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Dos — And Don’ts — When Choosing a Fulfillment Services Partner (Part 1 of 2)

(Part 1 of a Two-Part Series)

When you decide to work with a fulfillment service, you’re putting a lot of trust in that relationship.

The fulfillment services will act as an essential link between you and your customers. It’s important that you find warehouse and fulfillment services that not only meet your needs as a company, but that also take steps to keep customers satisfied. You’re putting your trust – and your reputation – on the line when you work with a fulfillment house.

With that in mind, here’s what to look for – and what to avoid – as you choose your fulfillment partner:

Do Consider Your Own Needs First

You and your management team need to have a serious discussion about what your business needs from a potential partner. Are you in an industry with specific compliance needs? Do your customers potentially need special shipping or returns policies? What kind of packaging or inventory needs do you have? Consider your own needs first (and get as detailed as possible about those needs). You’ll reduce your frustration in your search and be more likely to find a very close match.

Don’t Forget to Research Benchmarks

What’s the average price for the services you’re looking for? What are standard options that are included in most fulfillment deals? What kind of bulk discounts can a company of your size expect to get from a fulfillment house? Research the benchmarks for warehouse and fulfillment services so you can truly compare apples to apples as you make your decision. You need to know the averages to be able to spot a really good deal. Use these benchmarks combined with your evaluation of your own needs in order to create a personalized evaluation criteria. These criteria will help you make the best decision.

Do Find a Fulfillment House that Wants to Work With You

Sometimes fulfillment services specialize in a specific industry, or only work with companies at a particular volume. You shouldn’t feel pressured to increase your inventory, adjust your pricing too much or order in larger volumes if your business isn’t yet ready to weather these changes. Find a fulfillment partner that wants to work with you at the stage you are at right now. You can gauge whether a company is a right match for you by taking a look at the customers they currently serve. If their other clients are similar to you in size and needs, that goes a long way as far as showing you what they can do and for whom.

October 09, 2014
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