Monthly Archives: November 2019

How to Outsource Your Order Fulfillment

Is it a good idea to outsource your order fulfillment? Finding the right partner to trust with your fulfillment is a challenge facing many e-commerce entrepreneurs. Most e-commerce businesses start your garage or living room, and it takes a while before you transition to finding a need for warehousing and fulfillment services. 

Studying the aspects of fulfillment centers and services depends on your target market and what you’re selling. There are pros and cons involved in accessing different markets and choosing the right fulfillment center to handle the job. 

Fulfillment centers allow you to remove yourself from a large portion of the business, giving you time to focus on other strategies to grow revenue. You also decrease your shipping costs with fulfillment centers, bringing down the costs for your customers. 

With a fulfillment center, you have experts handling your warehousing, packing, shipping, and even your customer returns. However, not all fulfillment centers follow the same pricing model. There could be extensive charges on warehousing your goods if you’re selling large products. 

Let’s unpack how to outsource your order fulfillment. 

Options for Outsourcing Your Shipping

There are three options available to you that can help you manage your shipping. 

Dropshipping – Using dropshipping companies, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of renting warehouse space or packing and shipping your orders. The drop shipper takes care of everything for you, including providing your customer with a tracking number on their delivery.

Warehouse Renting – Ecommerce warehousing allows you to store your products in centralized warehouses across the country, and the world. You can use shipping software programs to manage your inventory and customer returns from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

3PL Companies – These third-party logistics companies manage your entire supply chain, from receiving and processing order to warehousing, packing, and shipping your products to your customers. 3PL is the most expensive option of the three, but it offers you the best value for your money when managing your customer fulfillment.

Tips for Selecting the right Service Provider for Your Ecommerce Business

When selecting the right 3PL partner for your business, you need to spend some time shopping around and comparing pricing between fulfillment centers. During your research, it’s best if you focus on the following services and features of your 3PL service providers offering.

Understanding Your Business Needs – Contact your 3PL providers and ask them about how they handle their processes. Fulfillment centers need to model your customer experience, or your customers will take their business elsewhere.

Develop a Costing Model – As mentioned, a 3PL solution is the most expensive, but the best value. Shop around for quotations from 3PL providers before settling on your shortlist. Remember, the lowest cost does not always equal the best value.

Handling Product Returns – Your fulfillment center should have a  strategy and process for handling customer returns. The process should involve contacting you directly with the customer’s concerns and contact information, as well as their order number. 

Handling returns is possibly the trickiest part of managing your relationship with your fulfillment center. Make sure you choose a partner that meets your requirements. In most cases, you can manage the customer returns process if you make arrangements with the 3PL provider.

Final Thoughts

In today’s e-commerce marketplace, outsourcing your fulfillment is standard practice. If you want to reduce your shipping times to your customer, optimize your supply chain, and boost your company’s profits, you need to work with a fulfillment center.

Fulfillment centers may add another line item to your annual expense reports. However, the value they bring to your online business is irreplaceable.

13 Tricks for Better Travel This Upcoming Holiday Season

The December holiday is around the corner. And after that, the ushering in of a New Year and new decade. Who wouldn’t want a holiday to celebrate the year and the decade that has been?

But before you pack your bags, we figured out that a few tips could help make your holiday season even more fun. We have summarized a few tips that will be of great use wherever you plan on going to celebrate your holiday. 

Research, according to the American Automobile Association states that between mid-December and early January, an estimated 1.9 million Americans travel by car and 4.7 million by air. But that’s not the surprising part. Of those numbers, 20% arrived late, more than 5,000 flights canceled, and over 1.2 million had issues on the road. You don’t want to be part of these numbers. Here are 13 tricks for better travel.

1. Travel Early

Delays happen likely in the afternoon between 3 pm and 9 pm. It could be due to heavy weather and other travel logistics that might prove inevitable.

So, why not schedule your flight early. You might have to wake up at 4 am if you don’t want your flight canceled. 

2. Buy Travel Insurance

A medical emergency, God forbid, can wipe out your savings. Sometimes even worse. It’s recommended that you buy travel insurance to have them cover you during these times.

3. Choose Your Airport Carefully

Some airports have a terrible reputation when it comes to cancellations and delays. Most are either secondary airports in major markets, are on the east coast, which is prone to turbulent weather or is a primary destination for east coast airports.

On the other side, airports on the west coast don’t get much affected. So if you are planning on flying this winter, do consider this fact.

4. Contact Airline

You don’t want to arrive at the airport to find your flight canceled due to bad weather. Contact your airline before arriving. It may save you some time. 

Note that you are checking with your airline, not the airport, for the most up to date flight information. They could also offer you relaxed change fees for those traveling to and from affected cities and some trip cancellation insurance.

5. Don’t Wrap Gifts Yet

Planning on giving gifts? But don’t wrap them yet. TSA may need to unwrap and inspect them when need arise. So, the best thing to do is ship them or cover them once you get there

6. Carefully Choose Your Destination

Why spend more to have the same experience year after year? How about adding more value to your travel experience by letting your destination choose you?

You never know, sometimes flying to Europe can be cheaper than flying to Florida. Don’t let the Spur-of-the-moment deals pass you. They are common during the holidays. 

Start your search at Google flight for your preferred departure airport, and they will spoil you with choices for the best airfare deals.

7. Check Your Passport

You might want to expedite your passport renewal if yours is about to expire. Some destinations require a passport valid for at least six months from your home return date.

8. Travel Safe on Road

The winter season can be very rough on the road. You have to be careful when driving. Cut speeds by a third on wet roads and a half on snow-packed highways

9. Take the Warnings Seriously

You might see a winter storm warning on your way to your destination. But that doesn’t mean you lock doors and barricade yourself inside. It means you might have to change the way you will approach your destination.

Being careful and aware of the vehicles around you on the road for one. Avoid having a cell phone in front of you is another precaution in a winter storm. And also setting up your GPS.

10. Prepare Your Car

You don’t want auto issues when traveling. Make sure your car is ready. Keep your tires inflated, your wiper blades, brakes, and battery up to par.

A gallon of anti-freeze may prove to be of help along the way. And if you are in a state where studded snow tires are accepted, then, by all means.

And of course, enough gas.

11. Pack a Survival Kit

A winter emergency kit should definitely come in handy. Don’t overthink; fill a bag with anything you might need in case you get stranded. And that ranges anything from food to medications and extra batteries. Pick what would be most important to you during that time.

12. Inform People, Banks, and Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans

Tell someone where you are going and the route you are going to take. And when you are stuck, get your exact GPS location and call 911, then your family member. Have them contact the authorities when they don’t hear from you.

Also, informing your Credit Card Company or bank is a great idea, so they don’t put your card on hold.

13. Don’t Be Afraid To Turn Back

If it gets too bad and when driving and you have the opportunity to turn back, do it. Pulling over is also an excellent option.