You're probably familiar with it - at the beginning of your own first online store, pretty much all the tasks fall on the team and yourself. Especially when the volume of orders increases, logistics and shipping can often no longer be handled internally. Therefore, outsourcing to fulfillment-service providers makes sense in order to relieve your own team, save costs and make logistics processes more efficient. By the way: You can quickly and easily calculate an initial estimate of what fulfillment costs you can expect with your online store using the WH1 fulfillment cost calculator .
But: How do you find the ideal fulfillment service provider?
We have summarized the five most important selection criteria for you, which will help you to find the right fulfillment partner for your online shop.
1. What is especially important to you when working with your partner?
Communicate all the services you want from your merchandise logistics in the first conversation. If your eCommerce business has special requirements, address these directly. In this way, possible misunderstandings can be ruled out in advance. Your new partner's experience may also be needed here - especially in the case of non-standard logistics processes, creative solutions can effectively save costs.
Draw up a list of key points and go through them together during the initial meeting. Exemplary points could be:
- shop connectivity - which shop system?
- Shipping conditions - minimum quantities and respective price levels
- Live tracking of stock levels and return shipments
- Preferred warehouse locations
- Trained professionals and customer support
- Certain certifications
2. Transparency from the start - pricing
If a company has piqued your interest and the offer is convincing, be transparent about the pricing right from the start. It is advisable to always request an individual quote and not to settle for a standard offer. Are there monthly/annual fixed fees? What are the costs for extra services? Are there minimum amounts? Transparency and fairness are important in pricing. Do you have the feeling that the price calculation is not 100% understandable and the partner evades into vague explanations? This should make you sit up and take notice. Better look around for alternative partners.
3. The ideal location of your new fulfillment partner
A strategic choice of location is more "cosmetic" than having a real effect, especially for small and medium-sized stores. This point is overestimated by many eCommerce companies and is only of strategic importance in the rarest of cases. To remain competitive as a company, fast delivery from the warehouse to the customer is definitely important. However, goods can now be shipped from almost any location within Germany to any customer in 1-2 days. Also, it should not be necessary for you to be at the warehouse all the time - if this is the case, you should question the quality of the current fulfillment partner. After all, the external service provider should take work off your hands and not cause additional ones. Therefore, the location should play a subordinate role - a better criterion for the quality of the service is how late the cut-off time is, i.e. until when packages or goods are shipped on the same day.
4. The customer is king
Customer service plays a significant role, because only satisfied customers will buy from you again. Errors and financial disadvantages can occur to you at any time, so it is even more important to check in advance how quickly the resulting problems can be solved. So also consider your partner's accessibility and ability to solve problems. How quickly can your partner respond to order delays in logistics processes? How quickly and to what quality do they provide customer support in the event of a failure? Get detailed information on what the service provider offers here and whether it can prove it.
5. Stand out from the crowd with branding & inserts
To build a brand, it pays off to pay attention to small details. This can be, for example, a small message or your logo on the packaging - the possibilities and areas of application here are varied and individual. A positive customer experience leads to follow-up purchases and has a positive impact on your company.
It's best to talk to your prospective fulfillment partner about packaging options and delegate tasks. Ideally, your service provider will accept your individual requests or even advise you on the design of an optimal packaging material. Additionally, you can have flyers with discount codes inserted to encourage more purchases. Your fulfillment service provider may even have customers in similar industries with whom you can "trade" flyers.
Having clear ideas and requirements of your own helps in the discussions and to assess the service provider in question. Always address all details and cost issues and do not shy away from critical follow-up questions. Choosing the right fulfillment service provider is of utmost strategic importance and requires a precise and data-based review. The cooperation should be long-term, your prices should be negotiated and set up fairly and the technical implementation and integration with your online store should run smoothly.
Warehousing1 is happy to support your company in finding an optimal fulfillment and logistics partner. In an initial meeting, we can discuss exactly what specific requirements you and your business have for warehousing and all logistics processes. Using our network of more than 750 warehouse locations, we can then identify the perfect service providers via AI-based software and provide you with customized offers.