Should your ecommerce business use a fulfilment centre?

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Date: 20 February 2020

A manager in a fulfilment centre checks inventory for packing and shipping ecommerce orders

Fulfilment centres lie at the core of mail distribution services. These centres are physical areas where staff fulfil orders for ecommerce retailers. They are responsible for managing ecommerce business' items in a fast, cost-effective and efficient way.

Without ecommerce fulfilment centres, retailers would struggle to independently manage, store and deliver their goods to their customers. Doing this without a mail distribution company or a third-party logistics (3PL) service would be a very time-consuming and labour-intensive process, especially when sending heavy or multiple items.

The benefits of using a fulfilment centre

Fulfilment centres offer a streamlined and cost-effective mailing solution that takes the stress away from ecommerce businesses. All the businesses have to do is send their items to the fulfilment centre, which then manages their inventory and ships the products to their customers.

The biggest benefits of ecommerce fulfilment centres are:

  • bespoke management information and reporting;
  • inventory management;
  • high-speed seamless tracking;
  • your own dedicated account manager;
  • very cost-effective;
  • a range of shipping solutions.

What does the process involve?

The primary aim for all ecommerce fulfilment providers is to help streamline your business by managing your items and sending them to your customers. Your chosen 3PL service will essentially become an integral branch of your business, helping you keep costs low and removing all labour-intensive tasks.

The process can be filtered into four core components. as follows.

1. Ecommerce store and fulfilment centre integration

Your business must work hand-in-hand with your fulfilment centre. Whenever a customer orders your product, that order should be with your staff immediately so that they are able to process, pack and ship it.

Having a solid technology and IT department to process the orders is also essential, as it minimises downtime and streamlines the ordering process.

2. Inventory management

Once your items reach the fulfilment centre, they are logged by a dedicated account manager and stored ready for orders. A good 3PL company will add your items into their inventory as soon as they receive it (this alleviates the risk of any lost products and items).

If your items are not logged into your inventory - even if they are physically inside the fulfilment centre - they will not appear in your inventory, which will result in a loss of sales.

3. Order fulfilment

When a customer clicks ‘buy’, your fulfilment centre is alerted and the packing and shipping process begins. The top priority here is to pack and ship orders quickly and securely. The faster your process is, the quicker your customers receive your items.

However, ensuring that items are packed securely is also essential. If your delivery system is fast but lacks security, or items go missing, you will lose credibility. Combining fast and secure delivery is at the heart of a professional ecommerce fulfilment company.

4. Returns processing

Sometimes customers will return your goods, whatever the reason is. It is therefore very important that your returns policy and structure is made as simple as possible.

Overcomplicated returns procedures will result in a negative customer experience. Ensuring this part of your business is critical to maintaining strong customer relationships.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by The Delivery Group, the streamlined, cost-effective and fast solution for your ecommerce business

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