What are best fulfillment agencies for Small Retail Businesses?
Choosing a Fullfillment Agency for the Small Retailer
An amazing thing has been happening in eCommerce over the past few years. Selling products no longer requires storing inventory, shipping boxes, and managing returns. For many this is not new, however it seems companies like Shipwire, Amazon (FBA), Fulfillrite, ShipCentral, and even new “consumer focused” offerings like Shyp, are popping up every day to make shipping and logistics easier for everyone. With all these options for fulfillment the first logical question is…
Which fulfillment company is right for my business?
Well, the first questions you need to ask yourself is what are you selling and where do you plan on selling it. Let’s start with what you are selling. If you can find a fulfillment service or agency that specializes in your product and can add value in the packaging and storage of your product this may make sense for you to ensure quality and presentation of your product. Examples could be products that need to be cold stored/shipped, home decor & glassware that needs delicate packaging and fragile care, as well as larger items may require large storage. Also selecting fulfillment centers that have expertise in the certain product line and category can provide opportunities with value added services like packaging, marketing, and other potential partnership opportunities.
Now when it comes down to “where you are selling” there is really only two major factors to consider. One is the physical location of your customer base and ensuring your fulfillment center has warehouses that will decrease your overall shipping costs. The other is the online sales channel you are selling on. Two great examples here are Sears and Amazon who both provide “fulfillment services” and are also high volume retail marketplaces.
Amazon is the big dog in this space and there have been a ton of experiments and tests on how shipping the products you sell on Amazon to the Amazon FBA warehouses can affect your sales. On a recent eCommerce Fuel podcast, Bill D’Alessandro (as seasoned Amazon retailer), said retailers can expect their orders to just about triple in sales volume when moving to Amazon FBA from their own fulfillment. A lot of this is attributed to the fact that your products are now eligible for Amazon Prime. It has been proven that those shopping on Amazon prefer to purchase products with prime eligibility and will even pay a premium for this. However it has also been reported by many that when sending your products to Amazon this also increases your chance of “winning the buy box”, which obviously will significantly increase your sales volume.
When selecting a fulfillment partner, understanding your core customer is key. Where they shop and where they live play huge roles in this decision process. The great part is most fulfillment centers do not require any kind of upfront fee and you can test out a few with smaller orders to determine which one is right for you.