A fulfillment center is a warehouse that stores inventory in a secure environment, and ships out all orders on a businesses’ behalf. We wanted to share how working with a fulfillment center has been a major benefit for our business, and could be for yours as well.
Any company that sells a physical product online will need to ship it to their customers, and there are several ways to handle that process. From a business standpoint, standing in line at the post office is not a good use of your time (your most valuable asset).
For a new business, it can make sense to handle fulfillment internally. There’s several helpful shipping companies out there, but we started with Stamps.com. It’s a service that integrates with USPS to let anyone purchase postage and shipping labels online. You can print out the postage on any printer, and either schedule a pickup time or drop the packages off at a post office yourself. It’s affordable and also has a simple interface.
But once orders start rolling in, this method may start to take up more time and space than you expected. In the early days of TAIT Design Co., we used Stamps.com, a small scale for weighing packages, a 4 x 6” Dymo printer for postage, and tons of shipping boxes for different configurations of orders. What started as a convenient way to ship from our studio became a major task of the day, as we’d end up spending the majority of our time shipping orders. Matt’s apartment quickly filled up with stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes. He was living in cardboard land!
So, we decided to take the leap and start working with a fulfillment center. The way it works is they charge us for picking and packing each product for an order, the packaging, and the postage. The benefit we receive is that we have a controlled and safe environment to keep our inventory, reduced shipping rates, and the automatic fulfillment of our products. Every time we receive an order, the information is sent directly to the fulfillment center. They pack it up and ship it out the same day, and the customer receives their tracking information right away.
For us, this has been a major benefit to our business. As long as we have enough inventory in stock, we can technically work from anywhere. Outsourcing fulfillment also frees up studio space from inventory and boxes, and allows us to guarantee same day shipping on all orders.
Have any questions about fulfillment? I’m happy to answer! Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Fulfillment’.
Thanks for reading!
Audrey / Co-Founder