How to Choose an E-Commerce Fulfillment Distribution Center

how to choose ecommerce fulfillment distribution center warehouse

If there’s one question your customers should never have to ask, it’s why they haven’t received their parcel yet it’s past the delivery date. Did you know that a majority of consumers are likely to abandon a business after experiencing poor delivery services?

Has it gotten to a point where your online sales have exploded?  Is keeping up with the products in stock getting harder by the day? Outsourcing your eCommerce order fulfillment is an excellent idea.

Order fulfillment is a crucial part of an eCommerce business. Choosing the right fulfillment distribution center should therefore not be taken lightly.

Having the right partner means cutting operational costs and expanding the business. So how do you find the right order fulfillment partner? Well, that's what we'll discuss in this post. You’ll learn the critical aspects of an order fulfillment distribution center.


Choose a Fulfillment Partner That Meets Your Needs

There are numerous fulfillment distribution centers out there, all of which will claim to meet all your needs. They'll promise to meet all the demands and deliver products accurately on time. Don’t take their word for it, though.

Do some homework. Look for a partner that is knowledgeable about your industry. If they’ve several clients in a similar market, even better. The company must have the capabilities to meet all the needs of your sales channels. It could be anything from e-commerce, retail, multichannel, or a subscription box if you have one.

If you’d prefer a company that specializes in one area, like eCommerce, then look for that. Ensure that their services match your needs right now, and in the future. It’s imperative that you work with a company that can grow with you to avoid transitioning again in the future.


Go For a Partner That Can Grow Your Business

An ideal fulfillment distribution center is one that can help grow your business. They’ll not only be willing to but have the capabilities to grow with your business and accommodate as much as required. Check out all their services, from reporting systems to integration technologies, and gauge whether they are scalable and customizable.

In business, anything can happen, so ensure that you partner up with a company that is not only flexible but one that is ready to work through unexpected scenarios with you.


Choose a Company With a Wide Range of Shipping Solutions

One of the most significant aspects of an e-Commerce business is getting products where they need to be on time, every time. Beyond that, the process should be accurate and cost-effective for your customers to have a great brand experience. All this essentially means relying on major shipping carriers.

Most of the time, shipping small parcels can cost a significant amount of money. It’ll help to partner with a fulfillment distribution center that has partnered with major shipping companies that offer creative shipping solutions to cut costs.


Choose a Reputable and Experienced Company

The most significant problem with choosing an inexperienced partner is the possibility of delivering a poor brand experience. It only takes one incident to tarnish a brand reputation, and this is a risk you don’t want to take. It’ll pay to work with an experienced and established company with well trained, skilled, and knowledgeable staff. 

Check customer references and get testimonials from customers they work with. To gain insight into their operations, the best thing to do is visit their facility, meet the team, and take a look at their technology.


Look For a Company That Provides Seamless Integration

Fast and accurate deliveries highly depend on fast and accurate order processing. One of the most important aspects of an order fulfillment distribution center is the technology they use to integrate sales channels. Choose a company with seamless integration when it comes to shopping carts and CRM platforms.


Check the Delivery and Returns Management

Distribution doesn’t always end with delivery. At one point, you are bound to have some returns. Regardless of how premium, beautiful, or practical you make your products, there is a customer out there who’ll still feel the need to return. The best way to tackle this is to have a cost-effective return management system.

When doing your research, find an eCommerce fulfillment center that processes returns quickly. How they prepare the products for sale again and refund the client if necessary also matters. Processing returns is not always as easy as it sounds. At times, there will be discrepancies between what the client claims to have received and what the fulfillment company claims to have delivered.

This makes it vital for you to find a partner that clarifies how they handle returns. Check how they evaluate the quality of returned products, and what they do when products are returned too late. The customer may always be right, but you can’t neglect the economic efficiency of shipping and returns.


Check for Product Repairs and Disposal

You need to check how prepared they are to make repairs to products that return damaged. Of course, whether or not your products are repairable highly depends on what you sell and its complexity.

Simple products may be easy for the fulfillment center to repair, but check how they handle things. In case something happens and the products are damaged beyond repair, the fulfillment center must be able to dispose of the products as well.


Order Acceptance, Packaging, and Labeling

Once the fulfillment center integrates online shopping, all the data from customer orders will be transmitted to the warehouse automatically. The staff will receive the order details and information about where all the products are stored. The picking team bundle products together and forward them to the packing team.

You need to find an experienced co-packer to ensure the shipment is well packed for delivery. Some e-commerce fulfillment centers offer customized branding options such as special filling materials or branded cartons. This would be an excellent idea because it will increase your brand visibility, awareness, and improve customer experience.


Get Smart About the Fulfillment Distribution Center You Work With!

These are some of the most essential aspects of an order fulfillment distribution center. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll get with your warehouse and gauge whether it’ll serve your needs and meet your goals. Don’t settle for anything less than what your business deserves in terms of fulfillment distribution warehouses

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