Your business develops by leaps and bounds, and you are almost flooded by the tons of orders from all over the world. Right at this moment, you decide to find a fulfillment partner to take care of all the mess, so you can come back to your core business. But, how to choose the right fulfillment partner? Here comes the headache again…
Outsourcing your order fulfillment shouldn’t have to be so painful. On the contrary, it’s a way lead to hassle free and business expansion. Here are tips on how to choose a reliable fulfillment partner.
The ideal situation is to be “near the customers”, of course. But if you have a global customer base, then it will be too expensive to hire fulfillment centers in every country just to be near your customers. The next best option is to be “near the source” or your manufacturer. For example, if your products are made in China, which is the manufacturing hub for almost all the products, the ideal solution will be a China order fulfillment center. Their proximity to Hong Kong also adds advantage of more shipping options and logistics support.
- API or Plugins Integration
In order to increase the order fulfillment efficiency and accuracy, you need to confirm with your fulfillment partner whether they can provide technology support in the first place. Leveraging custom API or plugins integration, their order management software can syncs directly with your favorite shopping carts to automatically import orders. Compared with the traditional human input, API integration can greatly reduce human errors and improve efficiency, thus a fulfillment partner can scale with you as your business grows.
- Warehouse Management System (WMS)
You’ve purchased from various suppliers and you urgently need a WMS to manage all the inventory in one place. Better yet, you require real-time visibility of your inventory in case that there are depletion of stocks. Yes, an ideal fulfillment partner will manage all your supply chain. With products stored in an organized, proper and well-marked manner, they provide you with real-time inventory management and keep you informed of inventory status, thus better prepare you to scale your business.
- Responsive customer support
One of the greatest concerns for cross-border eCommerce is responsive customer service. It will not be a happy experience when you request a quote, but no one replies your messages as days pass by. Worse still, you cannot find the right person to ask a specific question. So, make sure you have a dedicated account manager who is always ready to help.
- Transparent pricing
Price is surely another factor that you will take into consideration. Generally speaking, there is a transparent pricing structure in the fulfillment industry, including order handling fee, pick and pack fee, warehousing fee, shipping fee etc., while some other order fulfillment companies may charge you additional fees, such as set up fees and minimum monthly billing. For example, Shipwire requires a minimum monthly billing of $500, while ChinaDivision charges no minimums, no set up fees and offers free China Warehousing Fulfillment Services for threes months.
A trustful fulfillment partner plays a strategic role in your future business expansion. Do your homework before you make up your mind to invite them to join your ambitious business plan.