Of the many tasks and responsibilities in running an online business, one thing you have to ensure as an online seller is to have the product ordered by your customer promptly delivered. But from the time your customer made the order and the time the customer actually receives the product, a chain of processes have to be accomplished. These include, among others, order processing, product checkout, payment processing, inventory/storage management, packaging, shipping, and delivery. If the customer decides to have the product exchanged or returned, or queries you for customer support, you’ll also have to handle that. All these are the heavy load of eCommerce summed up as order fulfillment. You may not have the time and resources to manage these processes and may need the help of order fulfillment services.
Order fulfillment services are companies that fulfill orders for businesses such as online sellers, eCommerce or even brick and mortar stores that do not have their own warehouses or distribution facilities. These service providers have the expertise and are equipped to handle all the tasks and processes mentioned earlier so you don’t have to go about doing the heavy stuff and simply focus on marketing your store and selling your products. For most online sellers and businesses, it is with order fulfillment services that they are able to move, store, and deliver products to their customers while growing their business.
In this article, we’ll go over Fulfillment by Amazon, one of the most popular order fulfillment service providers today. We’ll also present to you some Fulfillment by Amazon alternatives to broaden your options if you’re looking for this type of service. But first things first, we’ll quickly have a look at the main features of order fulfillment services so that you’ll be better informed when the time comes to choose one for your business.
Order fulfillment services exist with one primary purpose – to help you fulfill the orders of your customers. However, how they offer their service may vary. Some may have more affordable fees and lesser charges or offer more discounts. Some may have more extensive distribution networks than others or have more robust service features. Whatever the case, it may serve you well to consider certain things such as: Can they quickly process orders and payment? Can they accurately verify customer information? Can they ship/deliver products on time? What are the cost and fees involved? If you want to learn more of the service providers featured in this article, just click on each of the provider’s links which will lead you to an in-depth review page.
Order fulfillment companies usually have the following tools, functions and features as part of their service:
Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA as it is known in the industry, is the order fulfillment service of e-retail giant Amazon.com. That alone may be reason enough to use the service, but FBA does have extensive offerings and indeed taps into the extensive infrastructure and global presence of Amazon.com to provide your online business with wider market reach and a trusted reputation. FBA can be used by anyone who sells online, most especially sellers of small items, sellers on multiple channels, and existing Amazon sellers. With FBA, you leverage Amazon’s top extensive logistics and network of over 140 fulfillment center spread out across the globe. The service can handle product processing and shipment, manage payments and refunds, and provide 24/7 customer support. FBA is well known for its quick processing, fast delivery and shipping times, climate-controlled warehouses, refunds and returns policy, and quality customer service support. FBA integrates with all leading eCommerce and shopping cart platforms and works seamlessly with numerous third-party applications, providing your business unmatched scalability and flexibility.
Among the many FBA highlights are:
You got the full global resources, infrastructure and logistics of Amazon.com behind FBA which is the assurance that comes with its service. However, FBA is just one of the many proven fulfillment services you can choose from. Below you’ll find Fulfillment by Amazon alternatives that are just as comprehensive in features, and also highly popular among online merchants.
FedEx Fulfillment was launched in early 2017, making it an upstart in the fulfillment industry. However, being a new player in the market is a non-issue as it is a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, the courier delivery company noted for its express overnight delivery service as well as its pioneering system that enables the tracking of packages and providing real-time updates on package location. In fact, this system is being used by other courier services. FedEx Fulfillment harnesses the solid logistics and transportation network of its mother company for your fulfillment needs. It aims to help small and medium sized businesses fulfill orders from various online channels through its integrated supply chain system of warehousing, packaging, fulfillment, transportation, and reverse logistics. Online sellers can use the service to integrate selling channels and manage inventory while having full visibility of their items during storage, in transit, and upon delivery using its pioneering product tracking system. In addition, FedEx Fulfillment offers same day fulfillment cut-off times, and 2-day ground shipping to most US locations. It is considered among the best when it comes reverse logistics with its well-established transportation and infrastructure system.
Shipwire is the second of our Fulfillment by Amazon alternatives. The service utliizes an enterprise-grade warehouse management system (WMS) for its storage facilities in the US, Europe, China, Australia and Asia. The system guarantees the safety and security of your stored products, including those that need special handling and shipping procedures. Shipwire implements an intelligent shipping platform to efficiently pick out the best options for shipping and delivery routes as well as packaging in order to help you reduce fulfillment and shipping costs. The cloud-based platform enables online businesses to run logistics operations from any location through the combination of warehouse facilities owned by clients or those of Shipwire. You can undertake on-demand and custom order fulfillment solutions for B2C and B2B commerce, and connect product supply to retail demand through drop shipping and linking to major retail channels. Shipwire also allows you to customize and scale service features so you can find the most suitable solution tailor fit for your fulfillment requirements.
Fulfillment.com is a worldwide fulfillment, storage and logistics company whose service is anchored on accuracy, quick turnaround times, and affordable shipping rates. With their service, you save time and money by reducing transit times and shipping costs since their facilities are strategically located near parcel processing hubs throughout North America and all over the world. You can choose where to store your products at any of Fulfillment.com’s global facilities so that when an order is placed, the service can readily pick, pack, and ship the items, ensuring a smooth and efficient flow from order to delivery. Fulfillment.com uses advance facilities that operate with the company’s proprietary technology to manage all kinds or orders, and built to scale to handle any type of fulfillment task from the simplest to the most complicated. The service comes with features to help you manage product supply such as inventory velocity reporting, inventory alerts, and depletion date estimates.
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