Review these top tips for order fulfillment when looking into options for your business
- Look for a vendor with warehouse and distribution facilities that can most effectively reach your customers. Request shipping zone maps to determine what portion of your customers are likely to receive next-day service.
- Be clear about who is responsible for insuring your inventory in transit to the fulfillment service, while held by them, and in transit to the customer. The fulfillment service should be the one on the hook for any damage to, or loss of, inventory while in their possession.
- How does the order fulfillment services company "gear up" for seasonal spikes? What contingency plans are in place to handle higher than usual ordering? How have they addressed this issue in the past?
- Ask if the pick and pack costs include the cost of handling returns. You don't want to be charged for restocking returns or refilling orders when the error was made by the order fulfillment service and not by you or your customer.
- Does the order fulfillment services company understand your brand and how best to present it? On the blog QuietLogistics, J.R. Siegel writes:
"The way your product is packaged, wrapped and presented is the first thing customers will see when your orders arrive on their doorsteps. When customers tear off the packaging tape and open their orders, they're generating subconscious feelings about your brand. If your products are packaged haphazardly, consumers will feel deflated. No one wants to get a $300 dress in a $0.10 cent package. But if orders arrive looking pristine, customers will be wowed."
- Integral is the software used to automate the time-consuming tasks of warehouse and inventory management. Some capabilities you’ll want include:
- Create new orders
- View, search, and edit existing orders
- View inventory
- Forecast inventory levels
- Receive inventory alerts (e.g. low stock levels, out-of-stock notifications)
- Check/verify returns
- Integrate your e-Commerce shopping cart or other ordering system
- Manually enter orders as needed
- View invoices
- Run reports
- Receive email alerts on order statuses
- Online dashboard to access software