Optimizing Your E-Commerce Business: Selecting the Right Fulfillment Provider

Choosing the right fulfillment provider can significantly impact your e-commerce business. For example, you can increase customer satisfaction and have smoother shipping operations. However, knowing the best fulfillment provider for your brand can be challenging.

Below, we put together everything you need to know to select the right fulfillment provider. So, when you’re ready to optimize your e-commerce business, keep reading!

1. Assess Your Business’s Needs

First, you’ll need to evaluate your e-commerce business’s needs. You’ll want to take note of the following:

  • Common order volumes
  • Size and weight of products
  • How fragile that your products are
  • Where you ship to
  • If there are specific storage or handling instructions for products

All these factors will help you see your ecommerce business’s needs at a glance. Understanding your needs is the first step to finding a fulfillment provider to meet them all. It also helps you compare all of your options.

2. Research Fulfillment Providers

Next, you’ll need to research the efulfillment providers you’re interested in. Start by making another list and write down several reputable providers. It’s a good idea to check that they have experience with other e-commerce brands similar to your own.

You’ll want to record all the features the providers can offer and compare them to your business’s needs. Then, read as many online reviews about the fulfillment providers as possible. Doing so can give you more insight into what kind of service you’ll receive.

It’s also essential to look into the location, inventory management systems, and shipping options these providers offer. Many fulfillment providers offer custom packaging, so you’ll want to choose one that suits your brand identity the best while still protecting packages.

If you can, reach out to other e-commerce business owners and ask them questions about the providers that they use. You may find some great recommendations.

Lastly, ask the providers you’re interested in if they have a portfolio to browse through. You can check their previous work and consider how your brand will fit with what they can do.

3. Compare Pricing

Compare Pricing

Compare Pricing

It’s also important to think about the pricing structures of the different fulfillment providers. You’ll want information on various fees, including storage, pick and pack, and shipping. Many providers require a basic monthly subscription to use their services too.

You must consider how the pricing fits your budget and your projected order volume. Then, compare the pricing models for your top picks.

The average fulfillment center pricing usually falls between $3 to $5 per order for pick and pack, and storage can range between $5 and $40 per pallet. That’s a large range, so you’ll want to ensure you understand the actual cost for the fulfillment center you’re looking at.

Many centers also have an onboarding fee, and using custom packaging will cost you more. Overall, you want to do your research during this step so you aren’t hit with any surprises later.

4. Consider Scalability

It’s also essential to think about scalability. As your e-commerce brand grows, you must know that the fulfillment center can keep up with you.

If your business has seasonal fluctuations with orders or expects sudden growth, you should inform the provider. They’ll let you know if they can accommodate your business as those changes occur.

When a fulfillment center can’t scale with your business, it will hurt your brand. The pricing might increase significantly, or the provider can’t keep up, leading to unsatisfied customers. So, it’s something that you’ll need to consider.

5. Find the Facility Locations

Next, you must find the center’s facilities’ location and consider how close they are to your customers.

The closer they are, the better since it won’t take as long for packages to be delivered. You’ll also save on shipping costs when the facilities are closer to your customers. Fulfillment centers near major highways can also lessen shipping times.

Compare the locations to the shipping timeframes you want to offer your customers. How realistic are they? If it will be too hard to meet these shipping deadlines, you’ll want to choose a facility somewhere closer.

6. Check Their Customer Support

Customer Support

Customer Support

The customer support offered by the fulfillment center will impact your business. You want to know that you’ll receive good support when there are issues with orders, returns, and fulfillment programs. Without good customer support, you’ll get frustrated when something goes run.

Prompt communication is essential, so look for a fulfillment center with a dedicated support team.

7. Visit the Facilities



If you can, ask about scheduling a visit to the fulfillment provider’s facilities. While there, you can see how they operate.

Make sure to note their warehouse management, if they have quality control, and how clean and organized they are. Would you be happy to do business there and have the facility associated with your business?

An efficient facility is much more likely to provide you with great service. You can’t know how a provider will work with your company until you try them out first-hand.

8. Use the Free Trials

Lastly, you’ll want to use fulfillment centers’ free trials. You can see if the service will work for you during the trial. If it doesn’t work for you, you aren’t committed to the provider yet, so switching is much easier.

Plus, you don’t want to pay for a service unless it will benefit your e-commerce business.

During the trial, you can evaluate the fulfillment provider’s performance and see if they can meet your needs and expectations. Even if you’re sure you want to go with this provider, you should still take advantage of their free trial.

Selecting the Right Fulfillment Provider Makes a Difference!

Selecting the right fulfillment provider for your e-commerce business can greatly affect your company’s operations. You’ll notice that shipping and delivery go much smoother. Plus, your customers will be more satisfied with the faster shipping times.

To summarize, you can use the above steps to find the best provider for your brand. You’ll need to research and compare your options but trust us, it’s worth it!