More and more businesses that sell merchandise online are learning the value of high-quality fulfillment services from an outside company. It is not an easy task to sell a high volume of merchandise from an online store and be able to keep up with the demands of the orders. Some of the most successful companies that are in business today use a lot of outside help to get things done because it is pretty much impossible for a small business that is working out of a garage to keep up with the needs of the company without assistance.
Some of the top needs of that a company can encounter while doing business on a regular day are beyond what the average needs would be for a different type of company that already had everything it needed to get things done.
When a company hires a third party to handle the fulfillment end of the business here are the top 7 needs that the fulfillment company can meet and provide services for.
1. Customer Care
Customer care may not seem like such a big deal until there are thousands of customers to care for. When a website gets a lot of traffic and people are constantly ordering things from it there can be a lot of issues that pop up as they try to navigate the sales system. Poor customer care can result in the loss of a lot of revenue simply because the person ordering whatever it is can’t get a hold of a person to help them when they have questions.
- Anwer questions
- Resolve clarity issues
- Resolve price issues
- Handle returns
- Support customer needs
A fulfillment service provider should always provide great customer care for the business. They should understand that the customers are the ones that are supporting the business and that they should be taken care of.
2. Warehouse Space
Some of the online stores that sell a ton of merchandise do not have the room in their garage or living room to store the stuff. One of the perks of hiring an outside service to handle the fulfillment part of the job is that most of them will have their own warehouse space that they will allow the company to use. Depending on the needs of the company and the type of business it is there are several items that might be “hot” and need to be ready to pick and send right away.
Warehouse space can also be accompanied by full warehouse services where the facility uses its own equipment such as forklifts, pallet spinners, and wrappers.
In some cases, if the fulfillment company offers, merchandise can be stored in several warehouses throughout the country and even the world so that the merchandise is always available and ready to ship at a moment’s notice.
Many of the fulfillment service providers that have been in the business for a long time can accommodate several different customers in one warehouse so that they can afford to offer the space at discounted rates.
3. Order Reception
When somebody shops online and makes an order a fulfillment service representative will be able to receive the order and act upon it accordingly. One of the great things about hiring a high-quality fulfillment service solution is that the company will act as if they are part of your company. They are, in a sense, an extended part of the business.
When a customer orders an item, or a bunch of items online and the payment goes through, whatever type of communication setup that the company uses will alert the receiver and the customer will get notified as the process evolves and unfolds.
4. Item Picking
When the situation calls for it, after an order is received, the person in charge of the order will locate the item or items in the warehouse…or other location…and gather them up for the next step of the process.
In the event that an order has to be picked, the way the system works is that there will be a specific location in the warehouse for each item that is available. For example, there will be a specified rack where there are shelves and spaces on the shelves. The order will include the item, the item number, and the location of the item in the warehouse. This way it is simple and quick for the worker to take the item from the shelf and update the inventory amount.
5. Packaging Items
After the items are located, noted, and tracked they will be packed into appropriate packages so they can be sent out to the customer. Depending on what the items are and the way they will be transported from the warehouse to the customer, the way things are packaged will vary. Some packages will require an extra set of cushion and padding so that they don’t break. Some items may need to be refrigerated or climate-controlled as they ship because of temperature regulations.
It may seem like an irrelevant option but when there is the need for shipment of goods, there has to be somebody to package the items to be sure that they are not damaged and to make sure they are labeled correctly.
6. Shipping Items
When it comes to getting the items to the people that ordered them there are many ways that could be possible solutions. Some companies, such as Amazon, have their own delivery system with trucks, drivers, routes, and everything else. Other companies hire a third-party courier company to do on-demand deliveries. Still, other companies use shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS to ship their goods. The way that the items are shipped will vary on numerous factors such as cost, size of items, availability, and so on.
In some cases, the company will even hire an Uber driver to deliver the goods. Depending on the nature of the delivery and the timeframe that is allotted for the fulfillment company will use the resources it has available to get the job done and the order completely fulfilled.
7. Receiving Items
In addition to all of the items that go out for delivery, there will also be the need for the reception of goods that have been sold. Keeping the stock replenished is a big task sometimes, especially when there are tons of goods flying off of the shelves at all times.
The merchandise that is being sold can vary so widely from business to business it is difficult to give a clear example of how it all works. However, a high-quality fulfillment service provider will be equipped with all of the things that it needs in order to receive small and large shipments that come for the business.
Sometimes items will come in full-sized trailers from semi-trucks that travel across the country to get there. Other times the merchandise will come in a van or even a car. Whatever the case, the company will receive the items, record them in the inventory information, stock the items on the shelf, and take care of whatever else needs to be done in order to make sure everything stays on track and on time.
Although it may not seem like it, outsourcing fulfillment service needs is one of the smartest things a company can do for itself, especially if it is small and does not have many resources. Keeping up with the costs of a fully burdened team of workers can be very hard at times. Each and every need on this list is something that takes a considerable amount of time, energy, and money to make happen. Getting it all taken care of in one affordable package is a win-win solution for all.