Finding The Right Fulfilment Partner

With so many options and setups available, choosing the right fulfilment partner is the hardest part of any 3pl journey. You need to make sure the provider can handle your needs in the manner you wish. Getting this right takes communication and time.

 

Table of contents:

1. What And When?
2. Your Requirements Now And In The Future.
3. Their Service
4. Can You Grow Together?
5. Additional Services
6. Comparing Fulfilment Partner Providers
7. Trust, SLA’s, And Standards
8. Making The Final Decision.

order fulfilment

What And When?

An order fulfilment partner helps you deliver higher service to your online customers. They can provide improved customer touchpoints and meet or even exceed customer expectations.

You should be using one if you are too small to run your own warehouse or too large to handle order volume. Choosing the right time to invest in upgraded fulfilment is another critical decision. Typically sellers outsource order fulfilment as they approach thousands of orders per month.

A 3pl handles your warehouse storage, picking and packing, shipping, and returns processing.

 

Your Requirements Now And In The Future.

Ok so now we know what a fulfilment partner can do for us and when we should use one.

What do we specifically need from a partner?

Drilling down into your requirements before starting your 3pl search is imperative. You will get down to your final 3 much faster if providers do not meet your requirements.

Some of the not so standard needs your business may have, are.

  • Oversized and pre-packed items
  • Heavy items
  • Kitting/ De-kitting
  • Steaming & Stitching
  • Bulk Orders
  • Packaging inserts
  • Returns management

There is no end to the potential requirements your business has but answering these questions and knowing your products before shopping around will help you ask the right questions when having a discovery call.

Things to know about your products and stores before approaching 3pl’s.

  • Size and weight of your products
  • Number of SKU’s you will be using
  • Order volume now and future predictions
  • Frequency and volume of supplier shipments
  • Your current costs

 

Their Service

Besides matching your requirements, how is their customer service? Any partner you work with should do exactly that – work with you. If pulling your teeth out is preferable to solving problems with a partner, then the benefits of said partner are not forthcoming.

You outsource business units to save time and reduce the number of headaches that present themselves. Make sure your partner will work with you when things change. This is even more important in these turbulent times we find ourselves in now.

Look for quotes from existing customers and see what they have to say, maybe reach out to one to see if you can get a response – social media is an amazing place to find real opinions.

 

Can You Grow Together?

So, you know what is needed from day one, but do they understand your shooting for the stars? Will they be able to support you on your journey to e-commerce dominance? Do they have the capacity to double your storage space? It is always a good idea to talk through where you want to be in 9 or 12-months’ time and ensure they can be right there with you.
Switching providers and moving stock can be expensive, it is better to go slow and get the right partner first time. You want to be the tortoise, not the hare.

Additional Services

We touched on it briefly during your requirements but does the 3pl partners you’re looking at offer any additional services? Services that you could potentially use in the future to benefit and grow your business. Bundling or kitting is one of those services which may not be a year-round deal for you but BFCM/Christmas period calls for deals and bargains. Everyone loves a good bundle of awesome products. Find out about how you’re potential partners help their clients capitalize on busy periods and what is moving through their network.

 

Comparing Providers

This is possibly the hardest part of the process. Pricing structures vary wildly. There are old school and new school trains of thought here. Old school is generally standard flat fees with extra charges should you go over, but no reduction should you stay under. On the other hand, innovative 3pl’s are moving to consumption-based pricing and passing those savings onto you. It comes down to the following question: Are you comfortable with a varying fulfilment price that is effective and efficient, or do you like to have a minimum payment with the potential for overs should your business do well?

In our opinion saving up to 40% on fulfilment cost is worth the uncertainty of variable consumption-based pricing, but at the end of the day, it’s what you feel most comfortable with.

Be wary of hidden fees, padding and mandatory minimums that can potentially carry penalties.

One notably capital-intensive action is warehouse intake. We discuss this more here. It is very important to understand the process which you are subscribing too and avoid potentially hefty penalty fees.

 

Trust, SLA’s & Standards

As the delivery experience is one of the few touchpoints you get with customers, be sure you can trust your chosen partner to deliver what they have said. Do they have a track record they are proud of and shout about?

Can they, for example, say they have picked and packed with 100% accuracy since their launch? Selazar can and does at every opportunity. Like just now.

Reliable, accurate service can be a staple of your brand’s growth going forward. Meeting or exceeding consumer expectations through fantastic delivery increases brand loyalty, LTV, and turns your customers into brand advocates – the most important marketing you will ever do!

