The 3 Categories of Order Fulfillment
In today’s digitized world, almost all companies have an eCommerce component. Our society has been shifting from brick and mortar focus to digitized marketplaces for the last 5-10 years. This has opened the door for products, brands, and entire companies to primarily focus on eCommerce. The changing world climate and onset of COVID-19 have accelerated this trend. Many companies do not even have an office space and exist solely on their human capital and products.
A key element that allows companies to sell and fulfill orders is due to outsourcing logistics to a 3PL. Direct sellers can effectively market, sell, and fulfill orders through the value proposition of a 3PL like NovEx Supply Chain. All you need is a website, a product, and distribution to have your own eCommerce company. The barriers to entry are low and the potential upside is high. This model results in three stages of eCommerce fulfillment: 1 – DIY (Do it Yourself) fulfillment, 2 – you are using a 3Pl but are not happy with the results, or 3 – you have found a strategic 3PL partner and have the freedom to nurture and grow your business.
Order Fulfillment Stage 1 – DIY
The first type is stage 1, do it yourself. In this scenario you must have a place to store your product, whether it be your garage, basement, or a warehouse you have rented – your products need a home. You then use your eCommerce shopping cart like Shopify or Woo Commerce to print your packing slips and shipping labels (at a premium). You pick and pack your own orders. You do not have the volume discounts on packaging or shipping that you would get with a 3PL. You are spending all your time fulfilling orders and dealing with customers instead of sourcing new products or growing your brand. You are tired, you know everyone at the local post office, FedEx office, or UPS store on a first name basis as well as how little Johnny is doing in first grade. They are your only friends at this stage in your life because you are constantly shipping your orders and do not have time for much else. This is a good place to start to get off the ground, but it is not a long-term strategy for building a business. Transitioning from this stage to using a 3PL like NovEx will free you up to focus on marketing and sales to grow your business while having time for family, friends, and personal care. Having a partner like NovEx gives you unlimited capacity, deep discounts on shipping, strategic inventory locations to reduce transit times and cost, analysis of best packaging types for your product at discounted prices, and visibility to your data to better understand your customers and market. This frees you up to focus on customer acquisition, product development, cost reduction, and much more. If you find yourself in stage one and are ready to set yourself free, request a quote today or email us at email@example.com.
Order Fulfillment Stage 1A – Drop Shipping or FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
Some people opt for an alternative stage 1. They do not want their only friends to work at the post office so they may choose to drop ship or sell through Amazon. Drop shipping significantly limits options for products and manufacturers as well as eats into your profits. You could also ship exclusively through Amazon and have your products go directly from the manufacturer to an Amazon FBA warehouse. In this scenario you are eating up your margin and profits on fees. You also lose a lot of control and say so in your business, lose contact with your customer base, and significantly limit your options for additional sales channels. Amazon is a great way to test the waters, but it is a hard way to grow long term. If you find yourself in this alternative stage 1 but know it is not your long-term play, request a quote today to start strategizing your next phase with NovEx.
Order Fulfillment Stage 2 – Using a 3PL but Want Better Service
Stage 2 of eCommerce fulfillment is using a third-party logistics provider or 3PL. This is a mixed bag of tricks. If you choose a strategic partner like NovEx you are getting a logistics team devoted to helping your company grow. One that helps you optimize your supply chain from components to manufacturing to the warehouse all the way to the end consumer. You get the volume discounts of a big player when you are still a startup. And whether you have never sold an item or have 10,000 orders a day, we create a solution tailored to you. We help you achieve your long-term goals whether it be direct to consumer or growing in a network of retailers, we have a lot of experience in all stages of the business and specialize in helping our customers make those transitions. However, not everyone’s first run at a 3PL turns out to be a true partner. Some are given the sales pitch of glitz and glamour just to find themselves neglected in a dark corner of a dank and dusty warehouse. In those scenarios stage 2 is where you have gone the 3PL route, but you are unhappy with the service and the partnership. You feel like you are stuck because the idea of moving your inventory and learning a new system is daunting. For those of you in stage two, do not feel trapped. There is a better way. We can help and provide simple and agile solutions with leading customer service.
Order Fulfillment Stage 3 – A Strategic 3PL Partner to Grow With
Finally, stage 3 – a 3PL partner you trust and count on. In this stage you are focused on growing your business with the trust and surety that if you sell it, it will ship on time safely and with the best rates possible. You have a partner in your business providing you data that helps you grow and develop your company. You know your costs and feel confident that you are getting a value for the services provided. If you are in this stage, great work and keep growing! If not, this is what we offer at NovEx. This is what you deserve for your business and will help you grow further, faster.
If you need any additional services to grow your business or need more strategic geography to reach your full potential give us a call at NovEx. We are here to help. If you are not in stage 3 you can be. Request a quote on our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 801-566-6722 today. The more time you spend in stage 1 and 2, the less time you are running a growing and thriving business. Do not just ship your products, NovEx-it. Customer experience and word of mouth is more important than ever in today’s economy. Word of mouth is the most effective mean of advertising. Building advocacy within your current customer base is the most cost-effective way to grow your business.
The buying process has changed significantly in the past 10-15 years. Consumers now consult prior customers with almost every buying decision – looking at Google reviews, Amazon, and social feedback before hitting the “buy” button. Businesses must realize that every touch-point is vital to their current and future business. The actual delivery of product to a customer’s door is now directly tied to their satisfaction with the item, if they will tell their friends and recommend your product, and of course. . . their review of your company. Logistics is part of the product. Having the right order fulfillment process is more important than ever before.