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How Do Order Fulfillment Services Work?

A typical day in the life of an ecommerce business owner is filled with tasks that must be done continually and efficiently in order to be successful. These tasks– which can include processing orders, customer service, managing and updating your ecommerce website, monitoring key performance indicators, creating marketing campaigns, and managing order fulfillment and returns– can be tough for one person to juggle, and hiring, training and managing a team requires a good investment of time and money. The good news is that many of these tasks can be outsourced to companies that are likely to be more experienced in their specialty than the business owner.

What types of businesses outsource to order fulfillment services?

Outsourcing to an order fulfillment service is the secret weapon of many retail businesses in a variety of industries including:

  • Travel and tourism
  • Health and beauty
  • Pet products
  • Automotive products
  • Consumer electronics
  • Dietary supplements and nutraceuticals

Business owners choose to outsource so they have more time to focus on growth drivers like product development, marketing, and diversification while letting the fulfillment experts manage their inventory, order processing, shipping, and returns.

What else can a 3PL fulfillment services company do?

In addition to the basics of product fulfillment explained above, here are some of the other unique services that fulfillment companies offer:

  • Storage and warehousing Many businesses don’t have the amount of space required to store their products efficiently. A 3PL partner can provide storage of pallets and boxes in a secure, air-conditioned space.
  • Assist with international shipments When shipments come in from overseas, a 3PL provider can handle a lot of the communication with customs brokers. ShipWizard is listed as several companies’ importer of record (IOR), which allows us to act as the owner of international goods with the proper authorization.
  • FDA & cGMP compliance – Shipping products like food, drugs and cosmetics require that your 3PL partner is FDA registered. Here at ShipWizard, we are proud to be FDA registered, as well as compliant with the FDA’s cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) practices.
  • Pick, pack and ship Also referred to as “packing and shipping,” “pick and pack,” and “pick pack logistics,” this involves a 3PL provider picking each of the individual components of your customers’ orders and packing them together before shipping them to their final destination.
  • Kitting In order fulfillment, the term “kitting” refers to the assembly of individual items into ready-to-ship sets, or kits. For example, let’s say that you are an ecommerce retailer that sells bedsheets. Your fitted sheets can be purchased individually, or they can be grouped with a set of matching pillowcases and a regular sheet. Because you have three different items that will be grouped together often, it makes sense to work with your 3PL provider to assemble a kit that includes all three. This kit will have a unique SKU number to differentiate it from the individual products, and it would be stocked and tracked as a single unit.
  • Payment processingWhen choosing an order fulfillment service partner, it’s important to make sure that the provider is capable of fully integrating with payment processing companies that handle consumer level order payments.
  • Reverse logistics Whenever online orders are placed and fulfilled, it can be expected that there will be some returns. Partnering with a 3PL services provider that can also manage the reverse logistics process results in happier business owners and customers.
  • Mailing services If you would like for your company’s mailers, flyers and direct mail to be managed for you, this is something that can also be outsourced through a 3PL services provider like ShipWizard. We can help tasks like pre-sorting mail, inserting, folding, address correction, poly bagging, label addressing, shrink-wrapping, direct mail, and more.
September 18, 2019
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