As a business owner, you should be discerning about every major decision that you make about your business. Maybe that big decision is about outsourced ecommerce fulfillment. You don’t really want to decide if you’re going to go through with it or not, but you would like to learn about it. In doing research, you will come across a lot of information. However, not all of it will be factual.
Not surprisingly, there are several myths that are tied to ecommerce fulfillment, and some of them are harder to debunk than others. However, here are a few that are worth taking note of:
- It’s much easier to do order fulfillment in-house. There is actually some truth to this misconception. If your ecommerce business is still small or starting out, it is better and more cost-effective to do the order fulfillment processes by yourself. However, it is easier until it isn’t. In this case, the best ecommerce fulfillment services providers are ready to take the burden off your shoulders.
As your business expands, your sales and the number of orders you will need to fulfill will grow too. There will come a point where order fulfillment will take up so much of your time that you’re forced to hire new employees or rent out more warehouse space just to keep up with the volume. However, you have less time to nurture your customer base or really grow your business. Outsourcing the fulfillment process will ultimately give you more time to focus on more important matters.
- The business owner loses control of the business if they outsource. Outsourcing still has a negative connotation, even today. However, you are only hiring someone else to take care of one portion of your business, so you can dedicate more time in improving the other parts of your business. The third-party logistics (3PL) provider is simply there to help you fulfill your orders and also present the data that they gathered, so you can accurately compute for your metrics.
The order fulfillment service provider does not get a say in what products you need to have, how many people you hire, or who your target market is. All those aspects are very much still under your control. The only thing outsourcing does is give you the leeway to actually think and consider what you can do to make things better for your business.
- The location of the fulfillment center depends on your business location. This myth only holds any water if you are near your customers as well. Otherwise, you could be hampering your own shipping schedules and turning your customers off to your business. A dependable ecommerce fulfillment company will have a network of facilities all over the country, it’s best to choose a site that can easily deliver your products to where your customers are located.
To determine what location is right, look at your customer data to help you decide. This will simplify and expedite the time it takes to process their information and make delivery times shorter as well. Both your customers and logistics partner will thank you for it.
- There is no difference between fulfilling and warehousing. While both are services that a 3PL provider does offer, the main difference between them is in the time for turning over your inventory. Moreover, warehouse storage is only one part of the order fulfillment procedure. In order fulfillment, you need your inventory to be packed and sealed quickly, so you won’t be keeping them in the warehouse for long.
On the other hand, if you only want warehousing, it’s better to fund the long-term storage of inventory. This works well for seasonal items or for products you are not planning to launch on your site just yet. It’s not for best-selling items that run out of stock fast. The benefits of the warehousing aspect in order fulfillment is that your items are safe in storage and are easily accessible when it’s time to fulfill an order.
Since you can also outsource parts of your ecommerce fulfillment process, a 3PL provider will also charge a separate storage fee for their warehousing service. If you need to keep your products somewhere for a while, you are better off choosing a storage-only company over an order fulfillment company.
At the end of the day, outsourcing ecommerce fulfillment services can be beneficial for you if you know that it can solve your current issues with your ecommerce business. To do so, you need to fully be aware of how to tell fact from fiction regarding what is and how to go about it.