What is Order Management? Why is Order Processing & Management Important for eCommerce Businesses?
If you are an eCommerce seller, your ultimate goal would be to sell hundreds of products daily. Once you start putting effort in the right direction with proper guidance then you will receive the targeted order requests sooner or later and have a bunch of buyers who trust your brand. Once you have found your niche in the eCommerce marketplace, the next step would be to streamline order management for a better customer experience. For this, you will have to get listed on multiple selling channels, keep a good amount of inventory, operate multiple ecommerce warehouses in different locations, enlist competent human resources, employ software to automate and streamline processes, tie up with logistic companies and much more. All of the above steps can be summarised as order management or order processing. It consists of every step that is related to online selling. An online seller may not be aware of some of these processes but their business will surely be involved in it if they have offloaded order management to a 3PL fulfillment company. To get a detailed understanding of order processing, how to perform it effectively, utilise all the benefits and remove unnecessary time and resources, read ahead. What is Order Management? Order management refers to handling an eCommerce order from the very first step of receiving the order request from the customer to taking care of post-delivery processes like feedback, receipt of payment, reverse logistics and maintaining the appropriate inventory levels. A company lacking proper order management will be unable to manage inventory and fulfill orders in a timely and efficient manner. eCommerce companies operating in India have to serve the largest market in the world, consisting of 1.4 billion people and have to conduct order management in every corner of this vast country. It is impossible to cater to every customer if you do not have the time and necessary resources to do so. After getting orders, you need to fulfill them, maintain inventory and a lot more. For this, you need a large, dedicated workforce operating 24/7. Once you have this in place, it is a daily requirement to coordinate with them to provide effective order management. [contactus_gynoveda] Why is Order Processing Important for eCommerce Businesses? Order processing is the process of receiving an order to delivering it. This is an important aspect of retail order fulfillment in the eCommerce space, as reliability and accuracy lead to client satisfaction. Picking, sorting, tracking and shipping are the steps involved in order processing. Depending on the business, order processing can range from manual (handwritten on an order log sheet) to highly technological and data-driven (through online orders and automated order processing software). Importance of Order Processing Management for eCommerce Businesses Inventory Tracking Before you receive orders, you must ensure you have adequate inventory. Both overstocking and understocking can be a weakness for your business. Overstocking can make you look like a sitting duck with less liquid cash. Conversely, understocking might result in delayed customer delivery, lowering your brand value. Through Minimum Order Quantity and Economic Order Quantity, you can manage seasonal sales based on previous customer purchases. This way, you can avoid both over and understocking. Accurate Order Fulfillment When you have to take care of only a few orders, it is accurate to deliver but quite expensive to fulfill exclusively. However, when your business gets off the ground, you will get a hefty amount of orders regularly. Errors will become inevitable. Your company's reputation will be harmed if you deliver incorrect orders or have shipment delays. Order management software automates the process and eliminates the risk of human error. Time-Saving If you manage an eCommerce business, you are a visionary entrepreneur. Most of your resources will be spent on lengthy order fulfillment duties if you don't plan order management processes in advance ahead. You can employ a professional 3PL business to handle all of your order fulfillment tasks to avoid wasting important resources on all of these time-consuming duties. What are Order Management Processes? The order management process begins once a customer places and pays for an order. The order information is sent to the inventory department of the store, where warehouse staff handle the picking, packing and shipping. The procedure concludes with the store contacting the consumer to see if they were satisfied with their purchase. The steps of the process are listed below: Receiving Orders The first stage of the order management process begins when a consumer places an order. It includes the process of accepting a customer's order and collecting the payment for it. After that, the purchase details are forwarded to warehouse management, where a related person can prepare the products for shipment. Fulfilling Orders Fulfilling an order is quite a long and complex process which includes several steps. A few of the important ones are: Picking: The picking procedure, in which the items are picked from the warehouse, is the first step in fulfilling an order. Warehouses are typically lined with shelves packed with a variety of products, thus warehouse experts must be able to immediately and accurately select the ordered item. After the items have been picked, they are transported to a packaging station where they are packed. Packing: The packing station is responsible for more than just packing products and transporting them. They're also in charge of selecting the appropriate packaging materials for each product so that it arrives undamaged and in good shape to the buyer while also conserving resources. Shipping: The next step is to ship the order after you've picked and packed everything correctly. At the shipping station, warehouse staff is normally responsible for four tasks: Attaching the necessary shipping label and invoice to the packed itemsAssigning it to the best logistics partnerMarking an order as shipped in every selling channelsEmailing the buyer with delivery confirmation and order tracking information like tracking ID and ETA. All the above points are possible if a company has the products in stock. So, what happens when a consumer places an order for a product that a seller doesn't have in stock? In such instances, businesses have two options: turn away the consumer or postpone the order delivery to a later date by using back ordering or dropshipping methods. Handling After-Sales Processes Handling after-sales processes is the final stage of order management. Here, companies follow up with clients to get feedback and ensure that they are happy with their purchases, as well as handle any returns and refunds. 6 Key Features of Order Management Supply Chain Visibility It looks at the entire supply chain and isolates incidents to predict future difficulties and design more efficient steps. Simplified Picking and Packing It knows where the item exists in the warehouse after it identifies which fulfillment center is closest to the buyer. It then initiates picking the exact products, breaking down bulk orders into individual or batches so further that they can be fulfilled accordingly. Inventory Management in Real-Time It provides a singular view of inventory, including what's in stock, in transit and current demand levels, so you don't have to rush shipments or keep excessive safety stock on hand which holds your cash flow. Scheduled Delivery Order management allows for more efficient service requests by matching delivery commitments to inventory, resources and expertise. Post Order Customer Engagement Order processing assigns the placement of orders, sends it to be shipped and informs the buyer. It also provides updates through the tracking ID. Additionally, it can predict the customer’s behaviour and expectations so a seller can execute transactions more effectively. Optimized Fulfillment It analyzes data and provides recommendations based on how and where clients want their orders transported, as well as delivery time and cost. Top 5 Order Management Software There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all offering when it comes to order management software. Each solution has its own set of benefits and limitations, as well as onboarding and integration processes. The optimum fit for your company will be determined by your specific demands and objectives. Here are a few of the most popular options to compare: WareIQ Source WareIQs custom WMS aids in efficient order management by syncing inventory levels and consolidating order data across multiple platforms. It can also predict future demand levels and supply requirements to provide the optimum inventory levels for faster and more efficient order management. NetSuite Source NetSuite's SuiteCommerce package includes an order management system that can handle orders from a range of channels, including a brick-and-mortar store, an online store and even a kiosk. SuiteCommerce aspires to be a comprehensive eCommerce platform that eliminates the need for third-party integration. It's ambitious and powerful but it's probably too much for a small eCommerce shop and the learning curve is severe. SAP Source SAP has flexible order management software. Here a seller can manage a high volume of goods and run complex operations with fully digitized and accelerated warehouse processes. It is known for its on-premise and cloud deployments, comprehensive WMS solutions, fully integrated quality checks, production and track-to-trace processes and real-time control of warehouse automation equipment. ShipStation Source ShipStation is a shipping program designed for eCommerce sellers. It integrates with most marketplaces, shopping carts and carriers, making it the go-to for small eCommerce firms looking to offload their fulfillment. When DIY fulfillment is no longer viable, merchants must upgrade to a more scalable solution, such as outsourcing order management and fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider. Brightpearl Source Brightpearl is a retail management system designed for businesses with yearly sales of more than $1 million. They combine everything under one roof, from inventory and order administration to shipping, a POS system and a CRM. It's powerful but also complicated. A simpler, more economical approach would probably be better for smaller businesses. Conclusion: Streamlining Order Management with WareIQ Now that you are aware of the importance of order management and may consider applying it to your business for better returns and less fatigue, the only factor that may restrain you is the investment required. However, offloading your order processing requirements to a 3PL could work out much cheaper than anticipated. It is possible to hire a third-party fulfillment company, such as WareIQ to manage your order fulfillment from beginning to end of each order placed. WareIQ is a Y-combinator-backed start-up providing a full-stack eCommerce fulfillment service that gives users an Amazon Prime-like experience. Once a seller gets partnered with us, they can access several order management facilities at a very nominal cost with no minimum order quantity. You can take advantage of our expertise and accelerate the growth of your business. What value does WareIQ’s technology platform add to the Order Management aspect? WareIQ's order window helps you take a quick snapshot of any orders that require actionOur platform is integrated with 20+ leading marketplaces, which facilitates the syncing of all your sales channels and eliminates the manual import of dataIt triggers all necessary notifications to your end-customerIt provides you with a timelines view of your order, and revenue data, allowing you to study the fluctuations and trends and make better business decisionsIt also provides you with easy-to-comprehend graphical data about your zone-wise distribution, delivery timelines and channel distribution, thus helping you gauge the current state of business deeply and take necessary steps to move towards your ideal state, if required [signup] Order Management FAQs What is the importance of order management?Order management is in charge of everything from receiving the order to delivery and customer service afterwards. A business might easily become overwhelmed by orders or struggle to fill them appropriately if it lacks order management. What is Order Management?The process of properly managing and fulfilling sales orders is known as order management. To develop a pleasant customer experience, it comprises the cycle of people, procedures and suppliers. The order management process begins when a customer places an order and continues until the order is fulfilled. What does order management do?When a consumer places an order, the order management process begins and finishes with them receiving their package. How does WareIQ's Inventory Management Software work?Inventory and order management software are included in WareIQ's platform, which helps streamline fulfillment. You receive the tools, data and reporting you need to manage inventory in real-time with WareIQ's inventory and order management software. Does Reverse logistics come under Order Management?Yes, reverse logistics comes under order management. Order management starts from taking orders to post fulfillment if a buyer has a query or wants to return an order.
May 28, 2022
10 Best 3PL for Small Business in India in 2022
Large e-commerce companies have been enjoying the privilege of having 3PL or Third-Party Logistics companies as partners to take care of the logistics of their products, and that has helped them to focus on their core function of sales and marketing to expand their businesses. However, having the best 3PL for small businesses as partners is still a constraint for most e-commerce businesses, especially for those which are at the early stage of their growth journey. Small e-commerce businesses have been doing all their logistics by themselves owing to limited resources available at their disposal, and as such, they have been facing serious difficulties in matching the price and delivery timelines of large e-commerce businesses. Having understood this ground reality, more and more small e-commerce businesses are looking out for the best 3PL small business partners to improve their logistics framework and remain competitive in the growing market of e-commerce. What are 3PL companies? Order fulfilment is an essential and integral part of the operations of any e-commerce business. As the business grows, it may become very difficult for an eCommerce business owner to fulfil customer orders with in-house resources. 3PL or Third-Party Logistics companies act as eCommerce order fulfilment agencies for e-commerce businesses. Therefore, 3PL companies can effectively provide third-party logistics in supply chain management. They provide comprehensive ecommerce logistics services needed by e-commerce businesses to meet their commitments to their customers. 3PL companies help their e-commerce clients to focus on sales and orders received from customers through online platforms, while they take care of all the logistics operations required for safe and timely delivery of products to customers. A 3PL company handles functions like warehousing and storage, inventory management, transportation, distribution, delivery to customers, and reverse logistics in case of rejection/return by customers and customer support 3PL fulfillment companies bring many benefits for their e-commerce clients. First and foremost, by engaging services of 3PL companies, e-commerce businesses are not required to make huge investments in infrastructures such as ecommerce warehouses, transport vehicles, and manpower among other things. A 3PL company with expertise in documentation, national and international markets, mandatory compliance, and regulations adds a lot of value in terms of reducing costly delays and cycle time. Logistics is a non-core function for an e-commerce business owner. The 3PL company helps the e-commerce business owner to focus on his core competency to manage and scale-up business instead of getting caught up in nuances of logistics management. Outsourcing of logistics to third-party also gives the flexibility to utilise services from 3PL companies based on business demand and needs. Above all, 3PL partners help in improving customer satisfaction through efficient response time and timely deliveries. [contactus_gynoveda] What is the Significance of 3PL companies for Small Businesses? In today’s competitive business environment, specialisation is the key to the growth of a business enterprise. Executing all business functions in-house may not be possible without compromising on the performance of the core business activity. Outsourcing certain critical business functions to an experienced operator can be a good strategy for business growth. While large e-commerce companies are already outsourcing their logistics and order fulfilment activities to 3PL companies, small businesses are also now increasingly inclined to do the same to take advantage of the benefits that 3PL companies bring for their businesses. It may seem like a big step for a small business, but it helps small business owners to stay ahead of their competitors. Optimisation of logistics functions can entail considerable saving by reducing wastage and help the business to improve its bottom line. A 3PL company with multiple customers creates extensive infrastructure for warehouse management and inventory management. However, small business owners need to pay only for what thye use, and thus, they are insulated from fluctuating warehousing requirements and associated rates. Normally, a good 3PL company will be equipped with good technology and analytical tools to provide total visibility and transparency of its operations. It adds to the user-experience of small business owners by helping them track the journey of their products till they are delivered to the customers. Many small businesses do not have facilities or infrastructure to manage multiple functions under one roof. 3PL companies, on the other hand, offer many value-added services to ensure smooth operation. Timely delivery at a competitive cost is the biggest challenge for any e-commerce company today. The challenge becomes more demanding for small businesses as they have to compete with big e-commerce companies who have gained expertise in delivering a product to a customer at the most competitive price and within the tightest timelines. Top Expectations from 3PL Companies for Small Business Small businesses often manage their order fulfilment exercise in-house. It is manageable as long as the volumes are small. However, as the volume of orders increases, small businesses find it difficult to manage multiple activities due to limited resources and infrastructure. This is when they require the services of a 3PL company to handle their warehousing and order fulfilment requirements. While fulfilment exercise is labour-intensive, infrastructure needs are costly. 3PL companies for small businesses, which already have infrastructure and manpower in place, can easily help small businesses to meet their order fulfilment obligations. Small businesses have many expectations from 3PL companies. However, the following expectations top the list: PackagingShipmentInventory Management Regular FeedbackReverse Logistics Packaging plays an important part in giving customers a satisfactory e-commerce experience. Customers like their products to be delivered without any pilferage or damage during transit. 