Thursday, 16 February 2012

Take Stock of Your e-commerce Order Fulfilment

To 3pluk or not to 3pluk? Now that is the question.

Many on-line retailers in the UK have experienced significant growth over the past 12-24 months, successfully bucking the trend of increased costs and diminished returns seen on the high street.

The significant growth enjoyed by many on-line retailers not only led to record breaking sales for their businesses, but also brought them a higher than expected number of orders that had to be fulfilled, particularly in the run up to Christmas of 2012.

Now that Santa has hung up his boots for another year, many ecommerce retailers (e-tailers) are using this ‘quiet time’ as an opportunity to seriously evaluate their current ecommerce order fulfilment operations. What worked and what definitely didn’t? Where can the operation become more efficient? How can I reduce costs and increase capacity?

If you take care of your fulfilment in house (spare bedroom, garage, self storage, small warehouse or a 50,000 sq ft industrial unit) you may be asking yourself if outsourcing is the right move for 2012? Can I save time and money and still grow the business efficiently?

If you have already taken the bold step to outsource your ecommerce order fulfilment  - I prefer the term to 3pluk’, you may be thinking the opposite, wondering if your business would be better off handling your ecommerce order fulfilment in house? After all, how difficult and expensive can it be?

You may also be thinking that your operation works fine as it is, but maybe if you could outsource a small proportion of your ecommerce order fulfilment, it would free up valuable time and resources needed to drive sales forward?

When it comes to ecommerce order fulfilment, there is clearly no “one size fits all”. What makes perfect sense for one business may choke or restrict another’s growth.
But luckily, as a small to medium sized ecommerce professional, you are nimble and dynamic enough to quickly and cost effectively make an informed choice.

In my next couple of short informative posts, I’ll outline 3 different approaches to ecommerce Order Fulfilment, highlighting the pros and cons of each, arming you with enough information to make an informed decision about enhancing your e-commerce order fulfilment.

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If you would like to comment on any of the above then please do so. If you require any advice on how to 3pluk your ecommerce order fulfilment then please let me know.