6 Key Elements to Look for When Choosing the Best Order Fulfillment Company

Whether you’re considering starting to outsource your fulfillment or you’re thinking about switching to a better fulfillment company, if you make the wrong choice, this will ruin your customer’s shopping experience.

To make the right choice, there are several factors to consider. Using this knowledge of what you need to look for in a reliable order fulfillment company, you’ll be able to match your business needs with the correct company. This, in turn, will result in customer retention, improved growth strategies, and desired results. 

So, where do you start?

What to Look for When Choosing an Order Fulfillment Company

According to a European eCommerce report, the main pain points online shoppers face include:

  • Speed of delivery
  • Payment security issues
  • Handling complaints
  • Confidence in receiving and returning parcels

Therefore, you should look for a fulfillment company that helps you eliminate these obstacles for your customers. 

Below are the most essential elements you should narrow your focus on when deciding on the best order fulfillment company for your online business.

Shipping speed

An annual consumer survey conducted by Dropoff revealed that 43% of customers expect faster delivery options with real-time tracking.  The golden standard for speed was set by Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery. 

When comparing competing order fulfillment companies, ask them the following questions.

  • Do they offer two-day shipping?
  • Do they offer same-day delivery?
  • What other timelines do they follow?

Fortunately, NextSmartShip offers two-day shipping as its standard time as well as real-time tracking for products being shipped. Same-day fulfillment is also possible with prior arrangements.

Location of warehouses

An essential component to fast shipping speeds is how close the warehouse is to your potential customers. The closer the warehouse to your end customer, the shorter your products need to cover. This also translates into lower shipping costs.

When choosing your ideal fulfillment company, it’s worth finding out where their fulfillment warehouses are situated. Working with a fulfillment company with just a few centers most likely won’t be able to deliver at the optimum speed your customers expect. If you sell your products globally, you have to ensure the fulfillment company offers global shipping. 

Global warehousing is one of NextSmartShip’s main highlights. It has fulfillment centers across the U.S, U.K, Germany, Australia, and more importantly, China-the world’s global manufacturer.

Pricing

Fulfillment companies have different pricing models. Some fulfillment companies require a monthly order minimum while others charge by typical parcel weight. Similarly, the storage and fulfillment fees will vary.

What you can expect when it comes to pricing includes:

Receiving fees

Some fulfillment companies charge a flat rate or per unit. Your products and their dimensional weight will determine the cost of receiving fees.

Storage

Your products will incur monthly storage fees as they’re stored in a fulfillment center. The charges are usually calculated per shelf, bin, or cubic meter of space it occupies.

Picking and packing fees

Once a customer places an order, the sold items will be picked from their stored location. Some fulfillment companies will charge per-pick but this system will only get expensive if you have multiple items.

Other companies start to charge picking fees when an order reaches a specific threshold.

When it comes to packing fees, some companies don’t disclose it but include the charges within other fees. Most companies offer additional costs for custom packaging depending on the materials used.

Shipping fees

The best part about relying on fulfillment companies for your order deliveries is that they’re able to get better shipping rates from carriers. That’s because they manage to get huge volumes to ship and get discounted rates. This helps you to reduce costs and you’ll be better able to compete with retail businesses by providing reduced or even free shipping.

Shipping costs tend to vary depending on your preferred shipping speed. This includes shipping zones, same-day, or two-day shipping, international shipping, and dimensional weight.

Even though price matters to remain profitable, a reliable order fulfillment company is way better than a cheap one. 

NextSmartShip doesn’t charge any receiving or storage fees. It provides 90 days of free storage in its warehouses. It also has a streamlined approach when it comes to picking, packing, and adding inserts by combining them in one charge.

Transparency

You have to read the terms of service for the fulfillment companies. Ensure there are clear storage fees and rules to avoid any surprises down the road. Understand their insurance policy to determine who will be responsible for damages, thefts, or any other mistakes that might occur.

Consequently, you don’t want to be stuck with an order fulfillment company that doesn’t meet your expectations. Before you sign up with any company, make sure you go through their cancellation policy to make sure there’ll be no strings attached when you decide to make a switch.

Software and Shopping cart integration

Fulfillment companies use different order fulfillment software that comes with different features. You have to understand your needs and select a fulfillment partner that utilizes software that has the feature-set you can align. 

The right order fulfillment solution helps you manage your inventory better and track orders. If you ship your products worldwide, your inventory will be dispatched across different destinations and you’ll need clear visibility for your products at each location.

NextSmartShip allows seamless integration with different eCommerce platforms including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or Magento. It also syncs with eBay or Etsy. You’ll be able to leverage data from seasonal peaks, current trends, and will be informed when you need to replenish your inventory.

Branding

Branding helps you personalize the shopping experience and encourage loyalty. It’s what sets you apart from other businesses selling the same products and creates buzz for your business.

Consider choosing a fulfillment center that will be able to help you create a memorable unboxing experience through custom packaging. In addition, you need to pay attention to the materials needed for your items to reach the customer’s hands while they’re still intact.

Check out what options the fulfillment center offers to protect your goods from damage. NextSmartShip offers foam rolls, air pillows, bubble wraps, shredded paper, and corrugated paper among other packaging materials to ensure safety.

Over to You

If you’re crowdfunding a new product idea, need FBA prep services, run a subscription, or an eCommerce business, we aim to provide hassle-free fulfillment.
To find out more about how NextSmartShip can help your online business deliver goods in a timely manner and boost your branding experience, get a custom quote.

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