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January 17th, 2024

eCommerce Fulfilment, go it alone or use a fulfilment partner?

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One of the biggest questions which entrepreneurs ask when starting an eCommerce business is “Do I outsource my fulfilment, or do I go it alone?” Now of course as an eCommerce fulfilment solution provider, we’re going to say that the answer to the question “Should I use a fulfilment company?” is simply yes! However, maybe the real question that we should be asking is “What are the benefits of outsourcing my fulfilment to a 3PL partner? And is now the right time?”

Often, we hear people talking about the benefits of taking jobs in-house, things like having more control, it can be more cost-effective, and communication and relationship-building are both easier. However, when it comes to fulfilment it really does help to weigh up the pros and cons of outsourcing. And honestly, when it comes to it, hiring a great fulfilment partner that is dedicated to you, your team, your business growth, and your customers really can make all the difference.

The 5 key benefits of outsourcing your fulfilment.

1. Professional knowledge of key fulfilment practices.

Fulfilment is so much more than just pick, pack, and dispatch. Fulfilment, much like the other aspects of running a business requires a professional working knowledge of the industry. Working with a third-party fulfilment company means that you’ll have access to a breadth of knowledge which you otherwise might not have access to.

Whilst the 3rd party does all the heavy lifting when it comes to picking and packing, they are also able to use state-of-the-art technology which removes errors from the process and so much more. Something that most businesses won’t have access to in-house.

2. Saving you time when it comes to the mundane stuff.

Most eCommerce business owners would agree that fulfilment isn’t fun. Now that can’t be said for our owners, but picking, packing, sending, and tracking can all be seen as quite mundane. So why spend your time doing the stuff you don’t love?

On average businesses spend over 120 hours per week on fulfilment, that’s equivalent to 5 full days. When you outsource to a fulfilment partner this time can then be spent elsewhere – think marketing, coming up with new business ideas, business trips or even the odd coffee break… ahhhh.

That old saying “time is money” really does ring true when it comes to business. All too often businesses underestimate the true value of their time – so if you’re asking the question “Should I outsource my fulfilment?” remember how much your time is truly worth!

3. Expanding the possibilities when it comes to packaging.

 One of the key benefits when it comes to saving time on the manual side of fulfilment, is that you’ve got more time to think about the packaging you want to use. Too many eCommerce businesses use bland brown boxes to send out amazing-looking products. You spend so much time making sure the product is right – now it is time to turn your attention to the unboxing experience.

Take inspiration from successful TikTok brands like P. Louise and subscription boxes like Glossy Box, both of which are challenging conventions when it comes to customers receiving their goods. Choosing the right fulfilment company can help when it comes to custom packaging. Here at SCEND, we helped The Fox Tan to break the beige with their product packaging – using flamingo pink envelopes and custom stickers there’s no way that their customers don’t recognise their orders!

4. Making the right connections for the right reasons.

Still not convinced that a 3rd party fulfilment provider is for you? One of the biggest USPs that we can boast about here at SCEND is our commitment to being green. We are seeing more and more clients on the path to being a greener business – yet when it comes to fulfilment they’re not sure where to start. Partnering with the right fulfilment company, one that shares your vision, and your ethics can help you on the road to being a more environmentally friendly and sustainable business.

Very often 3PL companies will have partnerships with sustainable packaging providers and other connections which can help to solidify your commitment to being green.  So make sure IF you choose to outsource you select someone who shares the same commitment to reducing single-use plastics and can help you on your journey to reducing your carbon footprint.

5. Encouraging retention through exceptional experiences.

As the final touchpoint between yourselves and your customer, having a keen eye for fulfilment best practice not only allows you to perform efficiently when it comes to elements such as dispatch and delivery times, but it also allows you to use your fulfilment as yet another feather in your cap when it comes to customer retention.

Working with a knowledgeable fulfilment partner will allow you to pay more attention to the post-purchase journey. Implementing quirky ideas such as QR codes, recommended products based on your journey, and other ideas can keep existing customers interested and engaged with your business. Here at SCEND, we offer an exceptional service which provides our clients both big and small access to hyper-personalised inserts which give you access to marketing material which has a 100% open rate. Going above and beyond for your customers allows you to stand out from the crowd when it comes to fulfilment. And providing our clients with the tools to do this, is what makes SCEND stand out from the crowd too!

So… should I use a fulfilment company?

There are plenty of reasons why you should use a fulfilment company rather than taking it in-house. But you do have to make sure it is right for you – for example, if you’re only taking 1-2 orders per week then maybe paying for a 3PL isn’t the best option for your business. However, if you’ve got big plans for expansion and are looking to outsource so that you can focus on that growth then a professional may be the right way to go!

No two business models are the same so looking at your individual reasons for outsourcing your fulfilment is key!

If you’re looking to outsource your fulfilment and are looking for the right partner, we’ve got you covered. Drop us a message and we’d be happy to discuss your fulfilment needs.

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