Small Business Brief


E-Commerce Fulfillment: How to Find the Best Partner for Your Business

Given that 80% of people are now shopping online on a regular basis, it’s vital to give your customers what they need. With the help of an e-commerce fulfillment center, you can ensure your customers that they get what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. However, if you work with one who isn’t ready to be a partner, they could get in your way.

Here are five things to look for when you’re seeking out the right e-commerce business partner.

1. Location, Location, Location

If you’re seeking out partners to help you fulfill orders, you need to think about location. A better location or multiple locations are some of the most important advantages of working with fulfillment companies. Fulfillment means that you can be closer to customers and offer faster shipping than you would from your central location.

If you’re located on the west coast but spend most of your time serving people on the east coast, you need some help getting your products to customers. Location is vital to not only sales but also general customer service. If people need to return an item, they’ll want a fast turn around only possible with local return centers.

If you have a lot of customers in one metropolitan city and can get fulfillment in those cities, you’ll find that your customers are going to be a lot happier with you. it’s hard to please people when they’re halfway across the globe but if you can fill orders by the end of the day and get them in the mail, customers will be impressed. If they get their orders in just two days, they’ll be over the moon.

2. Cost Matters

When you’re seeking out fulfillment centers, see who is going to offer you the best deal. Look into what that means, however, because every deal comes with caveats. Nothing in life is free and cheap shipping is going to be cheap for a reason. 

Ask lots of questions when you’re talking to a fulfillment center you’re thinking about working with. Ask what kind of services they offer your customers, what they’re going to charge you for, and dig into any hidden fees they might try to sneak in. Lots of fulfillment centers will charge you a premium for printing branded invoices or adding branded stickers to your orders.

However, if you’re able to provide a level of service that you never thought would be possible, this could all be worthwhile. Just having the support of a company that’s willing to back your products and services and offer them to local customers is an exciting prospect. If they’re able to give you deals on shipping or help you offer bulk discounts to customers, you should work with them without a second thought.

3. Do They Ship Internationally?

As the world has begun to connect on a global level in every possible respect, it’s important that you’re able to ship internationally. You never know when one of your products is going to become huge in an international market and you’ll need to send everything you have over there. While it’s going to cost you a little extra, if they’ve got international shipping built into their services, they’ve got a plan.

Make sure you’re not going to be paying an arm and a leg for every international order. Your customers aren’t going to be happy if they have to make up for the difference because the company you’re working with isn’t prepared to ship. just because they can doesn’t mean that they’re experienced and prepared to handle large international orders.

If they say they ship internationally, ask lots of questions. Just because they can do it, doesn’t mean they have done it. When you’re looking for someone to handle your international shipments, ask lots of questions to weed out the people who just want your money.

4. Who Are Their Partners?

One of the great things about working with a distributor is that you get the chance to partner up with lots of other great companies. Companies who offer fulfillment services often have a series of other great services to offer. Ask about add-ons and you’ll find that they’ve got lots of partners who offer additional services to expand your reach.

On your own, you might not be able to afford to get your products shipped by the biggest companies around. However, with a fulfillment center on your side, you look like a much bigger entity. Other shipping professionals are going to respect your brand when they see that you work with the right fulfillment centers.

One of the great things you can get from working with a fulfillment center is to have your brand side by side with other brands. If you’ve been looking to run a promotion with another company in your industry, being part of the same distributor makes it easy. If there’s a “buy one, get one” plan in the works, speed it along with the help of your fulfillment center.

5. How’s The Communication?

From the moment they first answer the phone to the way they thank you for your business, communication from your fulfillment center is indicative of respect. If they’re not friendly and engaged from the second you first reach out, then they don’t care about your business.

You need to be in communication with a business who respects what you do and wants to see you succeed. If they’re not on board with what you’re doing, they’re only going to get in your way. Find yourself a partner who is as excited about working with you as you are with them.

E-commerce Fulfillment Shouldn’t Be Challenging

When you’re seeking out an e-commerce fulfillment center, it shouldn’t be a struggle to get in communication with one. They should be ready and willing to answer your questions and help you with what you’re looking for. If they’re not, keep searching until you find one who is.

If fulfillment is stressing you out, check out our latest guide for tips on managing emotions in the workplace.