Running an online store comes with many challenges. Lead Generation, operations, marketing, website development, product storage and shipping are just a few. A trusted 3PL (pick, pack and ship) fulfillment center will allow your eCommerce business to grow. The ability to outsource packing, storage, and shipping allows a business owner to spend more time attracting more customers to the business instead of the day to day operations.
All of this can be achieved with a reliable and trusted fulfillment service. The pandemic has caused many people to rethink their current career paths. In fact, many people have chosen to start their own small eCommerce business while some have chosen to start side gigs to supplement their income. The pick, pack, and ship of any eCommerce business is time consuming and challenging. As such, many eCommerce store owners are choosing to outsource their fulfillment operations.
Here are 5 useful tips that will help you choose the most suitable fulfillment partner for your eCommerce business.
1: Look at Google Local Listings with Reviews
Nearly every business can be found online these days. A quick search on google with the keywords, “fulfillment center” or “3pl service” will provide search results for the top rated businesses in your proximity. Here you can find out what existing customers are saying about the company. Look for these local listings right after the paid search ads. These are non-paid listings that are based on the quality of reviews and the proximity to your location.
2: Understand their Terms and Conditions
When you find a seemingly suitable company, check its website for the range of services, their cost, and other important terms, and conditions. For example, what are their hours, SLA, and guarantees?
It’s recommended that you choose a partner that will handle everything (pick, pack, and ship) once your product arrives at their fulfillment center warehouse. In addition, find out how quickly they fulfill orders, ship, and their order tracking capabilities.
3: Make sure their fulfillment software integrates with your webstore shopping cart.
WooCommerce, Magneto, Shopify, PrestaShop, and OpenCart are a few of the most popular ecommerce website shopping carts in use today. It’s critical that you make sure your shopping cart integrates seamlessly with your potential partner’s fulfillment software. Don’t settle for partial or almost 100% integration. Instead, continue looking for a company with software that has been evaluated and approved for you eCommerce shopping cart.
4: Business Licensing and Insurance
How is the company going to protect your inventory in case of a natural disaster or a storage, shipping mistake? What type of liability insurance do they carry and does the policy limit supply enough coverage to allow you to replace your inventory from damages or theft if they occur? Finally, check to see what licenses and certifications they possess.
5: Familiarize yourself with the Company
If possible, visit the warehouse, meet employees, and get the company’s vibe. How else are you going to be 100% sure your inventory will be safe, and your prospective partner will deliver?
Interview potential partners similarly to the way you would interview a prospective employee of your company. Ask questions and make sure you get adequate answers to your specific concerns. If they cannot provide solutions to common fulfillment issues move on.
An onsite visit is recommended when searching for outsourced fulfillment operations. If the company is in another country maybe its times to reconsider your partner’s location.
A 3PL partner can solve the day to day operational challenges of your eCommerce business
By outsourcing storage and shipping, you will free up time to focus on other aspects of your business. Employ those added resources and focus on “working on” your eCommerce business instead of “working in” the business. Invest in a new product line, listen to customer feedback, and gain a better understanding your client needs.
Take the time to do your research and you will find the right partner to compliment your eCommerce business.