If you are a small to mid-sized retailer looking for fulfillment services outside of Amazon can feel daunting. Here are the 7 fundamental questions that will help you determine the right partner you.
Do you accept small orders?
To support your company’s growth, don’t settle for an order fulfillment service that simply accepts small orders. Look for one that specializes in small orders, and will consider your business a priority. One way to determine that is by asking if there are order minimums or extra fees for small orders. You shouldn’t have to pay extra to have someone care about your business.
What are your warehousing capabilities?
Whether you need small public warehousing or larger, dedicated space, the 3PL you choose as a fulfillment partner should streamline your logistics with fully integrated warehousing, transportation
How will your technology interface with our systems?
With the growth of e-commerce, e-fulfillment and omnichannel distribution, technology has become a key driver of success. Make sure your fulfillment partner’s systems will interact with yours easily. Their technology should allow you to track orders efficiently, cut costs and reduce dock-to stock time. Expect real-time monitoring, so you can watch what’s happening with your goods, anytime and anywhere.
What delivery times do you offer?
In today’s competitive marketplace, consumers expect prompt delivery. It’s reasonable to expect delivery to your key markets within two days of the order, which requires a centrally located fulfillment house. For example, from our headquarters in Cincinnati, we reach 85% of the U.S. population in two days or less.
Are you able to handle unexpected large spikes in order volumes?
You know the answer you need to hear, but don’t settle for a simple “Yes.” Ask for examples and references. When sales soar – during the holidays or any other time – it’s critical that you be able to meet demand and delight consumers.
Do you process returns?
Returns happen. Many fulfillment houses ship returns to another company, a move that can reduce visibility, increase transportation costs, delay the credit to the customer, and make restocking more difficult and more expensive. Given those concerns, it may be preferable to work with a fulfillment partner who will process your returns in a timely and accurate manner.
What kind of customer support do you offer?
It’s been said that nice guys finish last. We don’t believe that. Customer service matters, whether you’re placing 5,000 orders per day or 50 orders per month. Expect your fulfillment house to be available, 24/7, to answer your questions and keep your business on track. Verst is a family-owned 3PL with Midwestern values.
While this list is by no means comprehensive, it will give you a good starting point for discussions with a potential B2B or B2C order fulfillment company. We understand that the success of your business depends on getting the right products, to the right people, at the right time.
If you have fulfillment questions or concerns we haven’t covered, give us a call.