Our Third-Party Logistics department (3PL) serves a variety of clients, and one niche we handle particularly well is ecommerce startups that are moving out of their founder’s garage or basement and into a professional fulfillment center.
We have worked with a number of these growing companies. Often, before we were hired to handle fulfillment, one person–sometimes the company’s founder–was trying to handle all the tasks involved in fulfillment — accepting product shipments, packing customer orders, shipping packages and even buying boxes and packing materials– on top of all the other tasks required of them.
As these ecommerce companies outsource fulfillment, their business often grows. We’ve had clients see double-digit increases in sales, as they finally have time to focus on their sales and marketing instead of packing boxes and carrying shipments to the post office.
Here are some specific advantages our fulfillment services provide to companies:
- The real estate mantra ‘location, location, location’ certainly applies to our fulfillment center. We can get our customers’ shipments to their customers fast–usually in 1-2 days because of our central location within easy reach of about half of the country’s population. Lexington is served by two interstates, I-64 and I-75, as well as air and rail. Our central location also allows clients whose offices are within an easy drive of our fulfillment center to drive over to look at inventory or meet with us in person.
- All our fulfillment center staff learn about each of our clients and their products, and each client has a key contact on the fulfillment staff so that they deal with one person to build rapport and a relationship. Our team is always looking for ways to improve the fulfillment process—from our quality assurance procedures to our more efficient methods of picking, packing and finding ways to package products so that they won’t be damaged.
- Our automated inventory management system gives our clients access to more than 100 types of reports. The insight these reports provide on sales patterns is especially valuable. Clients can see when sales shoot up or down, which styles or models are popular and which don’t resonate. Geographic sales patterns are also easy to identify.
- Our shopping cart integration system works with more than 90 different online shopping carts, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, and 3dcart.
- As standard procedure, we check customers’ incoming shipments to ensure the number and type of items delivered are accurate. Our staff can also inspect products for specific issues, using a checklist provided by the client, for an additional fee. These inspections can help cut down on returns and improve customer satisfaction. They can also allow a company to identify manufacturing issues so adjustments can be made to prevent future problems.
- Ecommerce companies no longer need to purchase packaging materials. Our experts handle those tasks, and because we buy in bulk, we can provide better quality packaging at better prices. Our staff can also recommend changes to the way items are packaged to better protect products or to help decrease shipping costs. Clients tell us we do a better job packing their product than they ever could.
- We help clients create customized systems for product returns. Having a returns system that is easy to use makes it more likely a customer will order again. A return system can also help a company identify products that aren’t working well. When companies see that particular items are often returned, they can make changes in products or even discontinue poor performers.
- As a business grows, we can adjust the amount of warehouse space they use or devote more staff to a client. This is especially important around the holidays when sales for many companies spike. Depending on customers’ needs, we can provide additional warehouse space or if they need less we can also make that adjustment so they don’t waste money on space they don’t need as they would if they leased their own warehouse space.
- Our staff can suggest ways to personalize shipments–from dressing up a baby gift by adding a bow to including a note from the company president, thanking customers for their purchase. They’ll then make sure these personal touches are included in shipments.
If your ecommerce business is ready to break out of the basement or garage, call us. We can supply advice and ideas on how to handle fulfilling the orders that are piling in. It could be time to turn this task over to a 3PL professional.