3PL companies for small businesses, with requisite expertise in packaging, make sure that it is done with appropriate materials, dimensions, and designs to protect products to satisfy the customers. Shipment is a critical process in a supply chain as the efficiency of this process determines the timeline for delivery of the product to the customer. The companies are expected to choose the best and the most cost-efficient shipping option for each order so that it reaches the customer in the expected time frame. The 3PL companies for small businesses are expected to manage the inventories with regular reporting on stock levels and issue alerts whenever stocks go below-predetermined levels. The best 3PL for small businesses is also expected to provide specialised storage and inventory services for perishable goods so that product owners can withdraw expired products from the inventory well in time. The 3PL companies for small businesses are expected to maintain total visibility in their operations for business owners by the use of technology and regular feedback. Any order fulfilment exercise is not complete till the product is accepted by the customer. In case the customer wants to return the product, 3PL companies are expected to efficiently manage the reverse logistics so that the product is safely returned to the product owner. How do 3PL companies differ from 4PL companies? [table id=8 /] 10 Best 3PL For Small Business in India StockareaEkart LogisticsIndia PostBlue Dart ExpressDTDC ExpressEcom ExpressShadowfaxTCI ExpressDelhiveryGATI With the exponential growth of e-commerce in India, the need for 3PL companies for small business has also grown dramatically, and even small e-commerce businesses are now having the luxury of picking up the best 3PL companies that meet their specific requirements. We have presented here the list of 10 best 3PL for small businesses based on their cost structure, pin code reach, visibility, terms of service, market share and quality of service Stockarea Source The company specialises in Digital Warehousing with a wide range of automated tasks related to Fulfillment, Bonded, General warehousing, Cold Storage, Freight and other logistics-related functions. Stockarea has a presence in practically every major city in India with 100+ warehouses in its network. One of the deep pockets of Stockarea is in the storage and transportation of perishable items (via its intricate, well-positioned network of cold-chain facilities) and heavy equipment (considerable care is taken and technical instructions are strictly adhered to in the process of handling). The company provides discounted quotations to the customers from its carrier partners for all types of freight - be it Less-than Truck-Load, Full Truck-Load or Last Mile Delivery. While Stockarea reduces the hassles of documentation on behalf of its customers, such as FSSAI Certifications (for storage and movement of food items), accreditations from BIS, CWC, FCI etc., customers are charged a considerable premium for such value added services. However, these value added services have helped Stockarea establish itself as one of the preferred 3PL companies for small businesses. Ekart Logistics Source Ekart Logistics began its operations in 2009 as the in-house supply chain arm of Flipkart. The company provides end-to-end fulfillment solutions to a multitude of e-commerce businesses, ranging from hassle-free order pickups, multi-mode payment collections for COD orders, first mile and last mile coverage and effective handling of order returns. Ekart Logistics has become one of the most popular 3PL small business partners in India because of their deep penetration into Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and remote villages, seamless API based integration with eCommerce platforms, low rate per consignment, express deliveries and efficient reverse logistics. Ekart has also improved its communication systems over time to enable businesses to share the live status of the consignments with their respective customers via SMS, email etc. India Post Source Although the adoption rate of India Post as a 3PL small business partner among small businesses is slow, India Post offers three promising services to match the logistics and fulfillment requirements of small businesses precisely: Business Post - This is meant for very small items such as stationery, gift cards etc. and is usually the most affordable alternative for delivery to customers located in any part of India. Business Post centres are conveniently located in major cities and can also be established on request at the small business or company's request if monthly order volumes are satisfactory.Logistics Post - Under this scheme, India Post integrates features such as LTL & FTL services, Logistics Post Centres for collection of consignments, Multi-modal transport, Warehousing Services, Fulfillment services and Reverse Logistics.Media Post - This is a fairly new concept introduced into the Indian market and will enable small businesses to penetrate into the less tech-savvy segments in villages and remote areas with physical promotional materials like flyers, catalogues etc. The biggest advantage of India Post is its regulated pricing due to Governmental control and logistics experience of more than five decades. It is a popular choice among small businesses serving customers at remote locations where other 3PL players charge exorbitant prices or often do not deliver. Blue Dart Express Source Blue Dart Express Ltd. is a part of the DPDHL Group's Post-eCommerce-Parcel (PeP) division and hence has access to a giant logistics network and infrastructure across the globe. The company serves more than 36000 pin codes in India and enjoys tremendous popularity among customers for its reliability, experience, and sustainability. Blue Dart has established itself as a 3PL small business leader in the domestic and international air express services, providing the entire spectrum of logistics solutions including repair and return, strategic inventory management and direct express inventory distribution. For small businesses and eCommerce enterprises, Blue Dart has launched Smart Box - Air Express and Small Box - Ground Express, which are convenient and affordable packaging units for speedy and reliable delivery to end customers. Blue Dart has also developed multiple tech-enabled platforms, which the company refers to as E-shipping Tools, to better coordinate shipping management services for small businesses. DTDC Express Source Founded in 1990, it currently caters to over 10000 customers across 17500 pin codes and 430 operating facilities across India with easy accessibility for small Indian businesses. Apart from its Domestic Division which largely handles a large variety of orders, DTDC has established a dedicated Retail Division SBU that caters to the fast-changing requirements of D2C eCommerce brands and small businesses, with economical and customised offerings. DTDC specialises in handling a wide variety of goods including high-value goods, heavyweight goods, and even hazardous materials. On the tech-front, it has pioneered in the introduction of high-tech solutions such as Image-scan of Proof Of Delivery (POD) on the web, Logistics and Warehouse Management applications, Mobile-based instant delivery update etc., which help small businesses minimise delivery-related risks while satisfying end-customers. However, DTDC's prices for certain categories are perceived by small businesses as slightly on the higher side compared to those of its competitors. Ecom Express Source Established in 2012 and headquartered in Gurugram, Ecom Express pursued a business centred around customer-centricity, scalability and sustainability. The company uses latest technology and automated solutions to provide first-mile pickup, processing, network optimization and last mile delivery to a customer base spread across multiple business-sectors. The company has two offerings - Ecom Express Services (targeted as medium and small businesses, including D2C eCommerce enterprises) and Ecom Ground Services (targeted at larger enterprises and eCommerce brands for bulky medium-weight products such as furniture, appliances etc.). Both these offerings are equipped with provisions for QC-enabled reverse logistics. Ecom Express also provides value added services such as Try & Buy, Switch Deliveries and Valuable Goods Handling, which lets it price its services with a premium. Shadowfax Source The company specialises in low-cost hyperlocal deliveries within 30 minutes with API integration and live tracking and therefore can add lot of value to logistics needs of small businesses. It provides fulfillment and logistics services for eCommerce companies and Quick Commerce brands with its feature-rich technology and a closely-knit network of delivery executives, thereby leveraging both the Brand Advantage and Rider Advantage. For small businesses, Shadowfax enables Marketplace & warehouse pick-ups, End-to-end shipment tracking, COD/UPI doorstep payments on the Forward Logistics front and Air/surface transportation, Seller & warehouse pick-ups, Single integration for all deliveries on the Reverse Logistics front. Live imaging for quality check and instant refund issues to customer help small businesses keep their end customers satisfied while minimising risks of fraud. These tech features have enabled Shadowfax to make its mark among the top 3PL companies for small business. TCI Express Source It is a division of the Transport Corporation of India (TCI). While TCI Express specialises in cold chain (for perishable items) and bulky materials transport, it has a variety of offerings for small businesses as well. These include Surface Express, Domestic Air Express, Rail Express and Ecommerce Express. With 28 sorting stations, 51 air gateways and other allied infrastructure, TCI Express serve 40,000+ locations covering 7500 districts across India. The biggest strength of the company as a 3PL small business service provider lies in its completely owned network infrastructure such as warehouses, GPS enabled vehicles, packaging facilities etc., which provides it the flexibility to stretch to the best possible limits to delight customers and become a trusted 3PL small business partner. Delhivery Source Delhivery is a key player in the Indian small business order fulfillment sector. With 70+ fulfillment centres around the country, having a total storage and processing space of over 6 million square feet, it serves over 6000 small businesses across India. All the major demand channels and courier partners are integrated with their own warehouse management system. Delhivery is equipped to support efficient multi-tenant, multi-location warehousing, allowing small businesses to expand operations across India rapidly and flexibly with no fixed expenses. By combining warehousing and freight solutions, Delhivery can provide small businesses with integrated distribution solutions. This allows Delhivery to be one of the best 3PL for small business customers with quick and cost-effective offline delivery. Their services include: Same-day/Next-day DeliveryTime-defined/Slot-based DeliveryPerson Specific/Address Specific DeliveryReturns ManagementProduct Replacement/Exchange ServicesLarge/Oversize Order DeliveryHigh-value Product DeliveryHAZMAT/Dangerous Goods DeliveryReal-time Monitoring and ControlConsignee Address ValidationFraud DetectionFlexible Payment on Delivery GATI Source Founded in 1989, it is one of the leading express distribution and supply chain management firms in India, dedicated to providing smooth and end-to-end solutions to customers, supported by cutting-edge digital tools and technology. It has world-class warehouses and fulfilment centres at strategic locations around the country. Gati helps small businesses in their fulfillment endeavour with its Surface Lite and Premium Flexilite offerings. Gati has also developed a unique niche in its customer base by being a 3PL small business partner for firms selling Art Products (fragile and antique items such as sculptures, canvas paintings, pottery etc) with its premium offering, Art Express. It has capabilities for handling all logistics-related documentation on behalf of the small business owners, thereby helping them focus on their core business. 5 Factors to be Considered for Choosing the Right 3PL Small Business Partner Small businesses aspiring to scale up their businesses can derive a range of benefits by partnering with the right 3PL companies. The challenge is to identify which 3PL partner is best suited to fulfil the specific needs of the business owner. Several factors are considered for selecting the right 3PL company. However, the following five factors are the most important factors considered by business owners while finalising 3PL service providers: Experience & Track Record: It is very important to know about the business experience and track record of a 3PL company concerning its performance and relationship with its principal stakeholders like customers and employees. The 3PL company should be reliable in terms of financial stability, business ethics and should have a proven track record of handling disruptions. Customer Service: The service provider should have an exclusive and sustainable customer service mechanism in place that is professional and responsive to customer needs and grievances. The service provider needs to have robust warehousing and inventory management facility to ensure safe storage and delivery of the consignments and also for the safe return of consignments in case of non-acceptance by the customers. Flexibility & Cost: The service provider needs to have the ability to be flexible in scaling up operations as per business demands and provide services at a competitive cost by optimising its resources. Geographical Locations: The 3PL company should have a network of fulfilment centers to serve customers across the country and across the world to reduce last-mile delivery costs by maximising delivery speed and efficiency. Technology & Integration: The service provider should have access to the latest logistics software that is user-friendly and can be easily integrated with systems on different technology platforms for real-time information gathering and updates. Demerits of 3PL Companies for Small Business As we have seen so far, there are many merits of 3PL companies for small businesses. However, 3PL companies also bring some demerits for business owners, and they need to be considered while engaging 3PL service providers. Loss of Control Over Goods: The biggest demerit is that the business owner does not have control over the process of delivery of his products to his customers as the whole process is independently handled by the 3PL company. The business owner can only check inventory levels, incoming shipments, and deliveries in real-time by co-ordinating with the 3PL service provider.Finding Trustworthy 3PL Service Provider: The growth of e-commerce in India has given rise to mushrooming of many 3PL service providers, and many of them may not be of the desired level of competency that is expected of a 3PL service provider. In such a situation, it is difficult to choose the right 3PL partner, and it can be a stressful exercise as the wrong 3PL partner can do a lot of damage to the business.Impact of Bad Service On Business: Despite engaging a 3PL small business service provider, the business owner is solely accountable to his customers for the service provided by the 3PL service provider, and therefore bad service by the 3PL service provider can adversely impact the business of the business owner. Why Should You Choose WareIQ as 3PL Partner? While most of the 3PL companies for small businesses that we have discussed so far, take care of only the logistics operations, WareIQ offers a full-stack platform that integrates a series of operations essential for fulfillment, such as warehousing, an easily integrable tech platform for centralised monitoring, last mile delivery/ 3PL and post-shipping experience. So, if your small business is facing numerous problems on the fulfillment front, you should seriously consider outsourcing fulfillment, and choosing WareIQ as your partner can help you save both time and money. Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce order fulfillment tech solutions for some of the most reputed brands in India. WareIQ offers a full-stack platform for eCommerce companies to enable same day delivery and next day delivery to customers – an Amazon Prime-like experience but accessible to everyone. WareIQ has empowered brands to sell more, sell faster & sell everywhere due to: Access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres & urban dark stores near their customersAccess to all major national & hyperlocal last mile couriers at discounted rates for making same/next day deliveries possibleEasy integration across multiple online platforms & marketplacesHorizontal marketplaces: Flipkart, Amazon etc.Vertical marketplaces: Nykaa, Myntra etc.D2C platforms: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.Social commerce platforms: BikayiAccess to a superior centralised tech platform for eCommerce operationsML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages (Branded tracking page with smart marketing placements; Trigger-based updates & smart communication platform) WareIQ has customised offerings for merchants experiencing different order volumes as well as having different delivery speed expectations. WareIQ is probably one of the very few fulfilment tech companies in the world that have same day delivery offering for their customers under their product “WareIQ RUSH”. With world-class WMS functionalities, WareIQ handles the entire range of intricate operations in the eCommerce fulfilment process, ranging from Inbound Operations such as scanning and quality check, through 100% accurate Pick and Pack, to Inventory Management across all channels. WareIQ’s next day delivery and same day delivery services are helping eCommerce businesses set new standards with respect to setting customer expectations and fulfilling them with high efficacy. At the same time, WareIQ customers realize significant cost savings and wider reach due to better negotiations with shipping partners, strategically placed warehouses, economies of scale and scope in warehousing and data-driven decision making. WareIQ’s WMS, a centralised tech platform, is its core offering, with the following functionalities: Shipping Management Integration to all major national couriers and same-day courier partners through WareIQ platform with discounted ratesGeneration of bulk shipping labels & invoices in a few clicksOffering a branded tracking page and sending auto-alerts to inform customers of their shipment statusReduction in RTO % (Return to origin) by automating cases of failed delivery attempts (NDRs) by the shipping partnerPreemption of COD frauds through integrated AI engine flagging risky ordersOrders managementTracking of orders across the channels Filtering of orders by statusSearching for specific ordersA quick timeline view of where the order is in the fulfillment process (e.g. when an order is picked, packed, or shipped)Shipping-related information (e.g., weights, dimensions, or carrier service) A quick snapshot of any orders that require actionSyncing WareIQ’s out-of-the-box integrations with sales channels to eliminate manual importing of data and trigger all the necessary notifications to the end-customersInventory managementTracking of inventory levels across multiple locations & sales channels – the website and marketplacesUsing WareIQ platform to distribute inventory to multiple locations optimizing for speed & cost/orderSetting reminders to proactively replenish inventory, bundle products for promotions, make inventory transfer requests, and much moreWarehouse managementManaging multiple warehouses and offline stores on WareIQ platform100% inventory accuracy with scan-based operationsAutomated reconciliation tool helps to keep track of returns and unsettled invoicesIntegrations with all major ERP & Accounting systemsFulfilled By Amazon and Prime StatusAssured tag on Flipkart without physically dedicating inventory to them The central platform helps to better manage undelivered orders by reducing NDR processing time by 12 hours – a multifunctional NDR dashboard helps to track and take immediate action for undelivered orders in real-time, thereby reducing RTO by up to 10%. Automatic replenishment recommendations and easy purchase order creation capabilities on the WareIQ platform further empower eCommerce companies to leverage all possible ways of increasing their ROI. [signup] Best 3PL for Small Business FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What are the three types of 3pl company? • Asset Based• Management Based• Integrated Providers What are the benefits of a 3PL provider for small business? • Time Efficient• Drive Cost Savings• Ensures Good Customer Service• Gains Flexibility and Scalability• Enables Business Growth and Market Expansion How does 3PL charge money?3PL procurement companies either charge per-project fees or account retainer fees depending on the complexity and frequency of business needs. What is 3PL procurement?Third Party Logistics Services, also known as 3PL are anything that involves management of one or more aspects of procurement and fulfillment activities. In the ecommerce business, 3PL refers to any service contract that involves storing or shipment of goods.
May 28, 2022
Dropshipping vs 3PL: What is Right for Your Business?
