Fulfillment services have always been a great resource for ecommerce businesses, and their popularity only seems to be increasing with the extensive growth in the online shopping industry. These help get products to customers and allow flexibility at reasonable prices. Not having to ship orders yourself can take a huge weight off of you, as shipping can be very time consuming and stressful. Fulfillment services eliminate that aspect of your business and provide you with more time to focus on other parts of your business.
One of the most popular fulfillment services is Shopify, which is currently only available in the United States. Not to be confused with Shopify’s online store, Shopify’s Fulfillment Service realizes what a hassle packing, inventory keeping, and shipping can be but knows they are critical to a business’s processes and strives to make them less stressful for its users. Shopify’s website notes that its “full-service network lets you control your data, ships fast, and keeps your brand the hero from checkout to delivery.” It also touts that the service can “ship your orders faster for less,” making shipping less stressful and expensive.
Shopify can be integrated with many of the most prominent sales channels including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, and your own Shopify store. Regardless what sales channel your item sells on, Shopify will fulfill it and keep track of your overall numbers. Shopify also claims that it does not mine data collected by merchants and subsequently sell it for profit like some other platforms do.
Cost of Shopify Fulfillment
Shopify will give you a customized price quote based on your business needs. It will let you choose various options such as storage, packing, packaging, and transportation. If you have special projects such as bundling, the service can accommodate those, too. Shopify claims that it offers 99.5% accuracy in all orders the fulfillment center receives. The service reports this is thanks to its human teams and also its cool robot, AKA Chuck. All of users’ operations are handled under one platform as opposed to several different ones that can get confusing and skew information.
Storage is priced by how much space your items take up in the fulfillment facility, and Shopify will work to find the best transportation (i.e. shipping) rates, normally through USPS and UPS. This also includes providing the customer with tracking information so they can get an estimated time of arrival for their purchase. That alone can save you a lot of time and money, which is why many people opt to use it. Shopify normally gets shipping discounts from these carriers, so it may even save you a lot on shipping costs.
Shopify Simplifies Order Fulfillment
Shopify eliminates the need for you to handle every outgoing package and make sure orders are fulfilled correctly. You also don’t have to pay as many salaries seeing as the fulfillment center will do this work for you. This also takes away any need for you to rent or buy a warehouse of any sort, saving you more money, maintenance, and space.
Shopify strives to let you use your own branding to expand your presence and “show off your brand.” The service provides free packaging if you want, but also allows you to use your own packaging. In other words, Shopify lets you use your personal brand’s packaging so customers will know what their item is when they get it (and they’ll be excited!). Instead of other services like Amazon Prime that ship items in packaging with Amazon’s logo all over it, Shopify gives you the option to use your own branded packaging. Packing slips can be customized for free with your business’s logo or certain instructions or advertisements. You can also customize your sales, which may include choosing a small sample of another item or a sticker/bookmark/etc. that will make your customers even happier.
Using a lot of automated technology, Shopify picks and packs the ordered item before shipping it and providing tracking information. As mentioned, this incorporates both human and robot technology, which makes the process more efficient. Shopify can even bundle certain items if requested, such as in the case of when you want to send certain items out assembled together. You can pick a shipping speed and Shopify will make sure the item gets delivered on time. Another great thing about shipping with Spotify is that it provides same-day shipping if the order is received before 4:00 PM EST. Throughout the whole process, Shopify provides you with updates and recommends how you can store and ship your inventory at the best deal possible.
Shopify also allows you to indicate if you are having a flash sale so it can prepare in advance. You can sell on however many Shopify channels you want and you can even set up shipments for customers who sign up for subscription services. Fulfillment centers are all “Shopify certified,” meaning they are all inspected to meet the highest safety and quality standards. This ensures quality fulfillment across any seller platform in one single Shopify account.
It comes as no surprise to business owners that inventory tracking can be a daunting task, especially during “busy seasons.” Shopify allows you to see your inventory in real-time across all channels to make sure your stock is at an appropriate level. Inventory is tracked across all selling platforms you have integrated it with. You can distribute your inventory around the country however you like and Shopify will give you recommendations on what you might want to restock soon based on customer trends at the moment. This is very beneficial in lessening the time it takes for products to reach consumers’ doorsteps (for example, shipping to an Oregon address from a fulfillment center in Oregon will be much quicker than if it was shipped from Florida).
The service will also notify you if your inventory is running low, which is useful in cases when a certain product is “hot” and being purchased a lot. Also, users can opt for special care in the facility if certain items are fragile.
Another hassle Shopify eliminates for users is returns. Businesses who receive returns directly have to unpack them, change inventory numbers, repack them, and so on. With Shopify, the fulfillment service will do it for you. If the item can be resold, the facility will repackage it, update your inventory, and have it ready to go back out when it is purchased again.
Shopify can also help users manage customer data across all channels. The service provides insights and real time data that can be useful to business owners looking to track metrics and make some changes to increase customer satisfaction. Many users report that Shopify’s 24/7 email and phone customer service support is excellent as well and is helpful for questions and needs at all stages of the fulfillment process.
The cost of Shopify’s services might be worth it if it will save you time and resources, especially if your business is booming and you are having trouble keeping up with shipping. Let’s be real – consumers these days expect prompt delivery and opt against purchases that will take “too long” to be delivered, so it’s best to use a service like Shopify if your business needs it. Overall, if your business has the budget for Shopify and you are looking to focus more on growing your business, it might just be an excellent investment.