Is it time you considered outsourcing your online order fulfilment?
Many small e-commerce businesses and start-ups find that when they begin selling goods online, they have the time and inclination to personally manage every aspect of the business themselves. However, as a business grows and gains momentum, this is rarely a sensible, strategic or cost-effective option to sustain.
It is a common mistake not to react to an increase in demand on the business and instead overstretch every resource available – often until breaking point. Sometimes this decision is financially led, a way of retaining as much of the profits as possible, but more often it’s the ‘small’ matter of trust, as any entrepreneurs, product innovator or developer, naturally finds it very difficult to release the ‘baby’ that has been clamped to their chest and nurtured by them from birth.
When describing what you do, does this look and sound painfully familiar to you?
‘I am the owner and managing director for my company but I am also responsible for sales and marketing, customer service, finance coordination and bookkeeping. I also manage the IT infrastructure, the website, the stock and inventory, the packaging and returns and oh, I’m also the person whose always standing in the Post Office queue!’.
Not only do you have to juggle numerous hats (and you know you can’t catch all of them on your own), you may also be experiencing a huge disruption to your home life, family, and lifestyle as, spare bedrooms, storage cupboards, insecure garages, conservatories, sheds and attic spaces are taken over by stock and packaging materials and your family are having to devote their precious spare time to help you get everything done in time. Or perhaps you have outgrown your home and have already taken on warehousing storage but are paying a fixed annual fee no matter if your sales are seasonal or have slowed for a time?
In light of all of this, when business starts to increase, many small enterprises instead choose to free themselves by outsourcing their order fulfilment and warehousing to a professional company.
This allows them to remove a big portion of stress from their lives and rewards them with extra time to focus on running the key aspects of their business that will help it remain viable, whilst remaining secure in the knowledge that their products will be delivered in a professional and timely manner. Inevitably this leads to continued customer satisfaction, loyalty and brand growth.
Try asking yourself these 4 simple questions and see if you would benefit from outsourcing your online order fulfilment;
1. Do you feel you aren’t utilising your time and expertise effectively?
Is the time you devote to fulfilling your orders preventing you developing or sourcing products and effectively promoting the goods on your website or Amazon / Ebay store? If the answer is yes, concentrate on your product expertise and the marketing of your goods by outsourcing your order fulfilment. Viable businesses are sales driven.
2. Are your sales seasonal or have you outgrown your ‘at-home’ business?
If the products you sell are seasonal or affected by peaks and troughs, it can be costly to maintain warehouse space at times of low demand. This fixed cost remains even when there are few or no sales. Using a bespoke order fulfilment company like PDX Logistics converts your order fulfilment costs from fixed to variable, which reduces your per unit cost, or turns your cluttered and overcrowded home environment into a space you and you family can enjoy once again.
3. Do you lack warehousing skills and quick access to your inventory levels?
Warehousing and customer satisfaction is increasingly reliant on up to date IT. If this kind of insight or expertise is lacking in your business, it will be more cost effective to outsource to an expert order fulfilment service. They will give you access to the latest technology that can help you have your finger on-the-pulse and give your customers a fast and reliable service.
4. Are your order fulfilment capabilities limiting your business’ growth?
A business that depends on supplying goods to customers for their growth is limited by the speed they can deliver the products and the volume of orders they can physically and successfully fulfil. Having dedicated warehouse storage and staff to pick, pack and dispatch your customers orders and process any returns will significantly expand your growth potential. Outsourcing your order fulfilment to a dedicated warehouse and fulfilment company means you can have as much capacity as you require as your business grows.
So how did you do? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions outsourcing may be for you. Finally, make sure you choose an order fulfilment company with flexible resources that will always be able to meet your needs.