The questions you should be considering to ask your potential fulfilment provider

23 October, 2017

If your e-commerce business is growing and you’re looking for a potential fulfilment provider, careful evaluation is required. Cost is not the only relevant issue when it comes to finding the right partner, as there are lots of other factors that will also have an influence over whether your customers get the service that you intend them to.

If you want to make the right choice of potential fulfilment providers then you need to ask the right questions.

What shipping options are available?

The best partner will be able to offer a wide selection of shipping options that provide choice for your customers. From tracked and premium services, to cost effective delivery, it’s important that you’re able to give your customers the kind of shipping they want.

How much experience does the potential fulfilment provider have?

Experience doesn’t necessarily mean years in the business – although in some situations that can be useful. Instead, you’re looking for experience working with your type of business. The needs and demands of businesses of different sizes, for example, can vary widely. The smoothest transition will come from working with a fulfilment provider who understands what your business is about and what you’re trying to achieve.

Do they understand tax and compliance?

This is particularly important if you’re looking to ship globally. When you’re choosing a potential fulfilment provider, opt for one with good understanding of customs taxes and duties and compliance with international customs regimes. This will ensure that your deliveries don’t get help up by red tape.

What do you know about the warehouse?

Size and state of warehousing can have a big impact on the condition your goods are in when they begin their journey to your customers. Questions about the size of the warehouse and how conveniently positioned it is for road and rail links are important to ask, as they will reveal how efficiently your deliveries can be dealt with and dispatched.

Do they have B2C experience?

Business to consumer and business-to-business are quite different in terms of the requirements and judgments that are made by the recipient. Find a provider able to offer both but who also has an in-depth understanding of what differentiates the two.

How do they handle scale (up/down)?

Most retail businesses experience peaks and troughs. So, it’s a key question to understand how your potential fulfilment provider will deal with increased or decreased demand, both in terms of processes and costs.

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