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Multi-channel Selling: How to Use it to Boost Sales Across Online Marketplaces

Multi-channel Selling: How to Use it to Boost Sales Across Online Marketplaces

In this day and age, making sure your product is visible and readily available to a wide audience is just as or even more important than ensuring you have a competitive product in the first place. With the sheer number of resellers, listing platforms and media outlets to promote products on, it is easy for even an ultra-competitive product that is targeted at the right audience to fall through the cracks. That is where multi-channel selling comes into play. It is a means of ensuring that your product is available on every single type of platform that it could be listed on. This helps increase the visibility of your product and there are more chances that your potential customer will identify and eventually purchase your product through one of the many multi-channel selling platforms that it is listed on. Read more to find out how multi-channel selling can help your business. What is Multi-Channel Selling? Multi-Channel Selling is a way of selling products on multiple sales channels. Through multi-channel selling, a seller can sell products/services from its e-commerce website as well as any online marketplace, social handles, or/and from its physical brick and mortar stores. In the past, multi-channel selling was limited to in-store experiences, catalogues, and sales over the phone or via email. Customers can shop and buy through whichever channel they like with multi-channel selling. A manufacturer selling to a few wholesalers, for example, might have sent them a catalogue. Wholesalers would then need to contact the manufacturer and place an order over the phone or via email. This is a lengthy process that involves a lot of paperwork and is prone to errors and misunderstandings! Today in multi-channel selling, sellers are able to attract visitors in bulk to their site and convert a substantial fraction of that traffic into paying clients with effective marketing efforts and a well-designed website. But why limit the business to a single website? There are numerous alternative sales channels (Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho, etc.) via which a seller can attract new consumers and increase revenue for their business. To build a brick-and-mortar business, sellers would have to spend a significant amount of time and money finding new locations, hiring new personnel, and so on. However, moving into new territory online is a lot easier and less expensive. What are the Different Platforms Utilised for eCommerce Multi-Channel Selling? There are various platforms utilised for eCommerce multi-channel Selling. Majorly, it has been bifurcated into five categories. These are as follows: Seller’s websiteOnline marketplacesSocial media platformsThird-party websitesBricks and mortar Seller’s website In the era of the internet, a website is an important asset of multi-channel retailing and acts as a virtual shop where a buyer can find a catalogue of product categories with all the exclusive details having a buying option for it. Online marketplaces In recent years, online marketplaces have been dominating the market with the highest market share of sales. Amazon, India's biggest online retailer claims to have 85 million unique monthly visitors (according to big commerce) followed by Meesho and Jio mart. It is a very important outlet for multi-channel retailing Advantages of an online marketplace in multi-channel selling include: Huge customer baseEasily accessibleEasy checkoutNew consumers who may purchase againFulfilment process for retailers and customers Disadvantages of an online marketplace in multi-channel selling include: Marketplace fees (which can vary by category)Restrictions on branding one’s businessCut-throat competition, leading to minimum marginsInability to record customers’ information Marketplaces are further divided into three main categories when grouped by their target audience: Business-to-business (B2B)Business-to-customer (B2C), andPeer-to-peer (P2P), or customer-to-customer (C2C). Social media platforms Websites and e-commerce platforms are not easily accessible for small businesses, so these businesses show up their online presence and sell their product using social media platforms. It helps all businesses to increase customer retention by posting and tagging directly to the clients. Third-party websites This is usually utilised for electronic and luxury products like mobiles, smartwatches, washing machines, etc. Here, people come to see features and compare them with similar products of different brands in a certain price range. After comparison, there is a buying option for the customer. Bricks & Mortar It is the conventional method of buying and selling products. Customers go to stores and buy products. With the changing time, the working style of these stores has been changed. Many big players have emerged in this business model. They keep almost everything under a roof at a very marginal rate. What are the Advantages of Multi-Channel Selling? All selling options have pros and cons. Adding all these channels to the multi-channel selling options adds a bunch of pros and scales down the cons. It increases availability with the 24*7 options for a customer. To get more insight the benefits have been listed below. Increases Presence If a seller opts to be on multiple channels then the presence of his brand(products) will increase with the number of channels. E-tailor will get more customer presence for their listed product. More Focus on Target Customers/Markets You must have heard this marketing mantra; sell the right thing, at the right time, to the right person. The explanation of this mantra comes with the question, how is it done? Multi-channel options enable a seller to select an audience mainly through online selling. Here,  the seller can filter the market based on their psychographic and demographic profile. Sellers have the ease of choosing their niche market and targeting them with the right strategy.  Improves inventory transparency As a seller or manufacturer, here they get the exact count of products they have in their inventory. With the help of an AI and IoT seller, the manufacturer or any person in charge of it is informed regarding the inventory, orders, sales graph, shipment tracing, the life of products, etc., etc. Improved Customer perception Generally, a person perceives what he sees. The transparency of reading customer reviews on products, delivery, packing, or any related pre and after-sales service helps the customers to choose the right product offered by a good seller. This has changed the perception of the online shopping experience for most of the general public.  Gather Insightful Data In the coming years, data will rule the market. The primary difference between an old seller/shopkeeper and a new one is, that the old shops have more contacts, it's a name known by a bunch of people due to which they have much footfall in their shop. If a seller has data on the masses, what they are looking for, where they live and their ability to buy this will help a seller to target the group of needy. Improves Conversion Rate If we have the data of someone who is already looking for a similar product then of course it will be easy to sell him, instead of selling the product to those who may or may not want to buy it. Here we have options of easy conversion by targeting the right person which leads to a high conversion rate. What are the Disadvantages of Multi-Channel Selling? When we talk about the disadvantages of multi-channel selling. Many of the disadvantages of a single channel are covered by other selling channel options. Although being in a competitive market a seller will have disadvantages. A few of the major disadvantages are: Complex logistics In multi-channel selling options, most of the channels are online where the buyer looks for delivery at his/her doorstep before any transaction of money. Most of the time the seller is ready to dispatch the product but the problem is in logistics. A seller who is engaged in selling products can barely give enough time to packing, shipping, tracking, and all logistics-related steps. In multi-channel online selling, buyers are beyond the seller’s reach so logistics is the biggest disadvantage. The platform which has a good logistic facility is said to be a better platform for sellers as well as buyers. Competitive pricing In a huge marketplace where there are millions of sellers and billions of buyers, the pricing of the product matters a lot. Here the buyer chooses and the seller loses, if there is a small difference in the price of the same product by different sellers. Return and refund After doing everything to sell the product through multiple channels like listing products, choosing a logistic partner, and dispatching articles before getting paid, if the customer returns the product without any reason then a seller feels it is the biggest disadvantage of online selling which also applies to multi-channel sales. What are the Challenges Associated with Multi-Channel Selling for eCommerce? Doing business is a tough task. Sellers have a lot of challenges to face which are part of their business practice. A few of them are: Product Information and Listings Management To sell a product, sellers need to make the buyer aware of what the seller is selling, what are the benefits of the product, and the advantages of buying from them. To sell they need to show. Inventory Management A multi-channel seller who works with the idea of selling in quantity with fewer margins needs to maintain a good amount of inventory. They get orders from many platforms and to fulfil that demand they need a high volume of the listed product and/or keep the inventory maintained as per the demand ratio otherwise if they are short of product they will fail to deliver it on time or may not deliver after taking the order which will impact on seller reviews. Cross-Channel Messaging Only making a presence on the platform does not give a seller active buyers. They also need to be active and keep in touch with them through messaging, tagging, and replying to their queries. Order Fulfilment and Returns Order fulfilment and returns can suck up a lot of time and add complexity when sellers sell on several channels. Establishing a flexible, dependable, and scalable fulfilment plan that does not eat into profit margins is a more crucial and demanding task than most sellers realise. Gathering order fulfilment and return concerns in one place, together with a channel-specific view, will aid in identifying and addressing the bottlenecks that eCommerce sellers frequently face. Data Management and Analytics As the number of channels grows, the volume of data coming in and the number of data sources that e-seller must handle will become overwhelming. It's more likely to result in the seller losing out on the big picture. These data silos must be broken down, and business intelligence must be integrated into a single display. It helps them get a big picture of the business and derive actionable insights from the data. What are the Different Strategies for Multi-Channel Selling that Online Businesses can Implement? Before making any strategy, a seller needs to know about multi-channel selling inside-out. The knowledge needed to be gained by each seller is different, according to their product and business model. So first we need to define channel as per offerings and availability  There are three models of selling: Business-to-business (B2B)Business-to-customer (B2C), andPeer-to-peer (P2P), or customer-to-customer (C2C). So for each type of business, a seller will have to choose different channels according to their end-user. Like a product offered on Amazon business can not be sold on Amazon, a seller can not list a product on Bigbasket and Shopify, and gain equal attention. They all are sales channels for use for different purposes so customers should choose wisely and customise the product features smartly. Build a multi-channel marketing plan Before a seller makes an account and lists the product on multiple platforms, they need to make a plan. Will they need a customer support team, a person taking care of the logistics, accounts, etc? These days sellers have options that are helpful in full-stack logistics but here also they need to get partners with them. Use a CRM software to target prospects Multi-channel e-commerce marketing is only as good as the technology that powers it. A seller can send content on several channels every day for as long as they like. They may lose sales if they do not keep up with their targets as they bounce throughout various channels. Rather than saturating each channel with content at random, target people who come into contact with the offered product. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help sellers to do this. CRMs allow sellers to keep track of all of a customer's interactions with their company. They can choose one that connects to all of their channels to ensure that no contact goes unnoticed. When a client reacts on a channel, the CRM creates a user profile for them right away. With each engagement, that profile is regularly modified. This allows a seller to see how a consumer moves across their channels and identifies trigger events that may indicate what that person is looking for. Conversion pathways that function better with that profile are also visible. The seller would be able to figure out when, where, and how each consumer wishes to be contacted if those channels are followed. Optimise the channels and implement target marketing based on this data to increase sales conversion. CRMs can also assist sellers in identifying loyal consumers who have been with them for a long time. They can give rewards to them. As a result of word-of-mouth, they will attract additional clients. What Types of Businesses is Multi-Channel Selling For? In this day and age, all businesses should have multiple channel selling options. It gives equal opportunity to businesses regardless of their size, reach, brand, non-brand, urban location, rural location, etc. The things that matter here are quality of product/service, availability, reviews by other customers, quick delivery and return policy.  The only thing that a business should think about and plan before going on a certain selling channel is whether; is the platform right for their target market. A machine lubrication oil manufacturer should not list and sell its offerings on Amazon or eBay and a pair of shoes will rarely get any customers on IndiaMart. Choose the channel sensibly, list the product and describe it smartly and choose a delivery partner wisely. Conclusion: Should You/Seller Opt for Multi-Channel Selling? Different stages of the buyer's journey are targeted via social media, comparison shopping engines, marketplaces, and a seller’s website. The ultimate goal of a seller is to make more sales regardless of any platform or location. At the end of the day, any seller will want more transactions, rotation of products in inventory and popularity which all are fulfilled here. A seller will be able to maximise their reach and broaden the breadth of the company's capabilities by having a presence on each of these retail channels. If they do it right, customers will keep coming back for more, no matter where they are in their journey. Multi-channel commerce is a crucial strategy for success in today's connected world, but it comes with its own set of problems and opportunities. You can streamline your entire shipping operations in one place with WareIQ. Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfillment 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 & 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 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to dropshipping and conventional 3PL companies. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth.

