If delivery is central to your business then you might want to consider the use of a third-party logistics and distribution service. This will enable you to focus on your core competencies, such as optimising productivity, increasing revenue and controlling costs, while exploiting the third party's logistic expertise.
Outsourcing can incorporate not only the delivery of goods but also order handling, stock control and the storage, packing and despatch of goods. If you run an e-commerce business outsourcing can also include the development and management of your website, providing complete support to order fulfilment.
The demand for order-fulfilment solutions is growing with the requirement of e-commerce providers to serve the small-package, individual-oriented needs of their customers.
As online sales increase, several factors combine to put new pressures on order-fulfilment systems. These include:
an expanded selection of products sold online
the need to move a large volume of small parcels
rising customer expectation for quick and inexpensive deliveries
Outsourcers have the ability to share warehouse space and resources with other online merchants.
Choose the right outsourcing partner
Businesses find that it's relatively easy to distribute products in bulk through traditional distribution channels such as wholesalers and retailers. However, if you are a smaller web-based business selling a wide range of products that need sending to customers' homes, distribution can be more difficult. This may be particularly true if you also have to deal with the associated inventory control and customer support.
If you are considering outsourcing your fulfilment services, then you should look for a partner who:
is dedicated to ensuring that your brand name is properly represented
understands e-commerce market opportunities and offers reliable back-end technology to support the fulfilment activities
has experience in inventory management, logistics, information systems and customer service
is able to move goods effectively and efficiently in order to meet customer needs, both now and as your business grows