December 4, 2022

Nowadays, customers hold more power and knowledge and higher expectations. Therefore, you retain clients and increase profitability if you successfully deliver every order. Plus, you get to establish a positive brand reputation. These are possible if you have trusted order fulfillment services to ship your products. 

But then again, what is order fulfillment? 

Understanding Order Fulfillment

Do you want to run a business to get your products delivered to your customer’s hands? Then, you need an order fulfillment service. 

Order fulfillment involves stockpiling, picking and packing customer orders, and shipping them to your customer’s doorstep. Therefore, it is essential for business owners to have accurate inventory monitoring. Once a buyer browses your eCommerce, they choose which products they prefer to buy. Then, the buyer purchase by placing an order to receive it without leaving their homes. 

When you opt for order fulfillment, it encompasses several responsibilities. 

  • Receive and store ready-to-ship products
  • Entertain customer’s orders via the eCommerce store
  • The fulfillment team meets the order details
  • Pick, pack, and label orders from the warehouse 
  • Ship your products to the recipient’s destination
  • Initiate process customer returns as needed. 

Accomplishing these tasks alone is tedious. First, you must fulfill your customer’s order regardless of company size. Then, you must double-check everything so you’ll send the correct item to its rightful owner. Failure to do so means loss of profit and tainting your brand. Fortunately, you can have order fulfillment based on what your company needs. Choose among the 3 types of order fulfillment services to ship your products. 

Merchant Order Fulfillment Service

Merchant fulfillment is a famous in-house fulfillment service. It means you manage and complete every step of the order process by yourself. You are responsible for stocking, picking, packing, shipping products, and handling returns. 

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A merchant order fulfillment service is for small businesses with low order volumes. Also, it is ideal for new enterprises. Almost 90% of retail orders call for store involvement. It allows you to personalize the customer’s experience. For example, you can insert a hand-written note or a freebie item from your online store. As a result, you gain more human connections and better rapport with your customers. 

Advantages of Merchant Fulfillment

Here are the privileges that come with Merchant fulfillment. 

  • Overall control of the order fulfillment process – you can ensure high-quality products and services with your supervision. 
  • Free from fulfillment fees – no need to worry about other costs except for shipping rates
  • Custom packaging – you can bring a personal touch for a better unboxing experience.
  • Ship various products – you can sell hand-crafted and perishable goods without delay.

Disadvantages of Merchant Fulfillment

Here are the downsides of Merchant fulfillment.

  • Time-consuming task – you must fulfill orders yourself without other workers’ help before it’s too late. 
  • Expensive shipping costs – it is unlikely to obtain discounts and promos than 3PLs
  • Human error is inevitable – you pick, pack, and ship customer orders without warehousing technology.
  • Invest in storage space – you need a long-term lease to stockpile supplies and products on your own

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment service wherein you don’t need to be hands-on in the entire process. It means other businesses or wholesalers do the work for you. Once you receive an order, you process the sales but forward the order to your supplier. For example, an online shoe store picks, packs, and ships inventory directly to your customers. But, you don’t get to see or physically touch the product. 

Dropshipping is the best choice for starting business owners on a budget. If you want to sell consumer goods like clothing and electronics, you can opt for the order fulfillment service of dropshipping. 

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Advantages of Dropshipping

Below are the benefits you get from Dropshipping. 

  • No need for budget – you don’t need to buy products and pay storage fees for inventory
  • Better inventory management – without stockpiling, you can easily monitor inventory based on the customer’s order.
  • More free time – you can focus on marketing and strategic planning since you spend less time fulfilling orders.
  • Minimal seller risk – you have a lesser chance of profit lost without purchasing inventory.

Disadvantages of Dropshipping

Below are the drawbacks you encounter from Dropshipping. 

  • Lose control over the packaging – you don’t see the products personally. As a result, you can not customize the unboxing experience for your customer.
  • Delay shipments – most businesses open for dropshipping face hundreds of orders daily. As a result, it takes hours to days before your order gets shipped. 
  • Difficulty finding trusted dropshipping providers – you need to review if your supplier is reliable enough. They must ship your customer’s orders safely and securely.
  • Highly competitive market – you sell the same goods using the same warehouse or supplier.

Third-Party Order Fulfillment Service

Third-party fulfillment is a third-party logistics service (3PLs). It performs the entire order fulfillment process off your shoulders. It manages the source inventory, prepares and prints packing slips, and ships securely packed customers’ orders to their homes. 

Third-party fulfillment is for thriving eCommerce businesses with higher sales volume. It is life-changing for business owners. As a result, it gives them more time to concentrate on other business areas. Also, it allows you to have some time off without delaying the order process. You don’t need to close your shop while out of town. 

Advantages of Third-Party Order Fulfillment

These are the perks of 3PLs.

  • No more seasonal logistics personnel – a fulfillment center handles orders for you. So you don’t have to worry about hiring more staff during peak season.
  • Faster delivery – most fulfillment companies feature automation and warehousing technology. As a result, they complete orders – pick, pack, and ship your products faster.
  • Localize inventory – most fulfillment companies stock goods in their different warehouses. Therefore, they can ship orders closest to your customer’s location.
  • More discounts –  eCommerce businesses receive price markdowns for packing and shipping materials
  • Additional features – third-party order fulfillment services include services of restocking returned items.
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Disadvantages of Third-Party Order Fulfillment

These are the flaws of 3PLs.

  • Quite expensive – you pay for every item that is picked and packed. 
  • No custom packaging – third-party order fulfillment services discourage it. They encounter thousands of orders daily. As a result, they can’t focus on personalizing an unboxing experience for your customer.
  • Customer service backlash – you deal with product and service issues even though it’s the fulfillment center’s fault.
  • Need large order volumes – you need to market and sell more of your products.
  • Trustworthy 3PL is a challenge – they shoulder the entire order fulfillment process. So you must find a reputable and trusted company. 

Get the best 3PL provider by assessing its logistical experience. One of the excellent choices is Red Stag Fulfillment Center. It fulfills your customer’s orders the moment it enters your eCommerce business. Also, it can upscale quickly. Moreover, you can venture into any products and markets you perfect. Red Stag handles heavy, fragile, and high-value products with a breeze. So you don’t have to worry about your inventory, pick, pack, and ship. 

Choosing the right order fulfillment services is a strategy for a successful business. It impacts your eCommerce shop to gain brand reputation, profitability, and customer satisfaction. So avail a service now like Red Stag!