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Choose the Best Fulfillment Center for Your E-Commerce Business

8Apr, 2015

Pick and PackThere are many fulfillment centers happy to receive your e-commerce business, but which one is worthy your business, not to mention your trust. After all, the success of your e-commerce business is riding on the effectiveness of getting your product out and keeping your customers happy. When selecting an order fulfillment service, be sure to get the full information on:

Location of Fulfillment Center

When choosing the location it’s wiser to select a warehouse that is close to your customers than to select one that is close to your business. Depending on where your warehouse sits versus the location of your customer base can greatly affect your shipping rates.

Warehouse size

Some fulfillment warehouses function with only a few employees while others have hundreds of employees. Depending on your daily fulfillment needs, you may need a fulfillment enter that can handle consistent as well as spiked orders. If your e-commerce has orders that spike, it will probably be more successful to choose a fulfillment center that can handle the extra workload and still ship the orders on time.

Shipping Options

To help you grow your e-commerce, the best fulfillment service offers all of the shipping options you currently offer your online customers as well as shipping options that you may want to offer down the road.

Turn-around Time

Be clear on what the policy is for the fulfillment warehouse. They each have their own policy regarding order processing. Be sure yours matches. For example some fulfillment centers will ship all orders that arrive before a specific time on the same business day. If you miss it, the order will be shipped the next business day. In this case, next-day shipping will inadvertently become two-day shipping. This could affect when your customers receive their product.

Methods of Order Entry

Order entry methods can be very important when considering a fulfillment service. The most common methods include sending individual order invoices to the warehouse and entering each order on the fulfillment center’s web-based system. Some fulfillment centers use a spreadsheet with all daily orders. Depending on your budget and number of orders, options of entry methods include entering the orders manually or automatically send email each individual invoice to the warehouse.

Rate of Error

Mistakes will happen in the fulfillment of e-commerce products. The wrong item will be sent or shipped to the wrong address. Be sure to about their rate of error and how they remedy errors. Many fulfillment centers will replace the product with expedited shipping at no additional cost to you or your customer.

Customer Service

Customer service is an important part of every business. Most fulfillment centers are available via phone and email for customer questions or concerns. You should not have to wait more than a few hours for a response, either a phone call or email, from the fulfillment center.

Rates for Delivery and Storage

Each fulfillment center sets their rate schedule. Some require contracts while others charge per order with no contracts. Fulfillment centers also charge a base fee to store your inventory at the warehouse and an additional fee per item.

When choosing a fulfillment center, interview the warehouse manager and request solid references. When you find the best fulfillment center for your needs, the time that you normally spend shipping orders, managing inventory and dealing with returns, can now shift expanding your business.

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