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How to make fulfillment a competitive advantage for your e-Commerce?

You already know what fulfillment means in the world of e-Commerce: storing products, choosing the right products, packaging them and shipping orders to customers.

E-commerce order processing can be done in-house by the company itself or as an outsourced process by a third-party service provider - this is what companies like Helpmestock do.

The fulfillment process begins when the customer completes their purchase. After that, the fun things begin. You might even argue that this is the watershed moment for your ecommerce business. How you handle the post-purchase process affects customer relationships, the profitability of the business, and the future of the business.

We offer you through this article 5 ways to make fulfillment your competitive advantage:

1.       Selection process: Precision and speed 

It is essential to remove all unnecessary actions during the picking process. The process should always be optimized for accuracy and speed.

However, speed should not replace precision. If you do the processing yourself, it might be worth investing in scannable barcodes and CRM software that can track order accuracy. You can also implement a verification process and designate resources to verify the accuracy of the sample. Think about smart positioning and speed of sales. Organize items so that the picker can choose efficiently and not spend time wandering around in the storage space.

If you are outsourcing fulfillment, your 3PL partner should have a streamlined and accurate professional picking process that is continuously optimized.

For example, Helpmestock relies on automated warehouses in some locations. They are ultra precise. This can be a perfect solution if your packaging doesn't require a lot of customization, and especially for same day deliveries.

2.       Packaging : Protection 

The most crucial part of the packaging is protection. You just can't afford to ship items to your customers with the risk of your product getting damaged in transit. Be sure to add an extra layer of protection to fragile items. A professional 3PL partner can help you find the optimal packaging solution for your needs.

3.       Efficiency: shipping cost per order

Parcel shipping costs are steadily increasing due to the growth of the e-commerce industry. E-commerce businesses should pay close attention to shipping costs. If you organize the shipping yourself, allow time to negotiate with different carriers and keep an eye out for the best rates to keep shipping costs low. If you are using a professional 3PL partner, the partner does this for you.

Helpmestock has a hundred partnerships with the most reliable carriers in all areas where they operate. Our pre-negotiated volume agreements benefit all of our customers. It means that we can offer competitive price even for the customers whose shipping volume is still low.

4.       Delivery time: location, location, location

Customers are looking for fast shipping. Research shows that 41% of consumers online think fast delivery is very important. So how can you maximize shipping speed while keeping costs reasonable?

The solution is to store the products close to the end customer. In most cases, it doesn't make sense to continue moving individual packages by air freight. It is much more expensive and has higher C02 emissions than the road, for example. But air freight is the only transportation model that can ship items quickly from long distance.

Our solution is to split the inventory to multiple locations and to keep the distance between the stock and the end customer as short as possible. This gives you an advantage in terms of shipping time, price, and C02 emissions.

In practice, this means multi-warehousing: storing goods close to the end customer to shorten shipping kilometers and save shipping time. But fear not - multi-warehousing doesn't need to mix up your management processes: because at Helpmestock you can connect as many warehouses as you want to your online store. Multi-warehousing is available for all Helpmestock customers.

Indeed, we have a large network of warehouses which allows you to store your goods near your customers. This means shorter shipping distances, faster shipments and less burden on the environment. You can store your products in several warehouses at the same time.

5.       Returns logistics: fast processing

Approximately 30% of products ordered online are returned. Consumers expect returns to be efficient and comfortable. A profitable and efficient logistics process is vital for any e-commerce. Again, it all depends on the location.

Having a warehouse close to the end customer helps you to minimize transportation costs and speed up returns processing. The final result ? Products come back to stock faster (and also cheaper).