As an ecommerce business owner, you know the complex dynamics that govern your operations, from sourcing products, managing inventory, and handling customer service to fulfilling and shipping orders. However, with the rapid growth of the ecommerce sector, managing all these tasks in-house can quickly become overwhelming. That's where outsourcing shipping and fulfillment can have a substantial impact, offering an effective way to simplify these processes and scale your business.
In this article, we'll delve into the key benefits of outsourcing shipping for growing ecommerce businesses and provide a detailed guide on choosing the best ecommerce fulfillment provider. Finally, we'll discuss how partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider with various services can supercharge your ecommerce operations.
Key Benefits of Outsourcing Shipping
Running a shipping warehouse and managing fulfillment in-house is challenging, especially for a small business. It involves significant upfront and ongoing costs for warehouse space, equipment, and staffing, not to mention the time-consuming process of coordinating with shipping carriers, managing inventory, packing and shipping orders, and handling returns. This heavy operational load can divert resources and attention away from core business activities such as product development, marketing, and customer relationship management. Furthermore, without extensive logistics experience and advanced technology, small businesses may struggle to ensure efficiency and accuracy in fulfillment, impacting customer satisfaction and driving potential long-term customers to your competition.
Reduced Shipping Costs
Shipping can be a significant expense for ecommerce businesses, especially those just starting to grow. When you outsource your shipping, you're no longer responsible for managing shipping costs alone. Fulfillment companies can typically use their substantial shipping volume to negotiate better rates with carriers and pass the savings to their clients.
As a leader in third-party logistics, Jillamy has worked closely with national carriers and many other providers for decades. Our team works tirelessly to ensure we have access to the best shipping rates available for all shipments. We can help assess the optimal carrier mix for your products and needs. Before starting with any client, we provide a detailed shipping rate analysis so you know exactly how much you will save.
Improved Average Delivery Times
Shipping speed matters in the ecommerce industry. Customers today expect fast and reliable delivery, which can be difficult to achieve when handling fulfillment in-house, especially when your company ships all its products from a single warehouse. Any shipments going across the country are expensive and slow. Outsourcing shipping to a fulfillment center allows you to tap into a network designed for efficient order processing and fast delivery. These centers often have multiple locations, which means orders are shipped from the location closest to the customer, resulting in faster delivery times.
Jillamy has fulfillment warehouses on the East and West Coast to provide clients with an optimal bi-coastal fulfillment strategy. This means that our clients can get 2-day delivery with ground shipping to 85% of the US population. The ecommerce landscape has never been more competitive, and customers judge your business on how much you charge them for shipping and how fast their order arrives. Partnering with Jillamy gives your company an instant advantage by making it easier to offer free shipping with quick delivery times.
Enhanced Efficiency and Lower Operating Costs
As your business grows, fulfilling orders, managing inventory, and handling returns can become time-consuming and expensive. Outsourcing allows you to reduce these operational burdens and associated costs. Buying, building, or leasing new warehouse space to expand in-house fulfillment is expensive and time-consuming. And then, your company will need to acquire all the needed equipment, hire the necessary staff and train them on your operations. This does not include the necessary technology to keep things running smoothly and all necessary data in sync with other warehouses. Outsourcing some or all of your daily packing and shipping process allows your team to focus on core business areas, such as product development, marketing, and customer relations. Simply put, it allows you and your company to focus on what you do best and trust that every new order will be shipped out quickly and correctly.
Improved Inventory Management and Item Tracking
Utilizing advanced technology to manage inventory and track items throughout the fulfillment process makes every aspect of operating your business easier. Your company reduces the risk of errors, such as overselling or underselling, and gives you real-time visibility into your inventory levels and product movement. This level of insight can support better decision-making and improve your overall operational efficiency. Suddenly, you can predict company needs better and avoid many common supply chain issues with better planning.
The advantages of utilizing advanced technology extend beyond just managing inventory. Working with a fulfillment provider helps identify trends and anticipate market demands proactively. You gain visibility into your stock and gain valuable insight into product popularity. This enhanced understanding of your product flow equips you with the information to make strategic decisions.
Active inventory management allows for adjustments in purchasing, optimizing marketing strategies, and maintaining a competitive edge. It enhances your business operation, ensures better preparedness for unexpected events, and provides a strategic roadmap for sustainable growth. With this detailed insight, your business can effectively mitigate common supply chain disruptions and ensure a seamless operational flow.
