Master Small Business Order Fulfillment Like a Big Business

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✨ Post actualizado el 26/12/2023 por David Costarrosa

Small Business Order Fulfillment

Do you have a small business showing its green shoots?

Are you self-employed and don’t want to become a real one-man band?

Are you taking your first steps in ecommerce and don’t want to be burdened with tasks that could take your focus away from your business?

Growing your ecommerce business can be one of the most significant adventures of your career but it could also be a direct passage to the abyss.

That’s why in this article I will show you why you should trust and invest in a 3PL fulfillment company that will help you decentralize and, at the same time, optimize your business.

The Basics of Order Fulfillment in a Small Business Context

The shipping process of a product is one of the most important points in the distribution chain of any company.

Even more so in small business operations.

But first, we must establish what are the key steps involved in this process.

Product reception

In this first step, your product is shipped from your supplier to your home or warehouse so that you can receive, examine and label it. You must be very careful in this process to ensure that the dimensions and conditions of your items are as stipulated by the supplier at the time of purchase.

Storage

The storage phase consists of properly storing your product. You must take into account the characteristics of each item in order to avoid any damage or deterioration until it is time to send them to your buyer.

Processing an order

When a customer makes a purchase, the entire process of shipping the product begins. In this first stage, you will pick up the item from the storage facility to pack it and get it ready for shipment.

Shipping

Once the product is ready, the shipping company, such as FedEx, Seur or Correos Express, is in charge of the delivery. Offering fast 24hr/48hr shipments can give you a huge competitive edge.

Returns

Although it applies to a smaller percentage of cases, the process of customer returns must also be considered within the same supply chain. In this case, whether it could not be delivered, has arrived damaged or is perhaps not to the customer’s liking, it is best to offer a simple return process and work to eliminate the factors that increase the likelihood of a return occurring.

Deciding to Outsource: Why Small Businesses Opt for Third-Party Fulfillment Centers

During the process of growing a small business, decision-making can tip the balance toward the success or failure of a project.

That’s why outsourcing order management can become a key decision for your growth.

Why?

Let us explain the 4 main reasons:

Optimize time

Time is money and even more so when your small business depends, in large part, on what you can do. Having a 3PL company like Beeping to turn to will allow you to focus your energy solely on increasing turnover.

Improve customer service

Customer service is one of the most important points when it comes to customer retention and loyalty. Having trained personnel at your disposal will allow you to be attentive to details, handle the product correctly and ship it quickly and safely.

Provide greater resources

You might think that sending a package from one point to another is a simple task. However, when you are in the middle of the whirlwind of orders, inquiries and shipments, this can turn into a nightmare. This is when a 3PL service can become a fundamental ally by leveraging all its technological and human resources and making them available to your company.

Scalability

Linked to the previous point, one of the great benefits of using a 3PL fulfillment company is the possibility of scaling the business. Small companies often find themselves limited in the face of high demand. However, supporting the logistics leg of this type of service makes it possible to cope with sudden growth.

Inventory Management for Small Businesses in a Fulfillment Center

Effective inventory management is essential to the operation of any business.

Primarily because all businesses need to keep track of their inventory to properly manage their costs and availability in order to meet customer demand.

On this point, what Netsuite.com says in their article “17 Tips for Small Business Inventory Management” is fundamental: “purchasing products or raw materials that sit on shelves means that the benefit or value of the dollars invested in those materials is not being realized. On the other hand, not having enough inventory to meet customer demand can result in lost sales.”

This is where two inventory management strategies for small businesses emerge.

FIFO

First in, first out.

This strategy focuses on shipping old products first. In this way, a small company can ensure rotation and avoid deterioration or expiration due to the passage of time.

This method is widely used by companies that handle food or perishable products.

JIT

Just in Time.

As we explained in the article “How to manage ecommerce stock step by step”, this strategy is focused on minimizing excess inventory.

The goal is to buy or manufacture just enough to meet demand.

In this way, storage space is optimized and at the same time the related costs are reduced.

