Propelled by the digital transformation, an online store is crucial for any business. Not only does an ecommerce website help in increasing sales opportunities, but it also builds credibility.
Shopify is the ultimate all-inclusive tool to build an online store, trusted by over 1,700,000 businesses worldwide.
However, as an ecommerce merchant, having a fantastic online store is not sufficient; you need a seamless fulfilment process to grow and keep your customers coming back to your ecommerce store. Customers expect fast order delivery, and a slow fulfilment process can result in abandoned shopping carts and lost sale opportunities.
In this blog, you'll learn about the most popular online store builder—Shopify, how to fulfil your Shopify orders, when to switch from in-house fulfilment to outsourced fulfilment, and how Eshopbox helps to streamline Shopify fulfilment with lightning-fast delivery speeds.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform that enables merchants to set up an online store and sell their products. This shopping cart software provides ecommerce merchants with everything they need to start selling online— hosting, order management, and anything for accepting orders from customers within a couple of hours.
Shopify empowers independent business owners in 175 countries and helped them make over USD 200 billion in sales.
However, your job isn’t done once the orders are received, you need to fulfil them. Let's see how.
What is Shopify fulfilment?
Order fulfilment for your Shopify store includes all the processes—from storing inventory, picking and packing products, to shipping orders to your customers.
Here is a brief look at a fulfilment process:
This process can be completed in-house (self-fulfilment) or by outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. At first glance, self-fulfilment may appear to be the best option to cut costs. However, it is usually a bad idea— there are multiple hidden costs that significantly increase your overall order fulfilment cost.
Moreover, handling order fulfilment in-house is suitable for small businesses that are just starting out. In the initial stage, the daily order volume is very low, but you are forced to make huge investments when the order volume increases. So, you need to know when to shift from in-house to outsourced fulfilment-a 3PL.
When to shift from in-house to outsourced fulfilment?
Your fulfilment process can either drive you forward or hold you back. It is important to shift from in-house to an outsourced fulfilment (3PL) provider at the right time. Here are some signs you should look out for:
- You are struggling to offer fast and free shipping
When you are selling online, your customers tend to be from anywhere across the country. This means, you have to ship your products across India. But in self-fulfilment, you don't have access to discounted shipping rates or multiple courier partners to deliver your orders across all the zones at a fast speed.
Let's take an example, you are fulfiling orders in-house from one or two warehouses, it's most likely that you must be partnering up with a courier company. You have your warehouse in Tamil Nadu, and you received an order from Kashmir. You can either opt for standard shipping to deliver that order in a week's time or opt for express shipping to deliver that order in 2-3 days. As today's customers expect a speedy delivery, you must go for the second option. However, this option will be costlier. Additionally, high shipping fees and slow shipping are the biggest reasons for shopping cart abandonment.
By outsourcing fulfilment, you can take advantage of the negotiated shipping charges of a 3PL with delivery services and courier companies. Moreover, you can split your inventory across multiple fulfilment centres of your 3PL provider across the country to reach your customers fast. Thus, a 3PL provider will enable to provide free shipping to your customers while covering its cost and offer 2-day or same-day delivery.
- Your delivery standards are deteriorating
84% of customers don't return to a brand after a negative delivery experience. If you are observing that your order accuracy is declining—customers are delivered incorrect or damaged product, you should outsource your fulfilment to a fulfilment partner. 3PL providers ensure great order accuracy and a delightful fulfilment experience to your customers in order to keep them satisfied and loyal.
- You are experiencing cyclical or uneven sales
It is possible to experience order volume fluctuations throughout the year due to seasonality or flash sales. This means your inventory levels, storage requirement, and manpower requirement changes frequently. Usually, one might think of upgrading the entire facility when order volume is at peak, but when it lowers down again, you will incur huge costs of additional storage, inventory and manpower. In such scenarios, it's best to outsource fulfilment as you get access to scalable storage space and only pay for what you use. Additionally, 3PLs have a large pool of resources to allocate according to your current order volume. Therefore, it will allow you to manage fluctuations in sales effectively.
