Rick experienced the shortcomings of logistics and fulfillment at Florida Central Binder followed by the challenges of launching Almost Home, led to the creation of The Fulfillment Lab in 2012.

Because of his background, Rick understood early on that The Fulfillment Lab would need a key differentiator (or a Unique Selling/Value Proposition) to set his company apart from the competition. There were already plenty of warehouse, distribution and fulfillment centers offering packing and shipping services. “What makes you so special?” he asked himself. His answer? Fulfillment marketing.

Introducing Fulfillment Marketing 

Today, customization is the name of the game. Everyone wants everything “their way,” from the features on their cars to the toppings on their burgers. And, they expect businesses to deliver these custom options to make them feel valued. 

Nelson saw that this concept could be applied to e-commerce. He saw that many e-commerce retailers were great at marketing and had an excellent product, but weren’t always great at communicating and managing inventory with manufacturers.

After checking out the customer relationship management (CRM) software on the market and being mostly unimpressed by it, Rick decided to create his own—one that would give e-commerce retailers the ability to fully customize orders and get better insight into the buyer behaviors.

“Personalized custom printing on the box and labels, and custom inserts in the box, are important for customers and companies,” says Nelson. “For customers, it increases perceived value and creates excitement. For businesses, it builds brand awareness and improves customer retention. Talk about a win-win scenario!”

The Fulfillment Lab allows its clients to customize packaging based on the profile of their consumer, whether that be based on the state from which they’re purchasing, their gender, site navigation habits, overall cost of the order, etc. 

Instead of every consumer getting the same brown box regardless of what they’re buying, The Fulfillment Lab can print onto the package in full color on the warehouse floor, and tailor the shipment based on the criteria their client has laid out.

Finding Your Key Differentiator

The concept of differentiation dates back to 1933, when American economist Edward Chamberlin proposed the concept in his pioneering book, The Theory of Monoplastic Competition. Today, while having a key differentiator is well known in business, some companies struggle with the idea. They may state that their differentiator is “value” or “quality,” but these are almost too general; most customers think of these as a given when making a purchase. 

So, your key differentiator needs to solve a unique problem for your customers. You have to do something that your competitors don’t do—or do it much better than they do. 

For The Fulfillment Lab, pioneering the concept of fulfillment marketing took a little research, some marketing savvy, and a lot ingenuity, but it ultimately put the company on the map—and then all over the map! 

Today, The Fulfillment Lab operates 14 facilities around the world, including offices in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.

Are you an e-commerce business owner who’s interested in differentiating your product through custom packaging? Contact The Fulfillment Lab today.

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