As your e-commerce business grows, the order fulfillment process–and the associated costs– can quickly become a headache.
A pick and pack fulfillment partner ensures your products are correctly picked and professionally packaged to enhance the overall customer experience.
Below, we’ll cover what e-commerce businesses need to know about outsourcing pick and pack fulfillment, including:
- How pick and pack fulfillment works.
- The benefits of outsourcing pick and pack fulfillment.
- What to look for in a pick and pack fulfillment partner.
How Does Pick and Pack Fulfillment Work?
When an online order comes in, warehouse staff will pull (a.k.a. pick) items from strategic locations within the warehouse, then professionally assemble the items in a box or envelope (a.k.a. pack), and ship the order off to the customer.
Pick and pack is one of the most important parts of the order fulfillment process as order accuracy, packaging and delivery times are critical to the customer experience.
Here’s how the process works with a pick and pack fulfillment partner.
>>>Related Resource: Here are 4 Common E-Commerce Fulfillment Challenges.
6 Benefits of Outsourcing Pick and Pack Fulfillment
In addition to improving overall efficiency, a pick and pack fulfillment partner provides several other business-boosting benefits to online retailers.
1. Expedite delivery times.
A pick and pack fulfillment partner has extensive experience and highly regimented processes in place to drastically expedite the time it takes to pick, pack and ship orders. Examples of ways they optimize the fulfillment process include:
- Arranging items from top-selling to least-selling in order at the warehouse.
- Storing items that are frequently packed together in close proximity to one another.
- Locating inventory without delay, typically using a digital map of the warehouse.
- Batch picking: Instead of fulfilling one order at a time, batch picking is the process of gathering multiple products from one SKU.
- Zone picking: Assigning employees to different zones within the warehouse to only pick items from that specific zone.
Additionally, a pick and pack fulfillment partner employs and trains warehouse staff who are well-versed in processing orders quickly, efficiently and accurately.
2. Offer more shipping options.
Did you know the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment is due to shipping-related issues, such as:
- High shipping costs.
- Long delivery times.
- Limited shipping options.
Shipping costs and delivery times are of paramount importance to your customers.
A fulfillment partner will have a large network of shipping partners and will find the best shipping solution for your business. They can even create customized shipping solutions to meet the needs of your target audience, including those with international audiences.
3. Reduce costs.
When handled in-house, pick and pack fulfillment accounts for 50 - 65% of labor costs for e-commerce businesses.
Other costs of in-house pick and pack fulfillment include:
- Renting or purchasing warehouse space.
- Purchasing equipment.
- Payroll and training for warehouse staff.
- Paying for unused warehouse space and staff during slow seasons.
In addition to reducing shipping costs, a pick and pack fulfillment partner can reduce, or even eliminate, the operational and capital expenses required for in-house fulfillment.
4. Increase customer satisfaction.
- Late delivery.
- Wrong product shipped.
- Poor packaging.
An experienced fulfillment partner will skillfully manage a high volume of orders–ensuring they are sourced quickly, packaged correctly and delivered efficiently. They will also take extensive quality assurance measures to ensure what was ordered is exactly what is delivered. This greatly reduces, if not eliminates, costly mistakes in the order fulfillment process and provides customers with the top-tier service they expect from your brand.
5. Improve inventory management.
Online retailers have to have a pulse on every SKU. On top of knowing the quantity and location of each SKU, they need to precisely forecast supply and demand for product launches, seasonal fluctuations, holidays, exchanges and returns.
A pick and pack fulfillment partner has the experience, technology and infrastructure to manage inventory with pinpoint accuracy by:
- Proactively predicting surges or drops in order volume using historical and real-time data.
- Avoiding surplus or out-of-stock inventory.
- Integrating with e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify or Sticky.io, to seamlessly sync your store to the inventory in their warehouse.
6. Boost bandwidth.
If employees from other departments are being pulled in to assist with order fulfillment, their energy and expertise are not being used effectively. A fulfillment partner takes the burden off e-commerce businesses with limited employees and resources, allowing you and your team to focus on tasks that bring the most value.
What to Look for in a Pick and Pack Fulfillment Partner
It’s important to note that not all pick and pack fulfillment partners are created equal. To find the best pick and pack fulfillment partner for your business, be sure to ask the following questions.
- Provide inventory management services? If so, does their software integrate with your storefront?
- Guide you on the best shipping solutions for your business needs and offer a variety of shipping options (such as ground, 2-day, overnight and international shipping)?
- Offer transparent pricing?
- Include customer service or is there an additional administrative fee for this service?
- Kit and assemble shipments with marketing materials, such as brochures, coupons and other print collateral *Bonus points if they can take care of the printing!
- Have an extensive list of fulfillment and logistics services?
Outsource Pick and Pack Fulfillment to the Experts at GLF
For more than 20 years, GLF has partnered with e-commerce brands to deliver all-in-one e-commerce fulfillment services, including:
- Pick and pack.
- Kitting and labeling.
- Shipping and freight handling.
- Storage and warehousing of merchandise.
- Inventory management.
- Accepting and processing returns and exchanges.
- Print marketing.
- Direct mail marketing.
- International shipping.
- Customs brokerage.
We provide each customer with a dedicated account manager who will take the time to learn your business and provide proactive recommendations that help grow your business.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your business grow!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated with current information.