As a business owner, it takes a lot more than having the right products and a seamless ordering experience to be successful. The real task begins when the customer makes a purchase. How will the order fulfillment be carried out? In the interest of answering this question, we delve deeper into the top differences between dropshipping vs 3PL fulfillment, in 2022. To make sure that the brand's visibility increases, revenues get generated and more sales take place, SMEs and startups need to ensure that they make the right choice between dropshipping and 3PL fulfillment, for their requirements and ensure that customers experience a quick and smooth delivery process. To make that magic happen, it's important to have a strategy and process in place for order fulfillment. What is Dropshipping Fulfillment and How Does It Work? Dropshipping, also known as consumer direct fulfillment, is a business strategy in which online retailers collaborate with manufacturers or suppliers to distribute products directly to customers. An eCommerce merchant does not purchase or store an inventory of the products for sale in this arrangement. They offer it on their websites and get it delivered directly to the buyer from their supplier or manufacturing network. The Dropshipping Fulfillment Process eCommerce sellers add products to their online storesCustomer orders a product from the online platform of choice where the store is locatedThe customer is invoiced for the product and an additional shipping feeThe seller now replicates the order with the manufacturer or supplier networkThe supplier/manufacturer packages the order and ships it directly to the customer While the seller is responsible for product marketing and customer service, the inventory management, warehouse management and logistics are handled by the manufacturer or wholesale supplier. Dropshipping fulfillment allows retailers and distributors to extend their product offerings without having to increase the amount of inventory they keep on hand. [contactus_lilgoodness] Common Misconceptions about Dropshipping Fulfillment Dropshipping is an order fulfillment model that has gained popularity over the years and has a successful business model. But it is a bit different from order fulfillment & there are some common misconceptions about this fulfillment method that causes sellers to shy away from leveraging it and utilising it to the fullest potential. Some of the common misconceptions of dropshipping are: 1. Dropshipping fulfillment is quick and easy to start No. Dropshipping as a fulfillment model is smart and simple, but it requires a lot of research and networking to enter the competitive market and thrive. Entering the eCommerce business, especially as a new player, requires patience, research, planning and continuous improvement to stay relevant in the market and earn profits. Before stepping into the dropshipping business, sellers need to: Pick a niche.Investigate the products of competitors.Look for reliable dropshipping companies and build a network.Create an online store and get onto eCommerce platforms like Amazon.Promote the business.Analyze and improve the store's performance. 2. Dropshipping fulfillment does not have any upfront costs To have a successful dropshipping business, it is important to have a great online store and a good online marketing strategy. While the investment may seem lower than setting up a store that requires inventory and storage, there are still significant costs involved to get business visibility and attract customers. Purchasing a domain and setting up the online store with attractive product pages, browser and device compatibility, responsiveness and live chat support are all key elements to building the brand and improving customer experience.Apart from this, advertising efforts on social media platforms and having good SEO content marketing are also regular expenses that businesses need to account for.Dropshipping fulfillment is only suitable for small-scale businesses. This is not true. Businesses of any scale can follow a dropshipping fulfillment model. SMEs and startups can easily scale their business and have a more streamlined order fulfillment process with dropshipping, but will need a bit more capital to purchase the right products from the supplier network inventory 3. Dropshipping businesses need to be located in the same location as their suppliers No. While many think that the business needs to be located in the same country as their suppliers, dropshipping can be completed from any part of the world. This is an order fulfillment method where global retailers can have an extensive supplier network and serve global customers from any corner of the world. The key here is visibility to the customers and having a reliable manufacturer and supplier network that can fulfil orders efficiently.Dropshipping is a great way for quick and easy sales and profits The eCommerce space is a highly competitive one, especially with all of the digitization taking place. Finding a niche and building a supplier network takes time and effort and business owners need to go through a lot of trial-and-error to find the right products for the target audience. Research and quality checks are also needed before products are listed in the store and it is important to make sure that there are no fallouts or delayed delivery times. What is 3PL Fulfillment? 3PL Fulfillment companies handle inventories, process orders, and ship items on behalf of other businesses. Business owners can partner with 3PL fulfillment companies to store, package, and ship their products to customers. Outsourcing fulfillment services to a third party Fulfillment logistics company, such as inventory management, monitoring SKU sales performance, forecasting customer demand, packaging and shipping orders, and so on, allows businesses to concentrate on product manufacturing, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction. 3PL Fulfillment Process Businesses manufacture the products or source them from their supplier networkProducts are sent to the order fulfillment centre for storageCustomers place an order from an online store or preferred platformCustomers are invoiced and order details are shared with the 3PL partnerThe fulfillment partner processes the order, packages it and ships it directly to the customer Pros and Cons of 3PL Fulfillment Order fulfillment setbacks for startups and SMEs can harm their business and operational efficiency. As the company grows and attracts customers from all around the world, creating an order fulfillment system in-house gets more difficult. Customer satisfaction and revenues can suffer if the order fulfillment process is inefficient. As a result, the company's reputation is also affected. A third-party order fulfillment partner can assist with inventory management and the end-to-end process of delivering the order to the customer. Pros of 3PL Fulfillment Experts and experienced partners take care of the heavy lifting of order fulfillment.Simplified logistics help business owners concentrate on creating more impactful business outcomes.Scalability and flexible service options to help manage the business and better maintain customer satisfaction.Less expensive shipping with the ability of 3PL partners to manage labour and transportation.Faster delivery to improve customer satisfaction and generate recurring sales.Inventory is stored and managed at fulfillment centres, freeing up the need for additional storage space and inventory management in-house. Greater connectivity with fulfillment centres being available in multiple locations. This helps improve efficiency, costs and provides a quicker order delivery. Cons of 3PL Fulfillment Inventory is limited to what the business owns. This means monitoring the stock levels, analysing trends and restocking inventory to avoid shortage.Inventory delivery is the business's responsibility. Third-party logistics partners will not be responsible for replenishing stocks without the business owner having them ready to be inventoried at the fulfillment centre.Requires upfront investment to pay for the 3PL services like ecommerce eCommerce warehousing and distribution.Bad service from the 3PL partner can affect brand reputation. Not providing a good tracking and delivery experience to the customer can impact sales and customer loyalty. Dropshipping vs 3PL Fulfillment: Why are These Models Important? The dynamics of customer order fulfillment have changed. The days of shopping in stores are long gone. The majority of orders are now placed online. As a result, businesses have had to alter their order management procedures. While some fulfil orders from their stores, offer in-store pickup, or have suppliers ship directly to the consumer, others continue to fulfil orders through their distribution centres (DCs). It is critical to use the correct order fulfillment strategy to boost sales, maintain a positive brand image, and cultivate a loyal client base. Dropshipping vs 3PL Fulfillment: Top Differences [table id=11 /] Dropshipping vs 3PL Fulfillment: Benefits Compared The main advantage of third party fulfillment is that it saves the business a significant amount of time. By outsourcing the order fulfillment process, business owners can invest time in critical business operations like marketing, sales, product design, and so on. Furthermore, businesses can scale by integrating third-party order fulfillment services with platforms such as Shopify, Meesho, Amazon, Flipkart and more. This in turn reduces the order fulfillment time as the ecommerce logistics partner detects and processes new incoming orders. Dropshipping fulfillment allows entrepreneurs to start a business quickly and easily. Since the cost for inventory or storage is limited, the investment required can be focused on improving brand visibility and customer attraction. Dropshipping also provides access to a diverse choice of products as business owners research and build their vendor and supplier network. Dropshipping vs 3PL Fulfillment: What is Right for Your Business? The costs of dropshipping fulfillment are low enough for startups and SMEs to begin their eCommerce journey. This can play an important factor when businesses lack the infrastructure for storage and shipment. Dropshipping is a great order fulfillment option for new businesses that Have limited financial resources.The desire to try out new products, markets, or marketing tactics.Do not want to invest in their own warehouse space or employees. For eCommerce stores that sell their own unique products, third party fulfillment is ideal. As long as product customisations are not needed for each consumer, all the business needs to do is send batches to the logistics partner, who will take care of the inventory management, packing, shipping and delivery. 3PL fulfillment is a great option for businesses that are scaling up and have large daily order volumes.don't have the labour or resources to finish the order fulfillment process in-house.have sufficient upfront capital to partner with a 3PL provider In most cases, the benefits of 3PL logistics outweigh the cons. Why is WareIQ the Best 3PL Partner in India for eCommerce Sellers? When evaluating order fulfillment approaches, cost, quality, and control should all be considered. The good news is that changing the fulfillment process to meet business requirements is simple for startups and SMEs. Businesses can choose a procedure they trust and work towards developing their brand and consumer base after careful deliberation and assessing the advantages and downsides. After going through the entire article, you would have understood the benefits of outsourcing your fulfillment needs to a 3PL partner over dropshipping. WareIQ with its full-stack eCommerce fulfillment solution can not only help you with the last-mile delivery requirements but also with the entire end-to-end business operations. Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfillment services in India for some of the most reputed brands. WareIQ offers a full-stack platform for eCommerce companies to enable same-day delivery and next day delivery to customers – an Amazon Prime-like experience but accessible to everyone. WareIQ has empowered brands to sell more, sell faster & sell everywhere due to: Access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres, micro fulfillment centers & urban dark stores near their customersAccess to all major national & hyperlocal last-mile couriers at discounted rates for making same/next day deliveries possibleEasy integration across multiple online platforms & marketplacesHorizontal marketplaces: Flipkart, Amazon etc.Vertical marketplaces: Nykaa, Myntra etc.D2C platforms: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.Social commerce platforms: BikayiAccess to a superior centralised tech platform for eCommerce operationsML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages (Branded tracking page with smart marketing placements; Trigger-based updates & smart communication platform) WareIQ has customised offerings for merchants experiencing different order volumes as well as having different delivery speed expectations. WareIQ is probably one of the very few fulfilment tech companies in the world that have same-day delivery offering for their customers under their product “WareIQ RUSH”. With world-class WMS functionalities, WareIQ handles the entire range of intricate operations in the eCommerce fulfilment process, ranging from Inbound Operations such as scanning and quality check, through 100% accurate Pick and Pack, to Inventory Management across all channels. WareIQ’s next day delivery and same day delivery service are helping eCommerce businesses set new standards with respect to setting customer expectations and fulfilling them with high efficacy. At the same time, WareIQ customers realise significant cost savings and wider reach due to better negotiations with shipping partners, strategically placed warehouses, economies of scale and scope in warehousing and data-driven decision making. WareIQ's WMS, a centralised tech platform helps to better manage undelivered orders by reducing NDR processing time by 12 hours – a multifunctional NDR dashboard helps to track and take immediate action for undelivered orders in real-time, thereby reducing RTO by up to 10%. Automatic replenishment recommendations and easy purchase order creation capabilities on the WareIQ platform further empower eCommerce companies to leverage all possible ways of increasing their ROI. [signup] Dropshipping vs 3PL FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What are the advantages of 3PL over dropshipping?• An infinite supply of inventory• Exceptionally scalable and adaptable• Maximum convenience at lowest cost• Helps you save time and money• Good customer experience What is the one similarity between dropshipping and 3PL?The retail store does not handle the items in either the drop shipment or 3PL procedures. This means that third-party companies in 3PL handle product packaging and shipping, making it easier for online sellers. What are the benefits of dropshipping?• Less capital investment• Easier than 3PL to start • Low overhead expenses • Flexible locations • Deal in variety of products What are the disadvantages of dropshipping?• Limited Profits • Less control over Inventory • Shipping is slow and expensive What would you choose, Dropshipping or 3PL?Dropshipping is an easy way and sometimes worth starting too. But the profit margin might be minimal as compared to 3PL. In short A retailer has a lot to gain by using the 3PL service.
May 28, 2022
10 Best Small Business Fulfillment Companies In 2022
The e-commerce industry is experiencing the same surreal growth as the Indian economy as a whole. Small businesses fulfillment companies have arrived to help them flourish, as they have tended to be the slowest to adopt the growing trend of online ordering and fulfillment. Many of them lack the necessary finances and resources to make it big in this business. In this article, we take a look at the disadvantages small businesses may face, the benefits of small business fulfillment companies, and why it would make sense for them to partner with a fulfillment center for small businesses to be successful. Why Use Small Business Fulfillment Companies? You may wonder why small businesses (e.g., eCommerce startups) would want the hassle of working with a fulfillment companies in India. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier – and more efficient – in doing it themselves? The answer is easy: While self-fulfillment may appear cheaper and more hassle-free in the beginning, a small business quickly realizes the time, effort, resources, and expertise required in managing the logistics and distribution involved in a successful business. It quickly dawns upon them that they’re better off outsourcing this task to an expert. It saves money, brings best-in-class expertise, and saves real estate. Therefore, the benefits of small business fulfillment services are endless! Some Leading Advantages of Fulfillment Centers for Small Businesses Inventory managementWarehouse outsourcingBenefit from 3PL economies-of-scaleBest in class technology, software systems & data analyticsReduced number of employeesOrder processingReturn-order processing [contactus_lilgoodness] But Why do Fulfillment Companies Reject Small Business Clients? The barrier that new clients (e.g., eCommerce startups, D2Cs) face in finding a fulfillment center for small businesses is primarily related to order volume. Fulfillment is a high-volume business with low margins. And, unless clients promise a MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity), the fulfillment companies simply won’t find it profitable. Therefore, while the benefits are evident, small businesses must also carefully select the type of small business fulfillment companies to partner with. Weighing all the factors carefully in choosing the right fulfillment center for your businesses ensures a suitable match for both sides. Are There Any Exceptions? The timing of tying up with a fulfillment center for small businesses is an important one. You may want to get off the ground first and then partner with one, or if you are entirely cash-crunched, you’d like to wait till you have sufficient funds. Also, outsourcing may be unfeasible for manufacturing firms that use a JIT (just-in-time) supply chain. However, these are more of an exception than the norm and in most cases, using small business fulfillment companies brings immense value to those businesses. Significance of Small Business Fulfillment Services Small businesses, eCommerce startups, newly launched offline companies, and rapidly growing fledgling businesses are consumed with a host of frenetic daily business activities to manage their operations. And, when these companies are trying to achieve scale rapidly, such activities become greatly amplified. Under such a scenario, a small business is much better off focusing its efforts on business growth and customer-satisfaction-related activities against spending the time and effort needed to execute the logistics and distribution function. That’s not to say that the logistics process isn’t an essential part of managing the business – in fact, quite the contrary! In today’s times of global and borderless marketplaces, managing your delivery and logistics is an even more vital tool to achieve customer satisfaction. Often, a company’s differential advantage arises from this aspect. Therefore, all the more reason why the team is better off outsourcing this function to experts - like a fulfillment center for small businesses - is so that they can be reassured that it is in good hands. How do Small Business Fulfillment Companies Deal with Minimum Order Requirements for Fulfillment Services? A fulfillment center for small businesses manages your inventory, processes, and dispatches your orders on your behalf. Since they have several clients (online & offline), they need to know the order volumes they can expect from each platform to plan their operations, invest in resources, and create workforces accordingly. As a result, they set limits, both minimum and maximum. This enables them to plan their resources and provide the best possible service to their clients. It also helps them calculate their critical internal metrics such as the number of vehicles, loaders, suppliers, storage space, MIS, full-time and part-time employees, drivers, slab-based pricing for various clients, etc. Read on to know more in detail about how order fulfillment services for small business here. Typically, small business fulfillment services use the following metrics to bracket clients: Minimum Monthly-Order-Quantity (MOQ), e.g., less than 500, 500-1000, 1000+Minimum Monthly-Order-Value (MOV)Minimum monthly-fulfillment fees. If your bill doesn’t hit the minimum (e.g., Rs.50,000), you would still be billed that amount.A minimum number of trucks/ pallets/ tonnage (etc.) is sent out every month. New or growing businesses like eCommerce startups must carefully calculate their requirements while negotiating with a fulfillment center for small businesses. This helps them to get the best rates and service from 3PLs. Given below are essential metrics for small-business clients to consider while committing to MOQs: Forecasting demand: Start with demand forecasting, i.e., the recorded demand for your products. Provide for scale, cyclical demand, seasonality, competitors, etc.Calculate your break-even point: This requires a solid understanding of your business model, including: Number of units sold to make a profit that covers operating-costNumber of units sold to make a profitOther costs, e.g., inventory carrying costs, overheadsUse MOV (Minimum Order Value): If you sell a basket of products, you could commit to a monthly MOV to your small business fulfillment company, i.e., you may not meet the MOQ for each product, but if you achieve a combined MOV, they would still give you reasonable rates and service. Collaborate with other same-space players: Combining with other companies in your ecosystem that use similar supply-chain, raw materials, etc., will help you reduce your operating costs. This allows you to earn more profit, grow your business faster, etc.Leverage the new business angle: Explain to your small business fulfillment company that you are still setting up and testing market conditions, demand, etc. And after gauging the results, you would gradually increase the quantity. Often, small business fulfillment services will be agreeable. Benefits of Using a Fulfillment Center for Small Businesses 1. Rapid growth: Small-business owners and teams must rapidly focus on growing their businesses by logical extension of the section above. And, you certainly wouldn’t want this growth to be restrained due to poor fulfillment. Partnering with a 3PL with a vast range of resources ensures your fulfillment partner matches your speed and enhances it. 2. Seamless integration of eCommerce platforms: Instead of grappling with integrating various individual systems, you’re better off using an experienced 3PL to integrate all your eCommerce platforms for a unified, comprehensive solution. This setup is guaranteed to reduce cost and time. 3. 3PL discounted rates: Small business fulfillment companies serve numerous clients and operate at a tremendous scale. Therefore, they can command bulk discounts from shippers like UPS, BlueDart, & FedEx on rates and get better terms of service. Thus, when you use 3PLs, you can avail of these bulk-discount rates and facilities – despite not reaching that scale yourself. 4. Own warehouse not needed: Using a fulfillment center for small businesses means you don’t need to own and manage your warehouse. This is very expensive, but it also requires massive resources and adherence to stringent practices to be effective. 