Outsourced order fulfillment is not for every retailer. But sometimes, the reasons why many retailers think outsourcing is not right for them are buried more in fiction than in fact. We’d like to take a minute to address some of those myths swirling around the ecommerce industry and shed light on how outsourcing might actually be the right fit for you.
1. Order fulfillment is easy enough for me to handle: Many small businesses venturing into ecommerce believe that as long as the product is good, the rest will fall into place. However, when managing marketing, merchandising, hiring, etc. for your business, the complexities of order fulfillment can quickly become too much – especially during peak seasons. Updating stock levels, packing, sending out orders, and tracking shipments requires a dedicated team – why not trust someone who’s been doing it for decades?
2. Order fulfillment is too complex for my company: On the flip side, some retailers think that order fulfillment is a highly detailed process, and investing in it will only complicate things for them. Well, yes and no. Fulfillment is a complex process, with several components to it. However, ignoring the different aspects can become self-destructive, because accurate, efficient order fulfillment is essential for all ecommerce companies. And when you outsource to an expert provider, the complexity won’t be your problem.
3. Order fulfillment is only for big companies: Another common misconception? That order fulfillment is only for big companies the size and scale with thousands of orders every day. Again, not true. Third-party fulfillment, also called 3PL, is for any business that has an online store and an audience to sell to. Remember, your customers could be anywhere in the country. If they are willing to buy your products, you should be able to ship to them easily.
4. Order fulfillment is only meant for big shippers: Order fulfillment is great for companies with high order volumes but is not restricted to them. In fact, retailers with medium or low volume order numbers can benefit by outsourcing because they get freight rates and economies of scale not possible on their own! Most ecommerce businesses experience seasonal fluctuations (ski wear, beach gear, etc.), a fulfillment partner will be better prepared to handle quick volume spikes and will take care of the workforce retention/release as needed for all their client.
5. Order fulfillment is too expensive for me: Another myth about third-party fulfillment is that it’s expensive. Sure, outsourcing your fulfillment is an investment – but it can quickly help you bring down your operating costs and gives you the opportunity to expand without “paying for it”. Do you know what 100,000 feet of warehouse space and a staff of 200 costs nowadays?! The right fulfillment partner will help you achieve your future goals without compromising your present situation, and the partnership will be economically viable for both. It’s a real win-win for many retailers!