April 18, 2022

Top 10 Fulfillment Companies to Grow eCommerce Business in 2022

Top 10 Fulfillment Companies to Grow eCommerce Business in 2022

E-Commerce fulfillment is an important business component to ensure that orders are delivered to customers on time. Receiving inbound wholesale shipments, sorting stock, and shelving inventory for efficient picking and packaging before it gets to the customer's doorstep is all part of order fulfillment. Order fulfillment setbacks for startups and SMEs can harm their business and operational efficiency. As the company grows and attracts customers worldwide, creating an order fulfillment system has gotten more difficult. Customer satisfaction and income can suffer if the order fulfillment procedure is inefficient. As a result, the company's reputation is also affected. Read along to understand how fulfillment companies can help eCommerce & D2C brands to grow their business. What Do eCommerce Fulfillment Companies Do? Ecommerce fulfillment companies specialise in order processing and delivery. This procedure includes receiving and storing goods, processing orders, picking and packing, inserting packing slips, and shipping. These companies use software that connects to the seller's website. Companies providing eCommerce fulfillment services inspect the products, pack them, and ship them to the consumer once an order is placed. They also help retailers with inventory management and tracking. Orders are also stored at eCommerce fulfillment facilities. Ecommerce fulfillment services can be performed by third-party fulfillment companies that will manage all of the operations when an order is placed, allowing businesses to focus on marketing and product development. Order fulfillment services can help startups, and SMEs alleviate the burden of having a physical location or a dedicated storage facility to fulfil orders. Self-Shipping vs eCommerce Fulfillment - What is Right For You? [table id=10 /] What are the Benefits of Using eCommerce Fulfillment Companies? Key benefits of using eCommerce fulfillment companies for the order fulfillment process include Remote inventory management: With the service provider's warehouses, businesses will not require dedicated physical storage spaces. For a flawless order fulfillment experience for the customer, fulfillment companies can be accessed on-demand or long-term at any preferred location.A shorter distance between source and delivery location: By shortening the distance between the product's source and the customer's location, eCommerce fulfillment centers can ensure speedier order fulfillment. Optimised storage: Businesses can easily store stock goods in areas with the largest volume of orders using ecommerce warehouse fulfillment technologies provided by the service partner.Improving customer satisfaction: Positive feedback from customers about a speedy and flawless delivery process. Businesses may improve brand loyalty and promote repeat purchases by providing a pleasant client experience. Must-Have Features of eCommerce Fulfillment Companies When businesses partner with 3PL fulfillment companies for eCommerce order fulfillment, the following features should be provided with the help of an app integration for better order management: Warehousing: The fulfillment centre should store and manage inventory and process them based on customer orders.Order Picking: When a customer places an order, the fulfillment centre should promptly pick up the required order items from the warehouse to process them for delivery.Order Packaging: Once the required items are picked up from the warehouse, the fulfillment centre should work on packing them appropriately to ensure that they arrive undamaged at the customer's location. If the customer has placed multiple orders, they should also work on clubbing all the SKUs to have a combined package created with a single shipping label to deliver it easily.Shipping: Once the order is packed and ready to go, they should have it shipped from the fulfillment centre to the customer's location to ensure a quick delivery. eCommerce fulfillment companies should share real-time tracking details with the seller and the customer for order visibility.Returns management: In case an order is undelivered or is returned by the customer, the same should be processed by the fulfillment centre and accordingly added back into the business's inventory (if the products are undamaged and unused).eCommerce platform and multi-channel integration: Integration with all eCommerce platforms is critical for eCommerce fulfillment software. This ensures that no orders are overlooked, which leads to decreased customer satisfaction.Access to a customer portal: The software of fulfillment companies need to provide a good platform for customers. Customers that order frequently may choose to use a customer portal to alter invoicing and delivery options, track order status, and examine prior orders. This feature also helps detect anomalies, identify frequent returners and other factors that can be looked into to improve logistics and customer satisfaction. Technology-driven 3PLs simplify businesses to integrate their online store with their system. This creates a two-way information flow, allowing business owners to monitor inventory levels in real-time. They also have access to dependable, accurate, and transparent data. Top 10 Fulfillment Companies for Growing eCommerce Business WareIQ Source 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 centralised tech platform for your entire eCommerce operations ML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for a delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages Today, over 300 brands have taken charge of their logistics & fulfilment with WareIQ to unlock tremendous value in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction. WareIQ Rush is their same-day-delivery platform. Using this platform, WareIQ is aiming to help online sellers offer same day delivery in every major metropolis in India, with a plus 99% fulfillment rate through their network of micro fulfillment centers. Sign Up Now with WareIQ RUSH to avail our superior fulfilment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. DHL Fulfillment Source DHL Supply Chain, a division of Deutsche Post DHL, introduced the India fulfillment network (IFN) to enable businesses to power their e-commerce business models by providing access to omnichannel distribution capabilities across major markets, according to a press statement. Through additional ready-to-use hubs, their fully integrated end-to-end fulfillment solution on a 'pay per usage' basis helps firms de-risk. Some of the features of DHL IFN are: One-view tech platform for processing orders, inventory management, order fulfillment & delivery to the end consumersNext day delivery in over 80 citiesRange of B2B & B2C warehousing servicesSeamless logistics managementInventory optimisation, smoothing and synchronisationIn-plant logistics; just-in-time and Kanban replenishment of raw materials/components to manufacturingVendor-managed inventoryInbound handling, consolidation and global distribution to outstations ShipBob Source ShipBob has no order minimums and aside from Amazon, has the largest network of domestic and international fulfillment centers on our list, allowing it to provide high-level distribution capabilities. ShipBob provides several eCommerce-related services. Businesses can obtain quick access to a variety of web integrations, eCommerce inventory features and advanced filter capabilities. ShipBob, which has been in business since 2014, delivers great customer service and assigns each online business its dedicated account manager. Some features ShipBob has are Affordable pricingB2B fulfillment with EDI complianceItemized billing format for transparencyFDA-certified climate control and handlingFBA prep services Deliverr Source Deliverr is an excellent option for startups, especially if the majority of their customers are located in the United States. Deliverr, like Amazon Prime, offers 2-day shipping across several shopping channels. What sets them apart is their transparent pricing. Sellers may find out exactly how much their estimated spend will be by inputting product information into the cost calculator on their website. Deliverr has some drawbacks, such as the lack of return processing and subscription box kitting. Some of the features include: All-in-one fees include receiving and fulfillmentReal-time inventory and order trackingFree trials for limited SKUsFast-shipping tagsSmart algorithm to allocate inventory across Deliverr's fulfillment warehouse network intelligently ShipMonk Source ShipMonk's platform is tailored to match the business' scalability needed to accommodate growth. But they do not provide batch fulfillment services and require a minimum of $250 in pick and pack fees. ShipMonk has been around since 2014. ShipMonk specialises in B2C eCommerce, subscription boxes, and crowdfunding projects and offers a wide range of fulfillment services. They also provide access to a vast list of integrations from which to choose while assessing the best possibilities for your business. ShipMonk is recognised for its subscription fulfillment services, but that's only a small part of what they do for customers, and their services may be customised to meet their specific needs. Key features include: Amazon seller-fulfilled prime eligibilityOnline billing portalWarehouse automationRobust customisation & branding optionsTax benefits and cost reductions for volume importersNo setup or inventory receiving feesDiscounted shipping ratesClaims managementInternational order processingPhotos of packed orders before they’re shipped FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)  Source Because of its automatic Prime designation, FBA gives sellers better access to Amazon's over 150 million Prime subscribers. FBA is a good option for Amazon retailers since it handles all customer inquiries, administers returns and refunds, and automates order fulfillment, saving time. However, FBA's pricing and procedures are more complicated than those of many other fulfillment warehouses, particularly when selling large or heavy items, so do your study to avoid paying excessive fees. Its key features are: No order minimumsHandling of all customer inquiries, refunds, and returnsFBA can fulfil non-Amazon ordersUses inventory pooling that groups identical products from different sellers Falcon Fulfillment Source Falcon is one of the leading fulfillment companies specialising in health and wellness and cosmetics fulfillment, and was founded in 2015. Falcon Fulfillment provides straightforward pricing and a simple platform to scale as your company grows. The company presently only covers the United States. Due to the 4,000 minimum monthly order requirement and the lack of overseas Warehouses, Falcon is a good choice for established eCommerce vendors who have their customer base in the US. Another disadvantage is that some integrations necessitate the use of ShipStation. Some of their features include: Live order editingCustom packaging optionsEco-friendly packaging optionsKittingReturns management Rakuten Super Logistics Source Rakuten Super Logistics provides packaging and shipping services and is one of the best eCommerce fulfillment services suited for enterprises. They also assist eCommerce sellers with marketing. As a company that serves enterprises, Rakuten offers personalised pricing quotes and tailors services to meet the needs of the enterprises. Rakuten does not have global fulfillment centers, specialised packaging, or DHL integration, despite being a favoured fulfillment provider for enterprises. Key features of Rakuten include: Tailored services for enterprisesIntegrated marketing services at additional costs1-2 day ground shipping in the United StatesSpeciality fulfillment centersKitting and subscription box services FedEx Fulfillment Source For international delivery and order management, FedEx Fulfillment is the best option. FedEx Fulfillment Services are modular and adaptable, allowing businesses to develop and customise options to meet their specific requirements. In the extremely competitive aftermarket and critical inventory business, FedEx Fulfillment Services offers a strategic advantage. The FedEx Global Distribution Centre (GDC) provides hub-based warehousing for both forward and reverse logistics, with the capacity, environment, and experience to store, organize, and ship orders when it's needed. FedEx, on the other hand, does not offer product-based batch fulfillment, and while there are no setup fees, it does levy account fees when orders fall short of the minimum requirement. Features of FedEx fulfillment are: Global footprintRange of eCommerce integrationsEasy-to-use platformExtensive delivery networkFast shipping and returns management Red Stag fulfillment Source Red Stag can handle a wide range of product orders, but it specialises in packing and shipping larger, heavier items. They have remarkable scalability, allowing them to fulfil the needs of both small and large businesses. Red Stag Fulfillment's extended services provide various elements that eCommerce business owners may make use of to assist them to get products to their intended destinations quickly and efficiently. Red Stag excels at handling complicated shipping requirements and heavy cargo. Key features include Video monitoringExcellent customer supportA pallet delivery systemSame-day shipping and order completion guaranteefulfillment warehouse networkExcellent scalability Costs and Challenges of Partnering with Fulfillment Companies Having an eCommerce fulfillment partner for order fulfillment does not require any upfront capital. While the costs of fulfillment services can vary based on the provider being chosen, most of their revenue comes from long-term storage costs. However, other associated costs include Setup feesWeight ChargesPackaging feesProcessing and Returns costsAccount ManagementCustomer Support costs Additional one-time costs for other things may also be a part of the fulfillment centre fees. Examples are order cancellations, SKU labelling, barcoding, payment card processing, marketing inserts, product assembly etc. A few challenges that businesses can experience when partnering with an eCommerce fulfillment centre are Limited inventory of what the business ownsStock replenishments to the fulfillment centreUpfront investment for services like warehousing and distributionBad service from the 3PL partner affecting the business reputation Why WareIQ should be Your Preferred Fulfillment Company for eCommerce Business? Using third-party eCommerce fulfillment companies like WareIQ, which is knowledgeable and resourceful and can give the best logistical expertise in the eCommerce sector, provides clients with the rapid delivery and faultless delivery experience they expect. Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfillment 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to dropshipping and conventional 3PL companies. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. eCommerce Fulfillment Companies FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is an eCommerce fulfillment company?The component of your eCommerce company that involves operations after receiving an order till the delivery of that order to the end customer is known as eCommerce fulfilment. These include picking, packing, shipping, and delivery of product to the customer's door. What are the different types of fulfillment?Order fulfilment is divided into four categories: in-house, outsourced, dropshipping, and hybrid. Why should you outsource fulfillment to 3PL Fulfillment Companies?·        Ready Infrastructure that can handle the ups and downs of your ecommerce operation·        Processing orders efficiently·        Focus on your core expertise to build your ecommerce business.·        Reduce costs of ecommerce delivery·        Get actionable information and best technologies·        Expand your geographic footprint with warehouses across India·        Leverage existing integrations to your advantage What is Fulfilment cost?Fulfillment costs in warehousing are the total of all charges incurred throughout the process of moving merchandise from receiving to distribution. How do we calculate fulfillment cost?Fulfillment cost per order = Total warehouse cost per order - total warehouse costs divided by annual orders shipped.