Small-Scale Picking and Packing: How to Do It Right

How can you get the most out of 3PL fulfillment for a small company?

There are several strategies that you can implement and make a leap in the quality of the picking and packing of your product.

First of all, make sure that the 3PL company has personnel trained to correctly handle your item, avoiding breakage and unnecessary losses.

In addition, the use of technology, such as management software via barcodes, can speed up product entry processes in addition to reducing errors and improving accuracy.

When it comes to packaging, you can utilize custom packaging that prioritizes the containment and care of the product without neglecting your company’s branding.

Cost-Effective Shipping: Small Business Edition

At Beeping we have preferential rates with Correos Express for all our customers.

This  leaves us as an excellent option if you are looking to give your small business a boost with really competitive shipping costs.

In our article “The power of Correos Express for your ecommerce business: how it works” we explain how the service works, but below you can see our special rates so you can compare with other companies in the sector.

Beeping Software for Small Businesses

Beeping has developed exclusive software tools with the objective of providing the best logistics solution for small companies.

From the interface, you can stay informed in real time of the available stock of each of your products as well as track the different shipments to your customers online.

Beeping software is one of the pillars of our fulfillment strategy and allows you to manage your business with total freedom from anywhere in the world.

Using Correos Express with Beeping

Let’s explain with an example the simplicity with which, working with us, you can take full advantage of our magnificent tool for your business.

From the “Orders” section you will find all of your store’s orders and the status of each of them.

By clicking on any of the orders you will be able to see detailed information such as payment method, status, courier and tracking number to share with your customer.

At the same time, you will be able to see the status of the package shipment step by step and in detail.

Handling Returns: A Small Business Guide to Customer Satisfaction

As you know, return policies do not work the same way in a physical store as they do in the online world.

As we have explained in our article “Avoid problems with your online store’s Returns Policy”, 91% of consumers claim to read the return policy before making a purchase.

That is why it is very important to establish clear policies and avoid bad deals and issues with your customers.

Keys to success with returns

Be clear with the return deadlines: As confirmed by the Law of Returns in Internet Shopping, the customer has 14 calendar days to return an item at no additional cost and without needing to give any explanation, simply by exercising their right of withdrawal.

Establish eligibility criteria for returns: According to the same law, in cases such as personalized products, food or products with a short shelf life, among others, you are not obliged to refund the money.

Create a step-by-step guide to completing a return: Include a specific section so that the customer can be aware of how to manage the return of their product in the shortest possible time. For this, you can use the information we have given in our article “How to handle reverse logistics in ecommerce: 5 simple steps”.

Conclusion

Choosing the right 3PL company is a key decision in the development of your small business.

It will allow you to optimize and increase the quality of your work time so you can dedicate more energy to  tasks of greater importance and spend less time on menial tasks.

A 3PL fulfillment company can become the perfect partner thanks to all its resources, specially designed for that purpose, as well as its human capital and logistic experience.

At Beeping we are ready to make all our capital available for the growth of your business.

Our job is to ensure that your customer receives your product quickly, perfectly packaged and in excellent condition.

FAQ

What contract lengths do fulfillment centers usually require from small businesses?

While each company has its own policies, at Beeping we do not have a fixed term contract, but rather you pay a one-time registration fee and then you are free to terminate the employment relationship whenever you feel it is necessary.

What are specific pitfalls a small business should avoid in the order fulfillment process?

As a small business, you must keep in mind that every decision you make can be a game changer. For that reason, you need to know how to invest your money in companies with a track record and recognition in their sector.

Is it feasible for a small business to switch fulfillment centers?

Yes, there is no need to be afraid to switch suppliers if you find another company that better suits your business. In short, the main objective is to optimize your money and time to the maximum by improving each of the processes in the distribution chain.

How can small businesses audit the performance of a fulfillment center?

With Beeping, you can do this through our management software, where you will have access to the processing status of each order as well as to its entire shipping history.

Contenidos 📋
Efficient logistics is the first step. Try our fulfillment service.

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