- by Best Inc.
Choosing a fulfillment partner is crucial in the success of your company – there are so many ways in which the fulfillment partner has to be integrated into the operations of your company. For this reason, it only makes sense to select a company that can operate as an extension of your business. Take some time to seriously consider these questions before you pick an e-commerce fulfillment company to take care of an important aspect of your business.
Does the E-Commerce Fulfillment Partner Integrate With My Store’s Shopping Cart?
Efficiency is key in any business, as any bottlenecks can disrupt the entire process flow. If a customer purchases an item on your web store today, you should do everything you can to minimize the time it takes for the item to eventually reach the customer. One of those potential bottlenecks to eliminate is the transferring of order and customer data from your store to the fulfillment company. To meet modern e-commerce needs, most businesses look for a company that is able to handle omni-channel distribution, as most stores nowadays spread their wares across a variety of different merchant platforms.
By engaging a third party logistics (3PL) partner which can integrate with your web store, or even your subsidiary stores on Amazon and eBay, they will receive all the necessary information relating to order fulfillment instantaneously. You can thus be assured they have everything they need to start preparing the delivery right away, saving precious time and increasing customer satisfaction.
What Are Their Processes?
It is always advisable to have a solid understanding of how your e-commerce fulfillment partner works, and vice versa, so that you can both work smoothly together. For example, you would want to know how they communicate notifications such as a dip in inventory levels, or the timeline for receiving and shipping new orders. Different businesses would have differing needs, so prepare a list of your business’ main concerns to check if the fulfillment company would be able to meet them satisfactorily.
What Is Their Service-Level Agreement?
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between the service provider and the client. In this case, you would want to ensure the fulfillment center has an SLA with you, to guarantee a certain level of service. With such a guarantee in place, as well as terms outlined in the case of expectations not being met, you as the seller would be able to communicate delivery expectations effectively with your customers, giving them greater confidence in your company.
What Kind Of Support Is Available?
With any service, you need to have a contact person to turn to if and when any issues arise – and a fulfillment center is no exception. Find out if the company you are considering offers support, and what kind of support is available. For example, if a customer calls you after office hours for an emergency, would your fulfillment center be able to take your call at that moment, or would you have to wait until the next day? Are the staff friendly and competent, or are they poorly trained? Consider their client servicing abilities as well, as it could make a world of difference in emergency situations.
What Is The Fee Structure for the E-Commerce Fulfillment Services?
When gathering quotations, ask for the pricing structure broken down into various services, as well as any package pricing the company may offer, so you can compare and understand the value you are getting. Usually, the services are broken down into:
- Receiving costs
- Storage fees
- Packaging material costs
- Picking and packing fees
- Shipping rates
- Other up-front costs, monthly requirements
- Special project fees (if applicable) Asking the right questions is the first step to ensuring you find the right fit for your company in terms of working with a fulfillment company. Best of luck!