How will I know when to outsource fulfilment?
Stage 4: Deliver
Jeremy Vernon
5th January 2015
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Many ecommerce businesses start out as very small operations. It can be difficult to forecast how quickly your business will grow and most ecommerce operations find it very difficult to predict when they will need outside help.

Read On:
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As any ecommerce retailer will know, customer satisfaction is key to growing a business. Review websites, such as Trustpilot, are growing rapidly and reviews – good or bad – can completely sway a consumer’s opinion of a business.

It is very hard to recover from negative feedback if your business is having problems with stock, deliveries or customer service. It’s hugely important therefore to learn to look ahead and predict potential challenges when your business is expanding.

Having a range of good delivery options for example is critical to the success of an online business. In fact, one survey suggested that 50% of all shoppers had abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory delivery options.

Similarly, having a painless returns process or being able to scale up and down rapidly during seasonal peaks are a given. This should all be happening seamlessly behind the scenes – with customers just seeing consistent service levels at every interaction.

Here are the top three signals that your business needs to start looking at a fulfilment strategy – putting in place long-term plans to ensure that all of your products are stored, picked, packed and shipped on time:

1.    You have boxes piled up everywhere

Yes, this could be the first sign that your business is outgrowing its existing arrangement. Having stacks of pallets or boxes everywhere can be a genuine health and safety hazard if they are blocking emergency exits. In addition it could mean that you’re losing control.

office space

If you’re a seasonal business do you need to look at enlisting help for those busy periods to avoid disappointing customers?

2.    You’re working 14+ hour days

Most people set up their own businesses to have more time or at least to have a grasp on their own time management – yet usually the opposite is achieved. No one can work 14-16 hour days indefinitely.

It’s detrimental to health if nothing else. Spending your evenings packing boxes is also dragging you away from the core business – marketing and selling your products.

This is definitely an indicator that a business needs to start looking into outsourcing some of its processes.

3.    Starting to get behind on orders

If there’s a huge signal that your business has problems, then it’s that you’re starting to get behind on orders. Once this happens, it’s very hard to catch up without employing more people or outsourcing your fulfilment operations.

An order deadline missed is potentially a customer lost.

Every successful ecommerce retailer will have had their own tipping point when they realised they could no longer cope with the levels of orders and deliveries alone. Remember, this is a good sign that your business is growing quickly – just don’t leave it too late to get it under control.

Core Fulfilment enables ecommerce retailers to outsource fulfilment including their product picking, packing, distribution and customer service.

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Author: Jeremy Vernon
Jeremy Vernon, joint managing director of Core Fulfilment.

One comment

  1. Priscilla says:

    This is very true. A lot of our clients (before they approach us) stated that they had no time for holidays, and no time for their families. A one man band will never work if you want to grow your business.

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