At some point, you may find your fulfillment center struggling to keep up with your needs. Perhaps they are no longer meeting accuracy expectations, staying on top of inventory, or getting orders out the door on time. And that can lead to loss of trust, loss of sales, and loss of customers—for good.
But determining when it’s time to move on from your current provider can be difficult. Are you just experiencing temporary setbacks as you grow? Or have you grown enough that it’s time to reevaluate your current system and evolve?
Here are six questions to ask:
1. Are errors in packages, shipments, or inventory increasing?
If you’re seeing an increased number of errors and customer complaints, it’s time to act quickly and find out where the mistakes are happening. One likely culprit is an overwhelmed fulfillment center.
2. Are you experiencing an increase in damaged shipments or shipping delays?
Damaged goods or those that are returned due to delays can negate any goodwill you’ve created with your customers, and it puts an extra burden on your company and customer support team. Even if you are able to restore the relationship with your customers, these types of mistakes can be costly.
3. Have returns been going up?
With the above complaints, you’ll likely see an increase in returns or replacements as well as bad reviews on social media. Your customer won’t know or care that the issue is with your fulfillment provider and not with your brand.
4. Have your prices gone up with no explanation?
Price increases are sometimes inevitable due to changes in specifications, supply chain events, and other factors. However, if your prices have been going up and your fulfillment provider hasn’t explained the changes and discussed possible solutions, it may be time to reassess your partner.
Communication with your fulfillment provider is one of the most critical aspects of the partnership. If you can’t reach your customer service rep or your concerns are being ignored, then it’s likely time to move on.
5. Is your current fulfillment center growing stagnant?
Ecommerce is a continually shifting landscape, and anyone who works in it knows and understands the importance of continually growing and expanding to improve technology, operations, facilities, and even culture. If they’re not thinking ahead, they’re falling behind.
6. Are you unable to scale up and grow?
Perhaps the biggest reason to move on to a new fulfillment provider is that you can no longer scale your current solution. If your company’s growth is being curtailed by a lack of space, technology, or resources, then it’s clearly time to reevaluate and find the right solution for you and your business.
Fortunately, it’s easier to get unstuck from a fulfillment service that’s no longer working for you than you may think. It starts by asking a potential provider the right questions. For example:
1. What makes you different from our current fulfillment service?
2. Have you worked with eCommerce businesses similar to mine? Do you support products like mine?
3. How many warehouses do you have, and where are they located?
4. How do your locations help improve deliveries and cut down on shipping costs?
5. How fast are you able to fulfill orders?
6. Are you set up to scale with me as my business grows, domestically and internationally? Or do you have capacity constraints?
7. How easy (or difficult) is it to align and integrate our technology and online store? Do you provide software integration help?
8. Do you provide real-time inventory data?
9. Do you support returns? What is your policy for damaged inventory or late shipments?
10. Can your software and inventory management help me improve my business?
11. Can you provide pricing? Is your pricing structure easy to understand and clear, or are there hidden costs and fees that add up?
12. Do you provide clear, transparent communication? For example, will I be able to talk to a real live person who can help if there are questions or issues?
If your fulfillment service isn’t currently living up to your expectations, contact QuickBox today to see how our services compare. We make it easy to begin the process of moving to a fulfillment center that’s ready to grow with you!