When you sell products online, you need a reliable way to get them from you to your customers.
Trying to sort out the different shipping options that suits the needs of your customers, your budget and your fulfillment processes can be difficult if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
There are multiple options for getting products where they need to be once they are ordered.
Option 1 – Self-Fulfillment
Smaller ecommerce companies or local businesses might try this option from the start.
With self-fulfillment, your and your staff take the orders, package and ship all of the products on your own. You’ll need to have warehouse space to store the products, a process for filling the orders from your inventory and a reliable shipping method.
This method is appealing for a lot of small businesses because you and your staff know exactly when – and how – products are being shipped. You can control how your packaging is branded, which can build a stronger brand. You also only pay the shipping costs, which makes it the most cost-effective in terms of cost to ship per package. As long as you have warehouse space and staff on hand that can handle packing, your self-fulfillment process can work.
While self-fulfillment makes a lot of sense for smaller companies that ship in low volumes, it also has its drawbacks. Taking the time to find, package and ship products in house can shift valuable man-hours away from your business focus and on the business of shipping. As your orders grow, you’ll need more and more staff hours to shop those orders – which can reduce your profits significantly.
In addition, you’ll need to find the most cost-effective shipping methods that balance your desire to get products out and your need to keep costs low. You’ll need to do your own investigation between shipping companies to find what works best for your company.
Read more in Part Two of Making Sense of All of the Shipping Options