April 14, 2022

What is a Fulfillment Center? A Detailed Guide in 2022

What is a Fulfillment Center? A Detailed Guide in 2022

One of the most prominent challenges facing businesses looking to expand into the eCommerce space is identifying where to store inventory and how to implement a strategy to ensure that incoming orders are located, packed and shipped as soon as possible. While many big MNC’s have tons of staff to help on this front, small businesses, oftentimes, do not have that same luxury. This is where fulfillment centers and fulfillment warehouses would make life tremendously easier for these companies. What is a Fulfillment Center? A fulfillment center forms a critical part of the supply-chain network and takes care of executing the entire process of order-fulfillment, including receiving an order, locating it in the warehouse and processing it, right through to its packing, loading, dispatch, and transportation. It acts as a logistical hub, around which goods are transported from the seller to the customer. What is a 3PL? A 3PL is a third-party logistics provider that uses a Fulfillment Center to execute customer orders on behalf of eCommerce retailers that want to streamline their daily business operations. A Fulfillment warehouse works efficiently to deliver orders received by online customers within the stipulated time. In doing so, it manages a process on behalf of eCommerce firms that is critical for their success.  How do Fulfillment Centers Operate? As mentioned above, a Fulfillment Center acts as a hub for all logistical activities needed to transport a seller’s goods to his customer – this is referred to as the order fulfillment process. Since numerous factors are involved in fulfilling orders and warehouse management, the minutia is often swept under the carpet and ultimately causes severe problems such as supply-chain bottlenecks.With 3PLs, the inventory is stored in its fulfillment warehouse. Upon receiving an order from an (eCommerce/ online) customer, the products are selected, packed, and shipped. B2C orders are delivered directly to the customer’s address, while B2B orders (large volumes, mostly) are shipped to large-sized retailers.When a seller outsources its requirements to a 3PL fulfillment company, it can focus on other critical business functions. In contrast, a 3PL handles its inventory and logistics, including order-receiving, packing, loading, shipping, negotiating transport rates, reducing fulfillment costs, managing order returns, warehouse management and handling scale efficiently. Top Benefits of Using a Fulfillment Center Utilization of Economies-of-Scale Fulfillment warehouses operate on a tremendous scale, manage hundreds of clients, and work across multiple shippers and transporters. Therefore, they also benefit from economies of scale and can negotiate discounted rates across their operations including packing materials, assets, warehouse space, software, and staffing, not to mention shipping rates, which account for up to 70% of fulfillment costs. Focus on Core Business Although the tasks of order management and shipping are crucial for success, they can be easily outsourced to a 3PL fulfillment center. Not only can clients benefit from the expertise of the 3PL but they now have more time to focus on their core business tasks. Benefit from 3PL Fulfillment Expertise Logistics and Distribution, especially in today’s global markets with complex ecosystems and processes, is a challenging – and, often overwhelming – task for any seller! Outsourcing this to 3PL experts that handle these complex processes efficiently on a daily basis, is the correct way to go – your business will gain immensely from their expertise and know-how.  Utilize Automation 3PL companies today are fully automated, tech-enabled behemoths. They deploy the latest technology and software, capture data across ordering, shipping, and tracking while ensuring real-time communication and visibility of the entire process.  Utilize Inventory Outsourcing Unless the seller is a company of some scale, the task of managing an inventory warehouse becomes expensive and cumbersome. Outsourcing this task to a fulfillment center is far more efficient. Often, the prudent time to make the shift is also once scale starts kicking in.  Benefit From an Extensive Network of Warehouses 3PLs have an elaborate network of fulfillment warehouses and fulfillment centers and often follow a hub-n-spoke model. This means they are closely located to your customers. Therefore, the lesser distance your cargo has to travel, the lesser is the delivery time and cost. Don’t forget that customers today are bred on super-speed shipping, free shipping anddiscounted shipping!  Data Analytics Modern logistics-management software used by 3PLs, tracks, collects, and mines data that is generated across the process. This results in deep insight for managers who can use this as the bedrock for decision-making, thereby leading to more efficient planning and implementation. Why are Fulfillment Centers Vital for eCommerce Businesses? Listed below are several significant benefits for eCommerce businesses in using fulfillment centers: 1) Gain from their expertise: Collaborating with a fulfillment warehouse makes your entire process seamless – they are the experts in the field, and outsourcing your inventory storage, packing, loading, dispatch (etc.) helps you gain from their expertise. 2) Access to inventory space: eCommerce firms almost always start small and have limited space e.g. garages, basements etc.. Outsourcing your inventory to them helps to reduce your operating costs. 3) Increase in scalability: They are connected with global supply-chain networks, and equipped with significant resources to manage scale. With the number of online shoppers only slated to go higher, you benefit from their international expertise and can scale your business globally.  4) Access to modern technology: Quite expectedly, fulfillment centers invest big dollars into cutting-edge software systems to improve their efficiency. eCommerce firms benefit from this without the CapEx required or hiring resources to operate it. 5) Ability to minimize operating costs: Extending the point above, utilising their storage space and order processing services help you to reduce a significant portion on your operating cost and overheads. Money saved is money earned.  6) Access to bulk discounts: Since 3PLs operate on a global scale, they benefit from it - bulk delivery discounts, zone-based shipping rates, and frequent pickups are just some advantages of scale.   7) Access to professional customer service: It’s a frenetic global market currently, and, you cannot build a sustainable business, only by-product differentiation. Customer Service is an increasing element for companies to create differentiation – this is where fulfillment centers are experts. They maintain 24/7 customer support, facilitate convenient returns, refunds, and exchanges.  8) Access to customized packaging: eCommerce customers only experience their product when it arrives at their doorstep anda damaged or messy package isn’t going to cut it! They offer customized packaging solutions that keep packages attractive and fresh - an important element in building customer satisfaction Fulfillment Centers vs Warehouses: Differences and Myths Busted There are innate differences between the two and the roles each plays in fulfilling customer orders.  While a warehouse simply stores inventory, a fulfillment warehouse manages the process of ordering and delivering products to customers on time to ensure customer satisfaction. Sellers stock their inventory in 3PL fulfillment warehouses, situated across numerous locations. This reduces delivery times and costs. 1) Long-term vs. Short-term Storage The main objective of a fulfillment center is to manage the entire process from customers placing orders till the order is successfully delivered whereas a warehouse is a storage location that is just one piece of the entire gamut of operations that a 3PL conducts. Ideally, inventory should not sit in a fulfillment warehouse for more than 30 days since this is long-term storage and attracts higher storage fees. The seller and 3PL must communicate regularly about stock levels, re-order levels, and maintain appropriate levels of inventory based on the frequency of orders, time taken to reach customers (etc.) so that out-of-stock problems don’t arise. 2) Range of operations While a warehouse often remains inactive since it is used primarily for stocking inventory, a fulfillment center provides comprehensive solutions and is constantly abuzz with activity, including: Receiving, packing, loading, and dispatching ordersReceiving and stocking inventoryPreparing order documentation, shipping labelsKitting products (if required)Processing order-returns Comparatively, activity in a warehouse is limited to receipt and dispatch of inventory.  3) Order-pickup frequency Since a fulfillment company gets out orders immediately on receipt, they work with several shipping companies so that goods are picked up at least once a day, often more. This ensures order delivery within the time windows promised to the customer. Often, the orders have specified delivery times (e.g. same-day, 24-hr, 2-3 days etc.) and a ecommerce fulfillment center will have various cut-off times based on order details.  Warehouses, however, schedule less frequent pickups regardless of the delivery speed specified by the customer since this enables them to stay cost-effective. They also use freight companies that adhere to pre-defined pickup windows. This can often cause delays and is also inflexible. Why Do You Need a Fulfillment Center for Your Business? 1) Speedy delivery: Since a fulfillment company works with several shippers, their shipments are picked up at least once daily, ensuring timely deliveries. 2) Complete automation: Modern fulfillment centers use updated technology throughout the fulfillment process so that their ecommerce clients can track order processing, inventory movement (etc.) in real-time. 3) Improved scalability: While scaling up is the goal of every business, its mismanagement can have disastrous results. Today’s fulfillment warehouses are modern giants with numerous resources that tackle scale comfortably and professionally. 4) Focus retention: Managers in eCommerce firms must focus on strategic tasks that scale the business and maintain profitability e.g. product management, marketing and customer service. Tasks like order fulfillment and inventory handling can be easily outsourced to 3PLs. Best Tips for Inventory Management using Fulfillment Centers Modern eco-systems and borderless markets exert inordinate pressure on online resellers. 3PL Fulfillment warehouses are masters at optimizing inventory management.  1) Reduce costs via cross-docking & wave-picking: Using cross-docking decreases handling as well as storage time and enables firms to manage warehouse inventory seamlessly. Wave-picking is another method of tackling complex shipping systems. Both reduce carrying costs and shipping costs. 2) Stay atop your supply chain: Several glitches can often disrupt an otherwise smooth supply chain. While events are sometimes unavoidable, understanding your supply chain enables you to stay on top of mishaps that sometimes throw things off-kilter.  3) Re-modify your floor plan: Often overlooked due to its simplicity, efficient floor plans are still a proven strategy to increase efficiency. However, supply-demand is forever fluctuating and floor plans should be adapted according to the situation.  4) Minimize pilferage: Employee monitoring and security measures help minimize pilferage, and the results are often highly beneficial.  5) Track product success: Optimized inventory management means you can track sales of each product. Using this data, firms gain insights into their inventory movement. For example, the bestsellers can be stored in places where it is easier to locate, replenish, and ship out.  You can follow a similar method to monitor your top clients and their orders. Similarly, you can identify your laggards and minimize their stock levels or even phase them out totally. 6) Utlilize inventory-management systems: If you are still using legacy inventory software, you are bound to struggle. The modern, automated software systems of today, with their large data-crunching abilities, cloud-connectivity, real-time data processing, and insight-generation using AI and ML tools, enable you to manage your inventory quickly and efficiently.  7) Minimize shrinkage: Shrinkage is a fancy term for breakage, damage, and theft. Select a fulfillment company that offers a zero-shrinkage policy which means that once the fulfillment center confirms and records your products, all items will be accounted for. In case products go missing or get damaged on their watch, they have a reimbursement policy.  Main Challenges with Fulfillment Centers Slow shipping, free shipping With eCommerce behemoths like Amazon increasing customer expectations with their Same-day delivery and Free shipping, all eCommerce companies are expected to match up. If your fulfillment warehouse – or, even your specific business model – is unable to do so, then you risk customer dissatisfaction Limited locations If your fulfillment center doesn’t have an elaborate network of strategically placed warehouses that minimizes the distance and time taken for deliveries, it will result in extended delivery times. The result would be customer dissatisfaction. Complicated fulfillment software While using modern, automated fulfillment software is a great strength with fulfillment warehouse, they can often be complex and intimidating for E-commerce companies to deal with. Poor integration will also confuse – and the results are potentially disastrous.  Damaged goods; Return inefficiency For eCommerce firms without physical locations, returned or damaged items are received back at their center. But, if your fulfillment center doesn’t efficiently manage the order-return process, the costs are tremendous e.g. irate customers, restocking expenses, and inventory losses. Inept Customer Service We live in uber-competitive times! And, Customer Satisfaction is the most important metric in building a sustainable eCommerce business. When you use a fulfillment warehouse, they are typically responsible for your customer service. However, if they don’t handle this efficiently by deploying Omni-channel options, you risk aggravating customers. Out-of-stock costs While this will probably never go away completely, the trick is to minimize it. If not, your customer will discover other options. If your fulfillment partner doesn’t deploy the best practices in inventory management along with you in projecting demand patterns, your stock-out costs could burn a deep hole in your profits.  Conclusion: Why it is in a Business's Best Interest to Partner with a Fulfillment Center? Ultimately, the benefits are significant for sellers that partner with fulfillment warehouse to handle their fulfillment. A 3PL becomes your trusted business ally and supports your business growth. The business can then focus more on refining its product and promoting it rather than worry about inventory management and order fulfillment. One such company that provides fulfillment centers and a host of other products is WareIQ. 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 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to dropshipping and conventional 3PL companies. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. Fulfillment Center FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is a fulfillment center?A fulfillment center is a facility similar to a fulfillment warehouse, where 3PL fulfillment service providers store, process and ship products owned by online & offline retail businesses. They handle the logistics that are required to complete an order to the end customer's door as well as returns. What is the difference between a warehouse & a fulfillment center?A warehouse’s function is only to store products for a longer duration, whereas a fulfillment center's role is to efficiently meet customer shipping expectations starting from storing inventory, packing, shipping, managing returns etc. Does WareIQ has its own fulfillment center?WareIQ has a pan-India network of 40+ fulfillment centers, micro-fulfillment centers, fulfillment warehouses & urban dark stores near their customers. Is a fulfillment center capable of handling all types of products?No. If you're selling perishable goods, you'll need a fulfillment center with a cold storage facility. If you're selling heavy-duty tools or industrial equipment to businesses, you'll need a fulfillment center that can meet safety requirements and offer customized packaging. WareIQ provides both cold storage facility & customised packaging to its customers in food & beverages category like Epigamia, lil’goodness etc & pharmaceuticals category like Gynoveda. Is a fulfillment center capable of handling a big volume of orders?Yes. A fulfillment center specializes in just that. Fulfillment centers are massive facilities with automation and a large, skilled staff to manage the needs of many e-commerce companies. Can we get real-time updates from fulfillment centers?They certainly do! When e-commerce businesses need to provide customers with real-time updates on the status of their orders, they need the fulfillment center and shipping company to do the same. WareIQ has a branded tracking page of its own where the customers get real time updates via mails,messages,whatsapp etc.

