As a business flourishes, the owner, employees and zealous helpers usually spend lots of time doing the following:
> Handling inventory
> Receiving shipments
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> Repacking products to deliver to customers
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Time used for onsite inventory is time snatched from marketing and sales activities. It also puts the spotlight on an unmistakable business issue: having to outsource particular business tasks, including fulfillment.
Business owners who work far from home perhaps don’t have stacks of products in their homes. However, they have lots of reasons to need off-site inventory:
> They need to be freed from handling inaccurate and unorganized inventory.
> They want to make the fulfillment process more efficient by bettering logistics and electronic ordering functions.
> They want to concentrate more on sales instead of warehouse and fulfillment.
> They want to undertake a direct marketing campaign, but have inadequate space to get it done.
> They want to save overhead costs, including employee costs.
So what exactly is a fulfillment house?
You have alternatives to fix your inventory management issues. No, you don’t have to rent an unused area or move everything to self-storage. The wiser solution is making use of a fulfillment service.
“Fulfillment company,” “fulfillment service” and “fulfillment provider” are terms that are frequently used interchangeably.
As soon as a company receives an order, it is the responsibility of the fulfillment house to deliver that product to the customer.
Fulfillment generally covers customer credit card processing, updates on website inventory levels, reorders and returns of products, and even call center support services.
Let’s say you got an order for ten products on your e-store. You call or email the fulfillment company to inform them and you’re done with your part of the process. The fulfillment company gets the items from the warehouse, packs them and informs the shipper and customer.
If a business has other partners, like a hosting company, the responsibilities of the fulfillment company may change. A small business owner may handle the internal work himself or work with a hosting company that takes credit card information.
The fulfillment company will then would do product picks-and-packs, gives customer support and take care of the returned items.
With an order fulfillment service, a business can decide to handle small orders or not at all. Any business that wants to accept small orders should hire a package delivery service and maintain some inventory on hand.
Finding the Right Fulfillment
There are plenty of other things you should consider in ensuring that you end up with a quality fulfillment company -error rate, response time, overall reputation, etc.
The long and short of it is you need to do your homework. With all the fulfillment service providers nowadays, not to mention the industry is not devoid of cowboys, it would be foolish to choose randomly.