In logistics, fulfillment refers to the process of receiving goods, processing them and then delivering the goods to consumers. Fulfillment companies are aplenty these days, and many businesses generally outsource their delivery to fulfillment centers to save them the hassle of having to personally deliver the goods themselves. Still, it is important to consider certain factors when choosing a fulfillment company to carry out your delivery tasks. Today, we look at the factors that you should consider when deciding to outsource your delivery to a delivery company.
Speed is everything. In today’s ecommerce world, consumers expect their purchased goods to be delivered to them on the day following their purchase, if not then the next available date. Speedy delivery equates to a favorable impression for your customers, which in turn translates to customer retention. In fact, a study in the US has found that 53% of customers abandoned their shopping carts upon finding out that a store offers slow delivery. Put simply, prioritize a fulfillment center that is quick on its feet.
A strategic location enables fulfillment centers access to many areas. This means two things - One, your delivery speed is greatly improved. Two, it halves the delivery time. As such, it is paramount for you to look into the fulfillment center and the location of their respective warehouses. A fulfillment center with very few houses would likely mean they take a longer time to deliver the goods. Furthermore, it is also incredibly important for businesses to determine if the fulfillment center offers global shipping, especially if said businesses have international buyers.
While most fulfillment centers have no trouble delivering most items, many of them tend to cater to a specific industry. For example, Warehouse A deals with clothing retailers. Meanwhile, Warehouse B deals with large, heavy goods. From there, depending on your area of focus, you may narrow down your search and choices by looking at similar fulfillment centers that provide delivery services to the same industry to pick out the fulfillment center that best meets your needs.
Nothing is more frustrating than knowing your fulfillment centers can’t deliver your goods safely and soundly. Not every goods are the same size, which is why it’s incredibly important for you to find out if the fulfillment center provides different packaging options for goods of varying sizes, and if they’re well protected throughout delivery.
Refunds and exchanges can be tricky to handle without any proper procedures. Unlike your run-of-the-mill brick and mortar stores, refunding and exchanging goods for ecommerce requires proper processes and policies to safeguard the business, the fulfillment center and the customer altogether. As such, it is recommended that you take time to speak to your fulfillment centers about these issues and understand the kind of policies they offer to protect all refunds and exchanges.
Insurance is a great way to give your customers more assurance that their goods are in safe hands. Clearly, no one wants their goods to be lost in transit or during delivery, but sometimes it happens. Many fulfillment centers offer insurance to both sellers and buyers to insure them in the event a goods is lost or damaged during transit. Thus, it would be prudent to pick a center whose insurance policies best fit what you’re looking for.
A good fulfillment center is one that has a tracking software that provides visibility and transparency about a shipment to all parties involved. This gives everyone a sense of security and allows them to receive constant updates about the shipment. Granted, these software are costly to implement, but having them goes a long way for everyone. For example, at Epost, our Eplus software provides all users with an update regarding the state of their shipment.
Having a good client support team will make all the difference for your business and the buyer involved. A team that is willing to take the time to sit down and understand your business needs will help your transition into a 3PL business seamlessly and efficiently. Consider the following when speaking to them:
- How knowledgeable was the team?
- Did they take the time to understand your business nature?
- Are they consistent in providing speedy responses?
- Did they take the time to come out with a tailor-made program for your business?
Finally, brand promise. Brand promise is more than just opting for the most seasoned fulfillment centers out there. It’s about identifying if the fulfillment center’s vision and goal aligns with your business motto. This is important because logistics will play a part in determining if your business will make or break it in the future. Find a fulfillment center that prides itself on professionalism, excellence, sustainability and customer satisfaction to name a few, and you can rest assured that your outsourced delivery works will always be in good hands.
Choosing a fulfillment center ultimately boils down what works and aligns with your business model. As such, one would do well to study and carefully survey their fulfillment options around, because making a choice. After all, it goes without saying that quality decisions lead to quality outcomes.