April 13, 2022

10 Best Small Business Fulfillment Companies In 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 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 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 Today, over 300 brands have taken charge of their logistics & fulfillment with WareIQ to unlock tremendous revenue and customer satisfaction value. You can join the new technological revolution by taking control of your logistics and fulfillment with WareIQ! Sign Up Now with WareIQ RUSH to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. 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.

April 13, 2022

What is a Micro Fulfillment Center? Why is it Important for your Business in 2022

What is a Micro Fulfillment Center? Why is it Important for your Business in 2022

In this day and age, where consumers are used to ordering most of their requirements online, a delay in them receiving that order could have dire consequences for the seller. With so much competition in every sector, businesses are pining for getting their products to their customers at a faster rate than their competitors. To accomplish this goal, businesses and online retailers have had to adopt new strategies to ensure that they don’t fall behind. This is why micro fulfillment centers are important as they can bridge the gap between where the order is being shipped from and the customer's doorstep. Read further to understand all the nuances of micro fulfillment, in more detail. What is Micro Fulfillment? Micro fulfillment is a strategy adopted by companies/eCommerce sellers where the fulfillment cycle is made more efficient by setting up small-scale ecommerce warehouses or storage facilities near densely populated areas, thus reducing the time taken from placing the order to delivering it. In this age of consumerism, where same-day delivery has become a norm in some locations, companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, Big Basket, and other eCommerce/retail companies are finding solutions on how to uphold customer expectations, while at the same time, figuring out how to maximise on their own profit margins. This is where micro fulfillment is the solution.  Last-mile delivery incurs the most costs among the different stages of delivery, and is estimated to be between 40-50% of the entire supply chain cost. With the inclusion of micro fulfillment, this cost can be minimised as it reduces the shipping costs from regional/central distribution centers to the local distribution center. What is a Micro Fulfillment Center? Micro fulfillment centers are small, fully or semi-automated fulfillment centers situated in close proximity to the end customer and generally covers an area between 3,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. They center can be part of a larger warehouse or can exist as a standalone unit as well. They are also known as dark stores, where the order processing and packing is fully automated with minimal human interaction. A micro fulfillment center usually has limited inventory, lasting for 24-72 hours, and acts as a base for express delivery for  products within a certain pin code or geographical location. To state an example, Flipkart may have a large warehouse in Binola, Haryana of 13 lakh sq. ft., but in order to fulfil express delivery for Saket, it can set up a micro fulfillment center in Saket of just 500 sq. ft., and thus cut down on the 1.5 hours of travel time. This will ensure that same-day delivery can be easily met for those end-users in South Delhi and offers an enhanced customer experience for the end-user. How can Micro Fulfillment Centers Boost Retail Efficiency? With the advent of hyperlocal delivery ecosystems, the aim is to increase efficiency to match the needs and expectations of the end customer. Still, despite automated warehouses and large fulfillment centers, with the latest implementations of picking and sorting technologies, the required efficiency is difficult to achieve.  This is where micro fulfillment centers step in. eCommerce companies will find a boost in retail efficiency post the implementation of micro fulfilment centres due to the following reasons: Improved analytics: Companies will gain deeper insights into the purchase patterns of customers within a pin code or a smaller geographical location. Thus, the inventory stored will be more precisely suited to the user's needs and will involve faster order pickups as well as cost-saving from unused inventory.Faster fulfillment: Even in a semi-automated state, they help reduce the fulfillment cycle duration because the orders have to be picked from a smaller area and can be done with higher accuracy. The order pick up process reduces from 60 minutes in regional distribution centers to just 6 minutes in micro fulfillment centers.Faster delivery: With last-mile delivery carving out a significant portion of an eCommerce company’s revenue, they reduce the delivery time, and thus aid in cost-saving.Ease of integration: They are much smaller in size, aid in the company’s expansion as they can help reach a larger area and are also much easier to integrate into the existing system of the company’s supply chain. Benefits of Micro Fulfillment Centers vs. Traditional Fulfillment Centers As per the real estate firm CBRE, it was seen that for an eCommerce player to earn $1 billion in sales, it requires 1.25 million sq. ft. of storage space. This added to the fact that the majority of players are aiming for a faster fulfillment cycle, shows that micro fulfillment centers provide a solution to the needs of eCommerce players. Micro fulfillment centers prove how useful they are as compared to traditional fulfillment centers in the following ways: Highly responsive to change in customer demands: When the lockdown struck and customers’ demands changed from clothing to groceries, micro fulfillment centers could have adapted to the change in the demands much faster by making space for grocery items and replacing other products. This rapid deployment and shift in resources cannot be matched by a traditional fulfillment center.More customisable products: With better insights into the customers’ demands in a certain area, micro fulfillment can stock up on the required inventory that the customers in that area need, and this leads to an optimised, faster and more efficient fulfillment cycle.Improved quality control: With a lower order density, it is much easier to ensure that the products being shipped are of the quality demanded and to the correct addresses.Faster delivery time: It is common to see commercial vehicles waiting to enter the city limits and ending up in long traffic jams at the city borders. This hassle is saved by micro fulfillment centers being set up close to the end-user, thus reducing the distance and ensuring extremely fast deliveries.Lower operational and set up costs: Micro fulfillment centers take much less time to be set up and the operational costs are lower than traditional fulfillment centers, thus increasing the company’s profits.  What are the Best Practices in Micro Fulfillment? Micro fulfillment is a relatively new practice. Thus, eCommerce and other fulfillment companies are striving to ensure that they can fine-tune this to the best of their abilities. The following are some of the best practices that are being followed universally by most, if not all, eCommerce companies: Inventory: Establishing an inventory management system based on the business model, and thus ensuring that the micro fulfillment center is not under or overstocked is essential. Inventory issues at a micro fulfillment center can cause a bullwhip effect going back up to the main distribution center as well.Software: Ensuring the software system for handling the micro fulfillment center can be integrated with that of the distribution center’s Warehouse Management Software and/or the Order Management System.Property Selection: Whether it is building a new store or renovating an existing property, the geographical location and ease of approach must be considered. A cheaper location but with an interrupted power supply will, in the long run, prove to be costlier than a location that might be more expensive but with better civic amenities available. Main Challenges with Micro Fulfillment Centers Micro fulfillment is a solution that can revolutionise the eCommerce industry, but for all the promise and excitement, it must be taken with a pinch of salt. Players, new and old, when expanding using the micro fulfillment route, must keep in point the following challenges and be prepared with contingencies for them: Constant inventory replenishment: Be it using the Milk-run route or the EOQ model, micro fulfillment centers, due to their smaller size, will require their inventory to be replenished often, and this means a proactive inventory replenishment system must be in place to handle this.Consumer unpredictability: A limited storage capacity can sometimes make it difficult to quickly adapt to a certain trend. For example, an influencer posting about a certain product leads to an overnight trend, and this may lead to unfulfilled orders.Risk of stockouts: With a limited inventory of certain SKUs, there is a risk of some products/SKUs facing stockouts during unpredictable high demand changes.Not suitable for all products/SKUs: They are not be suitable for some larger products which cover more area, and given the limited space available, it will be a choice between which SKU to sacrifice.Order consolidation: Customers order multiple grocery items simultaneously and expect all the items to be delivered together. But at the micro fulfillment center, if even a single item is out of stock, it can lead to a delay in the delivery or cancellation of the product by the retailer’s end, both leading to depleted customer satisfaction and mistrust of this system. Top Micro Fulfillment Companies in India Micro fulfillment in India is followed using a relatively hybrid concept. The FMCG sector in India is vastly unorganised, with close to 95% being unorganised. So, rather than only setting up dedicated micro fulfillment centers, many 3PL, eCommerce and fulfillment companies are using the already established infrastructure of these stores as micro fulfillment centers while also setting up their own micro fulfillment centers. While completely automated micro fulfillment centers have not been set up in India yet, many companies dealing in the hyperlocal delivery industry are using this hybrid model of using the existing Kirana stores as a micro fulfillment centers. Below are some of the leading micro fulfillment companies: WareIQ Source 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 centralised tech platform for your entire eCommerce operations ML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for a delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages Today, over 300 brands have taken charge of their ecommerce logistics & fulfilment with WareIQ to unlock tremendous value in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction. WareIQ Rush is their same-day-delivery platform. Using this platform, WareIQ is aiming to help online sellers offer same day delivery in every major metropolis in India, with a plus 99% fulfillment rate. Sign Up Now with WareIQ RUSH to avail our superior fulfilment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. Flipkart Source One of the original players to bring about this hybrid concept of using Kirana stores as a micro fulfillment centers, this eCommerce giant has opened up micro fulfillment centers and launched the “Flipkart Quick” service to deliver close to 2000 products ranging from grocery to electronics such as smartphones. It now uses its vast network of micro fulfillment centers to provide grocery services across 1800 cities, 23 states, and 10,000 pin codes in India. Dunzo Source Established in 2014, this hyperlocal delivery system caters to 7 cities. Seeing the changing consumer demand due to the lockdown, Dunzo plans to open 300 micro fulfillment centers across 20 cities and keep the top 2,000 SKUs in each center. Their main goal is to provide delivery in under 19 minutes, in every corner of the country. Swiggy Source Swiggy’s Instamart is now available across 18 cities and has achieved the 15-minute delivery service level by opening up multiple micro fulfillment centers in partnership with local Kirana stores. The potential of this service can be realised by understanding Swiggy’s decision to invest $700 million into establishing a micro fulfillment center for hyperlocal deliveries. Grofers/Blinkit Source Grofers, now rebranded as Blinkit, one of the country’s earliest hyperlocal grocery delivery companies, is opening 1000 micro fulfillment centers across India and providing a 15-minute grocery delivery service. With the onset of services like Swiggy Insatmart and Dunzo, Grofers is trying to claim the mantel of india's leading online grocery platform. Big Basket Source Big Basket, with its BB Daily and BB Instant services, provides hyperlocal delivery services by being able to deliver around 90% of the items within two hours. Big Basket was amongst the earliest adopters of the micro fulfillment service. It presently has ten micro fulfillment centers in each metro city and one each in 50 smaller cities. Ola Dash Source Ola is known for its cab service but its up and coming same-day-delivery eCommerce service called Ola Dash, is seeking to up the ante by opening up to 500 micro fulfillment centers across 20 Indian cities. Ola Dash is presently providing a 10 minutes “Store to Door” delivery service across nine cities and across 2,500 SKUs and the micro fulfillment platform is set to expand upon that. Ola is hoping to make a name for itself in the eCommerce space. Shadowfax Source This logistics company provides same-day delivery and courier services and is now being used by retailers to fulfil their online orders. With Shadowfax’s micro fulfillment centers which are actually their delivery and sorting hubs, they provide hyperlocal delivery of products such as groceries and medicines, in a very short amount of time to their customers doorsteps. Conclusion: How You Can Utilize Micro Fulfillment Centers to Offer Same Day Delivery to Customers The Indian eCommerce industry is rapidly progressing towards the hyperlocal fulfillment sector. Zomato recently announced their decision to enter this sector as well, and with multiple other startups also aiming to provide the “10 minute” delivery service, the way forward is through micro fulfillment centers only.  As the pandemic restrictions slacken and people are returning back to the offices, the hassles of coming home and buying groceries will return once again too. This will lead to an increase in the demand for hyperlocal delivery services, and subsequently, the need for micro fulfillment centers across metros and even smaller cities in the country. One such company seeking to provide same day delivery services is WareIQ through their WareIQ RUSH platform. Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfillment 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 & 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 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to dropshipping and conventional 3PL companies. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. Micro Fulfillment Center FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is the process of micro-fulfillment?Micro-fulfillment is a strategy for improving delivery times by locating small-scale warehousing operations in highly populated urban areas. Does WareIQ provide micro fulfillment services or have micro fulfillment centers?Yes, WareIQ provides micro fulfillment and has dozens of micro fulfillment centers & dark stores across the country which helps in uniform distribution of inventory across India closer to the customers. How much does a micro fulfillment center cost?To fulfill orders through micro fulfillment centers, it costs around 5$ per order. What is the drawback of micro warehousing and micro fulfillment center?• Requires constant inventory replenishment• Depends on irregular consumer demands• Increased risk of stockouts• Depends on customer locations• Not feasible for all SKU types Is micro fulfillment part of last mile delivery service?Micro fulfillment warehouse is an integral part of last- mile delivery service because it is generally the last node before the order gets delivered to the end customer. Is micro warehousing the future of ecommerce?Certainly yes, because same day and next day delivery at a minimal cost is the future of ecommerce and micro warehousing will play a vital role in the same. Is micro-fulfillment the next big thing for retailers in malls and restaurants?Micro-Fulfillment is absolutely the next big thing for Mall Retailers, and Restaurants. E-commerce companies and merchants can benefit from micro-fulfillment centers to strengthen their fulfillment strategies. Because they are closer to their clients, they can minimize lead times and turnaround times, allowing them to meet increasing Service Level Agreements.

April 13, 2022

Dropshipping vs 3PL: What is Right for Your Business?

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. 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. 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to dropshipping and conventional 3PL companies. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to take advantage of our superior fulfillment tech platform & accelerate the growth of your online business. 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.

April 10, 2022

Top 7 3PL Fulfillment Companies to Manage Logistics of eCommerce Sellers in India in 2022

Top 7 3PL Fulfillment Companies to Manage Logistics of eCommerce Sellers in India in 2022

