Switch Fulfillment Houses Smoothly

How to Switch to Medallion Fulfillment Warehouse Smoothly

This article focuses on the issues and steps involved in moving your fulfillment operation. You may be starting from the point where you’ve outgrown your in-house capabilities or have chosen to move your operation from one fulfillment provider to another.

In either case, what’s at stake is the ability of your business to meet its delivery commitments to customers, and we don’t have to tell you what an interruption in service can mean to your company.

Unfortunately, transition planning isn’t a cookie cutter process. Each company has some unique requirements and special relationships with fulfillment providers and/or suppliers.

What follows are some points to consider before, during and after the transition.

Understanding the Logistics Profile

Both you and your new fulfillment company should have planning sessions so that your fulfillment company both understands your requirements and understands how to support those requirements through their operations processes.

Expect that your fulfillment company will have some different approaches in handling fulfillment than that which you are used to. Here are some points to discuss to help understand those differences:

  • Service levels required
  • Sources of inventory and replenishment lead times
  • Special product handling requirements
    • Environmental requirements
    • Fragile, liquid, hazmat
    • Weights and dimensions
    • Lot or serial number control
    • Subscription handling
  • Channel support
    • Eg. Selling on multiple channels – Amazon, Ebay etc.
    • Big box selling (EDI and routing guides)
    • Small box retail (invoicing and pre-stickering)
    • Controlling inventory availability across channels
  • The more obvious discussions
    • Order volumes, line item volumes
    • # of SKU’s and SKU churn
    • Who will handle customer service and returns
    • Packaging and assembly requirements
    • International shipping

Make sure that your requirements are understood and that you understand how your new fulfillment company will handle those requirements.

Systems Integration

Before transitioning any product into the new warehouse, you need to be certain that your systems and those of your fulfillment partner can communicate flawlessly. At the very least, you should be able to connect your ERP and/or shopping cart to your fulfillment provider’s system in order to be able to send orders and ASN’s.

You should also test the capability of sending acknowledgement information back into your operations – example; inventory status, tracking information and receipts. You should become familiar with your fulfillment company’s reporting capabilities and be certain that they meet your analytical requirements.

Your product database should be established on your fulfillment provider’s systems, and an audit conducted to make sure that the SKU’s are in sync and key product information has been passed. Having a methodology for adding and deleting SKU’s is also important.

Shipping strategy should also be discussed and incorporated into your fulfillment partner’s systems. The strategy should include what carriers will be used under what circumstances. What are the strategies for ground, 2-3 day, overnight and international shipments?

When you are very certain that your systems are properly integrated and your requirements understood it’s now time to start the transition.

Communication

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s important to communicate the new warehouse location and cut over dates to your customers, carriers, vendors and suppliers.

Location Mapping

When practical, if the receiving warehouse can map the locations for incoming stock in advance, a good deal of time can be saved in the initial receiving and put-away process.

Moving Day

A helpful technique in moving product is to move half of the product to the new location while continuing to ship from the old location, once that process is complete, cut over to the new location for shipping and subsequently move the remaining stock.

This 2-stage movement of product will give you a level of insurance in case some key aspect of the transition has a glitch. Once shipping is successful in the new location, the remaining stock can be transitioned.

Date sensitive stock may present some complications depending on the speed at which the stock is moving and the lot size. If it can be done, we suggest using the same strategy of splitting stock by expiration date.

A good transition starts with first contact with Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics or with Sprocket Express. We work hard to make transitioning to our warehouses fast and easy. We look forward to help you experience an improvement in logistics and fulfillment warehouse performance.

Today’s Networking – Our Tips on Moving Beyond the Digital Scene

Medallion is a California Based Fulfillment Company

Successful networking has always been the foundation of creating avenues to fulfill both personal and professional goals. While digital platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter make it easier to connect, forging a genuine relationship is still at the heart of building your network. This means making sure you add face-to-face networking opportunities to your schedule too.

So, do you have to be an extrovert or create a phony persona to make these connections? More importantly, once a relationship has been started, how do you nurture it to the fullest extent? Here are some of our favorite tips for effective networking in a digital world.

Good Networking Is a Win-Win Proposition

Networking is intended to open new doors to you, but look at it from the other person’s perspective. He or she is also pursuing potential opportunities. As legendary motivational speaker Zig Ziglar put it, you’ll get what you want once you help enough other people get what they want.

Psychologist Robert Cialdini wrote about the concept of reciprocity, which means people tend to give back to those who give to them. Even a simple gesture like buying someone a cup of coffee can inspire them to return the favor.

Share Your Network

As with many other concepts, networking is about quality, not quantity. According to evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, 150 is the approximate ceiling of the number of meaningful relationships we can maintain at any given time.

Forming quality relationships is the key to maximizing your network. For example, you may not have a social media specialist in your network, but your connections have well-rounded networks of their own, so they can make referrals when needed.

