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How to Streamline Your eCommerce FulFillment

By:
Jason Chan
January 19, 2021

eCommerce order fulfillment is one of the most important aspects of your online business. In 2020, your overall order fulfillment may have suffered. With so many incoming orders, your merchandise increased – along with the possibility of errors. Damaged products, incorrect orders, and delays from manufactures are just a few of the many fulfillment issues retailers struggled with this last year. Two major areas you can improve to streamline your growth in 2021 are your packaging and fulfillment methods.

Cost-Effective Packaging

Custom packaging is one of the biggest debates in the eCommerce industry and varies in degree of complexity. Some businesses leave a hand-written note in each box, while others personalize every aspect of the package. Much of this has also been popularized by the unboxing phenomenon seen on multiple social channels.

Although it’s important to utilize packaging that creates a positive experience for your customers, you don’t want to sacrifice sustainability or your budget. Any level of custom packaging will drive up your overall cost. Depending on your customizations, you could end up spending $25 per box, with the added risk of increasing your overall product pricing. You can also expect a longer fulfillment timeline and less efficiency. 

In order to keep within your budget and streamline your fulfillment, use a more cost-effective packaging approach. Focus on protecting the product inside, use less expensive customization pieces like thank you cards, and choose a plain box. Consumers are more likely to reuse the logo-free box and will be happy their order arrived safe and sound.

eCommerce FulFillment vs Dropshipping

Another big step in streamlining your fulfillment is deciding how your products will be fulfilled. Many eCommerce retailers that are just starting out turn to dropshipping to meet their needs. They don’t have to worry about handling their own merchandise, as everything is taken care of  by the manufacturer. As many retailers grew during the pandemic, dropshipping was no longer a viable option to keep up with their growing customer base. Sellers and customers had difficulties receiving items from manufactures through dropshipping and in-house methods which led sellers to look to other eCommerce fulfillment methods altogether.

Popular eCommerce fulfillment methods are known to be either in-house or outsourced. For businesses with lower inventory, in-house fulfillment is an ideal option to keep overhead costs down. In this model, you are solely responsible for storing products, packaging orders, getting boxes to the right shipping carrier, and managing any returns that come in along the way. Managing your own logistics can be difficult – especially if you have no prior experience. This is why many sellers look to outsourcing their fulfillment with a professional company.

If your business was one of the many online stores that saw enormous growth in 2020, it’s likely time to start looking into a reliable, outsourced partner. With the right 3PL, you can focus your time on growing other aspects of your business, while logistics experts take on your order fulfillment. You can also cut down on your overall shipping costs if your partner gives you access to multiple warehouse facilities. This helps you reach your customers sooner and spend less time and money getting there. 

Successful eCommerce fulfillment is measured by order accuracy, timeliness, and overall cost. Choosing the right fulfillment method and materials for your orders can help you eliminate any potential errors and streamline your entire process. As a result, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters – building customer loyalty.

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Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce.