5 Prerequisites to select a Fulfillment Center for your D2C Brand

August 30, 20228 minute read

Dark stores have taken a pill of growth after the pandemic. Since consumers are bound to stay in their comfort zones, there’s an exponential growth in online shopping and quicker deliveries. With this, e-commerce businesses are trying to give the best experience to their customers in all ways.

As demand increases and the company scales, it may become unrealistic or impossible for e-commerce firm owners to fulfill orders in-house. When internal order fulfillment becomes unviable, it's time to outsource and broaden your fulfillment strategy by working with a third- or fourth-party logistics partner. The other key challenge faced by ecom businesses is to offer post-purchase experience to their customers. To overcome these challenges, e-com businesses are looking out for dark stores.

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Dark Stores are a relatively new concept in the ecommerce industry. They have been created to help ecom businesses with their distribution and shipping needs. For example, if you are a direct-to-consumer brand and you need to ship a product to someone in another state/country, then you would use a dark store because they can handle domestic/international shipping better.

There is no need for an ecom business to have their own warehouse space or staff members who do nothing but pack orders all day long. With dark stores, there is no need for that because they take care of everything from start to finish. It is not just about taking orders, they’ll handle the whole delivery process, inventory management, handling returns and damaged goods. The D2C fulfillment center is the backbone of any ecommerce business and is responsible for picking, packing, and shipping orders.

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In this article, we will discuss the various factors that you need to consider before selecting a fulfillment center for your ecommerce business or D2C brand. The first thing that you need to do is identify what type of services you want from the fulfillment center. This will help in deciding which type of facility to select and also how much space it will require.

Apart from this, you also need to consider the geographical location of your customers as well as your suppliers. Your fulfillment center should be based in a place where these two are accessible easily.

68% of 3PL users and 96% of 3PL providers agree that the use of 3PLs has contributed to reducing overall logistics costs.- 2021 Third Party Logistics Study, The State of Logistics Outsourcing

Here are the 5 prerequisites to select a D2C fulfillment center for your e-commerce business:

  1. Easy Integrations
  2. Automated Order Fulfillment
  3. Ensure Faster Deliveries
  4. Prior Experience in the Logistics & Supply-Chain Industry
  5. Should provide Top-notch Customer Experience

Let’s learn a brief about these 5 prerequisites to consider the right 3PL while outsourcing the e-commerce fulfillment process.

Easy Integrations

Connecting multiple platforms together into a unified system is named as Integration. To make decisions quickly, scale operations, and optimize the service quality, it is necessary to choose a 3PL provider that uses the latest technologies. Select a partner which has a plug n play model that integrates with e-commerce websites. This seamless integration without technical dependence will increase productivity and enable the 360 degree view of customer interactions that has the ability to convert relevant data into actionable insights which improves the customer experience through each stage of the funnel.

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93% of shippers agree that IT capabilities are a necessary element of 3PL expertise. Roughly half—54%—of shippers indicate they are satisfied with their 3PLs’ IT capabilities. - 2021 Third Party Logistics Study, The State of Logistics Outsourcing

Automated Order Fulfillment

In this age of technology, every process is automated to improve efficiency and increase scalability. Integrate your online store with the partner technology to automatically manage the fulfillment process by receiving the order, delegating the order to the respective warehouse and the order will be picked, packed, and shipped to the customer. Autopiloting this will save time, speed-up the process, and bring down the chances of human error. Make sure your partner has the automated order fulfillment process.

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Ensure Faster Deliveries

E-com businesses are trying to meet the needs and demands of the customer. Nowadays consumers are expecting quicker deliveries from the D2C brands. To enhance customer experience and opt for faster deliveries, look into the 3PL providers and leverage the new-age solutions such as order management, warehouse management, inventory planning, delivery management, data analytics and more. Most of the 3PL’s are offering last mile deliveries under 3 hours, same day, and next day delivery for D2C brands.

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66.4% of consumers expect their home delivery to be super fast. Source: Good Firms

Prior Experience in the Logistics & Supply-Chain Industry

Collaborate with the 3PL which has the best infrastructure, sources and experience in order management, warehouse management, inventory planning, and delivery management to fulfill the order hassle-free. Ensure they have the right infrastructure to support growth over time and be nimble in their business. With the click of a button, a 3PL partner should help ecom businesses make real-time and data-driven decisions to satisfy short-term and future needs. Check if they have a capability to handle the consistent disruptions. Examine the track record to see if they have sound financial stability, stabilized procedures, reliable business practices, and relationships during recessions. A standout 3PL partner will have substantial industry experience and a good relationship with businesses, customers, and employees.

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The majority of shippers—91%—said that their relationships with their 3PLs were generally successful. A higher number of 3PLs—99%—agree that relationships have generally been successful. -2021 Third Party Logistics Study, The State of Logistics Outsourcing

Should provide Top-notch Customer Experience

A 3PL partner should offer omnichannel fulfillment to ensure an outstanding customer experience. Easy integrations with customizable & scalable technologies, automated order fulfillment, proper infrastructure to plan & manage the inventory, ensuring faster deliveries, prior extensive industry experience, and enabling post-purchase experience & RTO is essential to make your customers delightful.

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RTO (Return-To-Origin), which simply means that the order was unable to be delivered or returned by the consumer and was sent back to the point of origin. It helps you in calculating the accurate ROI. RTO = (Returns after delivery + Orders not accepted + Cancellations + Order not delivered)/Total Orders 67% of shoppers check the returns page while making a purchase and 92% of shoppers will buy something if the returns process is easy. Note: Lower the RTO, Higher the ROI.

Most shippers—93%—and 3PLs—98%— agree that over the last three years, it has become even more critical for 3PLs to develop the capabilities to respond to customers more quickly with accurate and timely information. - 2021 Third Party Logistics Study, The State of Logistics Outsourcing

The best 3PL is the one which has delivered the right quantity, right product at the right time, and at the right place. To drive more sales, reduce RTO, and maximize the ROI, ensure a blissful experience to your customers while purchasing and post-purchasing with WholeMark.

Partnership Announcement

We are excited to announce that WholeMark has partnered with shipway to provide the best dark store and last-mile services to our D2C clients. Shipway is a leading E-commerce Automation Partner. Our collaboration will only improve the level of customer satisfaction for our D2C brands, offer flexible dark stores, and assist you in standing out from the crowd. Boost the worth of your products and services while achieving lightning-fast deliveries! It is time to speed up your deliveries!

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