How Do I Know I Am Ready to Hire a Fulfillment Partner?

Young woman preparing boxes to ship

While you are getting your eCommerce business up and running, you are probably doing the bulk of the work yourself. Many online companies begin as cottage industries, operating out of a home or garage, such as Jeff Bezos famously did with Amazon.

Even if your eCommerce store does not reach Amazon’s sales levels, you are bound to reach a point where it is hard to keep up. How do you know when it is time to hire a fulfillment company? Ask yourself these questions to help guide your decision.

Are You Ready to Partner With a Fulfillment Company?

1. Are you running out of room?

As sales increase, you need more inventory to fill orders, along with more space to store that inventory. Unfortunately, science has yet to create a wall stretcher that will let you expand your current base of operations.

A fulfillment warehouse is designed to hold large quantities of product. As a plus, they have sophisticated inventory management software that provides efficient tracking and robust reporting.

2. Are you spending too much time running to UPS?

Whether you use USPS, UPS, or FedEx, you are bound to their policies and rates. Few things are more frustrating than scrambling to reach the post office just as they are locking the doors.

If you use a fulfillment service, you can say good-bye to that headache. Not only do they have daily pickups scheduled with all major carriers, but they can accommodate LTL (less than a truckload) shipments and you can benefit from their lower contracted rates. A fulfillment warehouse will also free you up from the task of following up on shipping problems.

3. Are you having a hard time finding labor?

We have all heard about the Great Resignation, with a significant number of people leaving the workforce due to a shift in priorities following the COVID shutdown. For this and other reasons, many employers are having difficulties finding and retaining qualified labor.

With a fulfillment company, you have the advantage of a full staff but pay based on your business alone. You no longer have the responsibility of recruiting, hiring, and managing employees, nor do you have to cover insurance and other labor-related expenses.

4. Can your infrastructure scale along with your business?

As your business grows, you will still find ebbs and flows along the way. The classic example is holiday sales, but there are many other situations that can cause fluctuations. For example, perhaps you sell scarves, bathing suits or other seasonal items.

A fulfillment company focuses on inventory management and order fulfillment. They are experts at these services, so they can navigate the process of scaling as needed to suit your business.

5. Are you expanding to other geographic areas?

Expanding your geographic reach is a natural progression. But with customers expecting two-day, next-day or even same-day delivery, it is crucial to have your product physically located nearby. If you are getting nervous at the thought of opening multiple facilities, a fulfillment warehouse can solve that problem.

6. Do you have time to run your business?

Increasing sales should be job #1. If fulfillment and logistics is taking time away from building your brand, coming up with new products and other sales-related projects, it’s time to take on a fulfillment partner.

Your #1 Choice for a Quality Fulfillment Company

At Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, we truly consider ourselves a partner in your success. With more than 35 years of experience and facilities on both coasts, Medallion offers a full range of fulfillment services that are flexible enough to scale along with your business.

Contact us to learn more about our innovative Amazon replenishment warehousing service and other programs.

How Fulfillment Service Impacts Customer Satisfaction

“If people are failing, they look inept. If people are succeeding, they look strong and good and competent. That’s the “halo effect.” Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept.” – Daniel Kahneman

When you work with a fulfillment partner, it is easy to oversimplify their involvement. True, a fulfillment house picks and ships orders. How could that hurt customer satisfaction?

Final Hands

Simply put, they are the last hands to touch your products and they are responsible for delivering the final product to your customers. To see where you stand, ask yourself a few questions:

• When your customer receives an order, how does it look?

• What packaging materials are used?

• How quickly does it arrive?

• How is the tracking information transmitted?

• How are returns handled?

If you have not audited the results in a while, it may be time to check your fulfillment results. Check our Guide for Fine Tuning Fulfillment for more tips and remember: A great fulfillment provider increases customer satisfaction, while a poor provider can actually damage satisfaction.

Case Study

One of our clients moved from a different 3PL because of customer dissatisfaction. The business started receiving complaints that orders were arriving in junky old boxes with newspaper used as packaging. Many orders were incorrectly shipped, leading to reshipments and delays.

If customers had not reported these issues, our client would not have known the impression their former 3PL was leaving on the customers. You have spent time and money making a good impression on customers. The last thing you need is a lousy box or a packing error to erode your credibility.

Errors Undermine Credibility

Mistakes not only cost money and time, but they damage customer trust. Medallion and Sprocket Express have a 99.9%+ accuracy rate and exceptional customer service personnel. In the case study above, errors and complaints stopped after the business switched to Sprocket Express for fulfillment for East Coast servicing. Customers almost never received incorrect items again, and the clean uniform packaging made a great impression on the recipients. The client added a packing tape printed with their logo, for a complete branded solution.

Speedy Delivery

When we first opened, our CEO used to joke that someday customers would hit the “buy” button and then check the mailbox. Ironically, we’ve nearly reached that point!

With Amazon leading the charge, customers continually have a higher expectation of speed (and shipping cost). To answer the call, most 3PLs expect to provide same day delivery within the next 5 years. And 40% say they anticipate 2 hour shipping by 2028. Interestingly, when Amazon offered 1- and 2-hour delivery in select markets, many customers preferred the free 2-day shipping instead. Speed is not everything, but shipping value is essential. The best shipping strategies offer a few options with a range of costs.

Knowledge is Satisfying

Immediately after placing an order, most website systems generate an order confirmation email. The more transparency a business provides during the order process, the more confident a customer can feel when interacting with the company. Therefore, as soon as an order is released to a carrier for shipment the tracking information should be communicated in real-time.

