From in-house fulfilment services and contractless deliveries, to dropshipping and partnering with a third-party logistics company like The Delivery Group to outsource fulfilment, choosing Shopify as your main selling website offers a wide range of retail and order fulfilment methods to choose from.
Although more options relating to your Shopify fulfilment strategy can have the potential to make or break your business, it can make the process of deciding which Shopify fulfilment service best works for you more difficult. It is crucial to make the right choice in this aspect, otherwise, the wrong 3rd party fulfilment Shopify option could slow down the growth of your business and cut into profit margins.
Depending on your current eCommerce order volume, the types of products you sell, and even where in the world your customers are located, it is essential to decide which fulfilment method will make the most sense for your type of business.
This comprehensive guide will enlighten you about:
After spending hours designing your Shopify website, planning your marketing campaigns, and designing your brand’s custom packaging, it becomes time to figure out how to fulfil orders accurately and efficiently to get them shipped. If your online store is unable to keep up with customer orders, or unable to deliver orders quickly and efficiently, your customer experience will plummet and they will quickly find what they need from another retailer.
Effective inventory management, getting items picked packed and shipped efficiently to fulfil Shopify orders are all responsibilities that need to be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to order fulfilment with Shopify. If you’re undertaking in-house fulfilment, you will need to work out how much packaging, software, shipping and other eCommerce logistics will cost you.
Prior to launching your Shopify store, consider how you’re going to handle fulfilment. Spending too much time and too much money looking to pack and ship orders can get you stuck in an endless cycle of minimal profit.
There are three main fulfilment options for Shopify store owners to get customer orders packaged and ready to be shipped to their door. These consist of:
When you’re just starting out as a smaller business, or you have the means to hire staff and rent a warehouse, it is possible to fulfil orders yourself. Although this method gives you complete control over every step of the supply chain, it can also be a huge drain on time; and even a driver of logistics costs as your business expands.
As brands find considerable growth online, they find it easier to switch from in-house order fulfilment to outsourcing fulfilment earlier in order to leverage others’ fulfilment operations rather than having to invest in fulfilment infrastructure yourself. This is often a more cost-effective method that still allows some control over your fulfilment operations.
The dropshipping method is the most hands-off method of fulfilment, however, it gives owners far less control over the fulfilment process. Opting for the dropshipping method will mean that the order fulfilment process is going to be managed entirely by the manufacturer.
While there are pros and cons to this method, it does tend to lean towards higher transit times as products typically come from Asia, and there are further risks with quality control as the customer will be the first person to see the finished product.
In order to save time, and maintain control over the fulfilment process, many Shopify store owners experiencing exponential growth will partner with a third-party fulfilment company like The Delivery Group.
This is because many 3PL’s have multiple Shopify fulfilment centres on offer domestically, and internationally, as well as industry-leading technology that helps to automate and streamline inventory processes, and even data analytics that can help you make decisions that will better your business and supply chain.
A 3PL’s fulfilment centre will be designed and optimised as much as possible to ensure that operations happen as efficiently and effectively as possible. From simple things like the equipment being used to the use of space, everything will be made to ensure accuracy and efficiency levels are as high as possible.
Third-party logistics companies also partner with select shipping carriers in order to negotiate the lowest and most cost-effective shipping costs for their clients.
Once a customer orders a product through your Shopify store, the order needs to be quickly and efficiently picked from the warehouse location, packed, labelled, and shipped to the customer’s address as soon as possible. In order to optimise the supply chain, Shopify allows its users to decide how you want your fulfilment strategy to operate in order to best fit your products, your customers, and your business.
By partnering your Shopify store with a third-party logistics company, you can save time and money on eCommerce fulfilment. Below are just some of the multiple ways partnering with a third party fulfilment company, such as The Delivery group, can have some massive impacts on your Shopify fulfilment processes:
Warehouse management doesn’t only take a huge amount of time, but it also presents itself as a big investment for a lot of effort which could be used on other aspects of your eCommerce business, such as marketing strategies.
As well as offering a wide, international, network of distribution centres, third-party logistics companies like The Delivery Group are also skilled in the optimisation of storage – with strategic eCommerce inventory storage enabling the warehouse pick and pack process to speed up without the compromise of order accuracy.
In order to provide a consistently high level of quality with the fulfilment service across the entirety of a distribution network, 3PLs use a warehouse management system (WMS) which can control and monitor all operations going on throughout the warehouse. Allowing someone else to manage warehousing tasks means that you don’t have to worry about the storage of inventory, management and training of staff, and the investment in new technology and equipment.
Effective inventory management features the process of the monitoring of inventory levels, the ordering and replenishment of inventory, and the use of collected data to help with inventory forecasting.
A third-party logistics provider with effective tech-enabled will provide built-in inventory management tools which will allow real-time viewing of stock levels within each fulfilment centre, the ability to reorder inventory to prevent stockouts proactively, and even get insights into inventory performance; like what your best and slowest sellers are.
Each product you sell will have different, unique, packaging needs. Some products are fragile and require careful packaging, whereas others can be simply shipped in poly mailers.
Though it depends on the carrier, among other requirements, a 3PL provider will use the right type of standard packaging materials and dunnage – with some not charging for these materials.
As 3PL providers deal with a large variety of different carrier partners, such as UPS, Royal Mail, DHL, Hermes, regional parcel carriers, and thousands of different merchants, these providers can negotiate bulk shipping rates on domestic and worldwide shipping.
By logging in to the network of your 3PL, you can pass these savings on to your customers. This way, you can provide a wider range of shipping options and incentives – such as free shipping.
When you launch a Shopify eCommerce business, you open yourself up to customers around the globe. However, the tricky part is to provide a good customer experience to your clients no matter where they live – and having access to a good quality fulfilment infrastructure with leading technology is key.
Luckily, The Delivery Group is the UK’s leading fulfilment provider who also provides fantastic Shopify fulfilment services so that you can fulfil worldwide customer orders.
Are you interested in enhancing your order fulfilment with the assistance of an expert fulfilment company? Get in touch with our friendly customer service team today.