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Fulfillment in eCommerce can be intimidating for newcomers. There are so many different aspects that you may not know anything about! Thankfully, we are here to help you through this process with the following tips and tricks on eCommerce fulfillment. 

3 Different Fulfillment Methods for eCommerce Businesses

As you now know, there’s more to eCommerce fulfillment than meets the eye—including different fulfillment methods. Maybe you’ve been doing this a certain way because you didn’t know there were other options. In any case, we will break down these different methods for you so that you can choose the one that works best for you and your business.

  • In-House Order Fulfillment: If you’re a new business, you’re probably using in-house order fulfillment, or self-fulfillment. This option works best for small order volumes where you can manage inventory and pack orders under your own roof. 

    Depending on your business and products, you could also make your orders at home too or use an outside manufacturer. This option is well-suited for businesses that are just starting off because you can control and do everything yourself without having to establish contacts or pay someone to do it for you.

    On the other hand, as your business grows, it will become more and more difficult for you to do this on your own. In addition, worrying about packaging and shipping yourself can take up a lot of your valuable time that could otherwise be spent doing other tasks to grow your business. 
  • Third-Party Order Fulfillment (3PL): As your business starts to grow, the odds are that you’re going to have to switch over to third-party order fulfillment, or 3PL. 3PLpartners will be able to handle the entire fulfillment process for you so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

    The tasks that they cover include receiving, picking, packing, labeling, returns processing, and quality control. If you have heard of pick and pack fulfillment, this is done by 3PL providers. Obviously, you can save time by using this method, but you can also save money by paying bulk shipping costs as a result. That being said, you still have to make sure that your partner is reputable and trustworthy to ensure a good relationship with high levels of customer satisfaction. 
  • Dropshipping: A third fulfillment method is dropshipping. This occurs when products are produced, stored, and shipped directly by the manufacturer. While you may think that using this method results in your customers getting their products faster since everything is being made and shipped in the same place, that’s not always the case. This is because most dropshipping locations are overseas, so this often translates into longer shipping timeframes. 

    You will definitely need to weigh out the costs and benefits when considering dropshipping. On the one hand, your overhead costs will be low, allowing you to focus on sales while being able to offer more products. On the other hand, you have even less control over the process, which can lead to lower quality control and reduced brand power since it’s hard to offer custom and unique products when everything is being produced and shipped by a large dropshipper overseas. 

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Fulfillment can seem overwhelming if you aren’t using the right tools. There are tons of different platforms out there that can help you with your fulfillment process. While it might be tempting to go with the economical option or try to do it on your own, this is one area that is definitely a solid investment. 

That’s because the right fulfillment tools will help you cut down on time and help you save money by providing you with all the information you need to know to improve the process. So what should you look for in terms of an eCommerce fulfillment tool? 

The first thing you need to look for is automation. At this point, there’s really no need for manual inputting and processing of information. The more automated processes are, the more time and money you can save here. 

The second thing you need to look for is integration. All steps of the fulfillment and order process should be covered by a single software rather than having to use one tool for one aspect and a second tool for another aspect, and so on. 

Finally, you need to look for information. Your fulfillment tool should offer you all the data and information you need so that you know where you are at all times. Knowledge is power, and a tool that provides you with this information gives you the power to improve and grow your business as a result. 

Use the Right Packaging

Sure, all the fancy stuff like software is definitely important...but so are the basics like the packaging! While it may be tempting to just use a regular brown cardboard box and call it a day, there’s really so much more to consider as an eCommerce company. In a field that’s so competitive, you need to set yourself apart in as many ways that you can. Of course, you need to set yourself apart in terms of your actual products, but you should also set yourself apart in terms of your packaging. 

Packaging is a great way to strengthen your brand and give your customers a positive first impression of your company before they even see your products in-person. Perhaps the best way to do this is through custom packaging. Custom packaging allows you to incorporate your packaging with your brand logos, colors, fonts, and more. After all, you want to create an “unboxing experience” for your customers. This involves using high-quality custom packaging from companies like BoxGenie

BoxGenie has been in the shipping game for almost 50 years, so they can help you create the perfect packaging for your eCommerce business. Their design tool and customer service really set them apart. Here are some of the different packaging options that BoxGenie can provide:

  • Mailer Box: This box was practically made for eCommerce! It’s sturdy and compact yet provides a high-quality feel thanks to a sleek and practical design. It also has tons of customization options, including patterns, colors, paper types, and printing options. This box comes in a variety of different sizes ranging from 4x4x2 to 14x10x4. With all these different options, you’re bound to find an amazing mailer box for your eCommerce business. 

  • One Piece Folder Box: This box is another great option for eCommerce as it’s totally durable and easy to assemble since it comes in one easy piece! Great for shipping flat items that need a bit more insulation, it also comes with a ton of customization options. This box comes in a variety of different sizes ranging from 6x6x1 to 16x14x3. 

  • Shipping Box: This is a classic box with a stylish twist—so say goodbye to boring brown cardboard for good. BoxGenie’s design showcase allows you to choose from 20 different color and pattern options in addition to the ability to upload your own images. This box comes in a variety of different sizes ranging from 6x6x6 to 24x12x12. 

  • Triangle Shipping Box: This box is ideal for shipping documents and artwork—keeping it safe and insulated throughout the shipping process thanks to durable corrugated. It’s a modern twist on the classic circular mailing tubes. So really allow your brand and products to shine with a cool and creative triangle shipping box from BoxGenie

Get Your Shipping Right

Shipping is something that a lot of smaller and newer eCommerce businesses struggle with. After all, you do have to compete with Amazon that can offer free two-day or even same-day shipping without batting an eye. How can you compete without offering this or losing money? While this is definitely a challenge, there are some things that you can do to help put yourself in the best position in terms of shipping. 

First of all, you need to know your shipping costs. This involves getting estimates from several different sources, including USPS, FedEx, and UPS. For most of these options, you can set up a business account and negotiate cheaper shipping rates based on volume. 

From there, you need to focus on the cost of your products. For example, does it make sense for you to eat the shipping costs on your products that are more expensive and higher-end? Maybe! On the other hand, does it make sense for you to eat the shipping costs on cheap products and actually lose money in the process? Probably not. 

Finally, you can choose to add in the shipping cost to the initial cost of your product while offering “free shipping” to reduce cart abandonment rates due to added shipping costs. Another option is to offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount to ensure that you’re not losing money in the process. 

Conclusion

As you can see, eCommerce fulfillment can be a breeze if you do it right! Just be sure to put in the work to find the right products, partners, and tools to really make it work. With the help of packaging experts like BoxGenie, you can rest assured that your products will arrive to the customer safe and sound and looking great! 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.shopify.com/blog/ecommerce-packaging
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/08/27/shipping-is-critical-to-keeping-online-shoppers-happy/
  3. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/abandoned-carts/#mobile-nav

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