This post is from our friends at Red Stag Fulfillment
It’s a great problem to have. Suddenly orders have picked up—your story went viral—and now everyone wants one of your wonderful widgets. You try to keep up with the packing and shipping but now most of your space and time is dedicated to boxing and postage. Your whole warehouse is covered in packing peanuts and you don’t know how you will keep up. If you can’t get your materials expedited to customers you will lose out to competitors.
If you don’t have the capacity to pack and ship yourself anymore it’s time to turn to a third party fulfillment center. Professionals in this industry can work with you to create custom shipping protocols that fit your company including custom packaging and personalizing.
The benefits of choosing a fulfillment company include:
- Reducing costs of shipping: Obviously, a place that specializes in shipping will have deals that you can’t offer. Many can offer bulk free shipping to buyers because they have national or international coverage.
- Market expansion: Scaling up might mean that you can take your widget game across the country or overseas. If it doesn’t work out you can pull back without losing too much since you didn’t have to create any international infrastructure.
- Good fluctuations: If your widget sees a spike of sales during a specific peak season, you’ll often need to hire more people, get more equipment and lease extra warehouse space just for that time. With a fulfillment service you can tailor your levels of sales so you never have more people or product than you need.
Additionally, they take the burden of shipping and packing as well as any fulfillment issues (wrong items, broken items) off your shoulders. But there are so many companies out there—how do you choose?
How Do You Know Who to Partner With?
These days the popular vision of a fulfillment company is a series of robots impersonally hauling and packing up pallets. That might be just what you need but something like a personalized gift basket, for example, might require more of a human touch. So how do you select the right company? Well, it’s a little bit like online dating.
- Cast a wide net: Research as many companies as you can. You are looking to make a serious change in the life of your business. Basically you are taking on a partner, and you want to make sure that partner is ready for your level of commitment.
To that end, there are websites to help you find the fulfillment company that is right for you. Larger companies can offer some deals but play into the impersonal nature and might not have the customization in the way you would want it.
- Be selective: When looking for the right company for you there are many factors to consider, so it’s time to do some due diligence. Do some research and search for reviews on sites like Financesonline.com. Though they have their own ranking system, remember you are looking for the company that matches your needs.
- Make sure you both want the same things: Fulfillment companies specialize in certain tasks, like eCommerce, and while of course they would like your business, a fulfillment company wants to be sure they can provide for your exact needs before matching up with you. Again, this is a new relationship and it’s crucial that you share the same expectations.
Red Stag Fulfillment, has created an online questionnaire that, like a dating profile, helps you decide if their company is best for you. The comprehensive set of questions finds where you and Red Stag crossover to make sure that you are the perfect match for the services they offer.
- Honesty is the best policy
Transparency is key when it comes to every aspect of your business (and you should expect the same from your new partner). To that end, just as you would want someone to be straight with you on an online dating profile, it’s imperative that you understand what you are getting into — that means creating trust.
You want to be able to share the difficulties that are inherent to your business with your fulfillment company and you should expect that they are clear about their terms of service and what they can (and cannot) provide. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest and expect that level of truth in return. This is not a casual fling.
As with any relationship, there are taxes to think about. Be careful regarding developing a sales tax nexus in another state as it might require paying taxes differently. If, for example, you use 3rd party drop shipment you should learn more about the tax rules that follow.
It’s a great feeling when you are ready to grow your business into a relationship for the first time. Do your research and make sure you swipe right on a fulfillment company with whom you and your widgets can make a lasting commitment.
About the Author
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing & Business Development for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment service provider in the US focused on serving eCommerce stores shipping large or heavy parcels where DIM weight can be a serious issue. With fulfillment houses across the US and international shipping capabilities, RSF is here to allow you to focus on growing your business, not putting out fires in the warehouse.