How To Outsource Your Pick & Pack Fulfilment
When to Outsource
Before explaining how to outsource your pick and pack fulfilment, the more pertinent question is, firstly, when. All businesses go through growth cycles or tipping points. These tipping points create opportunities to scale - to expand your current operation methods and take them to the next level. Recent events have caused many eCommerce businesses to reach one particular tipping point faster than expected - and that is the challenge of meeting demand. When you can no longer store sufficient stock, nor have the time to pick, pack and post products to the same high standards as before - this is the time when you should outsource.
Choosing the Right eCommerce Fulfilment Company
The next step is to choose an appropriate pick and pack company. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right fulfilment company for your business. These are the four most important:
1. Appropriateness. Generally, pick and pack companies cater for specific sectors at specific volumes. As a result, their pricing will be excellent if you fall within these, but poor otherwise. For example, at Flow Fulfilment, our top sectors are subscription box companies, beauty brands, luxury brands and vitamin/wellbeing brands that send 500+ items per month. Therefore, if you fit within these (or other small to medium-sized package item products), then our prices will be excellent. However, if you sell a handful of ride-on mowers per month - we would certainly not be appropriate for you!
2. Integration. The next factor is whether or not the pick and pack company integrates with the e-commerce platform your online store uses. We specialise in Shopify integration. Most pick pack websites will show the platforms they integrate with, so check this before going further.
3. Credibility. Once you have found a company that ticks the appropriateness and integration keys, the final key is credibility. Here are our five top tips for assessing a companies credibility:
4. Age. How long has the company been established? This might be evident on the 'About Us' page; if not, check them out on Companies House.
5. Accreditations. The most critical are ISO's - look for 9001, 14001 and 27001. Things like FSB or local chamber memberships are less important as they don't need to meet any criteria to join these.
6. Awards. The best companies have awards to demonstrate how strong and competent they are.
7. Reviews. Look for predominantly 5* reviews. It's worth reading them too to establish what it is about that company that people appreciate...resent!
8. Complimentary services. Ideally, choose a company that offers complementary services that your online business can benefit from. For example, marketing services such as direct mail are synonymous amongst the top online retailers, so look through their website to see the other services you can utilise. At Flow, we have been established since 2008, have ISO9001, 14001 and 27001, are award-winning, have gained a host of 5* reviews and provide numerous complimentary services, including direct mail, hybrid mail and leaflet distribution.
9. Price. Providing the company you're looking at successfully passes the above three criteria, the next decision will be on price. Some websites, including ours, now offer online estimates. Do remember, they are just that - estimates. Their sales team will then be able to provide you with an accurate cost. Do question any additional charges, as many pick and pack companies often have hidden fees. It's certainly worth taking a look at our Estimation Calculator.
Going Above and Beyond
With many pick and pack companies, you will find that you, the customer, must fulfil a lot of the initial legwork to get the process moving. It is often your responsibility to organise the demo, arrange the delivery of all your stock, set up your billing, and so on. At Flow, we are very different. Our motto is simpler, faster, cheaper. Therefore, our team proactively help to onboard you - even down to organising a courier to collect your stock for you. As you will read at the top of this page and every page on our website: At Flow Fulfilment, our overarching purpose is to educate, advise and provide solutions for our customers to build their business as simply as possible.
Outsourcing your pick and pack services is much simpler than you may expect. Now you know when to outsource and how to evaluate potential companies, the next step is to contact them and discuss your needs. Our Sales Consultants are ready to hear from you and help you fulfil all your eCommerce orders simpler, faster and cheaper than doing it yourself. So please don't delay, contact us today.
Benefits with our pick & pack service:
- Safe, secure pick and pack fulfilment areas
- A close-knit network of pallet distributors and a full suite of carriers
- Secure data protection
- International dispatch available
- Secure storage for stock (with CCTV facilities)
- Item level barcode scanning with the camera and weigh-check validation
- 98% pick and pack accuracy results
- Quick returns processing
- Product adjustment and re-work services
- Full pallet picking