Today’s logistics industry offers services that make it possible for entrepreneurs to establish robust retail operations without having to maintain their own warehouses and fulfillment centers. Shipping & Handling of Texas is the perfect example. Our e-commerce fulfillment services in Houston offer everything an online retailer needs to get products from the manufacturer to the customer. In essence, we are a full-service provider.
If you are an e-commerce retailer, how do you handle warehousing and order fulfillment? Do you partner with a logistics company? And if so, is that partner a full-service provider of e-commerce fulfillment services? Going with a full-service provider increases efficiency and, ultimately, reduces costs.
Here are the services we believe a full-service provider should offer:
1. Receiving and Warehousing
You want to be able to order your products from manufacturers and have them shipped directly to your provider. The provider receives your goods and warehouses them for you. That way, you can run your online operation without having to personally handle warehousing and all its implications. You are not leasing buildings, paying property taxes, hiring warehouse staff, etc.
2. Inventory Management
A full-service provider also offers inventory management. The provider keeps detailed records of all incoming freight. The same goes for outgoing merchandise. Data is sent to you in real time, so that you always know what is happening with your inventory. You and your service provider work together to make sure that inventory shortages are kept to a minimum.
3. Returns Processing
Without your own warehousing facility, you don’t have the ability to process returns. That is another task a fulfillment provider can handle on your behalf. Returns are shipped directly back to their facilities and processed. Freight that can be returned to inventory is. That which has to be sent back to the manufacturer is packaged and shipped.
4. Picking and Packing
It goes without saying that a full-service e-commerce fulfillment provider offers picking and packing services. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be fulfilling orders. Full-service involves receiving orders from you, picking items from your inventory, packing them up and shipping them to your customers.
Where necessary, kitting and assembly should also be on the table. Working with a partner that doesn’t offer kitting and assembly only adds another layer of complexity to the logistics equation.
5. Domestic and International Shipping
Fulfilling orders is one thing, shipping them is another. A full-service fulfillment provider might offer local delivery through its own trucks and drivers. Outside the local area, shipping might still be handled in-house or secured through partnerships with high-volume commercial carriers.
Using ourselves as an example, we have large-volume contracts with some of the most well-known shipping providers in the world. We work with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) along with FedEx, UPS, and DHL. This gives us the opportunity to ship large volumes of packages on behalf of e-commerce retailers. Having so many options ensures that we can get packages to just about any destination.
Shipping, Receiving, and Everything in Between
When you boil it all down into its simplest form, full-service order fulfillment covers shipping, receiving, and everything in between. A full-service provider receives your merchandise from manufacturers. The organization warehouses those goods and maintains inventory control. Orders are fulfilled and shipped, returns are processed, and you are kept in the loop at every stage.
Does your fulfillment provider offer full-service? If not, your e-commerce operation may not be as efficient as it could be. We would be interested in speaking with you to introduce our services. We take pride in being a full-service provider more than capable of making any e-commerce operation better.