- You are lacking expertise
When you fulfil your orders on your own, you simply pick, pack, and ship the orders but not in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Here a fulfilment partner's expertise comes into play. A 3PLs can streamline complex processes and bring considerable expertise and knowledge to the table. It can help unify your fulfilment to achieve greater cost savings, increased efficiency not only on Shopify but also across multiple sales channels.
- You are expanding
If your daily order volume is constantly increasing, it might be the right time to outsource fulfilment to a 3PL provider. With growth comes competing demands of more infrastructure, such as storage facility, advanced technology, equipments, and skilled manpower. Outsourced fulfilment allows you to concentrate on business growth rather than delivery speeds. As orders mount up, your ability to handle them in-house is diminished– resulting in missed deadlines, poor standards, and overworked staff. A 3PL provider can ensure fast deliveries, increase your manpower and storage capacity to handle the increasing order volume.
- You want to expand your business
If you are ready for expanding your online store, you must ensure that your fulfilment processes are too. As you would be dedicating your time and effort for bringing sales to the store, fulfiling more orders can deviate you from your primary goals. Partnering with a 3PL provider will allow you to dedicate more time to your business expansion plans. It means that you don’t have to worry about the capabilities of your technology, warehouse, and manpower to manage a growing business as your outsourced fulfilment provider will handle that for you.
- You cannot focus on your core business
Selling online means juggling between a never-ending list of to-do. While fulfilment tasks are crucial, they're not the reason you started your business. And as your online business grows, fulfilment takes up more and more of your time. By outsourcing your fulfilment, you can focus on high priority business objectives like branding, marketing, sale generation, product design, customer support, and more. Instead of supplementary activities that can hinder you from scaling your business, such as picking, packing, and shipping your products. A 3PL provider can understand your ongoing requirements and your future expectations enabling you to scale flexibly.
Is outsourcing your Shopify fulfilment right for you?
According to research, 75% of shippers say that 3PL contributed to a reduction in overall logistics costs, and 86% of shippers say that 3PLs have improved their customer service. Thus, a 3PL provider makes the job easy for ecommerce businesses.
However, there are a few exceptions. Not all online businesses can manage a successful partnership with a 3PL provider. Here is why and what type of companies should reconsider before outsourcing order fulfilment:
- Businesses with limited daily order volume
If you receive a limited order volume per day, it might not be the right time for you to outsource your order fulfilment to a 3PL. Most of the fulfilment companies work on a pay-as-you-go model and subscription plans. It means if you have a few daily orders, it can become uneconomical for you to store your inventory at a 3PL provider's warehouse, and you'll end up paying more than what you're making from your business. Thus, it's best to fulfil your orders in-house.
- Highly specialised businesses
Highly specialised products often require custom storage, packaging and shipping conditions. However, most of the fulfilment companies usually provide standard solutions. Even if some fulfilment company agrees to offer on-demand fulfilment services, it might be more costly because of the tailor-made services, infrastructure, and procedures.Thus, it's preferable to keep your fulfilment in-house.
Now you know if outsourcing fulfilment is right for you or not, you can look for an experienced 3PL provider by posing the right questions and evaluating your options. Here is a brief look at what Eshopbox offers to fulfil your Shopify orders.
Shopify fulfilment with Eshopbox: A seamless experience
Eshopbox offers an end-to-end fufilment solution to Shopify merchants, including:
- Seamless Shopify integration
With Eshopbox, you require no developer effort, no custom integration. You can connect your Shopify store within a few clicks, accompanied by quick onboarding.
- Automated inventory sync
All your Shopify products stored in Eshopbox fulfilment centres will be updated on Shopify every five minutes so that you don’t miss out on sales.
- Automated order sync
Eshopbox makes order management easy by importing all your Shopify orders into Eshopbox. Also, you can use advanced filters to import specific Shopify orders.
