Have you ever had to move from one town to another?
If so, you might already know the basics of ensuring smooth product movement.
Whether you are just relocating, or moving product from one country to another, there are 3 general principles that should never be overlooked.
1: Make an accurate list. If you are moving your household items, you want to be sure that nothing is left behind and a list helps you keep everything in check. Moreover, if you are a business that sources products from another country, a detailed list is a requirement for the entire shipment. This list ensures your product not only makes it to the destination, but is also assessed the correct duties once it has arrived at the customs border. A detailed packing list and commercial invoice will be your saving grace when it comes time for your goods to enter the country.
2: Don’t trust just anyone to move your stuff. It is very important to do your homework and make sure the company that moves your product is a legitimate company with a good rating who can handle your shipments. There are so many companies that will move anything for a low price, and in the world of transportation, the competition is fierce. But your product is the meat of your business and you want to be certain it arrives properly. The vetting process can take some time and getting a good value is very different from getting a low price.
3: Be prepared for the unexpected. You may expect your goods to arrive at destination on 15 May, but they actually may not arrive until a day or two later, unless you pay for guaranteed service at 30% more of the cost of estimated service. Further, if you do pay for guaranteed service, it does not cover weather conditions that slow the drivers, acts of God/terrorism/war, or anything else the company may not want to pay for, such as a driver getting ill. It is best to have someone on your side that can fight the carriers for you in the event a service deadline is missed, or at least to give you all of your options before the shipment is picked up. This will help to ensure your goods arrive at destination when they are needed.
It is important to keep these three rules in mind when moving product. They will help you to ensure a smooth move from anywhere to anywhere.
Why should you consider outsourced order fulfillment for your KickStarter project?
Imagine this. Your KickStarter project exceeds its goals and becomes more successful than you thought it could. Everybody wants your new product, and you’re already thinking of new ideas! New product lines, new team members, new locations: there’s just one problem. How are you going to get your incredibly nifty product to your customers?
Chances are you’re not looking forward to long days of packing orders and slapping on labels.
Luckily, there are people out there that will do it for you, and do a great job of it. They’re called eCommerce order fulfillment providers, and they take care of storing, picking, packing, and shipping your product to exactly where it needs to go as fast as possible.
Just in case you are the type that likes to wrap orders though, here are 3 really good reasons why you should consider outsourcing your fulfillment anyway:
Maintain Control Over Your Fulfillment Without Micromanaging.
It’s not easy to fulfill hundreds of orders a week. To do it properly, you’d need an organized warehouse, an experienced fulfillment team, software integrated with your shopping cart, and good relationships with courier companies. None of these are cheap or easy to achieve, and a fulfillment operation must be constantly managed day in and day out. Luckily, it’s very possible to maintain control over your fulfillment while outsourcing it to a fulfillment provider. This can be accomplished if you choose a service with advanced order management technology. Some of these technologies will allow you to keep careful track of your orders, approve/disapprove specific orders, set low inventory alerts, and give you 24/7 cloud-based access from anywhere in the world. So you don’t need to worry about the problems that usually come with doing fulfillment, just on who you’re outsourcing it to. Outsourcing gives you the freedom to work on what you’re really interested in: the growth of your business.
Achieve Industry-leading Speed and Accuracy.
The ability to deliver packages quickly and accurately to their recipients is dependent on a number of factors. Speed is not only dependent on the quality of the workers working on picking, packing, and shipping, but also on the number of warehouses a fulfillment provider uses, and where they are located around the US. A single online seller will find it difficult to maintain multiple warehouses around the country unless they are shipping incredible volume. The difference between an online seller shipping with one warehouse compared with several can be 2-4 business days, a lifetime in the world of online shopping. Consumers today expect their packages shipping on the same day, and delivered within 2 days. In terms of accuracy, top fulfillment providers generally have accuracy rates of over 99.7%, meaning that 997 packages out of 1000 will get to their recipients undamaged with the right kinds of items and number of items in the box. Speed and accuracy of shipping is an important factor in customer satisfaction, and will help you drive customer loyalty and repeat business.
Cut Costs and Maximize Scalability.
Depending on what and how much you are shipping, in most cases it is cheaper to outsource your fulfillment than do it yourself. Why? For one thing, top outsourced fulfillment providers ship millions of orders a year, and have the ability to standardize procedures, processing systems, and order materials in bulk. Similarly, due to the vast number of orders they ship every day, they are able to negotiate better shipping rates with courier companies like FedEx and UPS, which are then passed on to you, the customer. Storing your inventory in multiple warehouses also reduced travel distance, and therefore cost of shipping. Scale is also something you have to take into consideration, especially on Kickstarter. For example, if you happened to be shipping 500 order a month, a good fulfillment provider can easily handle your volume if it suddenly quadrupled, something that would be difficult to manage with an in-house operation.
Overall, outsourcing the order fulfillment for your Kickstarter project can make your business run more smoothly, not to mention make your life a lot easier. If your new project happens to take off, you’ll be glad you took the time to ensure your products get to where they need to go, quickly and accurately.
Have you tried Kickstarter?
How will I access inventory and order information?
The ability to check your inventory levels and manage your orders conveniently is a critical component of an eCommerce fulfillment package. When outsourcing fulfillment, online retailers should look to keeping some level of control over their fulfillment. It's also a good way to find out the kind of technology your potential fulfillment partner has at their disposal. Before outsourcing your fulfillment, make sure to ask about inventory and order management.
Here is a great new article from the Wall Street Journal about how sellers can create their own online store without being dependent on an existing platform such as Amazon or eBay.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203413304577088902478632204.html
Why not take a look at all the ways you can make an online store more compelling to potential customers?
Its hard to sell your product on the internet without recognizing the elephant in the room, Amazon.com. Both as an online store and a fulfillment provider, Amazon is one of the most visible brands in the market today. For buyers, Amazon provides a huge variety of products at rock bottom prices. But sellers on Amazon have to follow strict guidelines and procedures, something that may not appeal to many companies. Thankfully, there is a way to leverage Amazons size and broad reach to redirect customers to your own site, where you can sell on your own terms.
Amazon Product Ads is an Amazon service that allows you to advertise your products on Amazons website without actually selling there. Simply upload your product catalog and Amazon shoppers interested in your product can click the advertisement to visit your site. There is no monthly or yearly fee for the service, and you pay Amazon per-click. There is a high degree of customization available, so you can dictate how much you want to spend. Overall, Amazon Product Ads is a great way to reach a vast audience for affordable prices.
Do you use pay-per-click programs to promote your eCommerce business?