Table of Contents:
- What Is a Fulfillment Center?
- What To Consider in A Fulfillment Center?
- Questions To Ask Before Signing on To a Fulfillment Center
- What To Look for in an Amazon Fulfillment Center
- What To Look for in a Shopify Fulfillment Center
- What To Look for in a WooCommerce Fulfillment Center
- What To Look for in an eBay Fulfillment Center
- What To Look for in an Etsy Fulfillment Center
What Is a Fulfillment Center?
A fulfillment center is a location where an assortment of products from an assortment of companies are packaged and shipped. These centers are owned by fulfillment companies who will essentially take over the role of fulfilling orders to the customers of the companies that hire them. If you’d like to learn more, you can click here.
What To Consider in A Fulfillment Center?
There are many options when it comes to finding a fulfillment company to handle your shipping needs. However, there are various factors you need to bear in mind when considering which may be the best for you. You need to check for eight factors total.
Of course, the first thing any company should look out for before making any decision is the cost. The price of the services of any given fulfillment center will vary greatly. You, of course, should look for one that will give you the best deal. The number of orders you have coming in per day will decide what kind of services you need from a fulfillment company. This will in turn determine how much their services will cost you.
Location of the Fulfillment Service Provider
Another important thing to think about is the location of the fulfilment center, and the company behind it. If your company only specializes in local business, then having a fulfillment center that’s nearby will be a bigger benefit to you. If you need to send your products to a fulfillment center that’s far away from you, then your customers will be waiting for their products longer. The physical distance between your base of operation and your fulfillment center is extremely important for shipping times. Having a fulfillment service provider nearby will also make having in-person meetings with them more doable.
Branding is very important for any company, but especially so for companies that are heavily involved in e-commerce. A fulfillment company needs to be able to handle your branding needs. They need to be able to handle things like packaging your products in your specific packaging. Having a fulfillment center that can handle your branding needs is important for keeping up your customer engagement.
Another important thing to note when it comes to your fulfillment company options is their packaging availability. Not all fulfillment operations have access to the same types of packaging. If your packaging requires specialized packaging to be shipped in, then you need to look out for a company that carries that. This can include temperature-controlled packaging, protective packaging, and other types. If you have special packaging needs then you really need to search for a fulfillment company that can meet them.
Another essential part of any company that you intend to work with is good customer support. As is the nature of e-commerce, there will always be issues that come up with the shipping process. There will be products that get delayed, or packaging that gets damaged, no matter how good your business partner is. What’s important is that the fulfillment company you partner with has good customer support to make up for these mistakes. This essentially entails that they will respond in a friendly and efficient way to all complaints that are thrown their way.
The Use of Technology
A good fulfillment center will make use of all different kinds of technology. This technology is designed to make the actual packaging process as streamlined as possible to maximize output. If the output in the actual fulfillment center is maximized, then more of your orders can be fulfilled on a daily basis. A fulfillment company that does not make use of packaging technology will be at a fundamental disadvantage when compared to fulfillment companies that do use it. When looking into fulfillment companies, look out for if they use packaging technology or not.
You also need to be concerned about a fulfillment company’s scalability. As your operation increases in size, your fulfillment center needs to increase as well. If the fulfillment company you join up with is unable to increase the size of their packaging operation to compensate for an increase in business, then your business will suffer. Your customers will have to wait longer for your products, and your reputation overall will start to take hits that aren’t your fault. Make sure to evaluate the scalability of your fulfillment partner before making any deals.
One last thing to look out for when trying to find a fulfillment company to work with is their experience. A fulfillment company that has dealt with products that you sell will, of course, be a better option to work with when compared to one who hasn’t. Try to look for a fulfillment company that has worked with your industry before. If you can’t find one you like, then try to find one that, at least, has been in the industry for a while. This will at least allow them to have had a decent amount of experience simply from working with a number of different companies over a long time.
Questions To Ask Before Signing on To a Fulfillment Center
You should be asking yourself a few questions before you sign on with any fulfillment company. These questions could save you from signing on with a fulfillment company that can’t properly handle your needs.
What do they specialize in?
This will help you find a fulfillment company that specializes in helping you and your products.
What can they offer you?
This will help you establish not only what they have to offer you, but also what you’re looking for in a business partner.
How many different services do they have?
Asking this will help you understand exactly what they can help you with, and how many different parts of the fulfillment process they can take over.
Can they provide a custom approach to my business?
It’s important to know if a fulfillment company is merely recycling the plan they use for their other clients, or if they can create new, customized approaches for new clients.
How many clients do they currently have?
If you’re dealing with a fulfillment company that has many clients, then their attention may be split. Try to find out if the company is able to handle a large number of clients. If they can’t, and they already have multiple clients, they avoid them.
What To Look for in an Amazon Fulfillment Center
If you are primarily selling through Amazon, you need to look for certain things in a fulfillment center. Amazon has strict guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to fulfilling orders. They also have different tiers of clearance when it comes to shipping. You’re going to want your fulfillment partner to be able to meet the strenuous goals that Amazon sets for its shippers. You’re also going to want your fulfillment partner to be flexible in how they handle Amazon orders.
What To Look for in a Shopify Fulfillment Center
If you are primarily selling through Shopify, you need to look for certain things in a fulfillment center. Though Shopify is less strict than Amazon, they still have requirements when it comes to fulfillment centers. Shopify offers their own fulfillment service that contains a number of fulfillment partners, check to see if your desired fulfillment center is partnered with them.
What To Look for in a WooCommerce Fulfillment Center
If you are primarily selling through WooCommerce, you need to look for certain things in a fulfillment center. WooCommerce, unlike Amazon and Shopify, don’t really have a built-in fulfillment option. However, this allows your fulfillment partner to act in a more independent manner than if you were selling through Amazon. Make sure your fulfillment partner is good with being flexible when it comes to working with WooCommerce.
What To Look for in an eBay Fulfillment Center
If you are primarily selling through eBay, you need to look for certain things in a fulfillment center. eBay, like Amazon, has their own fulfillment service that can assist in helping people fulfill orders. Look to see if the fulfillment company you’re looking into has ties with eBay. You should also look to see if the fulfillment company is capable of selling with eBay’s rules.
What To Look for in an Etsy Fulfillment Center
If you are primarily selling through Etsy, you need to look for certain things in a fulfillment center. Etsy does not have their own fulfillment service, but you can use Amazon’s fulfillment service through Etsy as is the case with most e-marketplaces. If you are trying to find a fulfillment company for your business that typically sells through Etsy, try to find one that has dealt with the site before. Also, make sure they can work withing Etsy’s guidelines. You always want a fulfillment center that is willing to conform to an online seller’s rules. If they can’t, then they will surely cause problems for you in the long run.
Contact NextGen3PL to Be Your Next Fulfillment Center
We at NextGen3PL are the perfect choice for any business that is looking for a fulfillment center to partner with. We have the capability to handle businesses that work through any of the major e-marketplaces. We have experience working with industries of all kinds and with this experience we have improved our services over the years. We can handle any fulfillment needs that you have. If you are in need of a fulfillment center for your business then call us today. With constant lines of open and honest communication, we are sure to improve your business. Contact us today.