5 Important Tips
to Find a Great Fulfillment Center
At some point when you are growing your online business, it will outgrow your own room, house or garage. This is when merchants will look to a find a fulfillment center to help them take their business to the next level.
Fulfillment centers are the key to a successful, growing online business. They will take care of all your operations and logistical needs and all you need to take care of is your product, marketing and customer service. Finding a great fulfillment center is the most underrated activity in the growth of an online business. But, as a startup, do you need it? If yes, what are the things that you should look at in a fulfillment center? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
What do They Offer?
You have already decided that you are going to seek service of fulfillment centers to ease your job, but what else can they help you?
Some fulfillment centers offer end-to-end shipping only, while some provide beyond that – and this is what you need to know.
There is nothing wrong with asking fulfillment centers on how they work as well as other services that they can add aside from ensuring your products are safely stored, packed accordingly, and shipped right on time. The key here is to understand their process and also the service level they can provide. This will then equip you with the information to set the expectations with your own customers.
How Many Fulfillment Centers do They Have?
There are 2 lines of thought here.
- Proximity of fulfillment center close to your target audience
- Fulfillment center in China that can dropship your orders quickly to your customer
You have to decide or gauge from your customer whether same day, next day or 2-day delivery is critical to them. You can read more about your customer experience and their delivery expectations here. If speed is critical then you need to find a fulfillment center that is close to your target end consumer. If your customer can accept a 5-7 day delivery time then, you can really benefit from a fulfillment center in China that can fulfill your orders. It will mean you can really work based off a “Just in Time” inventory model with minimal amount of capital held in inventory.
Take note that your customers will not blame the fulfillment center for the delayed shipment, but they will point it on your company instead – keep thinking about this. The more dissatisfied they are, the lower the retention rate.
Do they help with Product Returns?
Every part of the fulfillment is critical. If you have particular packing requirements you have to set the expectation and procedures with your fulfillment center. As a rule of thumb, keep it simple and cost effective. Don’t go over board with packaging requirements, it will just make it that much hard for your fulfillment center to follow. Consistency is the key. But if there are damages in the course of shipping like a tiny dent on the box or the product may cause bad reviews or product returns, so it would be a good idea to choose a fulfillment center who cares about your business and customer’s feedback.
They must have Shipping Tracking Software
Most of the fulfillment centers do offer shipping tracking software where customers will log in or type the tracking number on the app, and they can already track where their order is. This is critical and many warehouses do not have this. A great software will mean a lot less work for you and easier to keep track of all your orders as well. Eventually also a system that your customer service team can keep track of and be empowered to answer shipping enquiries from the consumer.
How much Storage do they have?
It may sound as if it’s not that important, but it is.
Soon enough, they might not be able to store your products; thus, it is vital to ask how big their fulfillment centers are. Remember, not all fulfillment centers have the same size. If your fulfillment center has multiple centers then it gives you the flexibility of moving your inventory and ensures that you are able to maintain operations. ZhenHub has over 20 fulfillment centers worldwide. Many customers have been able to shift inventory between facilities quickly when there is a lack of space in a facility. Companies with a single fulfillment center will not be able to provide the same flexibility and scale. For more information, request a quote from ZhenHub.
What is their Reputation?
Any reviews? PRs? News? How about their customer services? Were they responsive?
In this day and age, everything can be searched online. You would be able to find out the reputation of the fulfillment centers that you are targeting by merely browsing on the internet.
Weigh both the good and bad reviews before signing the deal. Some fulfillment centers offer a low-cost service, but they deliver what they promised. However, there are well-known fulfillment centers that has bad customer service or does not update the merchants on the current inventory of their products – be alert on these.
If you looking for a fulfillment center in China, Hong Kong or USA, you may want to discuss this with us. Fill out the form below and expect a response from our friendly staff within 24 hours or less.
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