The importance of selecting an eCommerce fulfillment company cannot be understated for businesses. It is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business, as it directly impacts your bottom line.
SMBs have to be especially careful when choosing an eCommerce fulfillment company to partner with. There were around 6.08 million small businesses in the US in 2019, and the numbers are growing. However, they only have limited resources to work with and limited time to devote to their eCommerce operations. Therefore, they must make wise decisions while choosing a fulfillment partner.
In addition, thousands of different eCommerce fulfillment companies out there make it even more difficult for you to find ones that meet all your needs.
Six questions are outlined below that you should ask any potential fulfillment partners before entering into any contracts with them.
How Long Have They Been Around?
A company’s longevity and track record can tell much about its reliability. Look for companies that have been in business for at least five years. If a fulfillment provider has been around for less than two years, you should be wary of their ability to handle your business.
It’s a good sign if a fulfillment company has been around for five or more years. They have the knowledge and experience needed to handle your business and help with your eCommerce fulfillment needs. You should also look at their customer reviews and feedback from other merchants who have used them.
If you run a search for the fulfillment company’s name and review, you should be able to find some feedback from other merchants. Around 67% of people leave a positive review if they are happy or satisfied with the services provided. Therefore, it may be a red flag if there aren’t any reviews or feedback from other businesses.
How Do They Handle Returns and Refunds?
Returns and refunds are common for any online business. Statistics show that customers return almost 30% of all online products for some reason. However, it will be a huge headache if you don’t have a good relationship with your eCommerce fulfillment partner.
The best fulfillment companies will have a return policy that is clear and easy to find on their website. This way, customers can easily see what they are eligible for when they are unhappy with the product they ordered.
The return policy should also be consistent across all channels. No matter where you buy from, the company has one set of rules that apply consistently. Finally, it needs to be fair and transparent.
What Are Their Services, and Will This Be Enough for My Business?
The first thing you want to ask an eCommerce fulfillment business is what services they offer. They may be able to take care of all your needs, or they may offer a few of the basic ones. Whatever the case, it’s necessary to know what you’re getting into before committing to any contracts.
They might tell you that they provide order processing and shipping services. But if those are all the services they offer, then there might not be much point in using them. There could be other companies that can do everything for less money.
This question also comes into play when evaluating whether or not an eCommerce fulfillment service will be enough for your business needs. If a company has a wide range of offerings but doesn’t have something specific that solves your particular problem, it won’t do much good.
Can They Ship Internationally?
To ensure that your international sales are handled properly, you need to ask if they can ship internationally. It is a big deal for many eCommerce businesses, so it’s crucial to understand how far your supplier can go to deliver your products.
You should also ask them how much shipping costs and how long it takes for the package to arrive at its destination. These are very important considerations when considering an eCommerce fulfillment partner. In addition, be sure to inquire about weight restrictions and other requirements for international shipping.
How Can I Access Updates About My Shipments and Orders?
In the world of eCommerce, things can change quickly. For example, customers order items and sometimes change their minds, or your inventory runs out, and new orders must be placed.
When something like this happens, you need to make quick decisions to clear things up. Therefore, you must know as soon as possible and access accurate information from your fulfillment service.
Additionally, you must be able to contact your fulfillment service easily when necessary. It is especially true if something goes wrong with an order or shipment.
You should be able to reach someone by phone or email at any point in time. The person should also be knowledgeable about the products or services being provided for your business. Don’t let them give general answers about their company’s policies if they aren’t sure how those apply specifically in this instance.
What’s Their Pricing Like?
When talking to a eCommerce fulfillment company, remember to ask about their pricing. Pricing is a crucial part of the process, and you should always ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible for your business.
If you have a small business and only ship one or two weekly orders, your shipping costs will likely be higher. However, the cost will decrease drastically if you have a larger operation.
The best shipping service for your company will also affect how much it costs. For example, ground shipping will typically be cheaper than air freight because it takes less time to get from point A to point B. However, there may not be many options when choosing which carrier can get there in time.
Well-Developed Questions Will Help Find a Great eCommerce Fulfillment Business
There are a few questions that every SMB should ask before hiring an eCommerce fulfillment company. These questions will help you narrow the search for a business best suited to your needs.
These are vital questions because they will help you determine if this particular eCommerce fulfillment business is truly the right one for you and your company. However, there are many questions that a business owner should ask before hiring an eCommerce fulfillment business. The answers can help you find out whether it’s the right fit for your company or not.