Will you look after my product properly?
Will you package my product for despatch to my exact specifications?
A good fulfilment company will be able to customise the pick and pack service to your specific needs, so that the experience of opening your e-commerce parcel is exactly the way that you want it to be. If you like to wrap your product in tissue paper tied with a bow and include a postcard there is a fulfilment company that will be able to do this for you. If you prefer to use mailing bags and minimal branding, a fulfilment company will be able to do that for you too. Perhaps your product needs extra wrapping because it’s fragile: you can find partners to do that as well.
There will also be a fulfilment company who can ‘kit’ for you, so if someone orders different components to be included in the same package, a fulfilment company can set up this despatch process for you. Be clear how you want your end parcels to look when they arrive and find a partner that you can trust to maintain your brand standards.
Will a fulfilment company despatch my e-commerce orders in an efficient, cost-effective way?
Will a fulfilment company be able to send out the orders I get from lots of different platforms?
Nowadays it’s common for independent businesses to sell through multiple platforms. Perhaps you have your own Shopify or WooCommerce website along with listings on Etsy, eBay and/or Amazon. A great fulfilment company will have software which can interface with each of your selling platforms and pull the data through into one order management system.
When you talk to a prospective fulfilment company, ask for a demonstration of their order management system so you can see what it will be like to use on a day-to-day basis. Ask what reports it can put together so you can make business decisions such as re-stocking, introducing new lines and expanding into new markets with all the relevant information at your fingertips. A good order management system will allow you to see all your sales data in one dashboard. If IT isn’t your strong point, ask if the fulfilment company have an onboarding process where they can set up the feeds from each of your platforms for you.
How do you manage returns?
What happens if my business grows significantly and the other businesses you work with grow too?
This is a key question to ask a prospective fulfilment company. You’ve probably already seen significant growth in your business that is leading you to consider an e-commerce fulfilment company partner, so you want to ensure that whoever you choose is ready to take you to the next level and beyond!
It’s important to talk to each fulfilment company about their warehousing facilities, how much capacity do they currently have? How will they cope with increasing stock, orders and processing from their multiple clients? If you are entrusting the fulfilment part of your business to somebody else, you need to be sure you will be treated as their most important client – every day.
And how about expanding internationally? Some providers have warehousing facilities on other continents. If you see orders increasing in Europe, North America or Asia, will your fulfilment partner be ready to find a solution for you to warehouse and ship your products locally?
How will my account be managed?
You’ve probably become a successful business owner because you get a good feeling about people that you work with – and your e-commerce fulfilment company shouldn’t be any different. Ask questions about how your account will be handled on a day-to-day basis. Will you have an account manager you can call to talk through any issues? Does the fulfilment company have a team that really cares about you and your business? Look for a fulfilment company that you think can become a trusted part of your business as they’ll be handling a critical step in the order process.
This is an exciting time for your business as you research to find the idea fulfilment company to take your business to the next level. Make sure you are happy with the things that matter most to you, so that you can build a successful partnership together.
Fulfillr are a UK-based fulfilment company who work with dozens of small businesses to warehouse, pick, pack and despatch their e-commerce orders. Working with products as diverse as hair care and car parts, their scalable warehousing (with European and US options) and multiple courier arrangements allows businesses to build a successful future with this trusted logistics partner.