5. Ease of selling internationally: When you sell across borders, dealing with various tax regimes, travel zones, international laws, customs, duties, and documentation becomes a significant challenge. It is common knowledge that a significant bottleneck of expanding internationally is dealing with global fulfillment. Using an order fulfillment service for startups reduces that burden. 6. Leverage 3PL expertise: Experts are good at what they do. And small business fulfillment companies are experts in providing 3PL fulfillment services. So, it is in your interest to outsource all your inventory and fulfillment activities to them, leaving you to concentrate on your company's growth. Top 10 Small Businesses Fulfillment Companies and Startups WareIQShopify Fulfillment NetworkRed Stag FulfillmentShipMonkeFulfillment ServiceShipBobFedEx FulfillmentWhitebox ShipheroSaltbox The following 3PLs have a reputation of being conducive to small businesses, can work without minimum order quantities or even with small amounts, and have received positive reviews from small-businesses owners. Source WareIQ Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfilment services for some of the most reputed brands in India. WareIQ offers a full-stack platform for eCommerce companies to enable same-day delivery and next day delivery to customers – an Amazon Prime-like experience but accessible to everyone. WareIQ has empowered brands to sell more, sell faster & sell everywhere due to: Access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres, micro-fulfillment centers & urban dark stores near their customersAccess to all major national & hyperlocal last-mile couriers at discounted rates for making same/next day deliveries possibleEasy integration across multiple online platforms & marketplaces enhancing multi-channel sellingHorizontal marketplaces: Flipkart, Amazon etc.Vertical marketplaces: Nykaa, Myntra etc.D2C platforms: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.Social commerce platforms: BikayiAccess to a superior centralised tech platform for eCommerce operationsML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages (Branded tracking page with smart marketing placements; Trigger-based updates & smart communication platform) WareIQ has customised offerings for merchants experiencing different order volumes as well as having different delivery speed expectations. WareIQ is probably one of the very few fulfilment tech companies in the world that have same-day delivery service for their customers under their product WareIQ RUSH. With world-class WMS functionalities, WareIQ handles the entire range of intricate operations in the eCommerce fulfilment process, ranging from Inbound Operations such as scanning and quality check, through 100% accurate Pick and Pack, to Inventory Management across all channels. WareIQ’s next day delivery and same-day delivery services are helping eCommerce businesses set new standards with respect to setting customer expectations and fulfilling them with high efficacy. At the same time, WareIQ customers realise significant cost savings and wider reach due to better negotiations with shipping partners, strategically placed warehouses, economies of scale and scope in warehousing and data-driven decision making. WareIQ’s WMS, a centralised tech platform, helps to better manage undelivered orders by reducing NDR processing time by 12 hours – a multifunctional NDR dashboard helps to track and take immediate action for undelivered orders in real time, thereby reducing RTO by up to 10%. Automatic replenishment recommendations and easy purchase order creation capabilities on the WareIQ platform further empower eCommerce companies to leverage all possible ways of increasing their ROI. 300+ brands, such as The Man Company, Future Group, Kama Ayurveda and Wingreens Farms, have trusted WareIQ as a reliable partner in their growth journeys. No minimum order quantity requirements make it suitable even for eCommerce firms having low order quantities to take advantage of the latest trends such as next day delivery and same day delivery. The onboarding process is simple, convenient and less time consuming, while the pricing policy is clear and transparent. WareIQ also undertakes strict safety precautions at its warehouses and complete ownership of the operations, thereby minimising the risk exposure of WareIQ customers. Source Shopify Fulfillment Network It was launched in 2006 in Ottawa, Canada and was specifically targeted at small-business clients. It is an excellent option for small businesses but still provides ample space for clients to expand into enterprises. Its platform is utilised by over 1.7 million businesses in over 175 countries. Clients can ship fewer than 10 orders or exceed a 1000 orders, daily. It suggests locations for inventory storage. Locations are vetted by Shopify and facilitated by a panel of fulfillment services across Canada and the USA. They have flexible contracts and customized pricing. They offer a custom API to track order progress and insights. Some features offered by Shopify are: Mobile commerce ready: Online Shopify stores contain an in-built, mobile commerce shopping cart. Customers can shop from the seller's store digitally, through a smartphone or tablet. Automatic carrier shipping rates: Shipping rates can be received automatically through major shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx. Flexible shipping rates: Shipping rates can be set up according to fixed-price, tiered pricing, weight-based, and location-based rates. Customer profiles: Sellers can get more information about their customers and their preferences. Their personal information such as contact info and order history can be found in one place. Digital products: Customers can order and download digital products right from the seller's online store. Red Stag Fulfillment Source It is conducive for small businesses and maintains numerous fulfillment centers. Hence, it offers quick delivery times and reduced costs. A 30-day trial is also offered. The company has tie-ups with market leaders like WooCommerce and Shopify. As per statistics, 100% of orders are shipped on time and to an accurate location. Typically, the MOQ is set at 200 orders per month, but fewer orders can be shipped. It works with Amazon Prime and ships internationally. Some features offered by Red Stag Fulfillment are: Warehousing: 3 existing warehouses in the US are available for inventory storage and 3 more warehouses are expected to be added to their fulfillment network in the near future. Order fulfillment: Red Stag's fulfillment process consists of specialized training, handling, packaging, and shipping deals and makes it a unique proposition for merchandise that requires special handling. Same-day fulfillment with quick cutoff times, and heavy-duty packaging are also available. Shipping: Red Stag partners with the biggest names in distribution - UPS, USPS, FedEx, Amazon, and OnTrac - most of which offer discounted rates. Integrations: Red Stag offers integrations with eCommerce shopping carts and seller marketplaces. Special services: Unique services offered by Red Stag include kitting, custom packaging, bundling, reverse logistics, international shipping, and more. Source Shipmonk It offers services to all eCommerce firms. Fees are based on monthly order volumes, and no MOQ is set. Inventory storage fees are fixed depending on the size and scale. Provide discounted rates from all leading shippers. Picking fees gradually reduce as your order pickups increase. In addition to Amazon Seller fulfillment, it also fulfills orders from non-conventional marketplaces like Groupon and Etsy. Some features offered by Shipmonk are: Multiple Warehouses: Shipmonk offers multiple warehouses, located all across the country. Free Integrations: Shipmonk has over 100 shopping cart and marketplace integrations, usually with free setup. Transparent Billing: Their billing process offers a precise breakdown of costs in the portal so customers can maximise on budgeting efficiency. Freight Management: A specialised engineer can help in case you need to import inventory by guiding you through the process of filing the correct documentation and coordinating freight. Returns Management: Shipping labels for customers can be created directly in your account and alerts are sounded when a return enters back into the warehouse. Source eFulfillment Service You don’t need any long-term contracts. There are no MOQ requirements or setup costs for initiation. The company offers competitive pricing and an efficient cross-docking facility, i.e., orders shipped out upon arrival, cutting out any holding or storage costs. It is a good option for crowd-funded firms to test the market fit for new products by shipping them to promoters and backers. Some features offered by eFulfillment Service are: Simple, affordable pricing: There are no setup fees, long-term contracts, minimum order requirements, hidden fees, or fine print. Friendly terms for e-commerce startups: They provide outsourced fulfillment that is specifically targeted at startups. Integration with global distributors: They have integrations with every big name in distribution services such as DHL, Fedex etc. Order Fulfillment technology: They offer things like custom tracking software and customisable alerts to keep customers updated about the fulfillment status of their order. Best-in-class security: Their secure technology infrastructure ensures that your data is kept safe and protected. Source ShipBob Ship Bob is popular with eCommerce firms and is used by more than 5,000 online businesses. There are no MOQ requirements and its pricing plans are simple and transparent. It offers a growth plan service that suits fledgling start-ups with less than 400 orders per month. There are zero onboarding charges, payment is as per usage and it implements a self-service model. It is useful for flash sales and is integrated with BigCommerce, Amazon and Shopify. It offers a global shipment network and claims an impressive on-time delivery and accuracy rate of 99+%. Some features offered by ShipBob are: Large fulfillment network: ShipBob has multiple warehouses and fulfillment centers that enable sellers to manage their inventory by keeping a certain amount of stock in multiple warehouses. Web-based platform: ShipBob’s web-based platform helps you to keep an eye on logistics, manage, edit, and customize orders, track real-time stock levels from any location, and receive notifications whenever inventory needs to be restocked. Guaranteed 2-day shipping: ShipBob offers a 95% plus 2 day shipping fulfillment plan, regardless of where the order has to be delivered. Omnifulfillment: ShipBob fulfills orders for both online and offline channels to help provide a consistent customer experience, regardless of where people buy your products. B2B fulfillment: With ShipBob, you can easily connect to retailers for EDI-automated wholesale and retail workflows, and print retailer-compliant packing slips. Source FedEx Fulfillment It is a fulfillment company that is attractive for small businesses due to its one-stop fulfillment. It is a reputed, credible brand that is now hugely popular with start-ups because of its comprehensive one-stop solution. There are no onboarding charges. Their services include fulfillment, inventory storage, shipping, and packing. Clients benefit from its scale (like receiving significant shipping discounts) since its 3PL business is tied with its parent company. They do have a MOQ of 400 orders, but many benefits are offered in return. Some features offered by FedEx Fulfillment are: Warehousing: FedEx consists of 13 warehouses in the US and 1 international fulfillment center, that are all connected to FedEx's comprehensive transportation network. Order fulfillment: Through automation and process streamlining, FedEx Fulfillment ensures a reduction in the number of people handling each order, which increases efficiency and reduces the scope of errors. Shipping: FedEx Fulfillment only supports FedEx shipping services, but the offers worldwide fulfillment in over 200 countries. Reverse logistics: FedEx Fulfillment is a just a tiny portion of all services offered by FedEx’s extensive logistics business, so users have access to all of FedEx’s other services, including industry-leading return management services. Integrations: Integrations are offered with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, and a many more. Source Whitebox It is popular with sellers on Amazon as well as other B2C sellers. It offers several services to facilitate sellers operating on Amazon. It differentiates itself from it’s competitors since it offers marketing services in addition to order-fulfillment, making it convenient for clients. There is a flat monthly fee for using its platform which includes inventory storage, software, account handling, shipping, receiving, and processing. It does have a MOQ of 1,000 orders but has several success stories of small businesses that started with them and grew to become much larger firms. Some features offered by Whitebox are: eCommerce software: Whitebox uses its proprietary technology, Omnifi™ throughout the entire lifecycle of order fulfillment. This gives sellers access to insights and metrics about their customers and order fulfilment process. Marketplace management: Sellers can access tools to automate and simplify the management of online marketplaces, including review alerts, order tracking, reseller tracking and more. Warehouse and Inventory Management: Whitebox offers a flexible warehouse management system that gives brands valuable live insights into inventory. Optimised packaging and shipping: They offer recommendations about the best type of packaging for different types of products to help reduce damage and maintain a great customer experience. National and international coverage: Strategically located warehouses result in cost-effective shipping wherever the customer is located. Source Shiphero It has zero setup charges and offers two solutions – fulfillment and warehouse software. These are very helpful for eCommerce firms and start-ups. The order-fulfillment service is completely automated and runs across hundreds of company-owned warehouses. It is a very popular small business fulfillment company and is used by over 5,000 brands. Some features offered by Shiphero are: Order fulfillment: They smartly distribute and store your inventory across a country-wide network of warehouses, which offers faster delivery at a lower cost. Diverse Integrations: They are integrated with leading eCommerce, marketplace, shipping and robotics platforms. Mobile pick & pack: The order pickers are sent into the warehouse with mobile tech that makes picking faster and more efficient and cuts error rates by 99.99%. Rate Shopping: Using ShipHero’s real-time ship rate shopping enables you to save on postage. The cheapest carrier will always be suggested. Reporting: Built-in reporting features cover everything from COGS to Picker/Packer Efficiency to Replenishment. Custom reports are available as well. Source Saltbox It is a fulfillment company that is suitably designed for start-ups and small-business clients. There are no MOQ requirements. The company provides discounted shipping rates from leading shippers like FedEx, DHL, & UPS. It offers warehousing and workspaces, which is unique and helpful and is integrated with WooCommerce, Shopify and Etsy, among others. Some features offered by Saltbox are: Reduced transit time: They offer local drop-off which results in a reduction in both time taken to deliver the order and cost. Guaranteed inventory replenishment: They offer 24-hour guaranteed dock-to-stock on inventory Same-day fulfillment: They offer same-day shipping fulfillment for orders received by 3 PM Free packaging: They offer standard packaging at no additional cost. No penalty fees: There are no setup, onboarding or any other type of penalty fee that is applicable. Top 5 Factors to Consider While Selecting Your Small Business Fulfillment Company Firstly, select a small business fulfillment company that suits your business requirements. Just like players in any industry have their focus areas, so do 3PLs. Some are specialized, while others offer general logistics. Typically, 3PLs are classified into two categories: General Purpose 3PL: Services range from transportation to storage. Generally handle cargo that doesn’t need any special care, packing, etc., and is fairly inexpensive.Niche-Specific 3PL: Serve specific markets and categories, e.g., eCommerce, certified 3PLs for special products, perishable goods, etc. Also, Consider the Following Points to Analyze which 3PL Suits Your Small Business Requirements Technology Only through modern technology like cloud storage, AI, ML, IoT, Data Analytics (etc.) can a 3PL provide you with real-time, transparent, and efficient services. Scalability While you still may be a small business, you would undoubtedly be looking to scale. Unless a 3PL has resources that can serve you as you expand, it isn’t the correct one for you. Financial Strength Select a financially stable 3PL since you will be dependent on them for an essential function of your business – you certainly don’t want customer packages held up because your 3PL is facing cash-flow issues or is going out of business! Industry Expertise This is a critical consideration. When a 3PL is experienced in your industry, they bring knowledge and experience. Since a small business is only just starting, this expertise is valuable. Transparent Rate Structure While various 3PLs have their rates and tariff structure, you must select one whose tariff card is easy to calculate and understand. This is important for estimating your operating costs, breakeven points, and profitability. Typical cost-heads include storage, shipping, onboarding, order processing, etc. Additionally, consider points like a 3PL’s management skills, warehouse locations and maintenance, work culture, and disaster preparedness. Finally, look for 3PLs that typically don’t ask small businesses to commit to long-term contracts or command hefty fees upfront. Limitations and Challenges in Dealing with Small Business Fulfillment Services Small businesses that partner with 3PLs may likely have to opt for those willing to work with small businesses in the first place. This could mean using a second-rung small business fulfillment company or accepting that the fulfillment center for small businesses will not immediately assign their best resources to you since you aren’t a cash cow for them (at least not immediately). As a result, several challenges exist in the working relationship between small businesses and their small-business fulfillment company. Some areas of possible friction or inefficiency are mentioned below: 1. Limited warehouses and shipping locations: With increasing Ecommerce competition, delivering customer parcels at the earliest (and cheapest) is now a critical function. The location of your 3PLs fulfillment centers directly determines your delivery times. Unless your 3PL has an elaborate network of warehouses and fulfillment locations, both central and satellite, they will not be able to achieve optimized delivery times. 2. Complicated fulfillment systems: 3PLs use the latest and modern technologies to manage their logistics and distribution operations. These elaborate back-end platforms power their businesses and seamlessly integrate with clients’ MIS. However, given that such fulfillment systems are vast in their scope, a small business may find it overly complicated and difficult to understand or negotiate. Remember, small businesses like eCommerce sellers are still boot-strapping or only just finding their feet. Therefore, assigning precious resources to a task that is outsourced for its convenience in the first place is counter-productive. 3. Inefficient handling of order returns: Order returns are omnipresent in eCommerce – they will be a part of your daily operations. When you use a 3PL, your logistics are set up for order returns to reach their warehouse directly. However, suppose your 3PL isn’t set up to handle this efficiently and to the customer's satisfaction, including replacements, refunds, discounts on future orders, credit notes, restocking, returns to the manufacturer, etc., you will not only bleed profits but also create irate customers that will probably never return! 4. Customer Service: It is much more difficult to retain a customer than get a new one. Unfortunately, eCommerce firms lose billions of dollars every year due to poor customer relations and processes handling. With new firms trying to sell to the same audience, you must provide good – if not excellent - customer service. 5. Stock-out problems: This occurs when an item isn’t available because demand is outstripping supply. Again, while this is never a pleasant situation, it is something that the supply-side will have to deal with forever – the solution is to minimize its occurrence and, therefore, mitigate its damage. For that, suppliers and 3PLs need to understand historical order patterns across products, customer segments, high and low demand periods (etc.) and use this to predict future buying trends. Conclusion: Should you use a Small Business Fulfillment Companies for Your Fulfillment Needs? The benefits of using a fulfillment center for small businesses like an eCommerce startup are evident. The trick, however, is for the small business to understand their business model and consumers comprehensively so that they can make well-calculated projections and commitments to the 3PL while entering into a contract and negotiating terms and conditions. This will benefit the 3PL by getting the best rates, but it will also help them plan and implement their small business fulfillment services in the best possible way. One such company that offers small business fulfillment services is WareIQ. WareIQ is a category-defining, best-in-class full-stack eCommerce fulfillment tech platform (with inbuilt inventory planning, order management & shipping system) for modern brands to accelerate online sales/ expedite revenue growth & profits with same/next day delivery. We not only help you reduce your logistic costs but also your delivery timelines – this could be the game-changer your business needs! WareIQ offers a centralized tech platform for your entire eCommerce operations. ML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralized platform for core fulfillment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for a delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages [signup] Small Business Fulfillment Companies FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Which are the 5 best fulfillment companies for small business?• WareIQ• Shopify Fulfillment Network• Red Stag Fulfillment• ShipMonk• eFulfillment Service Why is the right time to hire order fulfillment companies for small businesses?Each owner decides at a different time and often for different dominant reasons as every business is unique. Generally the need for a fulfillment company arrives when one’s ecommerce business is booming and they want to expand their capacity without adding warehouse space or personnel. Startups/small businesses should make sure if they have a running website, and their business is well-documented and has a regulated structure. What are the main factors to look for in the Best Fulfillment services for small businesses and startups?• Location of the warehouse• Fulfillment service software used• Affordability • Security management system • Order Damages and Insurance Which location is best for fulfillment options?Deciding on the location for fulfillment services is crucial and is a major task. For instance if your inventory is based out of the country then you should make sure that your warehouse choice is placed nearby your business center.
