If your small business is growing faster than you can manage, it’s time to consider outsourcing some of your important operations, before you fall behind. Small business fulfillment services handle the hassle of picking, packing, and shipping while returning significant profit boosts, cost-savings, and time. Is your small business ready for a fulfillment service? Let’s find out.
What is a fulfillment service?
A fulfillment service is a third-party operator who stores, picks, and ships your products for you. Key features of small business fulfillment services include:
- Multiple warehouse locations, to ship your inventory to;
- Competitive costs, covering storage and shipping;
- Integration with your sales channels, for seamless order processing; and
- Access to and eligibility for fast shipping programs.
Tip: If you’re ready to outsource your eCommerce business’ fulfillment, review these 16 important questions to ask a logistics provider before committing
When to use small business fulfillment services
When starting an eCommerce business, it’s easy to keep fulfillment in-house – saving costs, learning the ropes, and perfecting processes. Progressing your business to outsourced fulfillment is not for everyone, but it is something that everyone should consider – especially when:
1. Your cart abandonment rates are high
Logistics is one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment. If slow delivery speeds and costly shipping options are turning your customers away, a small business fulfillment service can overcome this by:
- Enabling you to offer a variety of delivery speed and cost combinations;
- Allowing you to satisfy customers paying for fast shipping subscriptions by qualifying you for programs such as Amazon Prime and Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping;
- Generating shipping cost-savings that can be used to offset the costs of free shipping.
2. Your seller ratings are low
Feedback ratings are crucial for converting customers, improving organic search result placement, and marketplace advertisement eligibility. If your inability to meet shipping deadlines and standards is affecting your ratings, it’s time to outsource your fulfillment to a company who guarantees high shipping standards, before irreparable damage is caused.
3. Your small business is growing
Growth is one of the biggest reasons that small businesses like yours outsource their fulfillment operation. Why?
Being a “Jack of all trades” is a common entrepreneurial trait, and it’s what has gotten you this far. But with growth comes competing demands on your time. Outsourced fulfillment allows you to concentrate on business growth, rather than delivery speeds.
As orders mount up, your ability to handle them in-house is diminished – resulting in missed deadlines, poor standards, and overworked staff. A small business fulfillment service increases your capacity to handle overall order increase, peaks, and troughs.
More orders equals more stock, which necessitates somewhere to store it all. If your warehouse is bursting at the seams, and you don’t have the will or budget to increase size, an outsourced fulfillment provider is a solution. Plus, choose a fulfillment provider with multiple warehouses across the country, and you can expand your delivery locations without expanding your warehouse costs.
And finally, a growth spurt requires the employment of additional permanent and temporary employees. Outsourcing your fulfillment gives you access to extra resource without employing additional staff – extra hands without extra heads.
4. Your expertise is lacking
You started an eCommerce business because you saw a gap in the market, you know how to sell, or you know your products inside out; not because you’re an expert in fulfillment. Small business fulfillment services know how to store, pick, and ship items in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible – knowledge that is extremely beneficial to your business, but not easy to obtain on your own.
5. You’re struggling to offer fast and free shipping
According to Walker Sands’ 2019 Future of Retail Report, fast and free shipping are the biggest online purchase drivers. If you’re not meeting these customer demands, it’s time to use a small business fulfillment service to help you:
Offer fast shipping
By meeting two-day delivery turnarounds across the country, through efficient handling, picking, shipping, and warehouse locations – regardless of volume.
Offer free shipping
By negotiating preferential shipping costs and storage fees to reduce your delivery spend and enable you to offset the costs of free deliveries.
Tip: If cost is your biggest influencer, calculate the costs of fast shipping using our fulfillment calculator
6. You want to qualify for fast shipping programs
Fast shipping programs benefit small business owners through highlighted fast shipping tags, preferential organic search ranking, and buy box eligibility. If you’re struggling to meet the eligibility requirements for fast shipping programs in-house, use a fulfillment service that guarantees eligibility for Walmart 2-day delivery, Amazon Prime, eBay Fast n Free Guarantee and more.
7. You want your fulfillment all in one place
Is your current fulfillment process a scattered combination of in-house fulfillment, Amazon Prime, and outsourced fulfillment? A small business fulfillment service can help unify your fulfillment to achieve cost savings, increased efficiency, and consistency across marketplaces – making multi-channel selling easier to manage and benefit from.
8. You want to be CEO, not do-it-all Joe
And finally, you started your online business because you wanted to one day sit back and watch it run itself – not to spend late nights packing orders and visiting the post office. Start managing your business instead of running it, by using a small business fulfillment service to handle your shipping, while you invest attention and time into growing your business.
We know that your small business is your pride and joy – making letting go difficult. That’s why it’s important to find a small business fulfillment service which respects your business as much as you do – giving deliveries the same care and attention as though you were doing it yourself.
If you’re still undecided about outsourcing your eCommerce business’ fulfillment, we suggest trialing a few product lines to see if outsourced fulfillment is right for you.