During the growing pains that come with expanding your services and reach in your ecommerce business, outsourcing order fulfillment may be a natural option. But, while outsourcing relieves your core staff from certain duties, you need to be prepared to manage the outsourced relationship. Otherwise, outsourcing could end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
Research the vendors: When you outsource ecommerce order fulfillment, you are handing the reins of a portion of your business to someone else. That’s not something that should be taken lightly; you need to find a vendor who aligns with your company and will do a good job of representing it. When researching a vendor’s credentials, always ask for samples of work and/or customer references. For example, we keep several fulfillment testimonials posted to our website, as well as case studies and a list of our fulfillment partners.
Follow milestones: Setting milestones is a great way to help ensure that a project stays on schedule and on point – especially for long-term projects. Setting milestones for your outsourcing vendor gives you the chance to periodically evaluate the work and make sure it is being done correctly and according to schedule. Without them, there’s the chance the project could languish or veer off-course.
Communication: The most important thing to keep in mind when outsourcing ecommerce fulfillment is to maintain clear and open communication. Make sure that the vendor you are considering for outsourcing is easily accessible (being unable to contact someone who controls a portion of your business can quickly become frustrating). Likewise, you should be clear with your instructions for a project and make sure that the vendor can contact you with any questions. If the lines of communication remain open both ways, your outsourcing project will have a greater chance of success.
Outsourcing fulfillment is a sensible option for different ecommerce companies for different reasons. But mismanagement of the project and vendor relationship can sour any outsourcing endeavor. If you follow the project closely and use an appropriate vendor you can easily communicate with, you can make fulfillment outsourcing work for you.