May 28, 2022
8 Best Small Business Order Fulfillment Companies in 2022
When starting a small business and scaling up based on customer orders, every business owner needs to think about having them stored and shipped. While it's exciting when a sale is made, questions about where the products will be stored and how they would be transported to customers are pressing. With the rapid digitization and the COVID-19 pandemic, the eCommerce business has been thriving more than ever. Small businesses have had a chance to scale up during this time, but order fulfillment is a crucial part of making a business successful. It may be confusing to those starting out or even when small businesses need to optimize their order fulfillment and logistics processes. In this blog, we will talk about everything small businesses would want to know about order fulfillment in 2022 and the list of top 8 small business order fulfillment companies. What is Small Business Order Fulfillment? Small Business Order fulfillment comes into play after the customer has placed an order with the small business. This process involves storing the products, packaging them and shipping them to customers. There are many ways small businesses can manage order fulfillment. They can choose in-house management, partner with fulfillment partners, drop-ship their orders or even use a combination of different methods. The four major milestones of the order fulfillment process are: 1. Creating the order when the sale is made 2. Invoicing the customer for the order 3. Picking, packaging and preparing the shipment 4. Delivering the order to the customer's doorstep Order fulfillment involves receiving inbound wholesale shipments, sorting stock, and shelving inventory for efficient picking and packaging are all steps in the order fulfillment process. The products are then picked, tested for quality and accuracy, packed, and labelled for shipment as orders come in. Returns management (also known as reverse logistics) is often thought of as an extension of the fulfillment process. When a small business decides to do order fulfillment in-house, all stages of the process — storage, packing and shipping — needs to be completed by them. They can also partner with a 3PL fulfillment company to handle the process or even employ drop shipping, with the rest of the processes handled in-house. [contactus_uth] Challenges in Small Business Order Fulfillment Startups and SMEs face setbacks in the order fulfillment process that can affect success and operational efficiency. Creating an order fulfillment system has become challenging, as the business grows and begins attracting customers from all over the globe. Not having a streamlined order fulfillment process can have a negative impact on customer delight and revenue. This in turn damaged the business reputation. Some of the small business order fulfillment changes are: Demand Planning To have the right inventory stock, demand planning is important. Having the ability to predict the demand of the products based on customer buying habits is key to ensuring that businesses have a clear understanding of what to stock and what to hold back on. Inventory Control Maintaining a positive customer experience is important for SMEs and startups to flourish. Poor inventory management has a negative influence on everything from profitability to customer satisfaction, and it frequently leads to increased fulfillment costs and dead inventory stock. Small businesses usually struggle with effective inventory control to know exactly what they have, how much they have, and where it is. Supply Chain Having a good supply chain network is important for an effective order fulfillment process. Small businesses find it challenging to build ways to control each of the risks, reducing order fulfillment issues caused by unanticipated events. Multichannel Small businesses find it taxing to regularly ship the proper package, on time, and undamaged to the appropriate destination. Taking orders across various channels can make things even more complicated, with all the steps involved in the order fulfillment process. Due to a lack of real-time inventory control, eCommerce orders may be fulfilled at the expense of in-store product availability, or merchandise on the shelf vs in a shopping cart may be unaccounted for. Transport and Logistics Increasing transportation costs continue to have an impact on order fulfillment for small businesses, ultimately raising consumer prices. It is a challenge for SMEs and startups to achieve dispatch deadlines, resource management and ensure how client orders are prioritised. Strategies to Improve the Order Fulfillment Process for Small Businesses • Create a statistical forecast by analyzing sales trends, buying history and customer engagement to help make informed decisions for future demand planning. • Collaborate with customers, distributors and logistical partners to understand the demand vs. supply anticipation. • Analyse demands across channels to determine which platform allows for the most sales. • Improve demand forecasting with the help of predictive ordering software solutions to stay equipped for unforeseen demand spikes • Maintain clear stock visibility for overcoming small business order fulfillment issues like backorders, delays, and dissatisfied consumers. • Use the first-in, first-out (FIFO) approach to sell products that were produced first. Have a system in place to add new products and items from the back to push older items for sale to the front. • Identify low-turn stocks by evaluating products that weren't sold over the last 12 months. Have sales to have them sold and do not stock them until there is increased customer demand. • Audit stocks to ensure that inventory matches the predicted demand forecast • Leverage cloud-based inventory management systems with real-time analytics to ensure that there are surplus or out-of-stock items. • Track stock levels and prioritize the most expensive products first • Partner with proper suppliers to have a cohesive, collaborative supply chain. • Identify potential supply chain risks to evaluate all possibilities and their likelihood of occurring. What Are The Benefits of Using Order Fulfillment Services for Small Businesses? No matter how big or small the business is, an order fulfillment service helps in keeping track of complete fulfillment status; will keep track of physical goods inventory and manage the end-to-end process of getting the order to the customer. Order fulfillment firms frequently provide the following services: • Warehousing • Picking & packing • Shipping • Kitting • Logistics • Cross-docking • International shipping Some of the key benefits of using small business order fulfillment services are: • Maintaining inventory remotely by retaining stocks in the service provider's warehouses. These warehouses can be accessed on-demand or on a long-term basis at any preferred location, for a smooth order fulfillment experience for the customer. • Ensuring faster order delivery by reducing the distance between the product's source and the customer's location. Small businesses can easily utilize ecommerce warehouse fulfillment technologies provided by the service partner to store stock items in locations with the highest volume of orders. • Enhancing customer experience by invoking a positive response from customers on a quick and seamless delivery process. By providing a pleasant customer experience, small businesses can increase brand loyalty and drive recurring sales. • Leveraging technology to make delivery services seamless. Small business order fulfillment services use advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to enhance the accuracy of product sequencing, order fulfillment, product tracking and return order processing. Real-time updates on orders and track of stock and orders can also be easily achieved. • Focusing on product sales and revenue generation. By allowing service partners to look into the order fulfillment process, small businesses can prioritize critical functionalities such as marketing, product design, product diversification, and so on, resulting in improved sales. Latest Small Business Order Fulfillment Trends  Small businesses can navigate the order fulfillment challenges in 2022 as a result of the quick change to omnichannel retail and free and fast delivery. It is important to consider the latest trends in order fulfillment services for small businesses to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The latest small business order fulfillment trends include: Extensive Supplier Network The COVID-19 pandemic brought in a plethora of order delivery issues, with small businesses having the highest impact. With the demand outstripping supply, there were substantial worker and transportation shortages, with small businesses being unable to service diverse markets, and warehouse spaces not being able to keep up with shifting needs. This brought in the importance of having a diverse supplier network and contingency measures in place to reduce or eliminate delivery failures. Predictive Customer Journey The pandemic changed the purchasing behaviour of customers. With the major shift in digitization, consumers became more vocal about their desires and needs from businesses in recent years. This is why the customer journey and the ability to predict buyer decisions gained importance. By tailoring online platforms and processes, small businesses can make it easier for customers to buy things and monitor them from the shopping cart to the doorstep. This includes clear communication with customers through sending out automatic notifications when an order is shipped, as well as providing useful product selection advice. Hence, order fulfillment services for small businesses have identified this emerging need and integrated such customer-engagement features into their tech platforms. Real-time Tracking Customers have now grown accustomed to receiving real-time product availability and fulfillment information. With the availability of unique RFID data, eCommerce retailers can track inventories and instantly alert customers as the purchased item goes through the small business order fulfillment process. Hybrid Order Fulfillment There are now several delivery choices available when ordering products online. Before the pandemic, services like BOPIS (Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store) and curbside pickup were nearly unheard of. Having hybrid order fulfillment options relieves some of the strain on traditional supply networks and procedures. However, these order fulfillment services for small business solutions will necessitate the usage of a single inventory system so that retailers may fulfill online purchases using their on-site inventories. Automation Automation is in high demand, in the logistics business, as a solution to address complex supply chains and labour constraints. According to a recent study conducted by ARC Advisory Group, 79 per cent of respondents said they were "likely" or "very likely" to invest in automation in the next 1-3 years. Now, small business order fulfillment companies are working towards adopting a variety of automation options, including automated picking systems and robotic forklifts. When and How to Choose Order Fulfillment Services for Small Business? When a small enterprise begins to grow and order volume increases, outsourced order fulfillment services for small business can provide significant benefits in terms of product management, shipping costs, delivery speed, customised shipping services, and more. When choosing small business order fulfillment services, some of the factors that small business owners and operations managers should consider are: Shipping Speed: The faster the customer receives the order, the more they come back for recurring purchases. With Amazon Prime having options like same-day and two-day delivery timelines, it’s important for small businesses to have an order fulfillment service with quick shipping and delivery.Fulfillment Service Costs: Although an initial investment is required when collaborating with an order fulfillment partner, be sure there are no hidden fees for long-term storage because the products are in high demand. Also, because of the amount they transport, negotiate with them for better carrier pricing.Fulfillment Warehouse locations: The closer the fulfilment warehouses are to the customer base, the quicker the order fulfillment will be. Make sure that when choosing order fulfillment partners, they one ones with an extensive warehouse location network for shorter delivery distance and time.Order Fulfillment Service Features: An order fulfillment software with easy-to-use features and those providing clear order visibility, responsive dashboards, easy inventory management etc. are important so that businesses can focus more on sales and marketing than on figuring out inventory levels and organize their order fulfilment.Process Transparency and Order Visibility: Real-time order visibility and complete process transparency in any delays etc. are crucial to have while building a business and trying to improve customer satisfaction. It’s important that there are easy tracking and order management features provided by the order fulfillment partner.Packaging Options: Depending on the goods being transported, the fulfillment centre of the chosen service provider should be able to give packaging choices. Having a variety of packing solutions will also help to prevent product damage. In addition to packaging, the use of the appropriate insulation material, such as corrugated paper, bubble wrap, or air pillows, can ensure that products reach their destination securely.Returns Management: Orders will be returned at times, and the fulfillment provider should collaborate with the business owner on returns management to help decrease or eliminate them, if possible, through better advanced logistics. It's critical to be able to recognise clients who are frequent returners in order to reduce order returns and increase their trust in the products they buy. The Best Order Fulfillment Services for Small Businesses Compared WareIQ Source Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce order fulfillment tech solutions for some of the most reputed brands in India. WareIQ offers a full-stack platform for eCommerce companies to enable same day delivery and next day delivery to customers – an Amazon Prime-like experience but accessible to everyone. WareIQ has empowered brands to sell more, sell faster & sell everywhere due to: Access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres & urban dark stores near their customersAccess to all major national & hyperlocal last mile couriers at discounted rates for making same/next day deliveries possibleEasy integration across multiple online platforms & marketplacesHorizontal marketplaces: Flipkart, Amazon etc.Vertical marketplaces: Nykaa, Myntra etc.D2C platforms: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc.Social commerce platforms: BikayiAccess to a superior centralised tech platform for eCommerce operationsML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages (Branded tracking page with smart marketing placements; Trigger-based updates & smart communication platform) WareIQ has customised offerings for merchants experiencing different order volumes as well as having different delivery speed expectations. WareIQ is probably one of the very few fulfilment tech companies in the world that have same day delivery offering for their customers under their product “WareIQ RUSH”. With world-class WMS functionalities, WareIQ handles the entire range of intricate operations in the eCommerce fulfilment process, ranging from Inbound Operations such as scanning and quality check, through 100% accurate Pick and Pack , to Inventory Management across all channels. WareIQ’s next day delivery and same day delivery services are helping eCommerce businesses set new standards with respect to setting customer expectations and fulfilling them with high efficacy. At the same time, WareIQ customers realise significant cost savings and wider reach due to better negotiations with shipping aggregators, strategically placed warehouses, economies of scale and scope in warehousing and data-driven decision making. WareIQ’s WMS, a centralised tech platform, is its core offering, with the following functionalities: Shipping Management Integration to all major national couriers and same-day courier partners through WareIQ platform with discounted ratesGeneration of bulk shipping labels & invoices in a few clicksOffering a branded tracking page and sending auto-alerts to inform customers of their shipment statusReduction in RTO % (Return to origin) by automating cases of failed delivery attempts (NDRs) by the shipping partnerPreemption of COD frauds through integrated AI engine flagging risky ordersOrders managementTracking of orders across the channels Filtering of orders by statusSearching for specific ordersA quick timeline view of where the order is in the fulfillment process (e.g. when an order is picked, packed, or shipped)Shipping-related information (e.g., weights, dimensions, or carrier service) A quick snapshot of any orders that require actionSyncing WareIQ’s out-of-the-box integrations with sales channels to eliminate manual importing of data and trigger all the necessary notifications to the end-customersInventory managementTracking of inventory levels across multiple locations & sales channels – the website and marketplacesUsing WareIQ platform to distribute inventory to multiple locations optimizing for speed & cost/orderSetting reminders to proactively replenish inventory, bundle products for promotions, make inventory transfer requests, and much moreWarehouse managementManaging multiple warehouses and offline stores on WareIQ platform100% inventory accuracy with scan-based operationsAutomated reconciliation tool helps to keep track of returns and unsettled invoicesIntegrations with all major ERP & Accounting systemsFulfilled By Amazon and Prime StatusAssured tag on Flipkart without physically dedicating inventory to them The central platform helps to better manage undelivered orders by reducing NDR processing time by 12 hours – a multifunctional NDR dashboard helps to track and take immediate action for undelivered orders in real-time, thereby reducing RTO by up to 10%. Automatic replenishment recommendations and easy purchase order creation capabilities on the WareIQ platform further empower eCommerce companies to leverage all possible ways of increasing their ROI. 300+ brands, such as The Man Company, Future Group, Kama Ayurveda and Wingreens Farms, have trusted WareIQ as a reliable partner in their growth journeys. No minimum order quantity requirements make it suitable even for eCommerce firms having low order quantities to take advantage of the latest trends such as next day delivery and same day delivery. The onboarding process is simple, convenient and less time consuming, while the pricing policy is clear and transparent. WareIQ also undertakes strict safety precautions at its warehouses and complete ownership of the operations, thereby minimising the risk exposure of WareIQ customers. Delhivery Source Delhivery is a key player in the Indian small business order fulfillment sector. They have 71 fulfillment centres around the country, with a total storage and processing space of over 6 million square feet. All the major demand channels and courier partners are integrated with their own warehouse management system. It's built to support efficient multi-tenant, multi-location warehousing, allowing businesses to extend operations across India rapidly and flexibly with no fixed expenses. By combining warehousing and freight solutions, Delhivery can provide small businesses with integrated distribution solutions. This allows Delhivery to better serve its customers with quick and cost-effective offline delivery. Their services include: Same-day/Next-day DeliveryTime-defined/Slot-based DeliveryPerson Specific/Address Specific DeliveryReturns ManagementProduct Replacement/Exchange ServicesLarge/Oversize Order DeliveryHigh-value Product DeliveryHAZMAT/Dangerous Goods DeliveryReal-time Monitoring and ControlConsignee Address ValidationFraud DetectionFlexible Payment on Delivery NimbusPost Source NimbusPost is an intuitive, multi-channel distribution company. It offers a logistics automation CRM that assists customers in automating and simplifying important processes that are involved in the daily operations of a business. It provides cost-effective and transparent pricing and gives clients the option of partnering with the top 7 courier partners in the country. Prominent partners