Fulfillment Services – An Overview
As a business expands, the owner, employees and dedicated helpers generally spend a lot of time doing the following:
> Handling inventory
> Receiving shipments
> Repacking products to bring over to customers
Time spent on onsite inventory is time stolen from marketing and sales efforts. It also puts the spotlight on a glaring business concern: the necessity of outsourcing particular business tasks such as fulfillment.
Business owners who work far from home perhaps don’t have stacks of products in their homes. However, they have lots of reasons to need off-site inventory:
> They want freedom from chaotic and incorrect inventory.
> They want to restructure the fulfillment process by enhancing logistics and Internet ordering abilities.
> They want to concentrate more on sales instead of warehouse and fulfillment.
> They are enthusiastic about a direct marketing campaign, but don’t have enough space to do the task.
> They want to save overhead costs, including employee costs.
So what exactly is a fulfillment house?
You have alternatives to fix your inventory management issues. No, these don’t include renting an unused area or moving things to a self-storage facility. Utilizing fulfillment services is the smarter answer.
“Fulfillment company,” “fulfillment service” and “fulfillment provider” are terms that are frequently used interchangeably.
As soon as a company receives an order, it is the responsibility of the fulfillment house to deliver that product to the customer.
Fulfillment usually includes customer credit card processing, updates on website inventory, product returns and reorders and even call center services.
For example, somebody 10 products from your store. You let the fulfillment company by calling or emailing them, and that is your part of the process. The fulfillment company gets the items from the warehouse, packs them and informs the shipper and customer.
Should a business have other partners already, such as a hosting company, the job of the fulfillment company could change. A small business owner can take care of the in-house work or pick a hosting company that will take credit card information.
The fulfillment company will then would do product picks-and-packs, gives customer support and take care of the returned items.
With an order fulfillment service, a business can decide to handle small orders or not at all. Any business that wants to accept small orders should hire a package delivery service and maintain some inventory on hand.
Finding the Right Fulfillment
There are many other steps you can take to ensure that you are choosing a quality fulfillment company – asking for references, guestimating the amount of shipping volume, inquiring about error rate, considering response time and so on and so forth.
In short, you have to do some honest-to-goodness research. Considering the great number of fulfillment service providers today, not to mention the great number of cowboys in the business, choosing randomly would be downright foolish.
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