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How a Platform like Courier Gateway is Making Ecommerce Owners’ Lives Simpler

Mona 08 July 2021

21 Tips on how Ecommerce Fulfillment Can Help You Save on Shipping (and how CourierGateway makes it easy to do so)

Ecommerce fulfillment can be a huge headache for ecommerce owners. When you're starting out, it's difficult keeping up with emails, let alone figuring out the logistics of shipping! 

Luckily there are platforms like CourierGateway that make ecommerce fulfillment less stressful by handling all this for you to maximize efficiency. 

Let's look at how ecommerce fulfillment works and why eCommerce businesses should consider using a platform like CourierGateway if they want to save money on their shipping costs.

Why You Need Ecommerce Fulfillment Services 

The secret revenue driver of the world's top ecommerce businesses.

Fulfillment and ecommerce fulfillment services can be a huge boon to an ecommerce businesses, and it's not just about the delivery. 

The rate that an ecommerce business fulfills their products, on average, is one of the most important factors in determining if they will grow or stagnate.

What many businesses don't realize though is how much more this process impacts them than it does traditional retail stores, and here's why:

Retailers get all their shipments together at once and send them off for distribution through network hubs. 

Ecommerce stores have individual orders coming in throughout the day from people across different communities. 

That means each order needs its own packing slip with tracking information included before being sent back out for delivery. 

The simpler this process can be, the better.

The e-comm fulfillment industry is booming, but ecoms have been slow to adopt these services. In part because there are so many different options available and ecommerce owners don't know where to start. 

That's why we're going to break down exactly how ecommerce fulfillment works for an online business owner.

Additionally, ecoms are the final step in a long supply chain that begins with manufacturing and ends up at your doorstep.

Traditional retailers simply need to receive goods from suppliers and then store them until they're sold. 

The ecommerce business has to find the supplier themselves, package their product for shipping, handle customer service inquiries about the product, and then ship it out.

Ecommerce stores are doing more work for less money--and as a result they're often paying higher fees to fulfill their orders than brick-and-mortar stores would need to pay.

So here's the great news: ecommerce fulfillment services can help!

With CourierGateway you could save up to 75% on shipping rates today. Book a FREE demo and we'll show you how.

Fulfillment drives revenue

Fulfillment drives revenue because it is the final stage of selling your ecommerce items. 

You only have one shot to make a sale, and that's when your customers are at the checkout page. 

It's up to you how far along in the transaction process a customer gets before they choose not to continue with their sale. 

You can't re-target them or catch them in another place on your site or app later because once they've checked out, just like that, they're gone. 

Consumers' short attention spans are notorious for not waiting around long enough for ecommerce businesses to make their case. Customers expect ecommerce businesses to offer free shipping. And if they don't, customers expect other benefits instead like faster delivery or even same day shipping.

If an e-comm business doesn't offer free shipping, they're most likely going to lose out on the sale because customers will go with the competitor that offers it instead. 

In fact, some markets who refuse to provide free shipping (or can't afford to) risk losing 70% or more of their customers to
"abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options."

Some ecommerce fulfillment companies work with retailers to offer free shipping on all orders, while others charge a flat rate for every order no matter what the size.

This is why fulfillment plays such an important role in driving revenue--in order for profits to increase, more items need to be sold and shipped. 

If you're not set up to easily fulfill orders as they come in, you could miss out on the opportunity to make a sale because your customers may think that your product is unavailable.

It's also vital for an ecommerce business owner that they are able to keep track of their inventory, and have enough information available about their products and shipping so that potential customers can make informed decisions when placing orders from their site.

The Challenges of Ecommerce Order Fulfillment

Ecommerce fulfillment is a difficult and time-consuming process. It's also one of the most expensive parts of ecommerce, costing company owners thousands of dollars per year in shipping costs. 

For small businesses and startups who work on tight margins, ecommerce fulfillment can be a major drain on your finances if you don't have the best fulfillment strategy in place.  

But there are ways to cut costs on eCommerce shipping! 

Platforms like CourierGateway that offer third party fulfillment services that make it easier for small businesses to save money while they grow by providing all the tools necessary to get started with eCommerce today - including free quotes from top-rated carriers!

Book a FREE 30 minute stategy session with on of our trained fulfillment experts today!

Should I outsource my eCommerce fulfillment services?

As an internet company grows, the logistics of delivering their inventory can become overwhelming. 

Outsourcing fulfillment to a third party can be a cheaper way to support expansion and meet customer expectations. 

Dedicated projects will be easier than trying to juggle all shipments in-house so you can continue running the business's core services and devote more time towards growth.

Four Myths About Fulfillment Centers and the Fulfillment Process

Myth: A rural fulfillment center will save me the most money?

Truth: ecommerce fulfillment can save you money in a variety of ways.

- You have to factor in the cost of shipping from your rural fulfilment center back to your customer, which will be higher than what it would be if you were fulfilling orders at home or near where customers are located. 

Myth: Do I need a fulfillment center close to home?

Truth: the order fulfillment process is all about providing the best customer support and experience.

- You should choose a fulfilment center location that provides you with access to quick and reliable delivery for your customers, or near an airport if you are sending packages internationally.

Myth: It's cheaper to fulfill ecommerce orders myself than working with fulfillment companies.

The ecommerce fulfillment myth that it's cheaper to handle the order fulfillment process yourself needs busting. 

That may have been true in the past, but not any longer with all the changes that have come about over the last few years. 

The truth is, most online company owners are doing themselves a disservice by trying to manage everything on their own.

Myth: Shipping from an ecommerce fulfillment center will be faster than shipping at home?

