The term e-fulfilment
is often associated with e-commerce
For example after your website is up and running--and you're getting lots of sales--you need a way to promptly fulfil and ship those orders.
Entrepreneurs can either outsource the fulfilment and distribution process or set it up in-house which normally depends upon the size of the product they are selling.
Full-service fulfilment warehouses offer up an end-to-end solution: The companies you can find on The Warehouse Exchange
take your products from warehouse shelves, pack them, hand them to shippers and then send an automated e-mail response to your clients to let them know their deliveries are in transit.
These WX members can also handle your credit-card processing, supply current inventory levels to your website, reorder products, offer call-centre services, send notices of shipping and handle returns. There are literally hundreds of these companies to choose from on Warehouse Exchange, but experts say the best way to find one that suits your needs is by word-of-mouth.
For example if you're using your hosting company for shopping cart and credit-card functions or doing this in-house, you can just use some of the fulfilment companies' options--such as pick-and-pack, returns processing and customer service support. If you're shipping a small number of orders, you may want to fill your orders yourself.
To do this, you'll want to use the major package delivery companies since they're considered the most reliable. These type of carriers offer downloadable software on their websites that allow you to track customer orders and also begin shipping immediately. However, the downside is that you'll either have to go to your local post office to ship the packages or schedule pickups with whichever delivery company that you eventually choose.
So the question is should you outsource?
The WX team advises that outsourcing to a fulfilment company only makes good financial sense if you really need to, however, If you are trying to save money then you should do it yourself. But if you can make more money by spending your time on other things, you should look to outsourcing.
Before you choose a fulfilment company, however, make sure that it wants the business of a small company as some are quite choosy and check that they are a reliable member by looking at their reviews on Warehouse Exchange and no matter what type of fulfilment operation you set up, it shouldn't cost more than 10 percent of sales, plus the actual shipping costs.