Don’t Be a Victim of Your Own Success
If you own a business what you want most is to be successful because success is a good thing, right?
Of course it is. But while you’re working toward growing your business you have to make sure you manage that growth. You have to ensure that your business is operating efficiently and can scale up and down to match your business cycles. You need to be prepared to handle an increase in sales that comes with successful marketing programs or spikes in demand. You want to be prepared for a lucky break. If you don’t do this right ... you could become a victim of your own success.
Just think about what would happen to your business if it suddenly experienced the “Oprah Effect,” i.e., your product was featured on Oprah or on another well-known television OR perhaps goes viral on the Internet. You never know, your product video could become the next “Will it Blend”. Could you handle the increase in sales from this publicity?
More common than getting on Oprah is when your supply chain suffers a minor breakdown. Perhaps your sales have been consistent; but, you missed that one of your suppliers messed up some paperwork and your best product is stuck in customs for a few days resulting in a long list of “backorders”. Once that product arrives, it can make for an outshipping day that is sometimes 10 or 20 times the volume of your normal workload…sometimes more. This is the Oprah effect on steroids and much more common. You may get lucky on Oprah once or twice; but, you’re likely to face a huge backorder day 3-4 times a year or more. When that happens you don’t want to be paying for idle hands in the warehouse when your not shipping and then having to staff temp workers to clear out the list of backorders.
Scalability on demand is one of the main reasons e-commerce companies should consider leveraging an outsourced provider of order fulfillment services as a primary or secondary secondary shipper.
Maybe you think outsourcing storage and shipping is not something you want to do because your product or sales volumes aren’t high enough yet. Today, you can leverage outsourcing at lower volumes than before. What happens when your business grows and your order volume increases? If you’re not prepared you won’t be able to fill your customers’ orders in timely manner. And every retailer knows customer satisfaction is key to running a successful business.
While it wasn’t the Oprah Effect, the Barbara Walters effect is what happened to Keetsa.com. A while back, Keetsa, which has developed a revolutionary, eco-friendly memory foam mattress, was featured on ABC’s popular morning show, The View, hosted by Barbara Walters. As could be expected sales of Keetsa’s environmentally friendly mattresses spiked after the program aired. But the company was able to deal with the drastically increased sales interest and not worry about their supply chain. Keetsa had already successfully outsourced order fulfillment and could scale to meet the demand.
With today's global supply chains, It’s important for companies to be prepared to handle increased sales volume, without skipping a beat and without having to focus on facility build-outs.
Outsourcing your order fulfillment has the following advantages to help you build a successful business:
- It lets you scale your business up or down in real time.
- You won’t have to worry about adding new infrastructure and new inventory controls and management as your business grows. As your shipments increase, your order fulfillment partner will increase the warehouse capacity for your products.
- It will take less time to get your products to your customers. Because Shipwire has numerous warehouses located across the country and the world shipping time is decreased. And you also save on shipping costs because the physical shipping distance is usually less than if you shipped from your own location.
- You can concentrate on what you do best—marketing and growing your business. By outsourcing fulfillment to a third party, you can focus your efforts on improving your business.
- You can easily expand your business into other countries.
- Gives you a disaster recovery plan (more on this soon)
- Gives you a partner to work with to better understand how to scale your business.
Outsourcing to an order fulfillment partner can be a game changer and it just might be one of the best things you do to grow your business and prepare for success.
Even if sales are flat temporarily, outsourcing your shipping will allow you to spend more time on other things like developing additional business opportunities. For most companies it can be a cost-effective way to improve your business and prepare for your future success. And it lets you devote your resources to marketing, sales and product management while allowing your business to scale up to meet demand or that lucky break you know you want.