As ecommerce business owners grow, they face several defining decisions that will allow them to scale and profit. One of the most significant challenges is understanding how best to use their time and limited resources. Should they self-fulfill or partner with a third-party fulfillment (3PL) company?
You might be one of these business owners looking to make a change. When looking at any specialized service, there’s always the option to build specialized competency within your business. But the cost to do so is often overwhelming. That’s why it’s better to seek a tax professional to handle your taxes or purchase off-the-shelf software rather than develop your own. The same goes for ecommerce order fulfillment.
It rarely makes sense to keep fulfillment in-house since it can be done better by a company specializing in order fulfillment and free up an ecommerce business owner’s time to focus on what they do best.
As you consider outsourcing your ecommerce order fulfillment, we’ve gathered a list of questions to ask your potential provider:
About the Company
- How long have you been in business?
- What industries do you specialize in?
- Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?
- Can you provide customer referrals?
- How often do you increase service fees?
- Do you offer tiered volume pricing?
- Do you offer a dedicated customer support person or team?
- How often do you review the account performance with me?
- Do you offer integration with ecommerce platforms and marketplaces?
- What kind of reporting and analytics do you provide?
- Do you offer integration with shipping software or shipping APIs?
- Do you offer order splitting or partial shipment options?
- Do you offer integration with accounting or financial software?
- Do you offer a customer portal or self-service options?
- How do you handle returns and exchanges?
- Do you offer real-time inventory tracking?
- How do you handle damaged or lost products?
- How do you ensure that orders are accurate and shipped on time?
- What warehousing and storage solutions do you offer?
- How do you handle international shipments?
- Do you offer flexible shipping options?
- How do you handle large or oversized products?
- What type of shipping carriers do you work with?
- Do you offer specialized services, such as embroidery, engraving, etc.?
- Do you offer order consolidation services?
- How do you handle hazardous or perishable items?
- What measures do you have in place to protect against fraud or theft?
- How do you handle order cancellations or changes?
- Do you offer custom packaging and labeling options?
- Do you offer white-label or private-label fulfillment services?
- How do you handle product recalls or product safety issues?
- How do you ensure that products are stored and handled properly?
- Do you offer value-added services such as kitting or assembly?
- Do you have a minimum order requirement?
- How do you handle peak season demand?
- How do you handle product expiration dates or shelf life?
- Do you offer promotional or marketing materials with orders?
- Do you offer subscription service fulfillment?
- Do you offer order tracking and delivery confirmation?
- Do you offer gift wrapping or special packaging options?
- How do you handle products that require temperature-controlled storage?
- Do you offer custom crating or palletizing services?
- Do you operate the fulfillment center?
- How do you handle products that require special handling or transportation?
- Do you have any certifications or accreditations?
- Can I visit the warehouse?
- How do you handle products that require special labeling or documentation?
- Do you have an eco-friendly “green” program?
- Do you offer additional services such as live chat, email messaging, social media management, or customer service call handling?
- Do you offer freight forwarding or transportation services?
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great place to start. Speed Commerce is a 3PL. We appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. Give us a call at 1-866-947-5655.