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When to use Deliverr’s Forwarding Plan versus Direct Plan

When you’re sending inventory to Deliverr, also known as inbounding, is it better to ship to one location, or four? The answer depends on a few factors.

Deliverr merchants have two options to send their items into the Deliverr fulfillment network; the Direct Plan and Forwarding Plan. This is essentially the choice between sending directly to multiple warehouses, and sending all inventory to one warehouse for Deliverr to handle forwarding to their end destinations.

The choice will make a difference in terms of speed and cost, two of the key factors of achieving conversions. There are different situations for each option, depending on your margins, timeline, and more. All of those factors can make choosing what’s best for you a little complicated, and sometimes confusing.

In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of each Deliverr shipping plan and when to use them.

What is the forwarding plan? Ship to one warehouse

Under Deliverr’s forwarding plan, merchants only have to ship to one warehouse. Deliverr will then forward the necessary items in the correct quantities to additional warehouses in our network to provide more coverage.

Under a forwarding plan, you pack one shipment that you send to a Deliverr crossdock. Deliverr’s systems then decide the best allocation for each box and warehouse for the crossdock to send inventory to.

TIP: We recommend every SKU should be in at least 4 boxes to maximize fast tag coverage for that SKU.

How it works

  1. Merchants send items to Deliverr crossdock
  2. Crossdock receives items and forwards to other warehouses
  3. Items are received and ready to fulfill

The steps in this forwarding plan look like:

  1. In draft – Your shipping plan is a draft
  2. Ready to ship – You shipping plan has been finalized and is ready to ship
  3. In transit – Your items are on the way into the Deliverr network
  4. Forwarding – Crossdock has gotten the shipment and is sending them to warehouses
  5. Receiving – Warehouses (final destination of inventory) are processing your SKUs
  6. Complete – You’re all set

Benefits

Deliverr forwarding plans can increase fast tag coverage. As Deliverr’s systems calculate the best locations for each box, we can ensure your inventory gets there. This often results in more fulfillment centers with your inventory than with a direct plan, which increases your fast tag coverage.

Right now, shipment forwarding is free for Deliverr merchants. In the future, we plan to charge for the program — but it will be specifically calculated to be more affordable than the direct plan, still saving you money.

What is the direct plan? Ship to multiple warehouses

Under Deliverr’s direct plan, merchants ship to 3 to 4 warehouse as designated by Deliverr’s system. Once a merchant uploads their inventory information and selects the Direct Plan option, they will see the warehouse addresses to ship a set number of units to. The merchant must then send items to those warehouses according to the shipping plan created in their Deliverr Seller Portal.

Under this option, merchants pack multiple shipments and send them out to multiple warehouses within the Deliverr network directly, not just to one Deliverr crossdock.

How it works

  1. Merchants send items directly to multiple Deliverr warehouses
  2. Items are received and ready to fulfill

The steps in this forwarding plan look like:

  1. In draft – Your shipping plan is a draft
  2. Ready to ship – You shipping plan has been finalized and is ready to ship
  3. In transit – Your items are on the way into the Deliverr network
  4. Arrived – Your items have landed in the Deliverr network
  5. Receiving – Warehouses (final destination of inventory) are processing your SKUs
  6. Complete – You’re all set

Benefits

Direct shipping plans mean that you send items directly to multiple warehouses, which makes your inventory available for fulfillment faster. Instead of sending to a Deliverr crossdock, and then that crossdock forwarding to additional warehouses, you’ll remove an entire step and speed up the process of placing your inventory.

Considerations: Price, speed, coverage

Now, when it comes to the question of whether Deliverr merchants should use the Forwarding Plan or Direct Plan, as with all things, it depends.

We typically recommend going with the Forwarding Plan, since it’s cleaner for the merchant and helps us ensure an organized delivery throughout the Deliverr network. It’s also more cost effective for merchants and easier to have complete visibility over what is happening from one dashboard.

However, there are different things to think about when deciding. Three big considerations are the price, speed, and coverage of each option.

Price

If your items and shoppers are price-sensitive and you want to keep costs down as much as possible, consider using the forwarding plan. Right now, this service is completely free to Deliverr merchants, and even when we add a service fee for it, it will still be a more affordable option than the direct plan thanks to our carrier rates and technology.

So if you have a strict budget and/or low margins, the forwarding plan will help you distribute your inventory in the most cost-effective way.

Speed

If you are short on time and need your items to go live in as many locations as quickly as possible (for example, if the holidays snuck up on you), then shipping directly to warehouses within the Deliverr network is your fastest option.

Since you send items directly to their end destination within the Deliverr network, you’ll be able to start selling that much quicker. You won’t have to wait for the initial shipment to land at a Deliverr crossdock, and then for them to take the second step of distributing your inventory throughout the different warehouses.

Coverage

If you’re looking for coverage, both the direct and forwarding shipping plans will get you good coverage for your items. However, the forwarding plan typically allows Deliverr’s crossdock to get your items to more locations.

More locations mean better coverage, and faster delivery times for more shoppers. This is especially critical for your best seller items, which should be in as many locations as possible.

Wrapping up – When to use Deliverr’s Forwarding Plan versus Direct Plan

There are some key considerations when deciding whether to ship to one location (a Deliverr crossdock) or to ship to multiple locations (3-4 warehouses in the Deliverr network). Ultimately, deciding what’s best for your business comes down to your needs in terms of price, speed, and coverage.

The forwarding plan is typically the most convenient for most of our merchants, and offers the best coverage at the best price. However, the direct plan is great for merchants who want to hit the ground running as quickly as possible.

If you’re still on the fence, our best tip is to chat with your account manager to find the best option for you, as they can help you evaluate your business model and SKUs to make a choice.

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