Customers prefer easy shopping experiences and personalized product options, so it’s no surprise that online shopping and subscription box services are becoming increasingly popular every year. While the increase of e-commerce and subscription box revenue is great for the bottom line, the behind-the-scenes fulfillment logistics can become a challenge to navigate when online orders continue to increase. This is especially true for beauty brands that deliver highly personalized products based on skin type, tone, style, color, and a variety of other considerations.
Why Fulfillment Is Different for Beauty Brands
Beauty brands in particular depend on strong relationships with customers. When looking for a fulfillment partner, they’re not just seeking distributors to handle storage and logistics. Rather, they’re looking for a partner that can provide fulfillment services and act as a steward of their brand image to customers. In short, a fulfillment partner is more than just pick, packing, and shipping warehouses. If you’re a beauty brand here are non-negotiables you should look for in your fulfillment partner:
Personalization and Kitting at Scale
One of the main reasons we hear Beauty Brands wanting to operate fulfillment in-house is due to the fact that they know their brand image and fear outsourcing fulfillment would sacrifice brand details. While this scenario can be maintainable for small shipping volumes, owning fulfillment in-house is not scalable. As online orders increase, beauty brands have no choice but to outsource fulfillment in order to keep up with orders and shipping times. When beauty brands outgrow their in-house operations (or their current fulfillment partner) they must find a partner who has expertise in maintaining personalization at-scale.
Finding a fulfillment partner that has the ability to scale personalized kitting operations is a must have for beauty brands who are looking to grow their direct-to-consumer operations without sacrificing brand image. Search for a fulfillment partner whose expertise is in subscription box services, kitting, and maintains order accuracy at-scale.
Maintain Service Level Agreements During Peaks
As mentioned in the previous point, beauty brands need a fulfillment partner who has the ability to quickly scale when peaks and surges occur. An example of this would be cyber Monday, when direct-to-consumer orders are at an all time high. During this season brands typically see a significant increase in order volume and if their fulfillment partner is unable to scale then back orders, delayed shipping, and inaccurate inventory management will occur. All of these will lead to a less than stellar experience for both the brand and the customer.
While every fulfillment partner will claim they can handle surges, not all can while maintaining Service Level Agreements. To confirm that your next fulfillment partner can maintain Service Level Agreements during peaks, speak to a few of their current clients.
Obtain End-To-End Business Analytics In Real-Time
Direct-to-consumer operations are scaling rapidly, and as a strategic business you should have access to real-time data to ensure operations are seamless. Your next fulfillment provider should be able to provide you with real-time data, not just daily excel sheets. This real-time data will allow you, and your fulfillment partner, the ability to make informed and swift decisions when needed. Making fast and informed decisions will ensure orders are accurately captured, inventory required to fulfill the order is available, and delivery information is captured.
The best e-commerce fulfillment center will be your biggest supporter. Don’t think of finding a fulfillment company as a simple transaction — it has the opportunity to become so much more. As more brands adopt a recurring revenue model, competition for customers will only increase. If you build a strong back-end foundation, you’ll outlast the others.