include Bluedart, FedEx, Xpressbees, EKart, Shadowfax etc. Some of the solutions provided by NimbusPost are: Fraud Detection and Order Filtering AI ToolsPlug & Play Technology Centered IntegrationsSmart Automation of Shipping ProcessesCloud-Based Customer Care FacilitiesFast Cash-on-Delivery Remittance and SupportCheaper Pricing Compared to Other Companies Whitebox Source It is popular with sellers on Amazon as well as other B2C sellers. It offers several services to facilitate sellers operating on Amazon. It differentiates itself from it’s competitors since it offers marketing services in addition to order-fulfillment, making it convenient for clients. There is a flat monthly fee for using its platform which includes inventory storage, software, account handling, shipping, receiving, and processing. It does have a MOQ of 1,000 orders but has several success stories of small businesses that started with them and grew to become much larger firms. Some services offered by Whitebox include: Omnichannel Order Fulfillment Retail DropshippingDTC (Direct to Customer) eCommerceMarketplace PreparationAmazon Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) Integration Warehousing FacilitiesOptimized Packaging and Shipping iThink Logistics Source iThink Logistics helps small business owners by providing features to automate operations like billing, labelling, and listing. This helps reduce RTO and save shipping expenses in addition to providing safe cargo facilities and a committed support team. There are additional alternatives that iThink provides such as same-day delivery, which is a value-added extension to its small business order fulfillment services. High level customisation of pricing is something that has allowed iThink to create a niche loyal customer base. The extensive features provided by iThink Logistics are: Automated reattemptMultifunctional dashboardAuto-Generated ReportsAI-Driven recommendation engineSame day pickupLive NDR UpdateRTOReal-Time TrackingEarly issue detectionReverse order NDRReverse pickup (DTO)Net Promoter scoreWhite Label Tracking PageAccurate date calculationCustomized tracking pageAutomated billing reconciliation systemFaster Weight discrepancy resolutionRate CalculatorPostpaid PaymentEasy credit transferFaster COD remittanceEmail and SMS notifications ShipBob Source ShipBob delivers high-quality small business order fulfillment services with the level of flexibility desired by many small businesses. It has no order minimums and has a Growth Plan that is excellent for startups looking to rapidly grow their business and order volumes over the next few years. ShipBob has the greatest network of domestic and foreign fulfillment centres on its list, allowing it to deliver high-level distribution capabilities for small businesses across the globe. Some of the features that ShipBob has included are: Zero monthly minimum or maximum ordersAffordable pricingB2B fulfillment with EDI complianceItemized billing format for transparencyFDA-certified climate control and handling99.95% accuracy rateFBA prep services ShipMonk Source ShipMonk's features and capabilities are comparable to those of the industry's best direct-to-consumer fulfillment firms. Its platform is designed specifically to provide order fulfillment services for small businesses, with the scalability required to support expansion as these enterprises grow (with regard to increase in order volumes and geographical territories). The disadvantage of Shipmonk is that they require a minimum of $250 in pick and pack expenses and do not provide batch fulfillment services. Key features include: Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime eligibilityOnline billing portal0.01% error rateState of the art warehouse automationRobust customization & branding optionsTax benefits and cost reductions for volume importersTakes a photo of packed orders before they’re shipped FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) Source FBA gives vendors more access to Amazon's over 150 million Prime users thanks to its automatic Prime designation. Amazon merchants should consider Fulfillment by Amazon since it handles all customer inquiries, manages returns and refunds, and automates order fulfillment, all of which saves time. Amazon has set new standards in small business order fulfillment with same day delivery and next day delivery services. However, FBA's pricing and procedures are more convoluted than those of many other fulfillment warehouses, especially when not selling little or light-weight items, so sellers have to research thoroughly to avoid paying excessive fees. Their key features are: No order minimumsComes with automatic Prime designation on Amazon listingsAmazon handles all customer inquiries, refunds, and returnsCan be used to fulfil non-Amazon orders (part of Amazon's Multi-Channel Fulfillment offerings)Uses inventory pooling that groups identical products from different sellers Conclusion Having a third-party order fulfillment and logistics company can aid development while freeing up time and space for small businesses to focus on other key parts of the business. To provide customers with the fast delivery and flawless delivery experience that they demand, we recommend small businesses to partner with a full-stack order fulfillment firm like WareIQ, which is experienced and resourceful and can provide the greatest logistical experience in the eCommerce sector. Being the fulfillment company that has been the preferred choice of 300+ eCommerce brands including numerous small businesses along with reputed brands (such as Future Group, Piramal Group etc.), WareIQ provides you with the right flexibility in small business order fulfillment with respect to order size and pricing. Moreover, WareIQ has been constantly working on incorporating feedback from customers and strengthening the focal points in the fulfillment chain to provide you with a consistent improvement in customer satisfaction. We help you not only to reduce your logistic costs but also your delivery timelines – this could be the game-changer for your business needs! [signup] Small Business Order Fulfillment FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What are the main steps involved in the process of order fulfillment?• Receiving inventory shipments• Inventory storage• Order processing• Shipping of products• Manage Returns What is the cycle of order fulfillment?The time it takes for a client to get a product or service after placing an order is measured by the Order Fulfillment Cycle Time. As a result, it gives information about internal efficiency and supply chain performance. In short,Order fulfillment Cycle= Source Cycle Time + Make Cycle Time + Delivery Cycle Time Does WareIQ offer order fulfillment services for small businesses?Yes! Various SMBs, D2C brands have in fact also started their business & have trusted WareIQ as a reliable partner in their growth journeys from a small to medium business. Which companies specialize in small business order fulfillment?• WareIQ• Delhivery• NimbusPost• Whitebox• iThink Logistics• ShipBob• ShipMonk• FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
May 28, 2022
What Is Inbound And Outbound Logistics? Top 7 Ways To Optimize Inbound And Outbound Logistics Processes
In the 21st-century economy, firms battle for efficiency. Whether it is inbound and outbound logistics, marketing, finance, or another area of the business, it is survival of the fittest. Since the dawn of the industrial era, logistics has been subject to continuous improvement, optimization always pays, especially when it comes to inbound and outbound logistics. Better ways of procuring materials, and better ways of distributing products contribute to an efficient firm and a healthier bottom line. This process is related to the concept of supply chain management (SCM). Inbound and outbound logistics work in sync to create a better supply chain. Manual inbound and outbound logistics management processes are important. Technology has changed the rules of the game. A mixture of machine learning, AI, and complex algorithms are now used to ensure better ecommerce logistics management. Inbound and Outbound Logistics: Key Differences Both inbound and outbound logistics are key to product quality and customer experience. Efficiency in these inbound and outbound processes is essential for a business’s success. This post, therefore, is a pointer to both the inbound process in the warehouse and the outbound processes and their optimization. [table id=21 /] Read on to understand how to tune inbound and outbound logistics to avoid wastage, delays, and overall inefficiencies. [contactus_gynoveda] Inbound Logistics Processes: 3 Steps To Success Fine-tune these 3 steps for an optimized inbound logistics process: Sourcing of Raw MaterialsReceipt of GoodsReverse logistics Sourcing Of Raw Materials The first step in the manufacturing of goods is the sourcing of raw materials. Businesses need to buy raw materials of good quality in the right quantity from trusted suppliers. A key process here is maintaining records of raw materials so that overstocking of raw materials is avoided. Maintaining good communication with suppliers is essential. Coordination with suppliers and setting a transportation framework is an essential part of the inbound logistics process in the warehouse. Receipt of Goods The optimal receipt of goods involves careful planning. After placing an order for raw materials with the supplier, the business needs to make advance load appointments. Docks need to be reserved for the unloading of inventory. By doing this, businesses know where to receive raw material stocks when they arrive. The unloading area should be assigned and inventory should be unloaded and stored in the designated area for a short period of time. Reverse Logistics When goods are moved from the end-user/customer back to the manufacturer, the process is referred to as reverse logistics. This is an essential part of the modern inbound logistics process in the warehouse. The return of goods to eCommerce firms and refurbishing, remanufacturing, or disposing of products are part of this process and are handled by reverse logistics companies. Outbound Logistics Processes: 4 Steps To Success Fine-tune these 4 steps for an optimized outbound logistics process: Order ProcessingPicking and PackingShipping and SortingEnd-User Delivery Order Processing The outbound logistics process begins with the customer placing an order, which is then confirmed by the warehouse. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is used to streamline this process and mitigate any errors that could have otherwise occurred. Picking and Packing After order confirmation, the ordered product is picked from the inventory. Meanwhile, in the background, the WMS updates inventory records and adjusts the product count and SKUs. These products are then packaged and labeled. The carrier service sorts out these products. Shipping and Sorting After packing and sorting, the goods are picked up by freight trucks, which ship them to the pertinent distribution center. After the goods have reached the closest distribution center (to the customer), the orders are picked up by the relevant delivery personnel. End-User Delivery End-user delivery is the last step that finishes off the inbound and outbound logistics processes. Whether the delivery is to an individual or a supermarket, this end-user delivery is the final step of the inbound and outbound logistics chain. 5 Most Prominent Inbound And Outbound Logistics Challenges Knowing the challenges that businesses could face in the field of logistics gives retailers a handle on how to deal with them. These are the top 5 challenges in inbound and outbound logistics processes. Poor Knowledge of Transportation Status Revenue, efficiency, and productivity of a business can be affected by poor visibility of the product through the logistics process. Inbound and outbound logistics involve multiple transacting stakeholders. This makes poor visibility a huge challenge. The status quo is the low visibility of transportation operations. Not knowing the execution status of an order results in inefficient planning and a poor customer experience. If stakeholders aren’t in the knowledge loop at various stages of the delivery process, it may result in an inefficient transaction. To stay on top of the game, firms need to notify customers of the transportation status of the ordered goods from the time of order placement up to the delivery, in real-time. High Operational Costs Transportation of ordered goods is one of the highest costs that factor into the purchase price. The cost of this process is steadily rising. The reasons for this high cost are: Rising fuel pricesManagement and administration costsPoor visibilityPoor coordinationSeveral transportation modes These operational costs are usually passed down to the customer and are an important factor in customer satisfaction. Inefficiency in Internal Operations When plant operations are sub-optimized, i.e. inefficient, it negatively impacts the overall business revenue. These inefficiencies could be any of the following: Inaccurate inventory dataInexperienced manpowerPoor handling of materialsWastageInefficient input of products Such inefficiency results in sub-par products and a poor customer experience. Business profits dive, competitiveness decreases and goodwill is reduced. Mismanagement of Delivery Fleet Resulting in Low Productivity In today's hyper-competitive market, products need to be delivered on time, every time. Sometimes it is the delivery fleet that is the problem. The areas of concern in the delivery fleet could be: Poor vehicle maintenanceUnoptimized route planningToo many stoppagesBad driver performance Not handling these issues could mean delayed deliveries, higher operational costs, lowered customer trust, and a decline in the goodwill of the business. Decision-Making Based on Inaccurate Facts/Data Broadly speaking, business decisions made based on relevant data are more likely to be sound. Making decisions without proper data is akin to playing guesswork with your finances. When logistics companies decide on a key deliverable, such as inbound logistics processes in the warehouse without data, it may be a recipe for failure. Data helps businesses understand the performance of various metrics in the inbound and outbound logistics chain. Risk assessment is possible only with valid data. The lack of data could also mean that core internal processes are not being performed properly. 7 Ways to Optimize Inbound and Outbound Logistics Modern technology has simplified every area of business operations, including logistics. The vast array of digital technology now enables easy optimization in inbound and outbound logistics. The effort is to smooth out processes and decrease logistics costs while enhancing productivity. Follow these 7 ways to optimize your inbound and outbound logistics: Relying on Automation Automating logistics allows for the use of the best delivery routes. This is done using intelligent route optimization software. A mix of analytics, machine learning, GPS tracking, and dynamic routing is used to select the best routes. Productivity is enhanced due to the use of tracking various stages of the inbound and outbound logistics processes. Whether it is the unloading of goods, in-plant operations, or any other area of logistics management, businesses stand to save a lot of money by sticking to time frames. Managing Advanced Logistics Current logistics management systems allow businesses to stay up-to-date. Certain varying factors like freight charges and other dynamic factors can have a detrimental impact on inbound and outbound logistics. Stay on top of dynamic changes using advanced logistics management. Keeping your eye on current rates can save you plenty of money, time, and effort. Providing A Better Customer Experience By optimizing inbound logistics and giving customers end-to-end visibility of transportation operations, businesses can enhance customer experience. End-users can track their shipment at any stage of the delivery and this is an essential part of modern logistics management. By planning production and ETAs appropriately, businesses can communicate to customers without any errors. This is an essential part of an effective inbound and outbound logistics system. Developing Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards (VICS) Developing standards for business processes apply to all areas of business operations. It is no different with inbound and outbound logistics. Modern businesses deal with an array of suppliers and vendors. This makes streamlining business processes crucial. To do this, businesses design Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards (VICS) which are then used as guidelines by all stakeholders. These lead to a steady, uninterrupted flow of logistics. Developing Strategic Supplier Relationships Efficient logistics operations depend on strategic relationships built with third-party suppliers, carriers, and logistics providers. Optimizing such relationships result in efficient logistics operations. The key parameters that need to be examined for this are: Volume of goods deliveredOther shipping activitiesOn-time, in-full deliveriesPricing models Analyzing suppliers based on these parameters is a breeze using current logistics management platforms. Businesses can know how their operations are being impacted and by which suppliers. This can then be the roadmap for future strategic relationships. Optimizing Communication In the world of logistics, communication equals efficiency. Inbound and outbound logistics involve multiple stakeholders. A break in communication could mean a weak link in the chain. Only an efficient communication system can ensure that goods move as per schedule and as per plan. Both delivery personnel and warehouse managers need a way to be constantly in touch with the business headquarters. This enables quick decision-making and the easy resolution of errors. Modern logistics tools allow for optimized routes, location tracking, and hence, high transparency. Cross Docking Warehouse Operations Cross-docking is an important concept in modern inbound and outbound logistics. In this practice, incoming goods are quickly sorted out by workers, which are then loaded on an outbound truck. The time spent by the products in the warehouse is reduced and this means reduction/optimization of warehouse space. Finished products can be quickly inspected. This ensures the delivery of high-quality products and a lower return rate. Conclusion Inbound and outbound logistics are some of the most important processes in order fulfillment. Businesses have to make sure they have a proper supply chain in place if they want their orders to be successfully delivered on time and intact. It can take a lot of time and resources for smaller businesses in trying to optimize these processes to be as efficient as possible. This is where 3PL fulfillment companies such as WareIQ can help. WareIQ provides services for all inbound and outbound logistics processes, freeing up the time and effort needed by businesses for other tasks such as optimizing their business strategy and refining their products. We take care of the entire process of order fulfillment, from receiving orders through our custom WMS to offering ultra-fast same-day and next-day delivery to customers. [signup] Inbound and Outbound Logistics Operations FAQs What are some advantages of inbound logistics optimization?There are several advantages of inbound logistics optimization, including raw material cost estimation, high product quality, on-time deliveries, increased customer satisfaction and higher profits. What are some advantages of outbound logistics optimization?Some advantages of outbound logistics optimization are fast deliveries, lower-order cancellations, fewer damages, lowered product costs and a better company reputation. What are some key metrics/calculations in inbound logistics?Some key metrics to keep in mind in inbound logistics are freight cost per pound, the share of freight cost in production cost, incoming shipment time and expense and goods handling by staff data. How can WareIQ help you optimize inbound and outbound logistics?WareIQ reduces the time needed to optimize and implement inbound and outbound logistics because we take of each individual process and automate tasks wherever we can through our WMS. We also give customers a choice between multiple shipping aggregators to be able to provide the fastest delivery at the most competitive rates.
May 27, 2022
WooCommerce Marketplace Integration with WMS: How to Enable WooCommerce Order Fulfillment with WareIQ in 10 Easy Steps?