ECommerce in India is booming and correspondingly, so is the 3PL fulfillment industry. Different agencies have shown that the demand for third party fulfillment companies is bound to grow steadily. Technavio, a UK-based research firm, has predicted the industry to grow at a CAGR of 8% and by $10.74 Billion between 2021 - 2025. Similarly, Mordor Intelligence has predicted a CAGR of 11% for a similar period. This growth is fuelled by sectors such as eCommerce, FMCG, manufacturing and retail.  Yet, not many sellers are aware of the advantages, features and services of 3PL fulfillment companies. So here are a few points to help sellers get a better understanding of this industry and how a symbiotic relationship can be established between eCommerce and 3PL fulfillment companies.  What are Third Party Fulfillment Companies? Once the seller confirms the order, the order fulfillment cycle can either be outsourced or executed in-house and this is where the seller usually approaches a 3PL fulfillment company.  These companies provide logistics, inventory management, warehouse management, packaging services and other aspects of the fulfillment cycle for either a specific portion or the entire supply chain operation. This helps sellers maintain an asset-light and non-capital intensive business model, thus increasing their liquid capital and allowing the seller to focus on improving their business while the 3PL fulfillment companies improve the supply chain efficiency. Why is Logistics a Headache for eCommerce Players in India? India, a country with diverse geographical features, cultural practices and infrastructural progress, is bound to present logistical challenges to eCommerce players. Some of the predominant issues being faced are: Reliance on roads for freight transportWith transportation by roads being the preferred means of freight movement for eCommerce players, two dominant issues, as highlighted by a report issued by the consulting firm McKinsey and the Indian Institute of Logistics, are: India’s over-strained highwaysAcute shortage of driversLack of internet connectivity and digitalisationWith low internet penetration, stages of the logistical segment remain constrained, due to the lack of technological infrastructure in certain areas. The sellers do not have access to adequate transportation facilities.With some of the older players in the industry being slow to digitalise, stages of the logistical network undergo significant delays as there is an information delay between the transportation service and the reseller.Safety concernsDeteriorated law and order situations in some regions of the country lead to pilferage, theft or even hijacking of the cargo, leading to additional expenses and loss of inventory and time. Pay-On-Delivery is the primary method of paymentWith “Cash-on-Delivery” (COD) being the most preferred means of payment by the end customer, additional time is spent on cash collection and handling by the last-mile delivery personnel.High number of returnsThough this is a global trend, the eCommerce players in India consistently witness a higher number of returns. This causes the logistical players to ensure a reverse logistical flow at no additional cost to the end customer.Inconsistency in postal codes and incorrect delivery locationsDespite being one of the largest postal systems in the world, there can be issues with the postal code of the end-user, leading to the last-mile delivery personnel having to call and confirm with the end customer.Many infrequent or first-time eCommerce users tend to make errors in inputting their addresses, leading to subsequent issues. How can 3PL Fulfillment Companies Help with Logistics for eCommerce Businesses? A seller might have the product of the century and it might be the next big revolution in the tech sector. But the harsh reality is that it would all be worthless if the seller is unable to deliver the product to the customer’s doorstep without incurring significant costs. This is where 3PL fulfillment companies step in to cater to the following essential needs of the seller, which are: Being cost-effective: By simply using Economies of Scale, 3PL fulfillment companies handle multiple sellers and, thus, manage to distribute the costs of transportation among many parties. This allows the individual seller to incur significantly lower costs. The seller can also maintain an asset-light model without investing capital in infrastructures such as warehouses and trucks.Offering greater coverage: Third-party fulfillment companies have established logistical networks to provide services to sellers. An individual seller may not be able to deliver a product to a customer in some location, but with established resources of third party fulfillment companies, such as existing warehouses and supply chains, these companies can not only fulfil the seller’s needs but also a strategic location.Offering faster delivery time: In this era of same day / next day delivery needs, 3PL fulfillment companies, with their warehouse network, trained staff and advanced technology, meet the service levels promised by sellers and can help smaller sellers compete with their competitors who may be the bigger players in the industry.Taking advantage of scalability: Demand undergoes a cyclic trend, and this trend varies weekly and monthly. Thus, to provide a cost-effective way for sellers to meet the varying demand of customers during the entire year, third party fulfillment companies provide sellers with flexibility and scalability to handle the variation in demand.  Thus, 3PL eCommerce fulfillment companies can help eCommerce sellers by offering a better consumer satisfaction level, overall. Customers receive their orders on time or faster, irrespective of their geographical location and without additional shipping charges; all of these factors lead to a heightened level of customer satisfaction. What are the Typical Offerings of 3PL Fullfillment Companies? Third-party fulfillment companies strive toward offering an end-to-end solution to eCommerce companies, and all 3PL fulfillment companies provide the following services: Inventory managementLogistics solutions (First mile to last-mile delivery)Warehouse managementFreight forwardingFinancial solutions for freight forwarding such as letters of credit How to Select the Right 3PL Fulfillment Company for Your eCommerce Business? Probably one of the most important decisions a seller will have to take is to decide which third party fulfillment company to choose for their products. To help such sellers out, here are some questions they must ask. This shall aid them in choosing the best 3PL fulfillment company for their requirements. How technologically sophisticated are third party fulfillment company?The world is advancing rapidly and so is the logistics sector. In this era of live tracking and same day / next day delivery, a seller needs a third party fulfillment company that can keep a seller informed and ahead of their competition.Can the 3PL fulfillment company match your growth?If an innovative product does not manage to reach its target customer sitting halfway across the country, or the reach is slower, and a competitor picks up on the idea and launches a similar product with a broader and faster reach, it will be game over for the seller.Is the third-party fulfillment company financially strong?In an asset-heavy industry such as the logistics sector, it is vital for any seller to ensure their 3PL fulfillment company is financially strong, especially during unaccounted disruptions and emergencies.How deep is the third party fulfillment company’s talent & How well are they ready for adverse situations?It is crucial to understand the depth of the third-party fulfillment company’s experience pool because it shows how well they understand the industry and how good their contingency measures are. Which are the Top 7 Third-Party Fulfillment Companies? India is booming with all the third party fulfillment companies on offer, all competing to be the most prized and trusted by sellers and end customers alike. With a booming eCommerce sector and, subsequently, the 3PL fulfillment sector, there are many competitors. But here are 7 of the top 3PL fulfillment companies for small/medium business or large businesses in India. Each company has been mentioned along with some of its services or features which act as a differentiating factor against the other players. WareIQ Source Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfilment 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 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 ecommerce 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. Delhivery eCommerce Logistics Source Delhivery, since its inception, has successfully fulfilled over 1 billion orders across India. Their aim is to build an efficient operations model for business, through a combination of world-class infrastructure, cutting-edge engineering and technology capabilities and logistics operations of the highest quality. It is one of India’s largest and most popular 3PL fulfillment companies that is also homegrown. It offers end-to-end fulfillment solutions.It serves over 17,000 pin codes and 175 cities.It offers features such as sending tracking details to customers through SMS.It provides same-day/next-day delivery options.It provides multiple payment options at the time of delivery. Blue Dart Logistics Source Blue Dart is a prominent transportation and distribution company that utilises air as its primary source of transport, in South Asia. It offers delivery and logistics services to 35,000 plus locations in India. A part of the DPDHL Group (DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding & DHL Supply Chain), Blue Dart has access to the largest global logistics network that includes more than 220 countries and offers a wide range of facilities, such as air express, freight forwarding, supply chain solutions and customs clearance. It has an unparalleled logistical network spanning over 220 countries and is one of the largest third-party fulfillment companies in the world.It caters to 35000 locations within India with forward and return logistical network.It has experience and expertise in regulatory and customs operations.It has as a net service level of 99.96%. Ekart Logistics Source Ekart Logistics is one of India's premier logistics and distribution companies. Commencing operations in 2009 as Flipkart’s in-house supply chain subsidiary, Ekart became a household name when it came to metrics such as customer experience, punctual delivery and management processes. They offer complete end-to-end fulfilment services. It was originally created to handle Flipkart’s fulfillment but now caters to many other sellers.It is one of the more popular 3PL fulfillment companies in India because of their low rates and express delivery options.It has same-day delivery available in 13 cities and next-day delivery available in 50 cities across India.It provides end-to-end fulfillment solutions.It provides real-time data for sellers to ensure their service level promises are being adhered to. Shadowfax Source Shadowfax was founded in Bangalore in 2015 and offers delivery and fulfillment services that are centred around a technology-based platform and hyperlocal delivery. The company has emerged as India's largest hyperlocal delivery service and offers on-demand hyperlocal delivery services with analytical platforms to track the entire process. It serves over 7000 pin codes and 500+ cities.It provides marketplace and warehouse pickups.It offers low-cost hyperlocal delivery.It provides express contactless delivery with multiple doorstep payment options. Mahindra Logistics Ltd Source Mahindra Logistics Limited is a branch of Mahindra, a name that most people will be familiar with as a major player in the automotive industry. A logistics and distribution company that has a significant presence across India, its primary offerings include technology-focused logistics solutions and distribution facilities, especially in rural areas. It is part of a reputed conglomerate company.It has India’s largest warehousing facility at a single location.It serves over 400 clients.It focuses on sustainability and, thus, has introduced Electronic Vehicles in their last-mile delivery. XpressBees Logistics Source XpressBees Logistics was formed in 2015 in Pune, Maharashtra. They have emerged as one of India's most rapidly growing companies in the logistics service sector. They offer a end-to-end supply and distribution services. It caters to the end-to-end fulfillment needs of sellers.It covers 13000+ pin codes, 100+ hubs and service centres.They are seasoned professionals, providing tech-based solutions.It has state-of-the-art logistics centres spread across the country.It provides 3PL fulfillment for products ranging from chemicals to heavy items like machinery. Common Misconceptions Regarding 3PL Fulfillment Companies Despite there being multiple players in the market and many of them known to sellers and the general public alike for many decades, there are still a few misconceptions that exist regarding third party fulfillment companies. Here, we shall address them so as to clear them out and leave no room for doubt in the minds of sellers. 3PL fulfillment companies are expensive to outsource toThird-party fulfillment companies use economies of scale to even out the costs among the many sellers and, thus, help to reduce the financial burden from the sellers’ shoulders. They reduce the recurring costs and capital expenditure that the seller would otherwise have to invest in.3PL fulfillment companies are not for SMEs but MNCsOn the contrary, MNCs have realised the cost-effectiveness of third party fulfillment companies and so have the small and medium sized businesses who previously assumed third-party fulfillment companies to be too costly.3PL fulfillment companies only handle bulk volume ordersMany third fulfillment companies do not have a minimum order quantity because they club orders of different sellers who reside in a specific location and, thus, manage to reduce the logistics costs.3PL fulfillment companies take away control from the sellerThird party fulfillment companies are extremely tech and data-driven, thus, providing numerous reports that provide sellers with better insights and knowledge. This gives the sellers more control over their products as they can understand where and how much their product is selling. Conclusion The product is the seller’s pride and joy and every seller wants that their hard-work, investment and ambitions, which take the shape of the product they are selling, reaches the end customer as promised. So be it a FMCG, MNC or someone who is working out of their flat, the requirement is the same and that is where 3PL fulfillment companies provide a common platform where every seller stands to gain by being part of a larger ecosystem. With the above points that highlight the features and also the common misconceptions about 3PL fulfillment companies, sellers can now make a more informed decision about their choice of a third party fulfillment company that will help the seller climb the ladder of success. We hope you found this article interesting. We recommend using WareIQ for all your third party fulfillment requirements. WareIQ is a category defining, best- in class full-stack eCommerce fulfillment tech platform (with inbuilt inventory planning, order management & ecommerce 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 centralised tech platform for your entire eCommerce operations ML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placementCentralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operationsPost-shipping apps for a delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages Today, over 300 brands have taken charge of their logistics & fulfilment with WareIQ to unlock tremendous value in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction. When are you going to take charge of your logistics and fulfilment with WareIQ? Sign Up Now with WareIQ RUSH to avail our superior fulfilment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. 3PL Fulfillment Companies FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is the difference between 3PL and fulfillment?They may seem the same, but they are different.  The main difference between 3PL and full-service fulfillment is that fulfillment provides a dedicated team to provide ongoing flexible solutions and customer support, a range of marketing resources along with picking  and packing, labeling, order processing, customer relations and managing returns. What is a third-party fulfillment service?The outsourcing of ecommerce logistics procedures, such as warehousing, picking and packing items, inventory management, shipping orders, and managing refunds, is known as third-party fulfillment. Which are the top 3PL fulfillment companies for eCommerce businesses in India?• WareIQ• Delhivery eCommerce Logistics• Blue Dart Logistics• Ekart Logistics• Shadowfax• Mahindra Logistics Ltd• XpressBees Logistics How are 4PL Companies different from 3PL?A 4PL company performs all of the functions of a 3PL company, and a lot more too. In addition to functions of 3Pl, a 4PL company handles resources, technology, and infrastructure.  They may even monitor external 3PLs and assist them in improving their performance for the benefit of the ecommerce retailer. Is Amazon a 3PL company No, Amazon doesn’t label itself as a 3PL company but many of its features are similar to what 3PL companies offer. Why should businesses opt for 3PL?• Cost savings for sellers• Professional Services and Knowledge• Business Expertise• Inventory management What Are the Elements of Logistics with 3PL Providers?There are a wide and varied range of elements of logistics, they range from managing the inventory to making sure the products get to the customers quickly and efficiently. To name, these are some of the main elements of logistics:• Warehousing• Regular storage/cold storage• Supply chain management• Transportation• Materials handling• Distribution• Shipping and receiving• Customer service• Reverse Logistics

