It happens to everyone. You start a business with a certain set of tools and processes, and as you grow, these need to grow with you – or get replaced. The same applies to eCommerce logistics. In the early days, you may have been able to bootstrap fulfillment out of your basement, but the more successful you get, the stronger infrastructure you need.
A single store on Amazon has different fulfillment needs than a multi-channel business that sells on Walmart, eBay, and Shopify. A local brand has different fulfillment needs from a multi-national one.
In this article, we’ll go through the different stages of eCommerce business growth, how your fulfillment provider needs to grow and change as your business does, and big reasons sellers switch fulfillment providers.
4 big steps for eCommerce growth
1) Selling on a single sales channel
Most eCommerce sellers start out on a single channel, like Amazon or eBay. In this case, if your order volumes are still small (ie. 1-2 per week), it’s easy to send out packages in your spare time. If your volume grows on Amazon, you can also choose to fulfill through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Amazon’s fulfillment service for 3rd party sellers.
Note: FBA is a different program from Amazon Multi-Channel FBA, which is Amazon’s fulfillment service for non-Amazon orders.
2) Expanding to a new channel
Once you’re making progress on one marketplace, keep the momentum going by expanding to more. Expanding to multiple marketplaces is vital for protecting your business, because it makes you more defensible in case something happens on Amazon and you get de-listed, or your account gets locked.
Selling across marketplaces also protects your brand, as you can claim your brand name before a different seller tries to, and keeps your name recognizable no matter where people shop.
One of the best marketplaces to get on is Walmart, which is expanding its eCommerce presence aggressively and competing with Amazon in multiple ways. Whereas Amazon has Amazon Prime, Walmart has launched Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping, which provides fast and free shipping with no membership needed.
And, whereas Amazon provides FBA, eCommerce sellers expanding to Walmart can fulfill through Deliverr to get those Free 2-day shipping tags on their listings.
Deliverr is an outsourced fulfillment provider that integrates directly into Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping, so all Deliverr sellers are pre-approved for the program.
Tip: You can use Deliverr to get on eBay Guaranteed Delivery, or provide 2-day shipping for your own website as well!
3) Selling on your own website
Finally, you need your own website. Selling on marketplaces generates brand recognition and gets you your initial customers. Sellers can capitalize on the traffic that comes through Amazon, Walmart, and eBay. Once they’ve built a following, creating your own website will help you stay in control over your customers and channel.
When you’ve expanded across marketplaces and have your own website, it’s important to get both a multi-channel listing tool as well as an outsourced fulfillment partner to keep your orders organized.
As your operation grows in complexity, you need to make sure you know exactly where inventory is, who is fulfilling what, and how much of a certain SKU you have where. Unless you’re a sophisticated business with advanced fulfillment centers, having a listing tool and fulfillment provider is the ideal scenario for sustainable growth.
Only selling on your own website? You may be able to make due self-fulfilling, but be sure you have solid tracking and management in place to avoid misplacing orders.
4) Boost in sales volume
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. You need a multi-channel provider or a good mix of fulfillment solutions that can meet your skyrocketing sales.
Consider different fulfillment combinations, for example:
- Amazon sales – Amazon FBA
- Owned website (ie. Shopify) – Self-fulfilled, if only a few orders per week
- Other marketplaces (ie. Walmart, eBay) – Outsource to Deliverr
Play your cards right, take advantage of CPC marketing like Walmart Performance Ads, introduce and test out new items regularly, and you’ll enjoy a sustainable and profitable eCommerce business.
3 reasons sellers switch fulfillment providers
1) Access to 2-day badge
From a seller perspective, it’s important to take advantage of every tool possible to boost conversions. One reason we’ve seen sellers switch to Deliverr is because their previous 3PLs weren’t meeting requirements to keep fast shipping tags, like the Walmart 2-day badge or eBay Guaranteed Delivery.
2) Lower costs
Another common reason for switching your fulfillment provider is due to high or unexpected fulfillment costs. Many 3PLs have a long list of actions they charge for, which ends up piling up and cutting into sellers’ margins.
Those unexpected costs make it so that sellers can’t predict their profits, and makes it difficult to know whether you make or lose money until after the bill comes.
However, there are options that provide clear, concise pricing.
You can check out our fulfillment calculator to see exactly how much you would have to pay. Deliverr only has 2 fees; an all-inclusive fulfillment fee and a storage fee. Simplifying this has helped many of our sellers predict their profits and strategize accordingly.
3) Storage and fulfillment capacity
As your popularity grows, you’ll need to expand your shipping reach from one state or region to the entire nation. We’ve had sellers move to Deliverr simply because we support nationwide 2-day delivery.
We also focus on shipping speed and delivery date, because we understand sellers’ goals and customers’ wants. Instead of just focusing on inventory management and order handling, we keep a sharp watch on your items from order-to-door.
Ultimately, the main reason to switch to a new fulfillment provider is because there is a better fit for your business out there. Take the time to learn about your options, look for transparent pricing models, and find a provider that will become a partner.