WooCommerce is a plugin that seamlessly integrates with websites that run on Wordpress’s platform, thus enabling users to transform them into an efficient online marketplace in just a few simple steps. Launched in 2011, WooCommerce attained global success among aspiring eCommerce retailers who needed a cost-effective and relatively easy means of selling their products online and who maybe weren’t ready to partner with existing eCommerce giants such as Amazon or eBay in order to preserve their own brand identity and to be able to direct traffic towards their own website, rather than a 3rd party one. Research shows that over 99% of all eCommerce websites that use WordPress as a primary platform have utilised the WooCommerce plugin to sell their products online and 3PL fulfillment companies to fulfill WooCommerce orders. The company currently has over 27 million downloads and installations and with the imminent acceleration of eCommerce as a selling medium, its popularity is only set to increase. How Can You Fulfill WooCommerce Orders? WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that enables users to turn their existing website into an eCommerce marketplace. Unlike dedicated eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, WooCommerce doesn’t offer any first-part fulfillment services. Rather, they encourage their users to partner with a 3PL fulfillment company, such as WareIQ, who will take care of all their fulfillment requirements such as inventory management, picking and packing of their products, distribution to the customer and reverse logistics, in the event that it is needed. Users need to balance out their requirements with budgetary constraints to effectively fulfill WooCommerce orders. [contactus_gynoveda] Benefits for Retailers who Use 3PL Fulfillment Companies for WooCommerce Order Fulfillment Cheaper and More Efficient Shipping Ultra-fast shipping is an important requirement in the modern eCommerce landscape with most nig players providing same-day and next-day deliveries. Fortunately for users seeking to fulfill WooCommerce orders, 3PL eCommerce companies offer some of the fastest and most competitively-priced shipping in the business which results in an enhanced delivery experience for their customers, without worrying about logistics, transportation delays and other errors that could occur. Customised Packaging Partnering with a 3PL fulfillment company to fulfill WooCommerce orders gives users access to extremely customisable packaging. Rather than being required to conform to the rigid requirements of conventional eCommerce platforms, 3PL companies provide a wide range of materials, designs, themes and options so that users can choose exactly what they want and can make sure that their brand is front and center when a customer opens their delivered package. Inventory Management 3PL companies help to make inventory management more simple and efficient through the wide adoption of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) which are highly advanced software solutions that also aid in automating a significant portion of warehouse processes. This helps to mitigate any manual errors or delays and syncs your inventory count across multiple fulfillment centers and selling platforms in one place. Intelligently Located Fulfillment Centers 3PL companies usually have a vastly-dispersed network of warehouses and fulfillment centers across the country which enables users to choose to store inventory in the most ideally located ones, next to customer and transportation hubs. Additionally, paying for storage is often cheaper, with no minimum requirements and chargeability on a per-item basis, which would help companies fulfill WooCommerce orders at a cheaper rate. Flexible Operational Structure By opting for a 3PL company to fulfill WooCommerce orders, users can take advantage of all the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. These companies are not bound by the rigidity and regulations that 1st-party fulfillment services are constrained by. Users can give their inputs in terms of the handling of processes, which services they want to opt for, negotiate better deals and customize their packaging and order-tracking services to highlight their brand image as much as possible. Order Management Users who fulfill WooCommerce orders through 3PL companies get the benefit of being able to utilise state-of-the-art order management software solutions that consolidate past, present and future order data from multiple platforms, in one place, in addition to providing the means to manage these orders accurately. Multi-Channel Integration 3PL fulfillment companies, unlike 1st-party fulfillment services offered directly by eCommerce selling platforms, offer seamless integration with multiple other platforms so users do not have to put all their eggs in one basket. Users who need to fulfill WooCommerce orders, in addition to the orders of multiple other platforms, are able to manage inventory levels and incoming orders in a master dashboard through highly-advanced software. This means that you do not need to relegate yourself to selling on one website or only target a specific customer base and it opens up multiple options for opportunistic sellers. Cost-Effective Pricing When users are required to partner with a 1st-party fulfillment service, they often find themselves in monopolistic conditions where the eCommerce platform can call the shots and increase or add new prices on a dime, without being liable to justify these increases. Conversely, when users opt to fulfill WooCommerce orders through 3PL logistics partners, they are instantly exposed to cheaper and more transparent pricing because there are multiple companies in the same space, with all of them pining to offer the most competitive services and prices possible. This means that users can take advantage of this stiff competition and opt for the service that best fits their requirements and their financial capabilities. WooCommerce Marketplace Integration: 10 Easy Steps to Integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce Aspiring eCommerce retailers can choose to offload all their fulfillment requirements to WareIQ, which will grant them access to facilities such as a nationwide network of fulfillment centers and warehouses, choice of courier partners and shipping aggregators and the ability to integrate with WareIQ’s custom WMS with WooCommerce and a host of other eCommerce selling platforms to be able to consolidate all your orders and inventory management requirements in one centralized location. Sellers can integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce in just 10 easy steps for WooCommerce Order Fulfillment: Step 1: Logging In The seller can sign up at https://wareiq.com/contact-us/ & integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce for managing end to end fulfillment of eCommerce their business. The seller gets the user ID & password from WareIQ’s customer onboarding team to log into WareIQ’s WMS portal. Step 2: Access to WMS Dashboard Once the seller logs in, the seller gets access to the WMS dashboard with an option to set up the account. Step 3: Navigating the Dashboard Click on the three dots in the top right corner of the WareIQ’s WMS dashboard. Step 4: Accessing Account Settings Click on “Account Settings”. Step 5: Adding Company Address The “Company Information” would have already been added to the portal by WareIQ’s customer onboarding team. Click on “Address”. Step 6: Adding Channels Fill up the “BILLING ADDRESS” and “DISPATCH ADDRESS” and click on “Add Channels”. Step 7: Adding WooCommerce as an Integration The seller can view all the online marketplaces & website builders with which WareIQ’s WMS can be integrated. The platforms already integrated will appear at the top like the “Shopify” logo. Scroll over “ADD NEW INTEGRATIONS” & choose WooCommerce logo under “Select Website Builder”. Step 8: Adding Credentials A screen pops up to fill channel details for WooCommerce for connecting adding WooCommerce channel with WareIQ’s WMS Step 9: Getting the Store URL and Other Information Follow the steps below to get the Store URL and fill out the other required fields to add WooCommerce channel: #1: Open Your WooCommerce Account to Get the Store URL Once you sign in with your WooCommerce account, check the URL. “wareiq.com/wp-admin/” is the store URL here. #2: Go to the WooCommerce Page & Scroll to “Advanced” Check the left navigation bar & click on WooCommerce which has been added as a plugin. Click on the “Advanced” button which is highlighted in the red box below. #3: Follow the Steps Below to Get the API Secret & API Key Click on the “REST API” once you have landed on the Advanced Section. Click on “Add Key” if it hasn’t been added. Mention “WareIQ” under Description & select Read/Write under Permissions & click on the “Generate API key” button. Once you generate API key, you get a message at the top - “API Key generated successfully. Make sure to copy your new keys now as the secret key will be hidden once you leave this page.” Step 10: Final Step for Integrating WareIQ with WooCommerce Copy the consumer key & consumer secret & update in the popup & click on Add Channel to integrate WooCommerce online store with WareIQ’s WMS. If you enable “Create Products Automatically”, then all the products listed in your WooCommerce online store automatically gets listed in the Master SKU list. The process to integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce is now complete. The seller can start storing inventory for fulfilling orders from WareIQ’s fulfillment centers. Why should Merchants choose WareIQ to Fulfill WooCommerce Orders? There are a variety of factors that make partnering with WareIQ to fulfill WooCommerce orders a smart decision. We provide a flawless and simplified experience to integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce, post which users can take advantage of our robust network of fulfillment services to ensure their customers get the best quality delivery around the clock. A few facilities that we provide are listed below: Start-to-Finish SaaS Delivery Service We provide full-stack fulfillment services with integrated order management, inventory planning and a shipping system that is sure to handle any and every fulfillment need that is required by your company. Standardized Warehouse Processes We provide seamless and efficient warehouse operations through our ownership of warehouse SLAs by internal WareIQ fulfillment leads in different regions, resulting in a significantly reduced amount of delays and errors. Streamlining of Distribution Processes Users can take advantage of our shipping engine which was built in house, to be able to partner with the biggest and best nationwide and hyperlocal courier services that offer ultra-fast same-day and next-day delivery at significantly reduced prices compared to other companies. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction We give our users access to our group of specialists who can offer their extensive services in the implementation of supply chain operations and planning that are superior to what SMBs can afford. [signup] Fulfill WooCommerce Orders and How to Integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce: FAQs How can retailers install the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress?The WooCommerce plugin works in a similar way to other WordPress plugins where users can just install it and add it to their WordPress website. Does WooCommerce offer its own fulfillment services?No. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that enables retailers to turn their own website into eCommerce selling platforms so users need to rely on 3PL fulfillment companies to fulfill WooCommerce orders. Is there a limit on the number of products WooCommerce can handle?Even though WooCommerce is a plugin and not a full-fledged website, users won't encounter any problems with listing an unlimited amount of products if they optimize the speed of their website, page loading time and database queries. Can you continue to sell on other platforms if you integrate WareIQ with WooCommerce?Yes, WareIQ offers integrations with most online selling platforms so you can continue to operate selling accounts on multiple channels. What fulfillment services does WareIQ offer?WareIQ offers the entire suite of fulfillment services from storage and inventory management to delivering orders and managing reverse logistics.
May 27, 2022
Shipping Date & Delivery Date: Definitions, 4 Key Differences & 7 Important Factors Affecting These Dates in 2022
After order confirmation, an eCommerce platform's customers lookout for one critical piece of information: when will they receive their package? And that depends on when the order is shipped which is officially referred to as the shipping date. However, the date of shipping is not the same as the date of order placed or the estimated delivery date. Let's understand how. What is a Shipping Date? As the name suggests, the shipping date is when an eCommerce company hands over an order to the carrier for delivery to the customer, which is the day that the shipment leaves the warehouse. The transit time is calculated from the date of shipping. For instance, if the shipment takes two days to reach the customer and leaves the eCommerce company's warehouse on the present day, it then becomes the shipping date. The next important tracking date is the estimated delivery date. [contactus_uth] What is a Delivery Date? The estimated delivery date is the day that the order reaches the end customer. Providing this information is crucial because most customers confirm the order only when they agree with the estimated delivery date. If an online retailer takes more than the desired time to deliver a shipment, the customers often abandon the cart. And if they are okay with the estimated delivery date, they check for status updates frequently. 6 Important Terms Related to Shipping Date & Estimated Delivery Date Every discussion on shipping dates and estimated delivery dates contains a few unique terms. Below is a list of the most common ones: Order Date It is the date on which a customer confirms an order on an eCommerce website. It could be a pre-paid or COD order. This date triggers the retail logistics process for the shipment. It is when the product usually gets picked up by the seller. Most companies push for same-day pickup. But timelines can change if the customer places the order late at night or at some other odd hour. However, an order date could be different from the shipping date. Many companies don't ship on public holidays or have shipping cut-off times. People can view the shipping notifications in their track your order section. Invoice Creation Date It is the date on which an invoice is generated. Invoices are documents containing critical information about the purchase that enables the online retailer to receive their payment. Invoices generally include the following details: Ordered products and their costsTotal amount due, including taxesSeller and customer's informationPayment information, including the method of the transactionDelivery details Estimated shipping date This is the expected date that the order will leave the warehouse or fulfillment center and the shipping process gets initiated. It depends on: Time of order placement: If the customer confirms an order at 11 pm instead of 11 am, it can add a whole day for the pickup.Shipping cut-offs: Every company has their shipping cut-offs, which usually fall late in the evening and maybe over weekends and public holidays. An order cannot be pushed out of the seller's warehouse if placed after the shipping cut-off. Some companies display their shipping cut-off timings on the checkout page. Statements like "Orders placed after 6 pm IST will be shipped the next day." condition the customer on when they can expect to receive the order. Other factors: Many factors like public and bank holidays and strikes often cause a transport stall and affect the estimated date. You May Like: These Shipping companies in India offer the best in market services. Estimated Delivery Date Estimate delivery date refers to the expected timeline for delivery. The estimated delivery date is the date on which customer can expect to receive their order. The checkout counter displays this date and deeply affects the customers’ reaction to the delivery process. Longer estimated delivery dates often lead to cart abandonment. This date gets depicted as a window between two dates such as June 1-3rd. Like the date of shipping, the estimated delivery date depends on various factors. The time of order confirmation and elements such as public holidays or national strikes affect the delivery. Moreover, since the carrier takes charge of delivery, their performance affects the distribution timelines. Any lag in their transportation cycle can push the estimated delivery date even further. Shipping Speed It is not the velocity, but the time it takes for a carrier to deliver the order to the customer. It describes a couple of things: The time duration for delivery such as 3-5 business daysThe shipping method such as express or standard delivery The shipping speed is also affected by carrier performance and environmental influences, including political and economic scenarios. For international shipments, the regulations affect the shipping speed. For example, if the consignment gets stuck in customs for days, the shipping speed reduces, and delivery timelines expand. Plus, many customers agree to pay more to enhance the shipping speed. There are certain sellers and platforms providing free shipping options too. Return date When a customer is unhappy with the product, they place a request to return it to the seller within a set timeframe, which is also known as Return to Origin (RTO). The carrier collects the shipment from the customer and returns it to the eCommerce company's warehouse or directly to the seller. The return date is the day on which the specified items return to the origin. It is different from the return window, which is the timeframe given to customers to place the return request. For instance, products with a 30-days return policy are eligible for return to the seller within 30 days of delivery to the customer. You May Like: Reverse logistics Companies in India offering faster returns. 7 Important Factors Affecting Shipping Dates in 2022 Shipping Dates are timeframes that can be affected by a variety of external influences. Here's a list of factors that impact its calculation: Lead Time It is the time between order placement and the shipping date. It depends on the type of product ordered. Lead or production times for products that are ready to be delivered are shorter than those that need manufacturing or assembly before shipping. Backorders, inventory shortages, or issues in procuring raw materials for a large number of orders affect the readiness of the final product and hence the date of shipping. Shipping Cut-Offs Also called cut-off fulfillment timelines, shipping cut-offs also include inventory procurement or manufacturing timelines for every order placed before shipping. It can specify the time of day or the actual dates. For instance, production for orders placed on December 25th will resume on January 2nd. Manpower Availability There are various steps involved before the order is ready for shipping. The absence or inadequacy of the workforce leads to delays in order processing which also affects it. Transit Time The time spent in transit affects the shipping date. It depends on the carrier, their performance, the shipping mode (express or standard), mode of transport, and the destination. Natural Disturbances Sudden weather changes can disrupt transportation causing the shipment to sit idle in the warehouse. For example, heavy rainfalls cause significant traffic jams, and heat or cold waves can cause health issues among delivery personnel. Ultimately, these disturbances can lead to delayed shipping dates. Regulations When inventory needs to be procured from another state or country, the domestic and international regulatory authorities influence the rolling out of the shipment from the seller's location. And if the load needs to go through layers of regulatory procedures before reaching the customer, the shipping date needs to be preponed to ensure timely delivery. For example, if a shipper needs to expedite a shipment that needs to leave India and reach the customer in the US ten days later, the seller will have to keep some buffer to successfully clear international customs which affects the shipping date. Political and Economic Scenarios This scenario at either the origin, destination, or both can affect the shipping date. Moreover, any local or public holidays, people protesting on roads, and union strikes affect the distribution and ecommerce shipping timeline. For instance, if the destination faces disruption due to political activity, order shipping from the warehouse will have to be stalled, thus delaying the date of shipping. Which Factors Should be Considered While Calculating the Estimated Delivery Date? The estimated delivery date depends on the following factors: Origin and Destination: The further away from the destination, the longer it takes to get the shipment to the customer's doorstep.Route Condition: For instance, if an order needs to reach a tier 4 town from Mumbai, the estimated delivery date depends on the number of tolls and road conditions.Product Details: Large quantities take more time to deliver. Plus, inventory procurement from afar leads to delayed timelines.Average Transit Time: The transit duration for previous similar orders fulfilled by logistics companies should be calculated to get a better idea of the estimated delivery date.Estimated Shipping Date: Delivery depends on when the order gets shipped from the warehouse. Any delay there snowballs into delayed delivery to the end customer. It also means the ESD has an impact on the delivery date.Shipping Mode: Express and standard modes offer different delivery timelines. The option selected by the customer decides how fast the delivery will occur. 4 Differences Between Estimated Shipment Date and Estimated Delivery Date [table id=19 /] Conclusion Estimates run businesses. And estimated shipping and delivery dates decide how well companies can serve their customers. So these two figures are a yardstick to measure a business's performance. They ascertain the success rate of an enterprise. So it is beneficial for a business to have an accurate idea of shipping dates and delivery timelines. This can be done with a 3PL company like WareIQ. Not only do we provide services across the entire range of fulfillment requirements, but we also help businesses provide better and more accurate shipping services to their customers by being a shipping aggregator and by having state-of-the-art software solutions that help businesses estimate shipping and delivery dates accurately. [signup] Shipping Date FAQs Do shipping dates need to be communicated to the customer?A company can choose to inform the customer when their order is shipped. It triggers a sense of excitement for the customer and gains brownie points for the company. It also alerts customers when they need to ready themselves for receiving the order. It must be followed by order tracking details. Can the date of shipping be changed?A company can change the shipping date due to the factors affecting its timelines such as lead time, cut-offs, the employees’ availability, weather and political and economic disturbances. Besides, shipping dates are rarely changed based on a customer's request. Is the Shipping Date the same as the date on the invoice?No. The date mentioned on the invoice is the day it is printed. The shipping date is mentioned on the invoice as the order shipping date. How can WareIQ help you accurately estimate shipping and delivery dates?WareIQ has partnered with multiple shipping companies to be able to provide the fastest, most cost-effective and most efficient distribution services that are available. We will always choose the shipping aggregator that is currently available and who can provide the fastest shipping services from the warehouse to the customer. We can analyse the prior data of the shipping company, along with similar orders to similar locations and get an accurate shipping date and estimated delivery date.