April 10, 2022

Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment: 5 Key Differences

Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment: 5 Key Differences

In this day and age, where competition in the eCommerce space is rife, online sellers have to do everything in their power to ensure that their customers have an exemplary order-to-delivery experience to ensure they return and have a favourable view of the company. In order to ensure an ultra smooth delivery process, small to medium sized businesses can opt between dropshipping vs fulfillment, after analysing their own capabilities and requirements. In this article, we go through the differences and pros and cons of dropshipping vs order fulfillment so that you can make a more informed decision as to what would be right for your business. What is Dropshipping Order Fulfillment? Dropshipping Order Fulfillment is a retail fulfillment process where the buyer (e.g., a retailer or an eCommerce firm) doesn’t store the products they sell.  Instead, they purchase the products directly from a third party and ships them directly to the customer that has purchased them. Therefore, the seller does not directly handle the product. As explained in greater depth below, the greatest difference between Dropshipping and order fulfillment, is that the seller does not own, or even stock, any inventory. Instead, it is purchased from a third party (e.g., manufacturer or wholesaler) to fulfill the orders as required. Why does a dropshipper not show up as a stakeholder in the supply chain?   The simple answer is because dropshipping order fulfillment is a service and not a role. Additionally, any of the three pillars that typically form the supply chain i.e manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, can play the role of a drop shipper. For example, suppose a manufacturer ships its goods directly to your customer. In that case, they are conducting dropshipping on your behalf. A retailer can also offer to do the same on your behalf. However, remember that the competitiveness of the end consumer pricing would depend on who the dropshipper is. Typically, a wholesaler or a manufacturer would hold the advantage here.  What is an Order Fulfillment Company? Order Fulfillment is defined as the chain of receiving orders, processing them, and delivering those orders to the customer. By extension of the definition above, an Order Fulfillment Company is a third-party firm that executes this process on behalf of its client companies that receive orders directly from its customers. Examples of such clients for an Order Fulfillment Company include an online eCommerce portal or a chain of offline retailers dealing directly with the end customer. The starting point of this process is when a customer places an order, and the order information is delivered to the inventory storage location or a warehouse facility. The line items in the order are located, packed, and dispatched in a timely manner so that it reaches the customer’s doorstep on time, thereby completing the order fulfillment process.  In cases of order returns, the return process and transactions are also managed by the Order Fulfillment Company.   Although the end customer doesn’t see any of this behind-the-scenes activity, the many parts of executing order fulfillment are crucial in achieving the most critical metric of a successful business, i.e., customer satisfaction.  Essential Requirements for Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment from a Warehouse Quite naturally, each buyer has different needs for their order fulfillment based on their business requirements. Buyers are dependent on their suppliers to provide them with accurate and timely information to enable them to satisfy client expectations. Typical data points and information required include goods and item data, inventory levels, legal and financial documents, shipping details (etc.).   Some Common Requirements for Electronic Trading of Dropshipping Fulfillment Centers are To have a setup to receive electronic ordersTo have comprehensive information about products to effectively sell the supplier’s (wholesaler, manufacturer) products onlineTo contain updated information about inventory and stock levelsTo possess the ability to furnish order confirmations, provide ETAsTo be able to manage order cancellationsTo be able to manage varied shipping documentation including packing slips, tags, labels, retailer’s brands, and logos, information about shipment trackingTo be able to handle invoices electronicallyTo be able to handle order returns and manage financial and re-order related transactions Some Common Requirements for Order Fulfillment to a Warehouse or Storage Facility To have comprehensive product informationTo receive, acknowledge, manage, and process orders electronicallyTo be able to handle invoices electronically To be able to hand scale and rapidly expand operations as orders increase quickly, manage cyclical peaks, e.g., holiday season orders and promotion-led demand.   Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment Services: Key Differences [table id=6 /] Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment Services: Which is Better for an eCommerce Business? Dropshipping vs order fulfillment companies meet different needs of eCommerce sellers. Depending on your business needs – and as they change with time – you could outsource your fulfillment to either, or both types, at different points of your business journey. Remember, one isn’t exclusive to the other, and you can use both simultaneously. For example, 3PL fulfillment centers can be used for stable products and a drop shipper for testing or launching new ones.  Advantages of Dropshipping 1) Maintenance of broader product lines: You could sell various lines of products with greater choice since you can tie up with numerous drop shippers. Maintaining a wider product line is more feasible since you aren’t purchasing or carrying inventory.  2) Trying new products: Dropshipping allows you to test new products with minimal risks since your financial costs and risks are minimized. You can test out product innovations and new trends that could potentially become cash cows of the future.  3) Lower CapEx needed: With drop shipping, the only significant investment is to get your eCommerce portal up and running since you aren’t buying or stocking inventory. This eliminates any significant CapEx needed to get you off the ground. Limitations of Dropshipping 1) Limited profits: Using drop shipping fulfillment companies excludes you from the advantages of bulk discounts since you buy one product, or a limited number of them, in small quantities per order.  2) Limited control of inventory supply: With a drop shipper partner, you are dependent on them for inventory. They may distribute their available stock based on preferences that exclude you. For example, during holiday sales, you may not get as much supply as you could potentially sell. 3) Slower, costlier shipping: You don’t control fulfillment locations or speed of order processing when you partner with a drop shipping company. Delayed or failed orders could cause severe, even irreversible, damage to your company's reputation.  Advantages of Order Fulfillment Centers 1) Maintain inventory control: Perhaps the most crucial strength of using a 3PL fulfillment company for your business is that you can track your inventory levels closely, eliminate (or at least minimize) out-of-stock opportunity losses, and maintain an optimal mix of product inventory.  2) Get orders out faster: Partnering with a 3PL fulfillment company with conveniently located warehouse facilities (both central and satellite) enables your parcels to reach in 2-days (or less) since this is now the delivery standard. This keeps your fulfillment-cycle competitive with industry benchmarks. 3) Storage cost becomes a convenient variable expense: There isn’t any need to maintain fixed storage space since you can rent out only the amount that you need. This ensures a healthy cost structure for the business.  Limitations of Order Fulfillment Centers 1) Limited by inventory held: You are limited to selling only the inventory you have bought and stored. This burdens you with the risk of unsold inventory, carrying costs, sudden obsolescence etc.  2) Blocked capital: While this business model yields a higher ROI, it also needs a higher CapEx. It also means that your funds stay locked till you can turn it around by liquidating current inventory.  3) Cost of damaged inventory: While 3PL fulfillment centers tend to have a 10% allowance for damaged or lost items, you still risk losing money on unusable items. A drop shipper always owns and maintains the stock, and therefore, damaged goods aren’t your liability.  So, What’s the Verdict for Dropshipping vs Fulfillment?  Dropshipping vs fulfillment may seem like an easy choice. However, both satisfy different client needs. They should be used judiciously to serve different product lines at different stages of a company's life-cycle and, importantly, should be used in tandem. Both can grow client businesses in different ways. Analyzing your business requirements – adjusted over changing times and scenarios – will enable you to decide on the type of fulfillment service best suited to you. Top 5 Dropshipping Companies Top 5 Fullfillment Companies Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment: Conclusion   As is evident, comparing dropshipping vs order fulfillment companies is necessary, not only because they operate on different business models but also offer a different set of advantages and limitations. Depending on your business needs, company, product life-cycle and target customers, you should choose the option best suited for you. WareIQ provides a whole host of products including same-day order fulfillment, warehousing and everything in between where customers can choose exactly what they need, which proves to be a more cost-effective option. 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 that spans more than 300 e-commerce brands such as Kama Ayurveda, Future Group, Piramal Group, Wingreens Farms and many more due to the ability to help them accelerate online sales with next day delivery and same day delivery service. WareIQ contributes to client success by not only providing 3rd Party fulfillment but also helping businesses store their inventory closer to their customers using our platform connected to a nationwide network of fulfillment centers and last-mile couriers - billed entirely on usage. We offer a comprehensive centralised platform that assists you in your eCommerce operations. In addition, we also provide an ML-based prediction engine for strategic warehouse network design, smart inventory placement, integrated shipping apps to offer transparent ETAs, branded tracking experience, RTO risk insurance, and NDR control.  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!  Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfilment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. Dropshipping vs Order Fulfillment FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What are the top 3 fulfillment methods?• Merchant Fulfillment• Third-party Fulfillment • Dropshipping What should you avoid when dropshipping?• Worrying About Shipping Costs. • Keeping Too Much Faith on Vendors. • Looking for Quick Cash • Making Order Information Difficult to Access. • Not Enough Brand Display. • Not Managing Order Changes and Cancellations Properly• Mishandling Damaged or Lost Items • Return Issues What are some ways to avoid copyright dropshipping?When dropshipping, make sure to avoid any products that imitate protected brands. When you are dropshipping true branded products, you must present an authorization document from the brand supplier, or customs will refuse to let the products pass. Is dropshipping insurance required?To secure both your dropshipping business and yourself, you'll need Business Insurance. Business insurance is a plus as it helps to ensure that your dropshipping business continues to deliver goods to customers for years to come. Do you have to pay taxes when you drop ship?Yes, Dropshipping does require payment of taxes. It's a little off-putting, because dropshipping is supposed to improve revenues. But the truth is If you don't pay taxes, you're putting your company at risk and it's reputation at stake. Can I avoid the fulfillment process with an ecommerce fulfillment business?If you choose to start the ecommerce fulfillment route, it doesn't mean you have to spend hours packaging and shipping orders yourself. Various fulfillment service companies and centers are available to handle this for you, just choose a reliable one as it does add up to your overall budget.

