3 Ways Outsourced Fulfillment Helps Small Businesses
An ecommerce business cannot survive on great products alone. It must provide a seamless purchase process and exceptional customer service. Increasingly, it must also provide free and fast shipping, frequent status updates, and an easy return process.
Getting products to customers is critical, in other words. But it’s also time consuming and detracts from merchants’ core competencies.
That’s why even smaller merchants are turning to third-party logistics providers — 3PLs — for warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping services. There are three reasons for this.
— Dan Coll, senior manager of e-commerce fulfillment, FedEx Supply Chain
What’s your “why”? Why did start your own business or believe in the one you joined? Why are you driven to succeed every day?
Success in business depends on passion. From founders of start-ups to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, successful entrepreneurs are passionate about their products — whether it’s eyeglasses, apparel, or medical devices.
The complicated process of delivering products to customers, however, is not something many entrepreneurs are passionate about. But it does drive third-party logistics providers, who have engineered solutions to ensure the right product gets to the right place at the right time efficiently and without disruptions.
Picking, packing, and shipping orders — as well as inventory tracking and returns management — all are core competencies of 3PLs.
A 3PL can free-up a merchant to focus on its core business.
As you grow your business, maintaining fulfillment operations in-house typically requires complicated systems, logistics talent, and expanded facilities — all of which cost money.
It’s different from hiring sales, marketing, product, and administrative staff, which are core competencies of small businesses.
Partnering with a 3PL enables a business to grow more quickly. The business can leverage an existing network of technology, expertise, facilities, and equipment.
Moreover, fulfillment providers maintain the necessary number of workers, which is especially difficult during peak selling seasons. Fulfillment providers understand how to recruit, train, and retain talent, including meeting complicated labor laws for warehouse workers — i.e., hourly pay rates, benefits, and safety requirements.
A fulfillment provider with an efficient, people-driven culture can reduce merchants’ operational costs and improve customer satisfaction.
Fast and accurate deliveries are table stakes for ecommerce businesses. Done right, fulfillment and shipping can lead to repeat purchases and customer referrals. Done wrong, it can drive shoppers elsewhere.
But achieving speed and avoiding errors is difficult. There are many moving pieces to ecommerce fulfillment. Merchants that fulfill in-house often rely on new processes and systems, which, untested, can result in angry customers and damage control. A 3PL can easily meet these challenges.
When you partner with a 3PL, you’re leveraging proven systems, implemented and staffed by supply chain experts. Dedicated, knowledgeable teams ensure error-free shipments. A fulfillment provider with consistently high performance in inventory and order accuracy and on-time shipments will decrease customer service requests and encourage repeat purchases.
About FedEx Supply Chain
With a proven track record of innovation and operational excellence, FedEx Supply Chain takes a consultative approach to optimize logistics processes, implement innovative technology, and drive continuous improvement. By leveraging best practices and the world-renowned FedEx networks, FedEx Supply Chain delivers solutions that provide flexibility, enable scalability, and improve cost-effectiveness for customers. FedEx Fulfillment provides a comprehensive warehousing, fulfillment, and returns solution for rapidly growing ecommerce businesses, enabling them to meet evolving customer expectations. For more information, visit Supplychain.FedEx.com/fulfillment.