Order fulfillment is a critical element of any online business. It is through order fulfillment that order picking, shipping operations, and inventory are handled and managed. Because of the complexity of its demands, order fulfillment is often outsourced by online companies. It is believed that outsourced fulfillment operations help business owners to focus on marketing, product development, and business growth.
Although it has many benefits, outsourced fulfillment services are not always recommended. There are two more types of fulfillment services, and together with outsourced fulfillment, each has costs and advantages. The kind of fulfillment service you should have will depend on what your online pet supply business needs.
Dropshipping pet products is ideal if you need to fulfill large quantities of orders or large-sized items. It’s also the best fulfillment method for cash-strapped small businesses. There are two reasons why.
In dropshipping, orders made through your online store are forwarded to your suppliers who deliver the products to your customer’s address. Because you only pay for the stocks that your customers ordered, you can save on inventory costs. You and your dropshipping partner, on the other hand, share the profits acquired from the online purchase.
Also, dropshipping eliminates the need for you to keep a storage area for your products. You don’t have to rent a warehouse to keep your inventory. This allows you to save on inbound shipping, inventory storage, and warehouse rent.
In-house Fulfillment or Self-fulfillment
But if you’re starting your business, self-fulfillment or in-house fulfillment is your best choice. It’s a good way of understanding how the whole order fulfillment process works.
However, as your business grows, this kind of fulfillment method might not be able to support your operations. It’s only a temporary fix if you’re planning to hire more staff, increase your inventory and the products you sell, and generally to expand your business.
Third-party or Outsourced Fulfillment
Outsourcing your fulfillment operations can be amenable if you have additional budget for your business or your business is rapidly growing. It’s a great option if you want to hand over order fulfillment and inventory management to a third-party so that you will have more time to handle other aspects of your business.
Third-party fulfillment partners are the ones who store your products, pack them when an order is received, and deliver them to your customers. They offer discounted shipping rates for volume orders, and in case of business slowdowns or spikes, they can still accommodate you. To ensure faster delivery, third-party fulfillment companies also have a nationwide network of warehouses, so wherever your customer lives, they can quickly fulfill orders.
Before you decide which fulfillment method to use for your business, you should several factors. The type of products you sell, the number of stocks you have, and the required volume of deliveries you have will depend on the kind of order fulfillment.
Choosing the right fulfillment method is crucial in determining your profit margin and establishing customer value proposition. The best way to select an option is to be honest with potential fulfillment service providers about what you want and what your business needs.