When you first start an eCommerce business, it’s perfectly normal to take on everything yourself from sales and marketing to manufacturing and fulfilment it’s your product and your adventure. After all, you’re still finding your footing and scoping out the marketplace.
It would be a bold, and probably disadvantageous for you to outsource from the get-go. However, as your brand starts to grow, the time that is spent on business areas like marketing or fulfilment can skyrocket. What used to take you just a few hours each week, can now be a full-time job in itself!
If it’s becoming apparent that you’re spending more time completing the day-to-day tasks rather than focusing on business growth, strategy and product development – perhaps it’s time to look at outsourcing. But are you ready? We’ve created a comprehensive list of nine signs to look for before taking the leap.
What are the signs that you’re ready for a 3PL?
- You’re spending too much time fulfilling orders.
- You want to grow your business alongside a partner that supports you.
- Your shipping costs are too high.
- You’re looking to expand into international markets.
- You’re looking to cut costs in the business.
- There’s a lack of internal resources.
- You want to improve your customer experience.
- You have limited storage space.
- You have seasonal peaks in demand.
1. You’re spending too much time fulfilling orders.
The first, and usually the most obvious sign that you’re ready to outsource your eCommerce fulfilment is that you’re spending too much time picking, packing and dispatching your orders. From keeping track of your orders and returns to inventory management and so much more the whole post-purchase journey can be extremely time-consuming. Though fulfilment truly is one of, if not the most important aspect of any online business, when it comes to keeping afloat business owners need to take back the time spent on fulfilment and put this into product development and setting growth plans in motion. Outsourcing the entire fulfilment process means that you’ll have more time to focus on what you do best!
2. You want to grow your business alongside a partner that supports you.
Are you looking to grow your business? Or has your business already begun to grow? When any business experiences periods of exponential growth this comes with an increase in online sales. An increase in sales is always a good thing for businesses, but more sales means more orders and more orders mean more time spent fulfilling.
Part of business growth is implementing processes and increasing efficiency. By outsourcing your fulfilment to eCommerce fulfilment experts such as SCEND you can help improve your fulfilment process with a 3PL partner that is capable of growing alongside your business and aiding in that growth.
3. Your shipping costs are too high.
Taking on the fulfilment process in-house can become costly pretty quickly! With costs of storage, packaging, labels, postage and tracking all adding up, you’re left with high shipping costs, and that just covers the basics. Though outsourcing your fulfilment can look like an additional cost using a fulfilment partner can save you money when it comes to shipping. Fulfilment partners such as SCEND are sending high volumes of orders each day meaning that we benefit from reduced shipping rates, something that we share with our amazing clients.
4. You’re looking to expand internationally.
So, the time has come when you want to expand your business internationally – amazing! However, expanding into international markets comes with higher shipping costs. There are also a whole host of different laws and regulations that you need to follow to avoid fines and other penalties. A specialist fulfilment company like SCEND will ensure that all international laws are adhered to, and in a cost-effective way – so you needn’t worry about the red tape surrounding internationalisation. Instead, you can focus your time on securing the orders within your new global marketplace.
5. You’re looking to cut costs in the business.
Perhaps you’re looking at where you can cut costs within your business. Whether that’s to operate more efficiently, to invest in new people or technology or to grow your business in other areas. You can easily cut costs by taking in-house fulfilment out of the equation. You will no longer need to spend on wages, shipping, and storage; that’s what we’re for. This allows you to free up some cash and inject it into different areas of your business.
6. You have a lack of internal resources.
When it comes to fulfilment, it’s not just as simple as putting your product into a box. Fulfilment requires specialist knowledge, training, equipment, and programmes to ensure a fluid process which is free from costly human error. As your business grows and you look to level-up your fulfilment, there are ways that you can do this in-house – but it doesn’t come without cost. Up-skilling employees and investing in the correct infrastructure and software can become pricey rather fast. So without the correct resources in-house, turning to a 3PL can be the most efficient way to perfect your post-purchase operation without having to make costly in-house investments.
7. You want to improve your customer experience.
As eCommerce sales continue to grow we see more of a demand and pressure on brands to offer faster more efficient delivery practices. We’re living in a digital age which sees next-day delivery as the standard, and same-day delivery expected from certain retailers. That being said, slow delivery times could be the difference between customers choosing you, or one of your direct competitors. If you’re doing this alone, or with a small team, it can be difficult to offer this service, whilst keeping everything else afloat.
Another factor to consider is that an increase in orders often comes with an increase in returns too! It’s important that the returns process is as simple as possible for users. In fact, as many as 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase; so if yours isn’t user-friendly you experience a loss in sales. Many fulfilment service partners like ourselves handle the entirety of the returns process for you. Should your customers wish to return their orders, we will visually inspect the item, update your inventory or scrap the item, depending on your choice.
8. You have limited storage space.
Whether you’re getting more orders, or you’re expanding your product line you may find you’ve got an issue with storage space. Unless you want to be filling your home with stock, or renting expensive warehouse space, it might be beneficial to look at outsourcing your warehouse and storage to a fulfilment partner. At SCEND have large warehouses to accommodate your stock; not only that but our team of highly trained staff are experts in stock and inventory management, leaving you with one less thing to stress about.
9. You have seasonal peaks in demand.
If you sell seasonal products or go through fluctuations in terms of supply and demand, you’ll understand how tricky it can be to manage orders and storage. At certain times in the year, you’ll be receiving a much higher quantity of orders than others, meaning you’ll need more resources and storage capacity, both of which come with a high cost.
If you’re looking to handle this in-house, hiring temporary workers or paying overtime can be costly – not to mention the price of storage! Instead, by outsourcing your fulfilment, you’ll only pay for what you need, when you need it. This means that when you’re going through a busy period we can pick up the orders, and ensure there is no compromise on delivery times or people receiving the correct orders.
If you’re sat there ticking off any of these 9 clear signs that you’re ready for a 3PL then now, and yes we mean right now, is the time to start your journey to a seamless post-purchase journey for both you, your business and your customers.
Get in touch with the team here at SCEND and let us create a bespoke fulfilment plan, tailored to your needs.