Branch Out

Branding is no longer just for corporations. Creating and growing your personal brand makes you stand out by establishing your unique value and skills.

Multifaceted people are more compelling than one-dimensional individuals. The more you become involved in “extracurricular” activities such as blogging or running a side business, the more others will be drawn to you.

Meet Face-to-Face

As deeply entrenched as social media has become, it still can’t take the place of personal interaction. Make it a point to attend offline networking events that are focused on your interests in order to create local connections in addition to your online connections.

• While the events may occur in real time, online sites such as Meetup and Facebook Events are a great way to discover what’s going on in your area.

• Get the most out of your time by attending workshops, seminars and talks where you can learn something in addition to networking with others.

• Business cards may seem old-school, but they’re still a more personal and memorable way to exchange information when you do meet face-to-face.

Save Time and Money with Ecommerce Fulfillment Services

Do you have your hands full trying to network and also coordinate inventory levels, order processing and logistics? Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn how we can give you back more hours in your day so you’ll have time to make networking work for you.

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

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.

• Copywriting 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.

Don’t Burn Up Profits Using Discounts & Specials

Don't Burn Money

Using discounts and specials to drive traffic to your site can be a double-edged sword. Used properly, such sales offers are a powerful tool for boosting conversions. Used haphazardly, however, they can eat-up profits and burn your brand. Effectively utilizing discounts and specials without damaging your brand takes a bit of finesse.

Step-1: Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is essential in choosing the best type of sales offer(s) for your biz. For brands boasting deep discounts and healthy margins, daily or weekly sales may be better for boosting sales. Higher-end brands with slimmer margins, however, do better with customer loyalty-type offers. (This prevents driving in non-loyal/price-driven shoppers.)

Step-2: Selecting a Discount-Type

Popular options include:

  • Percentage off.
    Most common with sub-$100 sales, these range from overall, small 5-20% discounts to larger 50%+ single-item liquidations.
  • Dollar value discounts.
    Most commonly used with sales over $100, pair these with a minimum purchase.
  • Free shipping with minimum purchase.
    Shipping is the #1 reason for cart abandonment!
  • Free gift.
    A great incentive – and a way to rid product that’s not moving.

Step-3: Determining Timing

  • Go weekly or monthly to drive sales and help meet revenue goals.
  • Use pre launch offers to drive traffic and boost interest in new items/businesses.
  • Take advantage of holidays and seasonal milestones to stretch revenue.

Step-4: Converting Missed Opportunities

Sales offers can also help you nab looky loos.

  • Abandoned cart emails bearing free shipping/discount offers are a powerful conversion tool.
  • Social, email, & newsletter subscriptions offers help you broaden your customer base.
  • “Like”, “follow”, “share” & other referral promos are a wonderful way to widen word-of-mouth.
  • First-time shopper offers are a great nudge.
  • Customer loyalty offers keep shoppers coming back for more.

Struggling to keep up with packaging and shipping needs after using discounts and specials? Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics can help. Contact us today.

Brand Building to Boost Business

Branding for Your Company

A brand, such as Starbucks or Apple, is much more than just a name. Branding encompasses all the thoughts, feelings and emotions people experience when they hear the words “Starbucks” or “Apple.”

Your brand represents the commitment you make to your customers through your product or service. Is your business trendy or classic? Who is your target audience? What is your mission?

Building a brand requires careful thought and consideration. Use these guidelines to create a brand that’s unique, memorable and appealing.

Seven Tips for Creating a Vivid and Memorable Brand

• Figure out who your target audience is. Learn more about their wants, needs and shopping habits by talking to them and following relevant social media accounts.

• Develop a positioning statement. You’ll be tempted to include everything but the kitchen sink, but communicating too much ultimately communicates nothing at all. Stay focused and craft one or two lines that sum up why your business matters.

• Choose a business name, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. If the name is too on-the-nose, it could be awkward if you plan to expand your offerings down the road. You also have to consider logos, website domains and trademark registrations.

• Once you have a name, it’s time to work on fonts and colors. Unless you have a specific reason for choosing something a little more complex, stick with clean and simple fonts.

• Choose a palette based on the psychology of colors, but make sure you consider how it looks in black and white and against different backgrounds.

• What would a brand be without a logo? In addition to the design elements, check to make sure it’s scalable across a range of sizes.

• Write a short but punchy slogan that immediately paints a picture. A slogan is a great way to maintain consistency, but you can certainly adapt it over time as you refine your marketing efforts and strategies.

Now that you’ve created a polished and powerful brand, start applying it across all phases and segments of your business. Don’t forget that consistency is key.

California Fulfillment Services: The Solution for All Your Order Processing Needs

Looking for a California fulfillment services company that will help maintain the integrity of your brand? Contact us to find out why Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics will provide the consistent service your customers expect.