Shopify Fulfilment: How to fulfil your Shopify orders
There are a number of ways to fulfil your ecommerce businesses orders; from drop shipping, to self-fulfilment, to using a 3rd party logistics and fulfilment centre, there are a variety of ways of fulfilment to use when you sell on Shopify.
When it comes to making the correct decision of which fulfilment option to use, it is important to get the correct fit for your business model, so that your logistics operations doesn’t cut into your profits and reduce growth.
Making the correct decision on how to fulfil your business’s orders is dependent on a few factors, from the type of products you sell, to you order volumes, to where your customers are located.
3 Fulfilment Options For Your eCommerce Business
With dropshipping, although you have the least control over the fulfilment process and the fulfilment of your orders, it is the most laidback fulfilment option. If your business chooses dropping as their fulfilment option, then the manufacturer will then responsible for the entire fulfilment process.
There are a number of pros and cons for dropshipping for your fulfilment process; the main being that dropshipping tends to come with very long transit and delivery times, as products are usually sourced from Asia. Another problem associated with dropshipping is the lack of quality control and control over the customer experience, as products are being sent directly to the customer from the manufacturer. This can leave your customers disappointed and result in ultimately lower sales, if your products are not up to their standards. Dropshipping can be a good solution when starting out, but as a business matures it tends not to be a good option and can leave businesses open to poor customer experiences and slow delivery times. A specialised fulfilment company will be a much better option as your business grows, as it will allow you to have the quality control you need whilst supplying a high level customer experience, and also removing the laborious process from your business of fulfilling your orders.
If your ecommerce business is in its infant stages and have lower order volumes or have higher order volumes and the ability to hire staff and rent a warehouse, then it is possible to fulfil your orders in-house. On the plus side whilst it can give you complete control over every step of the fulfilment process, it can come at the cost of driving up not only time taken to manage the supply chain, but also logistics costs as your business grows. As ecommerce brand’s order volumes grow, it is normal for businesses to switch from in-house fulfilment to outsourcing fulfilment. This will allow your business to use a fulfilment house’s operations, instead having to invest in fulfilment infrastructure like warehousing, fulfilment software, staff, and other equipment.
Fulfilment Centres & Third-Party Logistics
The majority of growing and established ecommerce stores will use a specialised fulfilment house and 3PL to not only save on time but also reduce costs. Fulfilment centres offer not only the fulfilment service domestically, but also benefit your business from being able to ship internationally and expand the amount of countries to ship your products with ease. Along with benefitting from their leading WMS software that automates the inventory and fulfilment process, like UK Fulfilment’s StoreFeeder which can streamline the process. A specialist fulfilment partner is optimised solely for fulfilment, and operate efficiently as possible to streamline businesses’ fulfilment processes and increase order accuracy.
Fulfilment centre’s also tend to have partnerships with couriers, which allow them to negotiate discounted shipping rates and allow you to offer more shipping options to your customers. Furthermore, using a fulfilment partner for fulfilment can allow you to utilise their expertise, technology, distribution network along with not having to package the orders yourself.
The Benefits of Shopify Fulfilment with a Fulfilment Centre
Partnering with the right fulfilment centre, like UK Fulfilment, can reduce the time spent on manual labour as well as reducing costs for your ecommerce business on both the warehousing and shipping side.
Warehouse management, if your business has decided to do it in-house it can be a big and risky investment, especially if you have taken on a lengthy rental contract, you will need to maintain sales just to cover your high costs. Warehousing management can also take up significant amount of time which could be used to manage and grow other areas of your business.
In order to maintain high order accuracy fulfilment centres utilise the best in class warehouse management systems, such as UK Fulfilment’s StoreFeeder, which can also give you and your business complete live transparency of your orders from when it is being picked and packed to when it is being shipped out. It also aids in inventory management, as you will be able to see your inventory and stock levels for each product, as well as getting notifications when stock levels are low so that you can replenish them to prevent being out of stock. All orders with fulfilment centres like UK Fulfilment are picked using scanning systems which eradicate orders being picked incorrectly and have produced an average picking rate of 99.97%.
Fulfilment centres can also assist in packaging for your business, by not only offering their expertise in packaging of how to package your products in the most economical or ecological way depending on your businesses choices, along with the knowledge of how to package your products to prevent breakages. Fulfilment centres usually have a variety of stock packaging options for your business to utilise and see what is the best fit and can even source custom packaging at discounted rates in some cases.
With fulfilment companies using a variety of couriers like Royal Mail, DHL, DPD and UK Mail, and shipping out hundreds of thousands of orders, they are able to negotiate bulk discount rates on domestic and international shipping which you can pass on to your customers.
Having an online ecommerce business allows you to have a storefront around worldwide, and having the correct fulfilment strategy in place to keep up with customer demands and expectations is key. If you have out grown fulfilling your orders in-house, or have had problems with dropshipping and are looking to use a third-party fulfilment centre, then get in touch with UK Fulfilment for a free quote here.