Truth: an eCommerce fulfilment center uses a variety of methods for fulfilling orders, including shipping from ecommerce fulfilment centers. 

It's not always the case that shipping from an ecommerce fulfilment center will be faster than shipping from home. 

Depending on the fulfillment center, they may use a variety of third party methods for fulfilling orders, including shipping from an ecommerce fulfillment center. 

Yet, ecommerce fulfilment centers [also known as distribution centers often operated by third-party logistics (3PL provider)] are designed to handle ecommerce orders in as efficient a manner as possible, so the process of shipping from an ecommerce fulfillment center is typically more streamlined.

There are many positives to using a fulfillment center like this beyond speed. 

They have a wide selection of packing materials, can provide warehouse space or inventory management for your products - if you need it. 

Understanding Ecommerce Fulfillment: Definition, Process, Resources

What is ecommerce fulfillment?

If you're thinking of starting an online storefront, your first order of business is to decide how you're going to ship your products. 

Ecommerce fulfillment involves fulfilling orders on behalf of you - the retailer. 

This can be as simple as a one-click process for customers who only have to provide a shipping address and billing information. 

Or it may need tracking information and other complex details.

How does ecommerce fulfillment work?

Ecommerce fulfillment is a process that e-retailers need to figure out before they start selling. 

Most companies consider both their budget and customer service levels when deciding how to handle their order fulfillment. This is especially true if you carry expensive items like furniture or electronics.

Some retailers may want some control over their packaging so that customers receive their products in pristine condition. But others might take the more hands off approach by using pre boxed shipments from a third party provider.

Whatever your path you must weigh out your options before confirming with an ecommerce fulfillment company.

How does ecommerce logistics work?

Ecommerce logistics is the process where ecommerce orders are processed, packaged for shipment and delivered to customers. 

E commerce fulfillment services include picking items or manufacturing and storing inventory until it's sold . 

Some eCommerce companies outsource their distribution centers so they don’t have to handle the physical work themselves.

Does the fulfillment process include shipping?

Yes, fulfillment includes shipping. Fulfillment refers to every step that happens from the moment a customer places their order until you pack and ship your product and it reaches its final destination. 

What are the steps involved in the ecommerce fulfillment process?

In order for your customers to enjoy their purchases in the most efficient way possible, it's important that all aspects of fulfillment are taken care of. 

From processing orders and keeping inventory management organized before sending out a shipment, to ensuring packages can be tracked as they make their way through transit systems across land or sea- there is much more going on behind the scenes than you might realize!

The six steps in the order fulfillment process are: 

  • Receiving 

  • Holding (storage or inventory management) 

  • Picking

  • Packing (including labeling)

  • Shipping (tracking numbers!), and 

  • Returns processing.

What are the three functions of order fulfillment?

The three functions of order fulfillment are receiving, processing, and delivering. 

Receiving involves obtaining inventory. Processing is when orders are received and managed. And delivering is when packages go to customers.

A beginner's guide to eCommerce shipping and fulfillment

Want to start your own eCommerce business? 

It's not as complicated or challenging as it sounds. And you don't need to be a logistics expert either. 

With determination and this from start to finish guide, you'll be able to handle order management, inventory, packaging and shipping quickly! 

Lucky for you we're here with some tips on how to get started: read this starter's guide about fulfillment now!

How do I choose an eCommerce fulfillment provider?

Choosing an eCommerce fulfillment provider can be tough when there are so many options out there.

eCommerce fulfillment providers can cost anywhere from $0 to a few thousand dollars per month depending on the services they provide. 

The first step in deciding what eCommerce fulfillment provider best suits your needs, is price point, customer service or whether you want somebody else handling shipping for you. 

Evaluating order fulfillment services: questions to ask

It's okay to ask a lot of questions so you can be sure what eCommerce fulfillment provider is best for your business needs. 

You need to find out as many things about them and their system, before choosing one service over another! Ask these five important questions below:

1) What type of products do they handle? 

Most providers are specialized in specific types or brands but some process all product categories.

Does your ecommerce business ship food, wine, or other perishable items? 

If so, you should be looking for an eCommerce fulfillment provider that specializes in these products and works closely with third party couriers that do so as well.

If not, then it doesn't matter as much what they specialize in. 

What type of ecommerce business do you have? 

Do your customers expect fast shipping and delivery or are they willing to wait if the price is right?

2) Do I have an account manager who will work with me on this project from start-to-finish? 

Clearly define what roles each person fills when discussing different services offered by potential vendors.

Your fulfillment process should make sense for your business and you should set your customer support expectations from the start.

One of the first things to look for in ecommerce fulfillment services is whether you have an account manager who will work with you on this project from start-to-finish. 

Your account manager should be available when needed and ideally, they are knowledgeable about your industry so that they can provide insight into how best to fulfill orders based on your customers expectations.  

3) If you need a fulfillment center to handle your inventory management - How much inventory space does your order take up during storage at their warehouse/distribution center?

Order fulfillment takes a lot of time and resources, so it is important to know what happens to ecommerce orders if you do not need them stored.

Pay close attention to what fees the fulfillment provider might charge for inventory storage, as well as any specific time frames you have to remove unsold products and how they handle returns. 

This is especially important if eCommerce fulfillment services only store a certain amount of product before charging an additional storage fee.

If eCommerce fulfillment services charge a specific time frame to remove unsold products, then you should be aware of how quickly your inventory sells and the potential for returns with that timeframe in mind.

For example: if ecommerce providers store products only until 30 days past shipment date, make sure this is still within the customer's return window.