Better Customer Service
Outsourcing shipping will also enhance your customer service. Avoiding unnecessary delays and getting their shipments delivered faster for less will always help keep your customers happy. However, most consumers expect ecommerce businesses to offer a flexible and fair return policy. This can be another burden on your in-house shipping department. They have to make time to review the returns and handle the customer's requests.
Jillamy will help your company excel at returns management, ensuring that the process is smooth for customers and that returned items are quickly restocked. Having the confidence to offer a flexible and fair return policy on your website has been proven to convert more site visitors into customers and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Finding the Best Ecommerce Fulfillment Services for Your Company
Choosing the best ecommerce fulfillment services for your business requires careful consideration. While the benefits of outsourcing shipping are clear, understanding how to evaluate potential providers is equally crucial. Here are some detailed factors to keep in mind:
Scalability: The best ecommerce fulfillment provider should cater to your current needs and be ready to grow with your business. This includes handling sudden surges in order volume, such as during promotional periods or holidays, and managing sustained growth over time. Make sure the chosen provider can capably manage these changes without causing disruptions.
Technology: Sophisticated technology is a must-have for any ecommerce fulfillment provider. Their tech stack should cover everything from inventory management and order processing to tracking each item through the fulfillment process. Moreover, this technology should seamlessly integrate with your ecommerce platform, making it easier to manage orders and inventory across the board.
Location: The geographical positioning of your fulfillment provider can significantly affect delivery times. Ideally, a provider should have several strategically located warehouses or distribution centers for efficient order fulfillment. The availability of bi-coastal fulfillment can ensure quicker deliveries while potentially reducing your shipping costs.
Cost: While cost is crucial, it shouldn't be the sole deciding factor. Rather than just opting for the cheapest provider, it's essential to consider the overall value they offer. This includes the quality and range of their services, the level of technological infrastructure, and the support they provide. Your fulfillment provider is essentially a key business partner, so ensuring that the cost aligns with the value they deliver is vital.
Reputation: A bit of detective work can go a long way in ensuring you choose a reliable fulfillment provider. Researching a provider's reputation can involve reading customer reviews, checking ratings, and looking for potential warning signs. How they've handled issues in the past can give you a good indication of what to expect. Don't hesitate to contact other businesses in your network to get firsthand accounts of their experiences.
Partnering with an Experienced 3PL Provider
While outsourcing shipping and fulfillment can drive significant benefits, another level of strategic collaboration can amplify your ecommerce success – partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
Jillamy offers a comprehensive suite of services beyond shipping and fulfillment. Our team can assist with procurement, warehousing, packaging, transportation, and even handle customs for international shipping. We look for ways to share our logistics and supply chain management expertise, helping you improve efficiency, enhance customer service, and even lower costs.
Our established relationships with carriers and vendors are tools to help you secure better rates and terms. We can also provide advice on optimizing your supply chain strategy, from choosing the best carriers to positioning your inventory for optimal delivery times.
Our experienced logistics professionals can also help you navigate the challenges of international expansion. We understand the complexities of international shipping, customs, and regulations and can manage these aspects on your behalf, allowing you to focus on growing your business globally.
Finally, our team uses advanced technology and analytics to manage and optimize logistics operations. This can provide valuable insights into your supply chain, helping you make data-driven decisions that boost your bottom line.
Partner with Jillamy for Ecommerce Success
Outsourcing shipping for your growing ecommerce business can bring significant benefits, from reduced costs and improved delivery times to better inventory management and enhanced customer service. But remember, the key to unlocking these benefits is finding the right ecommerce fulfillment provider that aligns with your needs and growth objectives.
Take your operations further by partnering with the right fulfillment and 3PL provider. This collaboration can empower your business with comprehensive logistics and supply chain solutions, providing a solid foundation for your ecommerce success.
In the ever-evolving ecommerce landscape, the importance of efficient and effective shipping and fulfillment cannot be overstated. By embracing outsourced shipping and third-party logistics, you're not just solving logistical challenges but carving a path toward sustainable growth and success.
Jillamy is an industry leader in third party logistics and ecommerce fulfillment because we deliver customer-centric solutions. Our experienced team of logistics and fulfillment experts is available to discuss how we can help craft a path toward substantial and sustainable growth with your company. Contact us today at 800-592-7449 or schedule an appointment on our contact us page.