Your small business is doing great — you’re finally in the black, products are flying off the shelves and you’ve even managed to get a pretty healthy number of orders from your eCommerce site — but, you wonder if you could be doing better.
Your neighboring business owner has hired a logistics company to help him with some of his day-to-day order processing, and you’re not sure if your business can benefit from the same types of warehousing services. Just what kind of businesses need them, anyway?
Warehousing Services Help Everybody
If your business has a retail or eCommerce component, you can probably benefit from both warehousing and fulfillment services.
Your retail space is limited. But as orders grow you’ll need space for product overflow so you can keep your merchandise flowing. If a customer comes in and the shelves are bare, he’s probably going to walk right back out. Serving as a “backup” closet is just the beginning of what warehousing and fulfillment services can provide.
Most logistics companies will give you a great deal of control over how little or how much of your business they’ll handle, but they can free you from a lot of the busywork that keeps you from running your business better.
Here are just a few of the services a logistic company will handle for you:
Product Fulfillment. At a basic level, your logistics partner will handle all your outbound product order. They can accept deliveries of inventory, input that inventory into your management system, accept orders, remove products from inventory, box them and ship them away. You’ll save a bundle over paying full time employees to do the same thing, and you’ll not be forced to rent extra warehouse space year-round, especially if your business has seasonal peaks.
Catalog Distribution. Whether you still send out catalogs, do direct mailers or simply blast coupons now and again, your logistics company is probably happy to take over those duties. Many also offer an in-house print shop to help you create custom mailers, labels and other promotional materials.
eCommerce Maintenance. Keeping track of a real shop and a virtual shop can be a lot of work — sometimes it’s handy to have someone else checking to make sure your Shopping Cart is still on its wheels. Not only do good logistics companies handle your eCommerce like a dream, they can also integrate your retail, eCommerce and warehouse inventories into a real time system so you’ll never have to wonder if you may have accidentally sold out of the most popular product in your store.
Merchandise Returns. It’s no fun to have to accept returns, but your logistics company can handle that, too. Based on your instructions, their customer service team will send out prepaid mailers, issue credits and restock products that didn’t meet customer expectations in some way.
Growing companies of all kinds have found value in hiring out their warehousing, but even small companies that are trying to do more with less can benefit from warehousing services. After all, extra payroll, more rented floor space and even the extra time spent dealing with a website can eat into your bottom line.