Inventory is stored off-site, enabling the small business owner to store a larger variety and quantity of inventory. The fulfillment center will receive and organize your inventory.
In the world of e-commerce, where consumers aren’t able to examine products before they are purchased, returns and exchanges are commonplace. Fulfillment centers manage returns and exchanges by examining the returned items. Then the items are placed back into inventory or into the damaged item bin.
The time that you normally spend packaging orders, tracking inventory, and dealing with returns, can now be focused on growing your business. Use this time to expand your product line, enhance your website, promote your business or expand into new markets.
Order entry methods can be very important when considering a fulfillment service. The most common methods include forwarding individual order invoices to the warehouse & emailing an Excel spreadsheet with all orders once a day.
Communication is an important part of every business. There will be times when you need to contact the fulfillment center to modify a customer’s address or cancel an order. Select a fulfillment center that is available via phone and email. You should not have to wait more than a few hours for a return email or call from the fulfillment center.
Mistakes will happen. Some customers will receive the wrong items or the items will be shipped to the billing address rather than the shipping address. When interviewing potential fulfillment centers, ask about their error rate and their process for remedying the situation. For example, do they issue UPS call tags to pick up the incorrect item and pay to ship a replacement item? Will they ship the replacement item at a faster rate to compensate the customer?
Each fulfillment center operates under a different payment schedule. Some use sliding scales and require contracts while others charge per order or per item with no contracts. You will also be charged a base fee to store your inventory at the warehouse and an additional fee per pallet or per item. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the fulfillment center’s costs and any contracts.