Fulfillment Services 101: What You Expect from Your Fulfillment House
Selecting a fulfillment house for your business can be a daunting task. You need to pick Fulfillment Company that provides a wide variety of services to meet your current and future needs. Here’s checklist of different services offered by fulfillment houses.
Storage and Warehousing
Most fulfillment companies offer this as their most basic service. Storage services usually have an “in/out” or “handling fee” plus a monthly storage fee. This is usually calculated by item, box or skid, whichever is most convenient for the size and scope of your products.
Pick & Pack
Pick and Pack are pretty standard services offered by most 3PL warehouses or fulfillment houses. Pick and Pack generally entails the fulfillment house picking an order from your stock and packing it and readying it for shipment. This is typically charged for by the item/case/box picked.
Not all 3PL Warehouses will also provide shipping services in conjunction with warehousing and pick/pack. However, most fulfillment service providers do also provide services to arrange for shipping on your behalf. Fulfillment houses usually have preferred rates from shipping companies due to volume and can arrange for your shipment under their rate schedules, saving you money.
If you’re just using a “general warehouse” for fulfilling orders, you probably won’t find this service offered. However, most warehouses that specialize in fulfillment services generally offer this. This is great for you or your customers to be able to log on to the internet and track the status of orders. This is a great customer service feature for your customers.
If you ship internationally, it can get expensive with customs processing fees. Many fulfillment services offer drop shipping for international orders. For example, if you sent 10 packages to the US from Canada, you could experience 10 brokerage fee charges from your customs broker. Plus, crossing the border can add extra days to your shipping time. With a drop shipping service, your fulfillment house combines all 10 orders into a single shipment and sends it to the US Postal service where they are sent out individually. This saves you on brokerage and also cuts transit time. If may also save you on lower US postal rates.
Let’s say you sell shirts and ties, and you offer a “shirt and tie package”, where the customer gets a discount on purchasing a specific shirt and tie as a package. Your fulfillment house could pre-package shirts and ties together as kits. This generally lowers the fulfilment costs, allowing you to offer a discount, while increasing your revenue because more items will be sold. If this service could be of use to you, make sure you ask your fulfillment house about it.
You may want to offer your clients a special rebate. Perhaps you offer clients $10 rebate if two are purchased, or you may offer a “free calculator with purchase”. Fulfillment houses that also offer rebate management can collect the rebate information for you, process eligible rebates and also send out the rebate cheques, making it a turn-key operation for you. Ask your fulfillment house about rebate management.
Many people forget about returns. Some of your orders may get returned due to being defective, or perhaps the customer ordered the wrong product, or if you have a lax return policy, maybe your client just doesn’t want the product anymore. Returning a product to stock is different than picking and packing it. The product must be inspected and determined if it can be returned to stock or it needs to be scrapped. Not all fulfillment service providers will offer this service, so be sure to check.
You may have a need to send direct mail campaigns to your clients. Having your fulfillment services provider do this for you is ideal. They already have the data you need to target a marketing campaign, plus their familiar with your products.
Dare Marketing is a Great Choice
Here at Dare Marketing we’re experts in product and literature fulfillment, plus we can help you with any marketing mailing campaign. If you’d like a full service Fulfillment house, contact us for a review and free estimate for your required fulfillment services.