As an eCommerce brand choosing a company to trust with your fulfillment needs, finding a partner that provides the standard technology needed for a successful integration and implementation is crucial. The right systems and technology will greatly impact the growth of your business and its revenue. When vetting a potential fulfillment partner, make sure your prospects offer the following solutions:
- An efficient and secure API. An API is the bridge that moves data back and forth in real time from a fulfillment partner’s system to yours, allowing insight into the fulfillment of your product on your own platform. Essentially, an API connects the order management system, or OMS, to your own inventory management system and sets the rules by which the two applications can communicate and share data. An advanced API ensures that your valuable business data is updated accurately in real time on the system, while preventing it from falling victim to security breaches.. Everything you could possibly need to know about, including order receipts, inventory, inventory adjustments and cycle counting, is there when you need it, all thanks to a solid API. This insight will help you run your business more efficiently and, therefore, save operations costs.
- An online reporting portal. A specialized reporting portal gives your team access into the operations filling every order at the minutiae level, such as inventory numbers and velocity. This ability is important to emerging brands who don’t yet have extensive experience tracking these metrics on their own, giving them a whole new standard by which to judge their business. By partnering with a 3PL with its own online reporting portal, you will have access to all the management information such as order and customer information needed during your growth phase. Using a partner’s system allows you to avoid buying a robust ERP or OMS system too early. When you’re ready for your own ERP system, you’ll be better prepared. Plus, having insights such as inventory velocity allows you to plan better for the next year and, in turn, save your business money thanks to your ability to make more informed and data-backed decisions.
- A warehouse management system. Different brands need different shipping priority preferences applied in their WMS. With customizable preferences depending on your product and needs, your business can trust that the correct fulfillment decisions will be made by the system automatically and your customers will be served in the best way possible. For example, let’s say you’re a beauty product retailer that sells to Nordstrom as well as direct to consumer from your e-commerce site. You have 25 of your most popular lipstick shade left in stock. When orders from both Nordstrom and consumers come in at once, who should get first priority? With a WMS, you can implement rules for what kinds of customers get product first without a human having to decide in the moment. Other customers receive an out-of-stock notification and the brand can work with their partner to adjust inventory levels moving forward accordingly. This all assists in the most efficient fulfilling of orders. When your business runs smoothly, revenue rolls in.
- A transportation management system. Through this kind of system, choosing a shipping carrier becomes even easier and more hands-off. A tracking and shipping label is prepared in-house and the system then rate-shops for the best shipping method, allowing the ability to choose from multiple options provided by FedEx, UPS, USPS and more. Being able to price shop this way ensures that you select the most cost-efficient carrier on any given day for every kind of shipment.
Visibility and transparency should be the key factors to seek out in an eCommerce fulfillment partner. With real time data comes the confidence that the fulfillment of your company’s orders is being handled with care and efficiency.
To learn more about the Dotcom tech that can keep you in the updated on your fulfillment operations, click here.