Why Your Ecommerce Business Should be Outsourcing Order Fulfillment

Why Your Ecommerce Business Should be Outsourcing Order Fulfillment

February 9, 2023

If you take a trip back to the glorious 1950s, shopping was an experience like no other. Window displays were incredibly detailed and inviting; smiling greeters welcomed customers with open arms; retail workers helped shoppers find the perfect piece that matched their style.

Now you can say goodbye to those hassle-filled days of in-person shopping. Instead, you can keep cosy in your pyjamas and, with a few clicks, have items delivered instantaneously to your door.

Consumer habits drastically shifted, so did the way goods were delivered. And now, with e-commerce came an entirely different landscape of virtual supply— “always available.”

Logistics managers and brands are tasked with establishing a new supply chain fulfilment strategy that meets the heightened need for speed, convenience, and affordability. Retailers have embraced order fulfilment centres / pick and pack warehouses —the latest development in e-commerce supply chains—to answer these rising demands for immediate delivery services.


What is Order Fulfilment?

Order fulfilment is the business process that receives, stores, picks, packs, and ships products that customers order online (sometimes even the bit before the receipt – freight organisation and import). Companies can manage this procedure in-house or enlist a third-party logistics provider – Third Party Logistics (3PL) – to take on outside responsibility.

It applies to Business 2 Business (B2B) orders, such as those sent to bulk consumers, and Business to Consumer (B2C) orders shipped directly to customers at home or work. In addition, consumers may order from the merchant’s website or another online marketplace which can trigger a pick and pack without touch. After the purchase, the order fulfilment procedure hops into effect.


Is Outsourcing Order Fulfilment for Start-ups Ideal?

For start-ups, order fulfilment can be daunting, especially for those not previously engaged in selling and distribution. So, consider these three things if you’re a start-up:

Inventory Levels

Start-ups that grow organically usually hold minimal inventory, which requires very little space; however, as they become successful, they often need to purchase more stock to increase profits and reduce the chances of suffering from out-of-stock issues. When orders involve multiple cartons or pallets up to full trailers or containers, it will soon become clear that any kitchen, garage or bedroom simply isn’t big enough for these operations.  And not many driveways (or neighbours) will be happy when a large truck turns up every day


Maintaining punctual deliveries to customers is essential (people are used to Amazon style delivery times these days), particularly in the lead-up to special occasions. At first glance, this can seem manageable; however, as a start-up without access to resources, economies of scale, and picking teams it can mean that over time deadlines becomes increasingly more difficult to meet. Moreover, the physical strain of daily trips to post office locations, collections, or last-minute drop-offs at parcel companies eventually takes its toll on employees and your profits.

Rates of Error

In everyday life's chaos, making minor mistakes is easy. However, customers are less forgiving of these errors than ever before. Therefore, to ensure accuracy in your inventory systems, utilising quality software is necessary; otherwise, you can start to expect frequent blunders instead of precision handling – even if it is you doing it.


Why Outsource Fulfillment for Warehouse Space?

When a merchant is overwhelmed by the number of orders they’re receiving, has no more room to keep their stock, desires more time for entire projects or selling, and doesn’t have an interest in controlling their distribution system, outsourcing e-commerce order fulfilment can be a lifesaver.

Outsource your fulfilment services to a 3PL company and be free from the hassle of managing your inventory’s complete journey - from receiving new products straight off the factory line through restocking returned items.

With the ability to collaborate with various businesses and manage multiple fulfilment operations, 3PLs like ours are highly experienced in logistics. Moreover, the sheer volume of storage means the rate at which your goods are stored is cheaper than you could do with your own site, and volumes of daily shipments provide us the power to negotiate bulk shipping discounts from carriers.

A dedicated team will complete all order fulfilment tasks in-house

  • Import logistics (if required) / or inbound transport from your supplier
  • Goods in / Receiving
  • Stock checks & Quality reviews
  • Picking
  • Packing
  • Labelling
  • Returns processing

Every 3PL provider is distinctive and offers services to fulfil various requirements, such as kitting, custom packaging, B2B orders, FBA prep, temperature control, or refrigeration. On top of that, you can look into other solutions depending on your individual needs!


Benefits of Outsourcing Fulfilment

  • Investing in wholesale inventory can be a great way to maximize profits.
  • You won’t need to invest in warehouse space or your own site, WMS software, equipment such as forklift trucks, or a personal team to pick and pack; we handle everything for you.
  • Outsourcing the process to a respected specialist has advantages, such as added convenience.
  • Economies of scale, such as Shipping:
    • Securing shipping discounts on your own can be time-consuming and relatively ineffective. However, with the proper support, you could unlock savings beyond what you could obtain. For example: If your business ships 1,000 packages a month but the third-party e-commerce fulfilment company handles 150,000 orders every month - they are likely to get better shipping rates from companies like DPD, FedEx/UPS than you can alone.


Types of Order Fulfilment Services & Warehousing for Start-Ups

Third-Party Fulfillment

For merchants, third-party fulfilment takes care of all their order distribution needs - from accepting inventory to delivering orders. This outsourcing process helps streamline the entire ordering and delivery system, so you don’t have to worry about any part of it. With its powerful capabilities, third-party fulfilment can help reduce costs and maximize efficiency for businesses, large or small.

Third-party fulfilment is the way to go if:

  • Managing the fulfilment logistics is too challenging
  • In-house order fulfilment is too expensive
  • Your e-commerce business is small but growing
  • Your order fulfilment processes are slow or outdated
  • You want to increase your sales channels and scale your business

Merchant Fulfillment

Merchant fulfilment, also known as self-fulfilment or in-house fulfilment, manages order completion without outside involvement.

If any of the following criteria apply to you, selecting merchant fulfilment is your best option:

  • You’re just starting out and can save money by preceding third-party online order fulfilment services.
  • Your business is in its developing stages and has low-volume orders
  • In-house fulfilment is working for your e-commerce right now and not hampering your business growth efforts


Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is an efficient order fulfilment process where the retailer passes on customer orders and shipment details to a manufacturer. This method allows eCommerce stores to share the burden of order processing with manufacturers for more significant cost savings and improved efficiency.

Drop shipping is a suitable option when:

  • You’re operating on a restricted budget
  • Your business is new to the market
  • Your suppliers are happy to provide you this service and its cost effective enough

While drop shipping may appear convenient, it’s not always the best choice when the speed of delivery is essential.

Drop shipping may not be the right fit if control over supply processes and order tracking is essential to your business. Additionally, orders can face delays due to merchants being located far away from delivery locations which can significantly affect your customer’s satisfaction with their purchase.


Which Fulfillment Centers Should you Partner With?

Well us of course 😊

UK Pick & Pack is the perfect partner for start-ups looking to streamline their order fulfilment processes. With our warm, professional service and expert knowledge of the e-commerce industry, we can ensure that you get your products out to customers quickly and efficiently. We understand that, as a start-up, cost-effectiveness is vital, and we offer competitive rates to help you save money.

Contact us today to find out how UK Pick & Pack can help your business succeed!  Or complete the form below and we'll get back to you soonest.


UK Pick & Pack is a trading division of Sussex Transport, a British born and family owned, road haulage and warehousing organisation based near Brighton in beautiful West Sussex.

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UK Pick & Pack
Downsview House,
91 Marlborough Road,
Lancing Business Park,
Lancing, West Sussex,
BN15 8SU