International Fulfillment – How to Reach More Customers Worldwide

Cross-Border eCommerce

The world of eCommerce knows no boundaries. Consumers in the US want access to foreign products without currency conversions and lengthy shipping times. Outside of the US, consumers want American products without surprises and delays. As a business owner, you want to reach a larger market with ease. Your fulfillment partner plays a big part in making international eCommerce sales flow smoothly.

Cross-border online consumer purchasing is increasing 25-30% a year and is projected to reach $1 trillion this past year, according to market statistics. These sales account for over 17% of all eCommerce sales worldwide.

How Fulfillment Can Help

Navigating the intricacies of cross-border commerce is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time and research to understand how to facilitate a smooth purchase and shipping process. There are different carriers, documents, regulations, and certifications to consider. The most important part is the keep the customer happy and increase your sales. To save time and money, choose a fulfillment partner with experience in these areas.

Services to Look for in Your Provider:

• Customs documentation
• Drop shipping
• Freight consolidation
• Overseas carrier relationships
• Multiple warehouse locations

If you are already selling on Amazon, you can easily expand to their Canadian and Mexican platforms, as well as other countries. You may need to upload documents or approvals, depending on your product category.

If you are using FBA, Amazon will fulfill and ship the orders. But if you are fulfilling orders in house, you will need to tackle the process yourself. If you are new to international shipping, this can be a big project that takes time from your marketing and growth efforts.

Global Seller Benefits

Whether selling in small quantity to consumers outside of the US, distributing overseas, or sending products the US for sale to American consumers, this is a prime opportunity to work with a 3PL. A strong global fulfillment house offers experience in both B2C and B2B international eCommerce situations. These partners truly offer multi channel support. No boundaries.

International Seller Benefits

• Reach US customers quickly
• Avoid customs holdups
• Compete with US sellers
• Freight consolidation

US Seller Benefits

• Reach international customers efficiently
• Offer smooth customs process
• Understand export sales factors
• Expand your market reach

Multiple warehouses are not appropriate for every business. Maintaining more than one inventory location can be too much for many businesses as this tends to increase the cost of the service and divides your inventory. Without a large volume and solid historical stats to decide how to break up the inventory, it can actually hurt a business to spread out inventory at this level.

Companies with large volume, fewer SKUs, or a wide and even geographical reach will benefit from multiple locations. This is a big consideration when choosing a fulfillment partner. Medallion has two warehouse locations one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast. Use our two locations to grow your business.

Businesses that prefer one location can still achieve worldwide distribution. The key is experience. Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics and Sprocket Express can help any business create a seamless process to overseas shipping. By increasing your market reach, you can grow exponentially as you create brand awareness in new locations and in new markets.

Medallion and Sprocket Express Have the Experience You Need

An experienced 3PLs like Medallion and Sprocket Express can help you immensely when shipping overseas. Greg Kent, our President, is well-versed in using fulfillment systems reaching a global market. He can help international sellers with US eCommerce, as well as help US companies sell better abroad.

All of our clients benefit from our custom-built portal that offers real-time inventory and shipping information. Businesses and customers alike receive tracking information directly and immediately. We can provide same day shipping across a variety of carriers. Talk to us about international shipping and see if we can help you expand your geographic reach.

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.