Anyone who has a business that entails sending their products to customers knows how important inventory, packing, fulfillment and shipping are. In fact, mundane as they are, these functions are vital for the success of any business.
While many businesses do their own packing, fulfillment and shipping, a growing number of specialist service providers will do it for you.
Whether you do it yourself, or hire a company like Technik to handle your packing, fulfillment and possibly also your shipping for you, it is important that you appreciate and understand what the best business practices are in relation to these jobs.
Best Practices for Packing
Any products that are going to be shipped will need to be properly packed and labeled, either manually (which is generally time consuming and labor intensive) or done with an automated packaging system. However it is done, it’s important that packaging and presentation are part of the ultimate shopping experience of customers.
Of course it is essential that goods are packaged in the best possible way for each product. It is usually best to keep packaging minimal and as small as possible, though it shouldn’t make the product virtually invisible, and packaging must protect the goods being shipped.
This can be a challenge for many business owners since there is nothing obviously standard about packaging. It’s not just fitting goods into the best containers, it’s also got a lot to do with presentation. This is not as important if you are shipping directly to customers (though good presentation often tends to result in reorders, and bad presentation has the opposite effect), but it is hugely important for high street retailers who will be selling what they buy from your business off their shelves.
Branding is also important whether you are posting direct or aiming for shop shelves where your customers will hope your products will attract buyers. This doesn’t only relate to the packages used, but also labels and printing. Furthermore, labels must be compatible with packages. If you can’t place labels on boxes and other packages then you’ve got a problem already.
Best Practices for Fulfillment
Having taken care of packing issues, you want to be sure that packages are handled properly and carefully. For instance, you need to be sure the storage facility is clean and works efficiently. Packages must be properly stored and available for shipping on due date. It’s not rocket science, but it often pays to call in a fulfillment provider, particularly a service provider with experience that has a warehouse that can automate the process for you.
Having a good fulfillment policy or using good fulfillment services can help you:
- Manage your inventory professionally with up-to-date status reports
- Ensure that you can constantly review and revise content supply
- Balance the assets of the business quickly and accurately
- Mix and match the materials you work with and ship and in this way lower freight costs
- Reduce the printing and shipping costs of the business by minimizing excess materials
Best Practices for Shipping
There are several vital elements to consider when shipping goods. These include:
- Delivery time Your customers don’t want to wait for items and they want to know, at least within short time periods, when they are going to receive what they have ordered. If you or your chosen service provider can provide a premium option (best would be next day delivery), then your business will immediately be at an advantage.
- Pick up If you or your service provider is able to schedule pickups you can usually save trips to the carrier.
- Tracking Customers like to know where their purchased items are, especially if they cannot be delivered overnight or within a few days. Most good carriers are able to provide a tracking system because this really is good practice.
Other issues include how and what to charge for shipping. Whether you are shipping goods yourself or using a partner like Technik to do the shipping for you, you need to know what strategy will be used. If free shipping isn’t an option, you can charge a flat rate regardless of what people buy, or you can charge what you will be charged by the carrier you are using. Both options can work, though flat-rate shipping is often complicated by certain factors, including products that differ in weight and size.
Contact the friendly professionals at Technik now for more information that could positively impact on your business.