- Powerful inventory management
Eshopbox empowers you with complete visibility of your inventory at all stages. You can view the inventory by status, quantity on hand across the fulfilment centre. Moreover, you can identify slow-moving inventory and gain insights into the performance of units sold over time by channel.
- Multichannel ecommerce
Apart from your Shopify store, you can easily integrate other marketplaces (Amazon, Flipkart, and more) and shopping carts (Magento, WooCommerce, and more) while centralising your inventory to utilise the same inventory pool to sell on multiple channels seamlessly.
- Robust technology
Eshopbox leverages advanced technology to provide you with a comprehensive dashboard with a birds-eye view of your business and real-time reports and insights for making informed business decisions.
- Lightning-fast order processing
Eshopbox provides a quick pick and pack service that guarantees same-day order processing and expedited shipping with incredible order accuracy.
- 20,000+ serviceable pin codes in India
You can ship products to your customers across more than 20,000 pin codes in India while providing cash on delivery (COD), pay on delivery (POD), and prepaid orders.
- Ultra-fast fulfilment
You can leverage Eshopbox’s powerful network of fulfilment centres to distribute your inventory across India to offer your customers 2-day delivery.
- Branded tracking experience
You can also customise order tracking using a Prime-like badging— white labelled tracking page with your brand logo, name, and support details.
- Proactive customer notifications
Eshopbox proactively sends automated SMS and email notifications to your customers with real-time order status.
- Real-time order tracking
You can provide your customers with complete visibility of their orders via an easy-to-use self-service portal to track their orders, returns, and refunds.
- Exceptional unboxing experience
You can extend your brand experience through custom packaging, inserts, samples, and more to create an unforgettable unboxing experience for your customers.
- Automated returns and exchanges
With Eshopbox, you can automatically create return and exchange orders for Shopify orders, offering your customers a hassle-free experience.
- World-class support
Eshopbox’s dedicated success team is always there so that you can get all technical support from a single point of contact.
- Transparent and affordable pricing
Eshopbox offers simple, flat, and transparent pricing for businesses of all sizes with no surcharges or hidden fees. Thus, enabling you to maximise your cost-savings.
Thus, Eshopbox helps you get started and walks you through every step of the way to accelerate your Shopify sales!
How long does it takes to start selling on Shopify with Eshopbox?
You can automate your Shopify fulfilment in a matter of minutes with easy setup and quick onboarding. Let's have a look at the steps:
Create your Eshopbox account and connect with your Shopify store.
2. Configure your fulfilment settings
Register to Eshopbox fulfilment centres where you wish to send your inventory. Configure inventory, orders and delivery preferences based on your fulfilment needs.
3. Send inventory
Prepare your inventory according to Eshopbox packing guidelines and send it to Eshopbox fulfilment centres.
4. Start selling
As soon as a customer places an order on your Shopify store, Eshopbox will pick, pack and ship it from the optimal fulfilment centre based on the customer location and inventory availability.
5. Delight your customers
Deliver an engaging post-purchase experience and give complete order visibility to your customers by enabling them to use a customisable self-service portal to track their orders, returns and refunds in real-time. Take the anxiety out of the shopping experience by notifying customers with proactive order updates via email and SMS.
Shopify is the all-inclusive shopping cart for your online store. And if you are looking to grow your Shopify store, you cannot afford to lag behind because of imperfect order fulfilment. Sometimes, it is easy to handle fulfilment in-house, but as your brand grows, outsourcing the process to a competent fulfilment partner might be worth considering. And when it comes to choosing the right fulfilment partner, be sure to look for a 3PL service provider that offers you value for your money— lightning-fast delivery speed, incredible order accuracy, seamless integrations, branded experience, powerful automation, world-class support, and most importantly, a companion who acts as a revenue-driver. Thus, you need a fulfilment partner that accelerate your Shopify sales by creating a seamless fulfilment experience for your customers without a miss!