April 06, 2022

10 Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services India in 2022

10 Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services India in 2022

With the eCommerce boom occurring across India over the last few years, consumer preferences have rapidly changed and this has led to the requirement for eCommerce businesses to choose a reliable partner from among the best eCommerce Fulfillment Services India in 2022. Indian customers, especially during the pandemic lockdowns, have gotten a taste of express delivery or same day deliveries and compare companies based on how fast either can deliver the same product. In this era of 10-minute delivery, the customers may debate the necessity of such services. But what needs not to be debated is the fact that not upgrading to meet the expectations of the customers can lead to lost ground to the competition. This is where eCommerce fulfillment companies step in. Armed with their massive infrastructure, not just warehouses and established logistics networks but also the latest software platforms, the eCommerce fulfillment services in India ensure the products reach their desired destination and in the promised time, thus ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction. What are eCommerce Fulfillment Companies?  eCommerce fulfilment is the part of the customer experience that takes place once the order is placed and is perhaps the most integral aspect of any eCommerce company’s operation.  The fulfilment cycle involves receiving the order, packaging, order management, storage, sorting, transportation, inventory management, post order tracking, returns (reverse supply chain). Thus as seen by all that encompasses the fulfilment cycle, we can understand how it is the backbone of the entire eCommerce industry. Much like a 3PL logistics service provider, eCommerce fulfilment companies and fulfillment centers cater to the many logistical requirements of the sellers, especially in this ever-changing and rapid delivery expectation environment. Imagine a business run out of a flat or a garage. (Very relatable to some!) Receiving the order, packing it, transporting it or shipping it through a courier are all handled solely by a person. Now scale it up and replace the person with a company. That is what an eCommerce fulfilment company does. What Services Do the Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services Provider Offer? With eCommerce growing in India at unprecedented rates, with numbers projected at a growth of 57% in online grocery sales and 31% growth in online retail sales by IBEF (Indian Brand Equity Foundation), the need for eCommerce fulfilment companies is now more than ever. But what differentiates the best ecommerce fulfilment companies in India from the others is the presence of the following services/features: Shipping Speeds With next day and even same-day delivery becoming the norm, it is imperative that the best fulfilment company you choose can deliver on their promises, quite literally. According to a survey by Dropoff, 53% of the customers have cancelled their order because of a slower than expected delivery time. Such cancelled orders can prove to be quite a bane for many companies. Warehousing The best fulfilment companies in India for large business or small business share the same service promise to you, what you have promised to your customer. Upholding your service promise is the prime responsibility. Ensuring timely delivery depends highly on the nationwide presence of warehouses, thus reducing the last mile delivery pains and ensuring the middle mile delivery is faster and more cost-effective to you. The Fulfilment Software The on-ground capabilities of a fulfilment company are just not enough. What matters is also the fulfilment software given that everyone from the management team to the fulfillment warehouse staff shall be dealing with this. As sellers tend to use different tools and platforms for different processes, it is vital to ensure the software used by the fulfilment company is easy to implement and can integrate with other platforms and tools. The best fulfilment companies provide dashboards with intuitive business intelligence and easy to use user interfaces. Returns Management With about 1/3rd of orders being returned, the 3PL fulfilment company of your choice must also cater to the reverse supply chain. Handling returns and ensuring the cause of return is resolved by ensuring the package reaches back to the seller differentiates the best fulfilment companies in India from others in the market. Costs In the end, it is all about money. It is not about being the cheapest, but which eCommerce fulfilment company provides you with the best return on your investment, best logistics cost and more by providing the best value for the money. This involves the ability to scale up and down as the demand grows or subsides the shopping cycle weekly or monthly and even on an hourly basis. The sellers value the variety and customisations in pricing plans because it gives them the flexibility and choice they desire. Transparency The ability to track and monitor one’s shipments is highly valued by all customers, be it in the B2C or B2B segment. It prevents customers from unnecessary mental hassle and uncertainty about their package. This transparency and living up to the service promise brings back customers to the sellers. Thus, the best eCommerce fulfilment companies ensure the customers/sellers have complete transparency during the fulfilment process. How Can eCommerce Fulfilment Companies Boost Your Online Revenue? The best fulfilment companies in India ensure that your product reaches your customer no matter where they are located, be it in Ahmedabad or Abohar. With next day or two-day delivery being the new level of expectations amongst consumers, ensuring your product reaches the consumer before your competitors’ is what must be followed. However, heavy capital expenditure on numerous warehousing facilities, investment in robotic product handling, rapid order processing and packing and lack of transport infrastructure in remote locations are few of the challenges to this micro fulfilment revolution. Hence the micro fulfilment model by eCommerce fulfilment services is fast evolving to provide a more customised experience for eCommerce sellers with same day delivery and next day delivery offerings. Top 5 Challenges Faced by eCommerce Fulfilment Companies in India eCommerce fulfilment companies have to deal with multiple parties and stakeholders, and thus this compounds the problems faced; added to that is the uncertainty factor, especially that of the unexpected. Such is the impact of these events: a term in shipping that goes “AGWWP (All goes well, weather permitting)”! The following are some of the challenges faced by eCommerce fulfilment companies and of which sellers should be wary: Returns: With a high number of returns, companies require a robust return supply chain to ensure the product is picked up from the customer on time and is returned to the seller without any damages. It involves additional capital expenditure on maintaining two supply chains, even though some aspects are interlinked. Information inaccuracy: From wrong addresses to a wrong contact number, these issues are all realised in the last mile delivery, and by then, it is too late to take any corrective action. This information inaccuracy can occur at any stage, be it by the customer, wrongly printed by the seller or improperly handled by the fulfilment centre.Exceptions: Natural Disasters to a massive container ship blocking the Suez Canal, these exceptions occur pretty often, ironically. Despite the best preparations by the best eCommerce fulfilment companies, there is sometimes no getting around such situations which eventually leads to delays or damages. Delays during pre-shipping: In some supply chains where the Push-Pull boundary is extremely high up in the chain, often seen with customisable products, delays during the pre-shipping stage, caused by processing and producing the order, add added pressure onto the fulfilment company to fulfil the order within the promised time. Inventory Management issues: Inventory Management is every seller’s most common issue, be it choosing between the Newsvendor Model, the Economic Order Quantity (EOQ), the Continuous Review (ROP) or the Periodic Review (FOI) and lack of appropriate forecasting leads to significant inventory management issues at the beginning of the supply chain which travel down eventually causing the Bullwhip Effect. How to Choose the Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services in India? How do you choose who should be your fulfilment provider? This is an essential question as the growth of one’s business depends entirely on how effective the service provider is. Thus, the following points shall be able to help one take the right decision. Shipping speed A fulfilment company that is capable of beating your competitors is what is essential to prevent customers from being pushed away. Warehouse location Location, Location, Location! The strategic presence of the warehouses is critical to the supply chain and forms the balance between costs and speed. Shares same ideologies Choose a fulfilment company that shares the same ideology as your company, for, e.g., If you own an organic produce company, then choosing an eCommerce fulfilment company that has no Green Policy or is not taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint could be taken highly negatively by your customer base. Order fulfilment software A cross-platform and easily integrated software that is adaptable and driven by a well-programmed ML-based prediction engine to help the companies understand the trends and prepare for them better. Scalability To handle the ups and downs of the demand cycle without adversely impacting the customers and the sellers. Customer Support Customer support that is efficient and quick to resolve issues. Packaging and Branding Providing that personal touch to the packaging can go a long way in creating the impression one needs in the customers’ eyes. All fulfilment companies provide packaging services, but only the best fulfilment companies go the extra step to ensure special packaging for special products. Certifications Never compromise on quality, and a good check of that is the company's qualifications. Transparency and visibility The best fulfilment companies ensure that the sellers have the transparency they are entitled to. The sellers and end customers alike have complete visibility of where the package is and are intimated of any discrepancies or issues.  