All businesses that sell goods need to get those goods in customers’ hands safely, quickly and efficiently. When customers order from a big establishment, such as Amazon, they expect to receive their order intact and on-time. Why should ordering from a small company be any different?
Smaller companies may not be equipped to handle the fulfillment needs of their customers. Should a startup enlist fulfillment services from a 3rd party, or try to handle it in-house? Fulfilling your own orders looks like a cheaper option on paper. Ultimately, you will save time, effort and money in the long term if you enlist the services of a fulfillment company.
What Challenges Do Startups Face?
New businesses and startups have many things to worry about. From creating their products, figuring out how to sell them, as well as how to market/advertise effectively. The last thing they need to worry about are the logistics of getting that product into the hands of customers.
Fulfillment can be a headache. Especially for a new company with no history of the steps necessary to get your product out to customers. Some of the common issues that startups face are as follows:
Shipping, as daunting as it may seem, doesn’t have to be overly difficult. All you have to do is make an online sale. Determine which products to package and the total size/weight. Confirm the shipping destination. Determine which shipping method and carrier will be used. Then finally send the package through the chosen carrier at the predetermined price.
Easy peasy right? Well, for one thing, you could be a new company focusing on specific product development. The last thing you probably want to think about is logistical hoops that must be jumped through in order to get your product to a customer’s doorstep.
Unfortunately, when you do make sales, shipping your products to consumers will need to be done efficiently. If not, you may not continue to get business (no matter how awesome a product may be).
If small businesses take orders from customers, they are making commitments to delivering that product on time, no matter what. This may be ok with smaller quantities. However, if the business grows and you don’t scale appropriately, you could be looking at inventory issues. These issues may cause a disruption in the distribution chain.
Some customers can forgive smaller businesses and shipping mishaps. With large companies like Amazon out there, customer expectations are sky-high for delivery quality. It may be best to outsource your fulfillment. This way, your inventory can be properly managed and customers do not have delays or other issues.
The best way you can retain an existing customer that has experienced an issue, is if your customer relations are extraordinary. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of a company. It can also be one of the hardest to implement correctly.
For startups, customers may experience more complications with their products and look to return them. If this happens and you do not have experience in dealing with returns effectively, this could reflect poorly on the business as a whole. Order fulfillment companies provide reliable and organized services to handle returns. They also refill stock, and get deliveries out on time for customers for you.
The supply chain has been made easier with GPS and other technologies. You are able to track your deliveries in real time and know the exact location of your delivery truck. This is right at your fingertips, that is, if you actually have the right technology.
If you do not have the technology of a major logistics company, you may not be able to have such abilities to know exactly where your products are going and on what schedule. This could be a problem if issues arise in the shipping process.
Sometimes orders get mixed up and customers get sent an incorrect product. No big deal right? This happens every now and then, no one is perfect.
Jokes aside, it may be hard for a startup to store, pick, label, pack, and ship their own orders in an organized fashion without making any mistakes. By trying to manage all of your orders as a single company, you may not have the capabilities to track your inventory with barcodes and scanners and manage your warehouse inventory appropriately.
Mel’s Fulfillment Services For Startups
Mel has the unique ability to be a single source as both the manufacturer and fulfillment expert. This creates opportunities for a fully customizable experience that no competitor can offer. Not only does Mel offer this service, it has a leg up in providing startups with a litany of other benefits.
Product And Inventory Management
Mel has the ability to create your product for you. Or if you prefer to send us your merchandise, it will be sent to our warehouse for storage. If you have an OnDemand product, no inventory will be kept and the product will be created as an order is processed.
Are you just finishing up a product and are looking for custom packaging designs during launch? Custom packaging designs are our specialty. The designs can be created with your small business startup. All you have to do is work with our team of experts to develop the perfect packaging solution for your products.
If your startup is worried about knowing where your orders are at any moment’s notice, do not fret, Mel has you covered. Mel will sync our order fulfillment software with your eCommerce platform. We want to give you access to up to the minute order processing and inventory tracking so all of that information is at your fingertips.
Our specialty is handling all of your fulfillment needs. We pick your product from our warehouse and pack each order according to your business’s specifications. If you have a product that we have created a custom package for, we will pack it in that packaging.
If you have an OnDemand order, we shall create your product on the spot and pack it according to your specification. All of the orders through Mel use the best quality packaging materials so that your customers have the best experience possible.
We will ship within 24 hours of order processing to anywhere within the world. Mel is a certified shipping center. This allows us to have some of the most competitive shipping and freight costs in the industry. Your business will save money using Mel’s shipping as opposed to trying to coordinate the shipping and handling in your company’s infancy.
How We Can Help With Fulfillment at Your Startup
As businesses start to grow and expand, there will come a moment when you are just not able to manage the services that a fulfillment company handles. In the beginning, when sales are minimal, a startup may be able to handle their own fulfillment themselves. Soon after a business begins to ramp up its sales, it is usually realized that professional help is necessary.
Fulfillment is tricky, and it has a direct effect on a company’s bottom line. Using a reputable company such as Mel could be the best fulfillment solution for startups. Mel offers businesses the flexibility to grow with their demand, kitting and assembly services, warehouse storage, worldwide shipping access, tracking and reporting services, amongst many more.