Let’s get ready to sell! If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you know that utilizing the online retail landscape is a huge opportunity to reach a large consumer market. Like never before, sellers of any size can scale quickly from third-party online marketplaces.
Evans Distribution Systems is no stranger to working with sellers as a third-party storage and fulfillment provider. Our years of expertise in warehousing, packaging, fulfillment, and small-parcel shipping makes us an excellent partner to a growing online business. As you venture into this new world, Evans gives you best practices on how to be successful right from the start.
Choose the Right Seller Account
Choosing the right seller account boils down to how much product you intend to sell. Do you have a high volume, widely consumed product? Or is it more niche? The most prominent options for you are getting charged a monthly fee for unlimited sales or getting charged a small fee per every item sold.
If you’re selling a high-volume item that is widely used, most times the flat monthly fee is a better choice. But if you’re just breaking into a new market, the smaller fee per item sold is the better route for you.
Three Paths to Fulfillment
Order fulfillment is a huge part of the online marketplace business model. Particularly, the speed in which an order can reach the consumer and customer service. Sellers can choose to fulfill orders on their own or through a service provided by the online marketplace. Or you can have a third-party logistics provider like Evans, fulfill your orders. There are pros and cons of each option—below we break it down so you can decide the best option for your business.
|Fulfilling on your own.||Complete control over order handling and customer service.||Lack of scale and possible labor constraints to fulfill high volume orders. High parcel rates due to low bargaining power as a an individual seller|
|Fulfilling through a 3PL, like Evans, as part of a larger packaging and storage agreement.||Flexibility to scale up or down quickly; account managers/CSRs to provide support, WMS technology with real-time visibility into inventory; competitive parcel rates; more control over customer service; reverse logistics.||Additional costs for storage and handling.|
|Fulfilling through an online marketing place, like Amazon, as part of a larger storage agreement.||Extended standard features such as Prime shipping, customer service, reverse logistics.||Additional costs for storage and handling; lack of individual care in a sea of millions of sellers; no control over final product, packaging, branding, customer service or reverse logistics.|
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when you’re selling online. The key takeaway is you have much more control over the customer relationship when you fulfill in-house or with a 3PL like Evans. When you allow Amazon or Shopify to fulfill orders, you are subject to their standard, out-of-the-box customer service approach. You also lose control over branding and packaging. These are unique features that separate you from competitors. When you’re trying to build an online brand that people can trust, that one-size-fits-all approach may not cut it.
There’s another side of the selling cycle to consider: reverse logistics. That focuses on the return process. Many times, returns require a customer service element that is important to your brand image as well.
It’s always a wise idea to partner with experts who can help you along. Evans is a long-term partner that is looking to grow alongside your successful e-commerce business. We help you with the fulfillment minutia so you can spend time strategizing about advertising, inventory, branding, photography, and new product development.
It’s a win-win. See if Evans is a good fit for you.