⚡Selling On Amazon? Want to Do Your Own Fulfillment? - Here Are Some Alternatives
In recent years, Amazon has exploded in popularity for new e-commerce merchants. With a global presence and an easy, plug-and-play process, selling and moving merchandise with Amazon is difficult to resist.
However, just because you sell on Amazon doesn’t mean you need to fulfill orders through it too. While it may seem easier, there are a few reasons you may want to consider alternatives:
#1 Lack of Control over Inventory and Last-Mile 🚩
When you choose fulfillment with Amazon’s FBA(Fulfillment by Amazon), you give up essentially all control over your inventory and product delivery. This means that if your inventory is relocated or damaged, you will not be able to act swiftly in the interest of your business.
Additionally, FBA gives you little to no oversight for the last mile- Should anything go wrong, both you and your customers’ point of contact is Amazon, not you.
Read About CBIP’s Global E-commerce Logistics Services
#2 Inflexible Prices and Shipping Times 💵
When using Amazon’s fulfillment service you become one of millions of clients worldwide using the same service. Besides limited control, you also are completely at the mercy of Amazon’s shipping times and rates. They have millions of customers like you and need to juggle everyones’ concerns and cannot offer smaller individuals much flexibility.
So, if not Amazon, then what?
The fulfillment/shipping stage is difficult to get right. Studies show that as many as 38 percent of shoppers would not return to an e-commerce site after a negative shipping experience. 25 percent said that they have canceled an order due to slow delivery speeds.
With all that pressure on your logistics process, it can feel difficult to try something new as a growing business. However, you may have more options than you think. Here are some of the top options growing businesses are using to expand their logistics today.
The Top Alternatives to Amazon Fulfillment
Find a Third-Party Logistics Provider
If you’d rather avoid investing all that capital to fulfill orders in-house, you might want to consider a third-party logistics provider or 3PL. Besides not having to spend money to create your own fulfillment process, you can generally get lower shipping rates for your parcels when you ship in bulk.
It is important to note here that the 3PL provider will only be responsible for transportation and logistics. As the seller, you still need to maintain oversight. This requires a high level of understanding of your overall logistics strategy.
For those looking for more guidance, you may want to look into a newer option - the fourth-party logistics provider.
Use a Fourth-Party Logistics Provider For Greater Ease and More Options
Those wanting a similar type of service to Amazon but with more options are increasingly turning to 4PLs.
A 4PL service accomplishes all the same steps as a 3PL and acts as a strategic partner to your business. But unlike when you work with Amazon, you have a say in how your goods are shipped and at what cost.
Unlike 3PLs (or Amazon), 4PLs don’t own the trucking companies, warehouses, and other services that they use. This means they have the flexibility to design logistics around what you need and not their own assets.
Rather, they leverage their expertise to find which carriers, warehouses, and trucking services work best for you.
At CBIP, we’re a 4PL firm helping clients like you create lean logistics models tailored to your e-commerce business. For more information on our service, check out our new website.
Fulfillment with drop-shipping can be a great, low-cost solution for some retailers - Particularly if you have other fulfillment avenues and are hoping to test out shipping in a new area.
In this model, you as the merchant never hold the product you sell. When a customer places an order on your site, you then forward the order to the manufacturer or “drop shipper”. They receive the order, fulfill the order, and send it directly to your customer.
As dropshipping allows you to sell a product without needing to manage and store inventory, this method has become popular for cutting many of the costs traditionally linked to fulfillment. However, you’ll still lack control over fulfillment and may compromise other things like product quality control, customization, and brand development.
Try In-House Fulfillment
In-house fulfillment AKA Fulfillment By Merchant (FFM) simply means that you are executing each stage of fulfillment on your own. This type of fulfillment is most often done by new e-commerce businesses and large corporate operations.
Doing fulfillment yourself gives you the highest level of control over your fulfillment and packaging. However, you will need to invest a significant amount of time, resources, and manpower into compiling and managing your fulfillment operation.
To do everything yourself, you will need to establish a way to:
Receive inventory to have enough on hand to fulfill orders
Organize and store your inventory in a convenient location
Process your orders once they are received from the customer- including retrieving and packaging items.
Ship packages, either by running them personally to the post office, or arranging for a mail courier carrier to pick them up from your fulfillment location
The above are just the processes that you will have to carry out daily. You will also need things like dedicated software systems and managers to optimize your whole fulfillment operation. This can become a huge headache if you’re trying to scale fast.
Choosing The Option Best For You
When deciding on a fulfillment plan you need to get a real defined idea of your business goals and roadmap. Amazon fulfillment is great for those just starting out who want to see if their product has legs. But once you have an established product and business plan, you have a world of options out there vying for your business. And they can give you a better deal.
At CBIP, we create logistics plans tailored precisely to your business’ needs and location. We then work in tandem with you to optimize your fulfillment process, keeping it operating at a scale and price that works for you. Working with CBIP, you benefit from our arsenal of tools, partner network, and industry experience.
Set up a meeting with one of our consultants to see how a personalized logistics plan can help your e-commerce business flourish.