7 things to look for in an E-commerce fulfilment services provider

Posted 21.08.2020

So the time has come to outsource your fulfilment. Whether it’s taking up too much of your time, you want to expand into international markets or you simply don’t have enough storage space, outsourcing your fulfilment is a great step towards business growth. However, knowing which eCommerce fulfilment service provider to go with can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the right things to look for, or which questions to ask. By using our top 7 things to look for in an eCommerce fulfilment services provider, you can’t go wrong!

1) What eCommerce fulfilment services do they offer?

When you’re on the search for a eCommerce fulfilment services provider, one of the most important questions to find out the answer to is what does their service offering look like? Whilst 90% of fulfilment companies all offer the basics; warehousing, packing and shipping, different companies will be able to offer different services such as returns and custom packaging. Often, this is dependent on the amount that you pay.

It’s important to figure out what you need from a fulfilment company, and if you have specific requirements, make sure that the company can fulfil those needs. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s important to find out about their full-service offering. This means that as your business grows and diversifies, they will still be able to accommodate your needs.

2) Have they worked with similar E-commerce companies?

Some fulfilment providers are better suited to businesses in particular industries, or of a particular type. With that in mind, you should take the time to find an eCommerce service provider that is the perfect fit for your business and your industry. For example, if you run a fashion E-commerce store, look for a company with experience serving similar clients in the fashion market. Their website may have sector pages, or case studies to give you some more information on this. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how they’ll be able to support you and ask about their experience working with your sector. From there, you’ll have a much better idea of whether they’re a good fit for your business.

3) Fulfilment pricing

Taking steps towards outsourcing your fulfilment process for the first time can be daunting. It’s likely that before now, you’ve handled everything yourself, or as part of a small team, so the costs of outsourcing are naturally something you’ll question. It’s important you strike the balance between choosing a provider that works in line with your budget, whilst also providing all the services that you need.

When it comes to costs, find out exactly what you’ll be charged for, how that changes with fluctuations in demand, and if there are any hidden fees to think about. At UK Fulfilment Service, there are no hidden charges or setup fees. However, not all providers are the same, so make sure you find out before you commit.

4) Where is their fulfilment warehouse located?

Whilst the location of a fulfilment warehouse might not be something you’d consider initially, it’s actually a really important factor. It’s become expected that retailers offer next day delivery, or at the very least express delivery. We live in a fast-paced world where we don’t expect to be waiting a week for delivery anymore. If you’re shipping to the UK, does their eCommerce fulfilment centre location mean that you can confidently promise this to your customers? What is the cut off point for their next day delivery service? Here at UFS, all orders placed by 4pm are 100% guaranteed to be shipped the same day as part of our eCommerce fulfilment service offering.

5) Can they ship internationally?

Whether you currently market to consumers around the globe or have plans to do so in the future, it’s important to find out whether the E-commerce fulfilment provider in question has the ability to ship internationally. If this is an option, it gives you the opportunity to expand into new markets should you wish to do so. Find out the costs associated with this, and ensure that they are able to adhere to foreign laws and regulations to avoid costly fines and penalties.

6) Can they offer personalised packaging?

No matter what size business you are, custom and personalised packaging are a win-win with consumers. It’s safe to say that packaging is much more than just a cardboard box. In fact, over 70% of consumers said their decision to purchase is influenced by the design of the packaging. What’s more, 40% of consumers will share your packaging on social media if it was unique. Personalised packaging is really important!

With that in mind, ensuring that your new fulfilment partner is able to offer custom packaging such as labels, messages and materials is key if you want to stand out from the crowd and make a great impression with your customers. Not only are they more likely to make a repeat purchase, but they’ll also share your brand with others. If personalised packaging is important to you, make sure you check the added costs of personalisation to ensure that it still fits within your budget with your chosen fulfilment provider.

7) Fulfilment technology and integrations

One of the key benefits of outsourcing your fulfilment services is freeing up more of your time, therefore making sure that a company has the right technology and integration systems in place is key. You want to ensure that all your orders from all of your sales channels are fed through automatically, there should be no need for you to check for new orders, or update your inventory levels. With our fulfilment software, you get access to your own online portal and order fulfilment software that shows you what’s happening in our warehouse.

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