Ecommerce fulfilment can make it so much easier to run an online store, with all the logistics being handled by a third-party company. Use our guides to help you find the right provider for your business.
Ecommerce fulfilment is the process of getting the stock you sell online to customers. It refers mainly to the sorting, selection, packaging and delivery to your customers. Ecommerce fulfilment can be carried out in-house or by outsourcing the logistics to a third-party. You’ll send your products to a fulfilment centre, and a third-party company takes care of the storage, managing and shipping of items.
We weigh up the pros and cons of the top order fulfilment providers (3PL) for UK merchants. Explore our expert advice for SMBs.
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What you'll pay depends not only on the provider you choose to outsource your fulfilment to, but on the size and weight of your products, and the rate you're selling them at. On average, receiving costs are around 10p per item. Storage fees can start from 5p for a small later to £10.88 per pallet, per month. Picking and packing fees start at £1.50 per order but reach £4.20 for packages with up to 10 items.
They do indeed – in fact, processing returns can actually be one of a provider’s central functions. Why? Well, the faster your stock is back on the shelves, the sooner you can sell it – and the sooner your customer will get their refund. Plus, the right provider may also handle customer service when a return happens, and handle discounted orders for returned or damaged items.
Nope! Drop-shipping involves selling items on your online store which, when ordered, are sent directly to the customer – you never actually own the stock you’re selling. With ecommerce fulfilment, you’ll buy the inventory, and then outsource its storage, handling, packaging, and shipping to a third party logistics supplier.
Ecommerce fulfilment gives you control over the entire process, and comes with vastly better profit margins to boot.