All logistics and inventory
At BLUE UNIKORN we know how overwhelming all these concepts can be. Here we will explain to you, in a very simple way, what are all the topics related to logistics, inventory and fulfillment.
WHY DO YOU I NEED THIS? You might me asking yourself...
When your business is growing, or you plan on launching your brand with several products in different references, there is a strong possibility that you might be needing to send a lot of orders since day one. If so, in order to be prepared, you may choose to have a fulfillment company ready to go before the big day.
3PL or Third-party logistics companies are professional fulfillment companies, like BLUE UNIKORN, that handle e-commerce fulfillment on your behalf. The responsibilities of a 3PL, also known as outsourcing fulfillment, include storing and tracking inventory in their fulfillment center(s), packing items, and shipping orders to customers.
What is that we do...
Warehousing is the storage of inventory before orders are fulfilled. Warehouses safely and securely store products in an organized manner so they can be easily and quickly located once orders are placed. With e-commerce fulfillment, products are shipped from the fulfillment center directly to the consumer. For example, if you only have a handful of products (SKUs), storage will be much less expensive than if you have hundreds of SKUs. For small or new businesses, warehousing may be done in a home garage, basement, or other room until they outgrow that space. This is the point when an e-commerce business must decide to rent a warehouse, lease a storage unit or outsource logistics to a third-party like BLUE UNIKORN.
A fulfillment software program automates key functions for a business including warehouse management, picking, packing, shipping and inventory tracking. Order fulfillment is one of the top software programs needed by companies to manage their sales. This isn't a "nice-to-have" option-- the effectiveness of your order processing system can literally make or break your business.
Dealing with returned items involves receiving the products, assessing their condition, and processing them back into the available stock. Because consumers when they buy online, they buy products without physically seeing it, there is a higher return rate than is seen in brick-and-mortar shops. In order to process returns in e-commerce fulfillment, facilitating this process for consumers is key. However, it is important to establish a strong yet fair return policy.
when is time to contract a 3PL ?
If you are an influencer that have your own website and line of products, you know that order fulfillment is an integral part of your operation. Perhaps you feel that this process is a burden for you and is taking a toll on your business. Or maybe, organizing and tracking SKUs is not your strength. At this point, it is important to ask yourself the following questions to help determine if it’s the right time for your business to partner with a third-party fulfillment company.
DO I HAVE SPACE TO STORE INVENTORY?
As your order volume grows, you will need more inventory on hand at any given time. If you’re fulfilling orders from home, it can be hard to find proper storage space. Blue Unikorn can save you from having to store product in a garage or other room in your house. Outsourcing the inventory storage allows you to track inventory more efficiently, make purchase forecasts and avoid out of stock products. Also, this will allow you to think of expanding your product line without worrying about inventory storage limitations.
AM I ABLE TO FULFILL ORDERS MYSELF?
As your business grows, you may find that fulfilling customer orders on your own is no longer feasible. While there’s no exact threshold, there are telltale signs. If you are having a tough time keeping up, you’re likely staying up into the late hours of the night, or you are asking friends and family to help you pack boxes just to meet demand. You certainly don’t want this struggle to result in dealing with unhappy customers having to wait for their goods.
ARE MY SHIPPING MARGINS TOO NARROW?
When your e-commerce business is small and handling e-commerce fulfillment in-house, there may be inefficiencies (expensive rates due to low volume, shipping from one location, or lack of integrated technology. Also, there are costs associated with shipping. Supplies such as packing tape, bubble wrap, air pillows, boxes, mailers, envelopes, labels, printers, and ink—little by little, all this adds up.
DO I PLAN ON SCALING MY BUSINESS?
You have hopes of scaling your business, but how can you do so, if you are dealing with fulfillment issues? The fact is that every hour you spend rushing to fill new orders (packing, printing labels, driving to the post office, etc.), you are losing out on opportunities. Performing these low-dollar activities that do not generate revenue typically hold you back from achieving growth and most importantly, it takes time away that can be used in content creations and engaging with your followers. The bottom line is the true cost of handling fulfillment by yourself keeps you from performing other tasks that translate into high revenue.
IS IT TIME TO OUTSOURCE?
If any of these situations sound all too familiar, it may very well be time to reconsider your fulfillment strategy. Working with BLUE UNIKORN, you will be able to focus on promoting your brand, creating content, engaging with your fans and selling your products – we’ll handle the rest. Through our Application Programming Integrations (API), our software will sync directly with your online shopping cart to automatically import orders. From there we will pick, pack, and ship each order without delay. A great advantage is that our process is customizable and completely scalable, so no matter how fast you grow, we guarantee your customers will get the same great service for every single order.