Both Sprocket Express and Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics sends automatic tracking information to your customer. And we can brand the email with your company information for a consistent image. We ship the same day and we also offer rush and special services.

We Are Here When You Need Help

These are just some of the ways that your fulfillment service partner can affect customer satisfaction. We strongly encourage you to call references when choosing a fulfillment provider and ask some of these questions. Your choice will be representing your business in public view, so it’s no easy decision.

Whichever partner you choose, we invite you to connect with us to share challenges and ideas via email or social media. To learn more about our services and our low industry pricing, see “What We Do”, or get a quote today.

Limited Time and Limited Stock Offers – Why Scarcity Gets Shoppers to Commit

Are you creating the sense of urgency necessary to cinch sales? Turns out, losing the lollygagging looky loos and getting shoppers to commit may be simpler than you think.

Urgency & Sales Motivation

To prevent people from “thinking about it” and possibly forgetting about it   scarcity is key to taking advantage of the buyer psychology not to miss out. Limited time offers and limited stock prevent pesky procrastination.

How Much Does Scarcity Affect Buying Decisions?

In a study by WhichTestWon, a simple countdown timer resulted in nearly 9% better conversions than a product page without a timer. Another retail study conducted by Digital Commons at the University of Nebraska indicated consumer competitiveness, in-store hiding and hoarding, and urgency to purchase in stores using perceived scarcity strategies including limited quantities and limited time sales.

What Types of Perceived Scarcity Tactics Can You Put to Work for Your Business?

• Limited time offers
Time restricted sales, such as holiday and game-day themed offers ramp-up the psychological trigger to avoid loss.

• Limited quantity
Use limited stock to your advantage, showing scarcity to boost perceived value. Advertising real-time stock is a great way to accomplish this.

• Limited quantity/limited price
Airlines use this all the time, boasting “only 3 seats at $50.” The rest may be $51, or $40, but since they don’t show availability – the buying public remains unaware.

• Flash sales
Very limited time offers on hand-selected items.

• Product page countdown timers
Rather than simply posting the date, countdown timers ticking away the sale offer a visual reminder of product scarcity.

• Timed shopping offers
Express and free shipping deals for those that act fast are another super incentive.

• Copy-writing tactics
The language you use can also create urgency, such as “Going fast!” or “Supply is limited!”

The Devil in the Details

Remember, the goal here is to motivate purchases – not lie to customers, which creates a bad image for your brand. Base all scarcity tactics on something – a need to make room for the upcoming season’s inventory, overstock. Don’t just toss a timer on a page and expect a sales boost. And don’t overdo it. Encourage procrastinators – but don’t pressure customers and incite buyer’s remorse.

Getting shoppers to commit is easy with rapid response and delivery. Make things happen with the help of Medallion Fulfillment and Logistics for you order processing and fulfillment needs. Learn more today.

$0 to Decent: How to Jump Start Ecommerce Sales

How Your e-Commerce Store Can Effectively Compete with Amazon

Did you assume that sales would come rolling in once you set up your virtual storefront? People can’t just magically sense that you’re ready to sell them the product or service they’ve been looking for. You need a proactive strategy to drive traffic to your “door” and convert viewers to customers.

Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Once you get people to your site, their activities will let you know if anything needs to be tweaked or revised. Here are some tested methods for driving traffic, moving from basic to more sophisticated.

Take Advantage of Free Networking Channels

• Spread the word about your business to all your contacts via email and social media accounts. Even if your friends and family don’t make a purchase, they can share a link with members of their network which can be just as valuable.

• Share a link to your store in online forums and communities where your target audience is likely to congregate. Offering discount codes will pique interest and help you track where the customers are coming from.

Create Paid Advertising Programs

• Online advertising is more cost-effective than you may think. Most channels charge per click only, and you can get started for as little as $10.

• Each platform has its own pros and cons. Do your research and choose ones that are likely to attract your target market.

Tap Into Existing Audiences

• There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Develop synergy through strategic partnerships with companies that are non-competitive but have overlapping target bases.

• Reach out to bloggers who may be receptive to writing a review or news story highlighting your product or service. Another possibility is writing guest blogs to position yourself as an expert in your field.

The best marketing programs are fluid, not static. Using these methods will give you solid feedback you can use to evaluate and refine strategies.

Save Time and Money with Ecommerce Fulfillment Services

Put your time and energy where it belongs, in developing marketing plans and generating sales. Our ecommerce fulfillment services can handle all your needs from inventory management to order processing and shipping. Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn more about our services.

Our Software Now Integrates with All Popular eCommerce Platforms

We’ve been busy in the last month upping our game! Our fulfillment software now integrates with all the major eCommerce platforms and popular shopping carts.

These new enhancements give you more options. Here are the details.

1. Once connected to our fulfillment software system, orders in your shopping cart are automatically sent to Medallion’s system with no intervention on your part. It’s all automatic!

2. The automatic connection sends back inventory data to your shopping cart interface updating your on-hand counts; allowing you to better manage your ordering and inventory.

3. Shipping data from our system flows back into your shopping cart allowing customers to monitor their order status and for you to know exactly when items have shipped. It’s all automated!

Find our more about these popular eCommerce platforms and shopping carts on our website.

Looking for a Reliable, Cost-Effective Service Partner?

Isn’t it time for you to take another look at Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics? Call us today for a free account review.

Don’t let rate increases or poor service handcuff you to your old fulfillment provider. With Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, you have scale-able options that grow with your business.

You can rely on our more than 29 years of experience providing sellers with efficient and cost-effective fulfillment services to understand your warehouse and fulfillment needs.