Handling B2C order fulfillment is an exercise in meeting customer expectations. They want to have a
certain type of delivery experience with their order, which is influenced by large companies such as
Amazon and other giants in the industry. You don’t have the same resources and infrastructure as these
organizations, but you still must live up to the expectations that they established with retail consumers.
It’s easy to stretch your company’s budget too thin when you try to do everything on your own. Scaling
your operations becomes difficult or impossible, depending on the demand that comes in and the
number of manual processes in place. If you find yourself featured in a viral campaign, you could end up
processing thousands or millions of orders. It’s all too easy to fall apart during this type of situation and
ending up with a lot of angry people rather than a massive influx to your customer base. Retail product
fulfillment services offer you exactly what you need to ensure a seamless experience for consumers,
from start to finish.
A retail product fulfillment vendor, typically categorized as a third-party logistics company, has the
technology, staffing, and infrastructure in place to support retail order processing. They have the
capability to take on your order load and get it delivered efficiently and within your specifications.
They use an order fulfillment center for their operation. This center is more than just a warehouse for
your inventory. It also includes advanced systems for tracking an order as it comes through the location,
a variety of packaging materials, and highly skilled staff members whose duties revolve entirely around
order fulfillment. Your inventory management is completely handled, here.
It’s common for a smaller ecommerce company to have people taking on multiple roles. You could end
up with the owner also doing packing and shipping duties. This type of inefficiency makes it difficult for
members of the leadership to make strategic decisions.
If you do have the resources to have dedicated employees and infrastructure for order fulfillment, you
often aren’t operating at the same scale as a 3PL company. Your warehouses may be in unfavorable
locations that add delivery time onto your orders, or you could be using a basic fulfillment solution that
doesn’t truly meet your needs.
When you work with a retail fulfillment business, you’re opening access to a range of specialized
solutions. If you have products that need particularly custom handling, then you would want to work
with the highly experienced members of this service provider.
It can’t be overstated how important the customer experience is to your business. A poor customer
experience means that your shoppers end up being one-and-done, with no repeat customers or
referrals coming in.
When the customer experience exceeds their expectations, their social circle is going to hear all about it.
Not only do you get the opportunity to turn that shopper into a repeat buyer by getting their orders out
to them quickly, you also get to enjoy the word of mouth recommendations that they’ll bring in.
Online reviews can make or break a company, especially in a crowded marketplace. When you nail the
customer experience, you will see that reflected in the way people talk about you online.
The retail product fulfillment center will quickly become one of your most valuable partners. While they
handle all of the basic tasks that you would expect as part of your order processing workflow, such as
picking and packing from a warehouse, preparing the shipments, getting great shipping rates, and
sending them out for delivery, there are many other ways that a 3PL can assist you.
It may be difficult to decide whether you should enlist the services of a 3PL provider or continue
handling order processing in-house. It’s hard to give up that kind of control over your products and an
important part of the customer experience.
Ultimately, only you and the other leaders in your company can decide whether a retail fulfillment
center partnership makes sense for your current and future needs. Consider your growth rate, the
access to supply chain logistics infrastructure, and the cost of warehouse space in your area as you make
You pay for the resources that you use, rather than investing in the infrastructure to support your
maximum order throughput. That alone is often a reason that organizations choose to outsource their
order processing and shipping duties to a 3PL provider. While the cost savings are excellent, the time
savings offer an even more compelling reason to choose this type of service.
Evaluate each retail product fulfillment center and see whether they have the functionality that you
need to grow your business. The right partner will empower your organization with support for rapid
growth and a lot of flexibility.