Fulfillment services is an increasingly important aspect of just about every business.
In the Internet age, e-commerce and related concepts have drifted into almost every single industry, as even former wholesale-only businesses discover how easy it is to launch a retail or direct-to-consumer division leveraging Internet and other communication technologies, combined with robust warehousing and logistics. If you’re planning a similar adventure, consider your choice of fulfillment services partner very carefully. The single most important question you can ask? How do they handle returns?
The Scourge of Returns Returns were once relatively rare, and accompanied by a raft of forms to fill out and other bureaucratic obstacles. Today, however, returns are a standard aspect of almost every business, and are routinely accepted without objection – often even without charging for shipping. Depending on your core business, returns can run as high as 30%, which is a significant cost – and can throw your fulfillment services into an uproar if they’re not prepared. What to Ask Fulfillment has to be ready for returns in a variety of ways: • Warehouse management: They have to manage their space properly to ensure that they have room for returns as they come in. Mistakes in the warehouse can result in damage, theft or simple loss. • Real time inventory updating: When something is returned, it could be sold again – if it gets back into your sales system. Every partner affects your bottom line – choose your fulfillment services carefully!