May 27, 2022
What is Physical Distribution in Supply Chain Management? A Detailed Guide in 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic has largely shifted the purchasing behavior of consumers from offline to online. The Indian online retail market is growing at a very fast pace and is expected to reach approximately $1.2 trillion (95 lakh crore). As an eCommerce seller, you need to grab this opportunity and establish your business by utilizing the required business tactics. Getting listed on multiple channels and receiving orders are not the only things you should do when it comes to the long run. To not only be in the game but also win, you need to make your end customers happy. That is possible with the perfect placement of your product from the very first impression by the buyer to delivering it to them as they expect. To achieve recognition from your customers, you must take care of fulfillment services and all of its processes which involve processing orders, controlling inventory, eCommerce warehousing, and eCommerce shipping. All of these factors fall under physical distribution in supply chain management. This has been the primary focus of most eCommerce brands in recent years. To ensure you as a seller are handling the physical distribution of goods properly and what the available options are to become more productive, you can read further. What is Physical Distribution? Physical distribution is the movement of finished goods and products from a company's distribution center, using its eCommerce fulfillment network, to the end-user. It includes warehousing, inventory control, order processing, retail fulfillment, and shipping, among other eCommerce supply chain tasks. Customer satisfaction is directly affected by the physical distribution of goods and the capacity to get a product to a consumer rapidly and affordably. Business owners can ensure sustained success in a continuously changing, competitive global market by keeping items in handy places and developing dependable means of moving those items. [contactus_gynoveda] What are the Components of Physical Distribution? Processing Orders During the physical distribution of goods in huge quantities, a uniform system for handling and executing orders should be established. The time period to process orders must be reasonable. Any delay in order execution causes resentment and may result in economic loss. The customer always expects guaranteed delivery within a certain time frame. The degree of customer service is shown in the speed by which orders are fulfilled. Even a small improvement in customer service can result in a 15 to 25% gain in revenue. In marketing, order serving time can also be used as a USP. Controlling Inventory Inventory control is always a crucial part of the order fulfillment process. Physical distribution channel management, including the amount, location, handling, and transportation of physical inventory, plays a distinctive role. Inventory consists of all the items stored in warehouses that are waiting to be sold. Production activity (purchasing activity) and customer orders are linked via inventory (sales activity). As the customer service level approaches 100%, inventory costs rise at a faster rate. The inventory cost and the level of customer service must be correlated and balanced. All that has to be maintained with a proper inventory report. To meet client demand, you need to have a well-balanced range of products for sale. Stockouts and missed sales can result from having insufficient inventory. Too much inventory entails a lot of money upfront, poor turnover and greater inventory operating costs. Inventory control's major goal is to ensure minimal capital investment and inventory variations, as well as rapid order execution in response to client demand. You May Also Read: How does multiple channel inventory management works? Warehousing The act of storing and conserving commodities is known as warehousing. It can balance supply over time. Nowadays, micro fulfillment centers are located around markets rather than the supply-chain network. Under one roof, a fulfillment center can handle orders and deliver goods directly to customers where better and faster customer service can be initiated, resulting in a cheaper cost of distribution. Efficient distribution systems can cut delivery and storage times by half. The focus should be on selling rather than the store. Many businesses are moving away from storage facilities and toward fulfillment centers. For material handling, data processing, and inventory control, fulfillment centers employ cutting-edge technology. The services provided by fulfillment companies are directed by a wholesaler through direct fulfillment or drop shipping fulfillment. Here the wholesaler act as a merchant intermediary and a distribution/fulfillment center could be considered as an inventory of a shop nearby the delivery area. Handling Material Modern warehouses have automated material handling equipment instead of relying on labour. The cost of physical distribution has been dramatically reduced because of new packaging, containerization, and palletization techniques. We now have access to machineries such as conveyor systems and forklift trucks. In Western countries, material handling is almost entirely automated. Standard size containers for packing and transporting items can be stored on pallets or small platforms and then moved by mechanical means. Automated physical distribution of goods and protective packaging enhance customer service, reduce distribution costs and accelerate order fulfillment. Shipping Physical Distribution consists of all the steps that ultimately lead to this final step that is responsible for getting orders to the buyer. The process of shipping is a network of activities that consist of storage at multiple sites coupled with a series of transport linkages during the distribution process. These multiple modes of transport can be through road, rail, water, air, etc. It is a very complex activity in which orders are divided into batches and groups and then forwarded to the person responsible for the order to be delivered. This complexity is usually handled by logistics companies. The different transportation methods of physical distribution are listed below: Road Transport: Trucking is the preferred shipping option for most businesses across the world. Trucks, which generally transport manufactured goods rather than bulky commodities, provide faster, more frequent, and cost-effective distribution to more locations across the country than any other logistical alternative. Trucks are very useful for short-distance shipments and they can carry both large and small cargo with relatively fast and consistent service. Intermodal Transport: Intermodal shipping arrangements, which combine rail and truck transportation for specified stages of the journey, are frequently used by a small businesses for fulfillment. This combination generally results in cheaper overall expenses than single-mode transportation. Air Transport: Enterprises often use air freight for the transportation of valuable or perishable goods due to comparatively high transportation costs. Reduced inventory-holding expenses and increased sales that may accompany speedier customer service can occasionally balance the high cost of air freight. Courier Shipments: The delivery of shipping containers, parcels, or high-value mail as discrete shipments is known as package or parcel delivery. Most postal systems, express mail services, and private courier businesses offer courier shipment services or eCommerce courier services. Water Transport: Shipping containers are routinely used to transport products via sea. Importers and exporters in the country and around the world use ocean freight as their primary form of transportation. You can check the best shipping companies for your business here. What are the Objectives of Physical Distribution? Utilizes Time and Place Physical distribution contributes to the efficient utilization of time and resources. Transportation and warehousing are used to accomplish this. The transportation system creates place utility by delivering items to the exact location where they are needed. Storing products and releasing them when needed utilizes time. Reduces Costs of Distribution Physical distribution costs make up a significant portion of the product's cost. If these costs are managed in a systematic manner, production costs can be reduced. Transportation schedules and routes, warehousing location and operation, material handling, order processing, and other cost-cutting measures can all be simply implemented. Enables Market Expansion Mega investments in the form of a strong promotional campaign may prove worthless if physical distribution channel continues to fall behind the market expansion. Firms will be in a great position to take full advantage of market expansion with prior planning for the launch of multiple warehouses, adding new distribution points, and extending the capacity of existing distribution points, as needed. Maintains Market Share The market is highly saturated. In a climate of fierce competition, firms expect to increase market share, while maintaining current market share would be a primary success. This is carried out with the use of proper eCommerce logistics systems. Logistics must be closely monitored by businesses. Companies should detect distribution flaws and take quick corrective action. Stabilises Pricing Physical distribution contributes to price stability. Buyers anticipate pricing constancy over time. The effective utilization of transportation and warehousing infrastructure can aid in matching demand with supply, ensuring price stability. Offers Better Consumer Experiences By using physical distribution channel, consumer service is made more efficient by making products available in the correct quantity at the right time and in the right location, i.e. when a client needs them. 6 Factors That Affect Physical Distribution in 2022 Every manufacturer must figure out how to get their goods to the end-user. In today's economy, a variety of distribution channels are accessible. A producer needs to keep the following points in mind while choosing one or more distribution channels to ensure smooth operation and lowers logistics costs. Transportation Distribution is always dependent on the supply chain and its efficiency. There are many factors to consider to enable faster delivery in a country like India, where customers are scattered across the country. Product Size Product size is a matter of concern when it comes to cost-cutting and delivering on time. A heavy item cannot be delivered quickly and easily without prior planning. It needs more manpower, warehouse space, and larger vehicles which directly affect the cost of delivery. In a similar way, smaller and more perishable products also require their own precautions such as proper storage facilities, extra care, etc. Product Durability These days, food delivery applications are claiming to deliver orders in just 10 minutes. This is because food is a perishable product. Sellers need to identify the perishability of their products and plan physical distribution processes accordingly. Delivery Preferences Customers often have preferences for the delivery of their product such as the location, time, etc. It is the responsibility of the retailer to ensure that these preferences are respected to achieve a positive delivery experience for the customer. Suggested Read: What is retail logistics? Delivery Partner Reachability It is nearly impossible to deliver across the country and make it smooth. A seller can partner with different logistics companies in different locations based upon their area specializations, better workforce, good manager, etc. So here, a seller needs to be smart and choose the best order eCommerce fulfillment company for specific areas. The delivery partner should also be easily contactable by the customer in case of any query, instruction relays or emergencies. Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) To perform complex supply chain tasks, handing hundreds-thousands of orders, moving thousands of miles in multiple vehicles, successfully delivering the product and minimizing the cost to do it is not an easy task for a retailer and consists of multiple variables. To make this more simple and efficient, a business needs high-tech software like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). It also gives them tracking and transport abilities. Conclusion: Why Should You Outsource Physical Distribution to WareIQ? Physical distribution is a series of complex tasks and if even one of them goes slightly wrong, it can have a drastic impact on the entire supply chain. Businesses not only need to figure out the best way to accomplish this but also in the most cost-effective way possible, which takes away precious time and activity that could be spent on trying to grow the business. 3PL fulfillment companies such as WareIQ can take away some of that burden by enabling you to offload the entire process of physical distribution. Some features that may entice you are listed below: Cost-Effective With so many delivery options and an endless amount of envelopes, bubble wrap, double-walled boxes and tape needed to keep your items safe in transit, distribution is more complicated than you think, which is why outsourcing can save you a lot of money, not just on the physical costs but also on the costs to your reputation. Trusting WareIQ to handle and deliver your goods will provide you with a competitive advantage and keep your partners satisfied since you'll benefit from our years of experience and deep industry knowledge. Without costly overheads and adaptability to individual needs, WareIQ provides you with a single location for your material to be stored, managed, developed and provided. Because of the high amount of parcels shipped each year, WareIQ has wholesale accounts with more than 20 dependable couriers, airmails and freight partners, allowing you to save up to 50% on your distribution costs when compared to other suppliers. Flexible & Efficient Outsourcing gives you more flexibility, which is important if your firm is seasonal or has peaks and valleys. Inventory levels and delivery requirements can fluctuate from month to month as your company expands. WareIQ empowers you to adapt to required changes and continues to provide a professional and reliable service with more productivity to your business. We are dedicated to our role and create solutions that add value to your business as well as your brand image. You can manage your stock remotely and view historical statistics for each order using our online system. It also gives you accurate stock data so you can avoid wasting money and make better judgments about printing and distribution during each marketing season. Focus on Core Operations Preparing to send something overseas takes time that you and your team could spend elsewhere. Few people outside the distribution industry are aware of the constantly changing customs restrictions and complexities of international and local distribution. This is also not common advice given by large courier firms; nevertheless, WareIQ has an experienced team that is available to advise, educate and support you. It's much easier to outsource your distribution than to do it yourself. You can completely concentrate on your core business and you will never have to worry about fulfillment again. [signup] Physical Distribution FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is physical distribution management?The movement of finished items from a company's distribution and fulfillment network to the end-user is referred to as physical distribution. Physical distribution in eCommerce includes warehousing, inventory control, order processing, retail fulfillment and shipping, among other eCommerce supply chain tasks. Why is physical distribution important?A company's physical distribution function provides the location and time dimensions that contribute to a fundamental aspect of the marketing mix. Transportation and warehousing are the two most important aspects of physical distribution that help in faster deliveries for a better customer experience at affordable prices. What is the objective of physical distribution?Physical distribution's main goals are to get the appropriate items to the right client at the right time and place. In other words, while efficiency and quality service are important goals of physical distribution, they may compete with one another. How can WareIQ help with your physical distribution requirements?WareIQ offers services for the whole range of fulfillment requirements including all the processes that physical distribution comprises such as storage, shipping, order fulfillment, and customer satisfaction.
May 26, 2022
What Are Shipping Labels & How to Create them? A Guide for Fulfillment in 2022
The shipping labels that appear on packages don’t get as much attention as they should. They contain crucial information about the shipment such as details about the product, where it needs to be shipped and the price of the order. If a package happens to leave the ecommerce warehouse without a label, the order will not be legit and the customer may not accept it. While most people may not be aware of the crucial role of shipping labels, it does not diminish their significance. So what exactly are shipping labels? Let us take a deeper dive. What are Shipping Labels? Shipping Labels are a shipment’s identification card or stamp. They contain critical information about the product and enable it to be transported from the manufacturer to the distributor and eventually, the end customer. It is vital to understand how shipping labels work. They usually contain most of the following data but differ from shipper to shipper: Contents of the packageOrigin and destinationSender and receiver’s information, including contact detailsWeight and dimensionsID or a reference number unique to the shipmentCarrier informationAny specialised inspections conducted to test the fitness and safety level of the productTraceable barcodeShipping mode, e.g., express or standard deliveryPayment status: paid, unpaid, or partially paidMaxiCode, which is like a QR Code. It provides all the necessary data and can be read by a machine in any direction.Customer care numberContact details in case it needs to be returned A shipping label is a proof of supply chain automation. With a shipping label stuck to a package, customers can get all information with just a scan. These labels are non-reusable. No shipping label can be pasted on a new shipment after delivery of the previous one. [contactus_lilgoodness] There are many printers available in the market for printing shipping labels. Let us take a look. Types of Shipping Label Printers Presently, 3PL shipping or logistics partners offer to print shipping labels. Moreover, the manufacturer or the distributor can use a downloadable label template, create their own labels and start printing. Although shipping labels can be printed on a regular printer, it takes more time as each label needs to be cut from the paper to be pasted on the package. One of the reasons why companies use specialised printers to print labels is to save time. The most prominent printers for making shipping labels are: Inkjet and Laser Printers These are a good option if a moderate number of labels need to be printed every month. However, they can be costly due to the ink price, which is often bought depending on usage. Moreover, labels printed through these machines need an extra layer of protection. For instance, the ink can get smudged when exposed to water. Furthermore, if they are placed inside a protective covering, the barcodes and MaxiCodes can become unreadable by machines. Therefore, shipping labels printed through these devices require alot more effort and consideration for external factors. Thermal Printers Although thermal printers demand more initial investment, they save the cost of ink or protective coverings. Only the label rolls need to be bought and replaced. Since they use heat to embed the print, there is no risk of smudging. They produce long-lasting labels. Thermal printers are an excellent investment if the company deals with many shipments per month. There are various brands available in the market. Some of the top brands and models are mentioned below: Rollo Label PrinterDYMO Label PrinterMUNBYN Thermal Label PrinterAOBIO X4 Shipping Label PrinterArkscan 2054A Label PrinterMFLABEL Thermal Label PrinterJiose Thermal Label PrinterK Corner Shipping Label PrinterBrother QL800 Label Printer 4 Best Shipping Labels Practices to Consider in 2022 Printing correct shipping labels is essential. Any missing information can delay, delegitimize or stop the distribution of the package. Here are some of the best practices that companies should follow for printing shipping labels: Placement Shipping labels must be pasted on the topmost surface for parcels that must be kept upright and have the ‘This Way Up’ instruction printed or pasted on the box. For all other packages, it needs to be stuck on an easily visible area like the top or side of the box. The label must be stuck flat on the surface without bends or creases. They must be placed after the package has been thoroughly wrapped. Moreover, they must be of an apt size that does not spill outside the box or where the print is too small for reading. Their size and quality affect their functioning. Protection In the monsoon season or in areas with high humidity, the label must be covered with plastic or tape. Some shippers use plastic wallets to slide the label in. It remains temporarily sealed and can be pulled out for reading. While this practice was initially used only for international shipping to include necessary documents for customs, many shipping aggregators have started using it in domestic logistics. In an everyday scenario, shipping labels must be stapled or pasted well to ensure that they do not fall off en route. Waybills One cannot predict what damage might occur to a shipping label. Hence, it is essential to have a backup. Moreover, the packing slips and waybills are copies of the shipping label or a document containing the same crucial shipment information. It goes inside the package or the plastic wallet stuck to the outside. Waybills contain the same information as the shipping label, including the sender’s and receiver’s information, package content, order ID, and customer service number. Special Instructions A shipping label is the window into the details of a package. It must include any special directives for handling the shipment safely and correctly to avoid damage. The shippers should print instructions such as: Correct instructions for placing the package, e.g. 'This Way Up' labelsWarnings for fragile contentWarnings for temperature or time-sensitive contentWarnings for flammable productsLabels for confidential contentInstructions such as untouchable by hand such as for products containing dry ice Creating Shipping Labels Things like label and font size, order information, location of the label and quality of paper used for printing make a huge difference. A company can get shipping labels created from two sources: Ask their logistics partner to generate the label for a few ordersHire an aggregator for label printing Most 3PL shipping partners take the onus of printing the company’s shipping labels. However, if a business does not have such an association, they can manually print the labels for their shipments. Here are a few tools: Carrier Websites: Websites like DHL, UPS, Amazon FBA, FedEx, and eBay shipping allow users to create shipping labels on their websites. This comes in handy if the shipment volume per month is low. Besides importing all the shipment data into the website each time, the shipping company must manually update the customer on order tracking details. Shipping Label Software Solutions: Solutions like Linnworks, Loftware NiceLabel, Loftware Spectrum, MarkMagic, Maestro Label Designer can help print shipping labels for a larger monthly shipment volume. Shipping Tools: They help online retailers automate the entire shipping process, including generating shipping labels. Once integrated with the eCommerce website, they automatically retrieve order details and help create the label. Companies use such tools when handling a large number of shipments per month. Manual Writing: Shipping labels can also be handwritten on paper and stuck to the package or written directly on a small box, mostly for private and domestic shipments. As a result, most companies do not use this method to avoid any risk of damage to the label. Conclusion: How are Shipping Labels Important for eCommerce Orders? A shipment without a label is like a person travelling without a ticket or a passport. But there are three specific reasons why shipping labels are needed for eCommerce industry operations. Smooth Information Flow A shipping label contains all information that the transporters and customers need to know for a smooth package delivery to its final destination. Any discrepancy or absence of such information will halt the package in the middle of the supply chain. Enhances Efficacy Supply chain productivity depends on the accurate and timely flow of information. Shipping labels are the messengers that carry data from the warehouse to the end customer via distributors. Their presence ensures that the supply chain functions properly. A package without a shipping label can get lost in transit or delayed, thus leading to unmet customer expectations. Maintains Brand Image Shiny and clearly printed shipping labels create an excellent impression for the onlooker. Of course, labels can get dirty and damaged in transit. But the top-notch quality of shipping labels polishes the brand image for the end customer. If you need a shipping label provider for your business, in addition to a host of other fulfillment requirements, consider partnering with WareIQ. WareIQ is one of India’s leading and fastest-growing full-stack eCommerce fulfillment companies that offer a variety of services from same-day and next-day delivery, shipping badges and RTO Shield, to state of the art technological solutions such as our custom WMS and our intuitive, well-designed app store. We can take care of your brand’s entire fulfillment requirements and ensure that you and your customers get the best order fulfillment in the country and have a hassle-free experience and raise satisfaction levels to new heights. You May Like: Branded Shipping in eCommerce [signup] Shipping Labels FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Can retailers generate shipping labels for free?Shipping labels can be created for free, but the company needs to pay for its postage. Can anyone print shipping labels at home?Yes, anyone with a recommended label printer and the right quality paper can print suitable shipping labels. Can shipping labels be handwritten?Yes, it can be handwritten. However, the bar code or the MaxiCode still needs to be printed and pasted on the shipment. It is also worth noting that it might impact the impression customers have of your business as most people are accustomed to printed shipping labels. What are prepaid shipping labels?Companies include prepaid shipping labels in packages to facilitate the return of products. Moreover, some non-profit organisations provide prepaid shipping labels to help people send over items for donation via courier. Is hiring a 3PL for shipping labels a good idea?Definitely yes! You have to pay them for shipping and then a 3PL company ensures your orders are labeled and shipped properly. Outsourcing can infact help you reduce your shipping costs also. Can WareIQ provide solutions for shipping labels?Not only can WareIQ provide shipping label solutions for your business, we also provide a choice of more than 20 of the top shipping companies in the nation to partner with, to ensure that your customers receive the highest quality delivery experience.
May 25, 2022