The perks of outsourcing fulfillment
When merchants are running niche or small eCommerce operations, it can be quite easy for entrepreneurs to wear multiple hats and take on a variety of duties. It isn’t unusual to see business owners taking care of merchandising, customer relations, order fulfillment and even basic accounting tasks. This comes almost out of necessity – merchants are still small and they can’t afford the necessary staff to take care of all these tasks.
However, as retailers grow, business leaders can’t afford to handle everything, they need to develop the ability to manage. Even if a merchant can perform a task such as order fulfillment particularly well, the fact is that he or she is likely wasting time by devoting energy to the job. As such, many retailers opt to outsource order fulfillment and other important tasks.
Speaking with Multichannel Merchant, fulfillment expert Seth Boylan of XpertFullfillment noted four benefits that retailers can observe by outsourcing fulfillment-related tasks to third-party vendors and warehouses.
1. Gaining expertise
As noted above, business owners are frequently exceptional at multiple tasks. However, at the same time, they can’t be experts at everything. There is only so many hours that can be spent mastering specific trades and practices.
By outsourcing order fulfillment, retailers can bring in the true experts. These are people and companies that have devoted hours to successful order management and are up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices governing their business. They will know how to ship products from the warehouse to the customer in the most cost-efficient and time-effective manner possible.
Outsourcing order fulfillment can also be handy as companies expand to new territories or regions. Whereas the retailer might not have experience shipping to these areas, outsourcers likely will assist in the merchant’s growth.
2. Prioritizing strengths
This goes back to the notion that while retail owners are exception at multiple tasks, they are likely only truly efficient at some. By outsourcing weaknesses (such as order fulfillment), merchants can focus on areas they excel at.
“You can’t be good at everything and even if you are, you don’t have time for it all,” explains Boylan. “If you are going to be spending that money anyway, outsourcing allows everything to be taken care of without you having to deal with any of the potential problems. This is the biggest benefit of outsourcing.”
3. Lean operations
Handling every retail-related task internally is a sure-fire way to grow obtuse and slow to adapt. Think about it, retailers operating their own warehouses also need to hire workers, negotiate deals with property owners, find locations for new warehouses, etc. This all creates bloat and may prevent merchants from prioritizing greater concerns. Using a third-party vendor eliminates these challenges, helping retailers operate leaner chains.
When businesses decide to outsource order fulfillment, it’s crucial that they keep their finger on the pulse of these activities and ensure warehouses are operating according to schedule. ECommerce software can help monitor and manage warehouses, consolidating order fulfillment with other vital retail information.