This post is part two in a two-part series. Read part one here.
When you’re making an important decision like selecting a fulfillment company you’ll want to find out as much as possible about their methods. Use this checklist as a jumping off point for important questions to ask.
- How does the connection between your warehouse and my ecommerce site work? Getting real-time updates on inventory levels, order activity and other essentials is key to running your business efficiently and ensuring that customers can get what they need. Your potential product fulfillment company should have a comprehensive inventory management system that can link their warehouse and your website for real-time data. This integration will help with forecasting and demand planning, both of which will help you keep customers happy and profit margins strong.
- Which shipping companies do you use – and how do you determine how you’ll ship? Most fulfillment companies rely on the “big three” shipping methods of UPS, FedEx and USPS. Depending on the sizes of your packages or the amount that is ordered by customers, one of these three will be more cost-effective. Look for a fulfillment company that is willing to change up their shipping in order to offer you – and your customers – the best rate.
- What is your service guarantee? When you work with a fulfillment company, you’re putting a lot of trust into their hands. It’s important that they offer a guarantee for their services and clear policies about what happens when a shipment is sent out incorrectly. Whether it’s an error on the ticket or a delay in shipping, there should be compensation for the hassle for both you and your customers. Look for companies that offer 100% order satisfaction and 1-2 day shipping.
- How do you deal with unexpected large volume orders? You never know what will happen to your ecommerce store – especially during the holidays and other peak periods. Your potential fulfillment company needs a comprehensive warehouse management system that allows them to respond to increases in orders without missing a beat or leaving your customers hanging. Ask about batch or wave picking methods that can reduce the time it takes to pack orders – which can increase efficiency and speed throughout the process.