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What Is an E-Commerce Fulfillment Service and How Can It Help Your Business?

Shopify Fulfillment Service

Running a Shopify store, you are bound to face the issue of product Fulfillment Service. Bringing your customers in and persuading them to make that purchase is fun. Your customers have chosen and paid for an item. Now what?

Now, you need to fulfill your sale and get the product to your customer’s hands.

That’s where fulfillment services come in.

What is a Fulfilment Service?

A Shopify Fulfillment Service is a warehouse that takes care of getting your product where it needs to be after a sale has been made. A fulfillment service is where the warehouse

  • Receives products

Where the warehouse takes in inventory from the supplier. They will confirm that the stock units are accurate and that there are no damages, and handle updating the stock inventory.

  • Stores products

The warehouse should store your products in an organized manner so that inventory does not go missing. The products must be stored appropriately according to the individual product’s needs. For example, some products may need delicate handling while others need a cool place.

  • Picks, packs, and ships products

Following a sale, a fulfillment service will choose the correct product, package them (ensure product safety and if available, package them with the store’s signature packaging), and deliver the products in a timely fashion.

  • Manages returns

A process to manage returns, check for product defects, and the subsequent restocking is necessary when selling products.

Types of Shopify Fulfillment Service

There are three main types of e-commerce fulfillment models.

  • In-house fulfillment

This is where you handle the whole process of fulfillment yourself. You run the warehouse and your staff will be handling the fulfillment process. This method is secure and you have complete control.

  • Third-party fulfillment

Here, you are outsourcing the fulfillment process to a third-party business. They will be taking care of multiple businesses. This method can be less expensive than the above model. You will also be spared from all the requirements of in-house fulfillment. Shopify Fulfilment Service is an example of a third-party fulfillment service.

  • Drop shipping

This model is very hands-off. The manufacturer will be directly taking care of the fulfillment service process from picking products to managing returns. This method does not give you much control over the inventory and the fulfillment process. However, it is a method where you can focus more on sales and offer more products. This is a very niche business with manufacturers being very specialized in what they stock and offer. The most popular drop shipping niche idea in 2022 would be for smartphone accessories.

Fulfillment Service for Your Business: Do You Need It?

Knowing the efficiency and compactness of fulfillment service, the urge to find yourself one might be high. But does your business need it?

If you have just begun your business and only sell locally with many in-store pick-ups, then the in-house fulfillment might be what you need. If you have extra cash and a fairly large business, then you can rent your own warehouse space and have your staff handle the fulfillment process.

However, if your business is rapidly growing, you might have problems with storage and logistics,  and this might be the time to consider outsourcing.

The type of e-commerce fulfillment service model you need depends on your business.

Choosing a Shopify Fulfillment Service for Your Business

When choosing a fulfillment service, you must first choose between the three models. Should you choose the second or third options (third-party fulfillment and drop shipping), you can venture out into the market looking for a suitable fulfillment service provider.

  • Similar Industry and Clients

You must look for similar industry experience and similar clients. A fulfillment service provider that is in the same industry as you and has already handled a business similar to yours is a better fit than one who is seeing your product type for the first time. Experience is what matters. They will be equipped to handle your stock expertly and will be able to give you advice on business challenges.

  • Price

The price is important but you must also understand that when the price drops, it takes with it. Compare your options and find the best fit for your business. While you should think of your budget, it should not be the sole deciding factor. 

  • Technology and Integrations

Next, does it have the latest technology and does it integrate with your virtual store? Incorporating technology into the process can make the fulfillment process a lot smoother. With new tech, you can provide customers intel on the location of their product as it is being delivered, you can use RFID tags to make stock-taking more efficient, and so much more.

Integration with your virtual store is a significant factor. For example, Shopify’s fulfillment service Shopify Fulfilment Network (SFN) can seamlessly integrate with your Shopify store. The stocks and inventory listings will directly reflect the real-time happenings at the warehouse.

  • Data and Analytics

Finally, opt for a fulfillment service that can provide you with valuable data and analytics. Data is a powerful tool that can help you make significant changes to your business. It can show you your weak points and your strengths, and other important metrics. Real-time analytics allows you to make informed decisions such as restocking, inventory allocation, and purchasing.

Popular Fulfilment Services

Below are three of the most popular third-party fulfillment service providers in the market

  • Shopify Fulfilment Network (SFN)

For those businesses that use Shopify, the SFN might be the most logical choice to fulfill Shopify orders. The store and the delivery are both offered by the same company which can make for a better shopping experience. It is more convenient for business owners to have all of the product listings, offerings, and inventory in one place. Shopify fulfillment service guarantees a 2-day delivery service at no additional charge and offers an amazing deal of no upfront fees for the first six months. You will only have to pay delivery fees when a sale occurs.

  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

If you do most of your business on Amazon, you should consider Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA. Again, keeping all of your business under one roof is very convenient. Amazon also offers some sweet deals for new sellers such as free shipping to fulfillment centers, free storage, and free returns processing. Amazon’s Prime two-day shipping is also yours if you become a part of the FBA.

  • Red Stag Fulfillment

This is a Shopify Fulfillment Service mega house boasting a global repertoire. Red stag can be integrated into online shopping carts tools like Shopify and WooCommerce for convenient handling of inventory. It promises you 100% customer order accuracy and a same-day fulfillment policy where the products start their journey to the customer on the same day. It enables warehouse and inventory monitoring so that you know when to restock.

In conclusion

E-Commerce fulfillment services can take care of the happenings and logistics of the product after a sale has been made. You can choose to take care of it yourself with in-house fulfillment or you can outsource it to drop shippers and third-party fulfillment services providers such as Shopify Fulfilment Network, Fulfilment by Amazon, and Red Stag Fulfilment. What you choose depends on your business needs, when choosing a Shopify service provider,

It is crucial that you look into the company’s industry, existing clients, the price, the technology and integrations available, and the data analytics it provides.

At the end of the day, your customers must be happy with your service. Whatever helps you achieve that is the right option.

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