Which are the Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services in India? The Indian eCommerce Marketplace shows no signs of slowing down and will not for a long time to come. Thus, one must understand who are the key and best players in the market and decide on which of these best fulfilment companies for eCommerce & D2C players in India should approach to grow their business in: WareIQ Source Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfilment 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 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 orders Orders 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-customers Inventory 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 more Warehouse managementWarehouse management is managing 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. Shipway Source Shipway is a newcomer that specialises in offering dependable and affordable shipping services to eCommerce businesses. This eCommerce courier services provider allows you to focus on business operations, ensuring that your customers receive the finest shopping experience. Services offered by Shipway are listed below: Has already partnered with 30+ eCommerce couriers. Currently provides an end-to-end shipping automation solution for fulfillment and logistics to over 12,000 eCommerce retailers.Pan India warehouses and fulfilment centres Shopify Fulfilment Services Source The Indian arm of this Canadian company offers end-to-end fulfilment solutions for eCommerce companies. The services provided by them are as follows: 90 day trial periodInventory Management: Recommendations for inventory storageSame-day fulfilment: Orders received by 1600 Hrs are shipped on the same dayOmnichannel capability: Caters to eCommerce stores and orders from social networking platforms.Pricing: $79 / month for the standard module. DHL eCommerce Fulfilment Source The known international courier service has been present in India since 1979 and has an established national network of warehouses and last-mile delivery. The services provided by DHL are: Warehousing: Pan India warehousesInventory Management: A fulfilment portal with access to inventory levels and snapshots/reports.International Deliveries:  For sellers with a significant chunk of cross border sales.Minimum Orders: Country-specific minimum orders per day Delhivery Source Established in 2011 and entered the Unicorn club of India, this eCommerce Fulfilment company has upgraded warehouses to provide end-to-end fulfilment solutions. Warehousing: 75 fulfilment centres across India and integrated with courier partners for last-mile delivery.Inventory Management: Have a proprietary WMS and provide inventory management services.Separate channels for B2B and B2C customers. Flipkart Fulfillment Source Flipkart requires no introduction, but few know about the fulfilment services they offer. These services include: Fulfilment centre spaceFaster delivery of productsQuality check by Flipkart expertsPackaging that will delight the end customersFlipkart Assured badgeSeamless order processingInventory placed across multiple fulfilment centres Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Source The pioneer of eCommerce fulfilment, this heavy giant has set the industry standard for fulfilment services. Though many eCommerce companies have benefited from Amazon’s same day/next day delivery, those with a less regular rate of orders tend to suffer. Additionally, the same day/ next day delivery is available only for registered vendors. Attributes of Amazon’s fulfilment services are below: 60 fulfilment centres across 15 states in IndiaMarket access to MSME, craftsmen and artisansAmazon’s A-to-Z GuaranteeThree months trial periodDashboard with up-to-date technologies for tracking. Eshopbox Source This Gurugram based company was set up in 2015, focusing on end-to-end eCommerce fulfilment. It focuses on helping pure-play digital sellers and D2C companies handle and solve inventory, warehousing and logistical issues. The following are some services and features of Eshopbox: Customers use web-based software called “Eshopbox Workspace.”A nationwide network of warehouses with tie-ups with regional carriers.The software can integrate with major players like Amazon, Flipkart, etc.Additional offerings for D2C customers on specific websites.Monthly subscription fee starts at INR 15,000. ShipDelight Source ShipDelight has over 55 years of consolidated experience in the shipping and distribution industry. The founders of ShipDelight have supreme knowledge about how to solve the many problems related to order fulfillment and seek to fully integrate the requirements of eCommerce retailers and the logistics and fulfillment services that are provided by the company. Services offered by ShipDelight are listed below: Services more than 26,000 in the country.Offers services such as order management, branded tracking, shipping automation etc.Provides same and next day delivery.Offers the lowest rates in the industry at ₹25 per 0.5 kgs of inventory shipped. Pickrr Plus Source Pickrr was founded in 2015 with a vision to make shipping simple and seamless for businesses across the globe. Pickrr has started end-to-end ecommerce warehouse fulfillment services under the brand name - Pickrr Plus Fulfilment. Some of the Pickrr Plus’s notable features include: 24-48 hour delivery to the customerZero weight discrepancyUp to 5% reduction in RTONo capital investment in the warehouse Conclusion Now that you have looked at the best ecommerce fulfillment services in India and discussed some common problems with eCommerce fulfillment companies, you can well comprehend why it is crucial for you to make the right choice while selecting the eCommerce fulfillment services for your business. So, it is best to trust WareIQ for the best eCommerce fulfillment services India. WareIQ has been the preferred choice of 300+ eCommerce brands including market leaders such as Kama Ayurveda, Future Group, Piramal Group, Wingreens Farms etc. and provides you with the right flexibility with respect to order size and pricing. 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!  Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfilment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. Ecommerce Fulfillment Services India FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) What is an eCommerce fulfillment service?Ecommerce fulfillment refers to the process of getting a customer's order delivered once they place it online. Receiving and storing goods, processing orders, picking items, packing boxes, and finally shipping them to the customer  are all part of this supply chain. What is the approximate cost of a fulfillment service?According to a survey by FulfillmentCompanies.net, companies providing fulfillment service charge anything from $8 to $40 per pallet per month to keep your products, with the average cost being $14.79 per pallet.  Do I need to hire a fulfillment company?Outsourcing operations to a fulfillment company gives eCommerce companies access to a network of fulfillment centers across the country without any upfront investment in infrastructure. Using a fulfillment center allows you to cut inventory and delivery costs while still providing excellent service to your consumers. You might think of outsourcing fulfillment as an extra cost, but it's more realistic to think of it as a way to save money for your company. What do you mean by outsourced fulfillment?Outsourced order fulfillment is when a company hires a third party to handle some or all of the order fulfillment process, such as inventory storage, packaging, and delivering orders. Third-party logistics services, or 3PLs, offer all of the services needed to completely outsource your fulfillment. How do I outsource shipment with WareIQ?You can Submit your request for a quote here. Which are the Best eCommerce Fulfillment Services in India?• WareIQ• Shipway• Shopify Fulfillment Services• DHL eCommerce Fulfillment• Delhivery

March 31, 2022

10 Best 3PL for Small Business in India in 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. 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 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. 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 small businesses, 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. Thus WareIQ will definitely prove to be a more reliable and trusted long-term fulfillment partner compared to conventional 3PL companies for small business. Sign Up Now with WareIQ to avail our superior fulfillment tech platform & enhance your online business growth. 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. Which 10 companies are the best 3PL for small businesses in India?• Stockarea• Ekart Logistics• India Post• Blue Dart Express• DTDC Express• Ecom Express• Shadowfax• TCI Express• Delhivery• GATI

March 30, 2022