Those running a larger scale business where the exchange of products are involved, more often than one would realize, are going through a fulfillment warehouse outsource service. This is one of the easiest methods to quickly fulfill customer orders. Products, through more companies than one would realize, are warehoused, inventoried, packed, and shipped by a company with experience in fulfillment outsourcing. Most of them can process telephone and mail orders as well – if you so choose. An example would be AMS Fulfillment. They’re a 3rd party company for warehousing, assembly, and fulfillment services.
Most outsource fulfillment companies that I’ve come in contact with tend to do just about anything their clients need. On any given day these warehouses could refurbish home gyms, rewind video tapes, label vitamin bottles or even shrink-wrap books. Some of them will even gift-wrap pantyhose. It really just depends on your business. There are numerous steps being taken to insure that a product is successfully recieved by the consumer. I searched for a breakdown between numerous different fulfillment companies and basically they said the same thing, so I’ll give a quick break down of it here.
Receiving – The fulfillment process typically starts when the product hits their docks. They count all of the items that enter the facility to make sure you get what you paid for. Once the inventory is received, it’s put away in its own specially labeled and even bar-coded zone.
Order Processing – The orders come in via phone, fax, snail mail, email or even a website. All orders are Address Validated and this extra step insures that your orders go exactly where they’re supposed to – TO YOU!
Warehousing – The products are stored in the local center, where they patiently wait for the option to be purchased. I know I’m making it sound like these products have a pulse, but I’m sure you get my point.
Customized Packing Slips – You don’t need to have a generic packing slip with the orders your customers recieve. The packages come with your business logo and information and consumers don’t even realize that you physically had nothing to do with these products.
Pick, Pack and Ship Orders – Orders are fulfilled around the clock (in most cases) in the case of web based orders, 90% of the time they’re picked, packed and shipped within an hour of being placed.
E-mail Confirmations – Once the item has been shipped, your customers can receive an e-mail confirming that their order is fulfilled. They include everything from carrier information and the tracking number to insure the consumer knows where their product is, at any given time.
I’ve been playing around with eBay for a while, I was interested in joining a program called SMC which is basically a drop shipper for products that people use on a regular basis. More than likely, all of the NEW and Packaged products that one would purchase on eBay are coming from a fulfillment warehouse, not even from the sellers home. I mean, think about it, the seller has say 200 items for sale at any given time. Most of which are fairly large – who has a warehouse in their backyard? “Mommy’s taking away the pool so we can make some money!” is not a conversation that at-home moms are having with their children when they’re making a large amount of cash selling products online, you know?
If you have a product that’s being mass-produced and absolutely no idea on how to store, package and ship it or your business is so overwhelming when it comes to delivery aspect, finding a fulfillment warehouse is more than likely the best bet.