When selected carefully, an e-commerce fulfillment partner can help brands monitor cost control, effectively manage inventory, and improve your customer’s experience with fast, accurate, and affordable shipping. Many factors are involved in making sure you have selected the right partner for your brand in order to receive these positive results. If you’re in the market for a new fulfillment provider, look for one with these three qualities:
- Your Fulfillment Partner Should Focus On Your Industry
In March, Amazon warned customers that deliveries would be slower than usual as they planned to ensure “essential items” were their top priority for shipment during the coronavirus crisis. For “nonessential” businesses that utilize Amazon for fulfillment services, this meant customers endured month-long delayed deliveries, leading to frustration for both the retailer and the customers.
While Amazon’s fulfillment proved to be sufficient during regular operations, the pandemic has shown that brands with products shipped by Amazon are merely a dime a dozen. If you’re in the market to find a new e-commerce fulfillment provider, seek one that specializes in the products you sell. And if you’re in the “beauty brand” industry, here are some extra items to consider.
- Your Fulfillment Partner Should Have Multiple Warehouses
One of the advantages of working with a fulfillment provider is gaining access to multiple warehouses. Having the ability to split inventory across multiple warehouses allows your brand to deliver products from warehouse locations closer to where your customers reside. This will equate to faster delivery times with a lower postage rate.
In addition to faster and more affordable shipping, multiple warehouses provide the ability to split inventory in the event a fulfillment center has to close its doors. Typically, this is not an issue many fulfillment warehouses have to consider. In light of the current pandemic and statewide lockdowns, however, many smart fulfillment partners are taking precautionary measures to develop a foolproof contingency plan and ensure that operations continue to run smoothly.
- Ensure Your Next Fulfillment Partner Has Positive Client References
The writing technique of “show, don’t tell” applies to this situation. You shouldn’t have to take your potential partner’s word for it because they should have glowing reviews from previous clients.
This is a good way to see whether a provider has handled a concern or point you have in mind. For example, if you predict your orders will increase substantially in the next year and a half, look for testimonial proof that the potential fulfillment partner can handle peaks while still maintaining Service Level Agreements.
Fulfillment partners can be a strategic business ally, but only if they have what it takes. Promising providers should have these three qualities and an exemplary track record that proves their quality and capabilities. When you’re looking to outsource fulfillment, take the search seriously. The right partner can catapult your business to the next level.