Customers who receive excellent delivery service and unboxing experiences are 9% more likely to leave a 4 or 5-star review. You know, as a savvy business operator good reviews lead to more sales and thus kick starts and snowballs your growth plans.

 

Making The Final Decision.

So now we understand how to approach this critical decision. We also understand the importance of getting it right.

What now? Well, once you have narrowed the field, based on current requirements, next step is to review your growth plans and narrow again based on who will be the best partner not just for now but for 12 months from now too.

Then look at the technology they are using. Is it innovative or on the cutting edge of what is possible? With the rapid advancement in technology, these days choosing an outdated methodology now will ensure you get left behind in the future.

It would be considered a miss not to talk about price, but the thing that really matters is value. The cheapest service is not necessarily the right one for you. It comes down to your future – bad reputations are hard to shift, and good ones are hard to stop from growing. Starting on the right foot and scaling quickly will allow you to leverage better prices from a volume-based industry.

The right partner will be worth their weight in gold; price should be the final call on a 50/50 decision, not the starting point.

One final point of advice – look at the people you will be partnering with. At the end of the day this is a commitment which is costly to change. If you simply do not like the people at the end of the phone, then do not work with them.

So, to wrap it all up;

  • Know what you need, now and in the future
  • Ensure they can grow with you
  • Check out their tech
  • Understand the value of their pricing model and watch out for hidden fee’s.

Now you are ready to make the decision on your fulfilment partner. Go forth and conquer your inner eCommerce guru.

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3pl Logistics: Growing your Health & Beauty Business

As a 3pl logistics company, we know the importance of running a competent business with lots of moving parts. Deciding to go into business is a big decision. Knowing which industry to get into is also a big decision. How do you know where to focus your attention so that you get the best results? Well, one good tactic to focus on is demand.

Where there is demand, there is opportunity. You have made a wise choice for those who have gone into the industry of health and beauty products or at least are considering it. We want to help explain the ever-growing importance of this industry as well as how 3pl logistics will help to assist in this area of expanding your operations with ease.

Table of contents

1) Demand for health and beauty products in 2021

2) 3pl Logistics and Smart fulfilment provide business leverage in other areas

3) Brand control and custom packaging with 3pl logistics

4) The importance of organic and cruelty-free products

5) Health and Beauty Product Bundling

 

UK HEALTH AND BEAUTY ECOMMERCE MARKET IS GROWING

Over the last year, the health and beauty industry has seen explosive growth. One study has concluded that the UK health and beauty sector will reach £39.4 billion this year. This is an increase from £27 billion in 2020. Globally the market is predicted to reach a jaw-dropping £716 billion by 2025. The fastest-growing segment for health and beauty products is the online retail market, accounting for over half the total sales.

A Vouchercloud study has shown that the UK health and beauty market is one of the largest globally, just behind the Ukraine and Sweden. It’s important to note that even though the UK eCommerce market saw a reduction in sales from 2020 to 2021 by 6.1 %, it is still the third-largest eCommerce market in the world, just below the US and China.

3pl

Brick and Mortar VS Online Selling of Health & Beauty Products

Now with the more relaxed pandemic freedoms, more customers are flocking to traditional bricks and mortar stores. Trying on products before you buy is always a great incentive for consumers. However, because the online market is still so popular, many large companies have both a physical store and an eCommerce presence. In fact, eight of the largest online retailers also have a high street presence.

3pl warehouse, pick and pack warehouse, 3pl logistics

With high demand can also bring high competition, so online retailers need to be as efficient and transparent as possible with their products. For traditional walk-in stores, having the extra inventory on hand to ship and send your products to your loyal customer base will keep you competitive with other exclusive online brands, allowing you to leverage both sales channels.

 

3PL LOGISTICS & SMART FULFILMENT PROVIDE BUSINESS LEVERAGE IN OTHER AREAS

Smart fulfilment refers to the technological practice and process of storing, managing, and sending products to your customers. 3pl logistics services allow businesses the freedom to focus on other areas of their business by leveraging our services.

In 2021 great health and beauty products are everywhere. We have the option to buy the identical product from various providers. So, why do some companies dominate and stand out from the others? Why do certain companies lead in this industry?

There are many reasons for this, but a significant reason is that these companies pay attention to more than simply offering great products. They also focus on branding, marketing, and personal service for better reach and a well-rounded 360-customer approach. Customer service is still a very critical element in a saturated post-modern online market.

Almost 90% of buyers are willing to pay more for improved customer experience

Another vital area of the business worth mentioning is fast delivery.

Quick delivery is a critical component of smart fulfilment it’s a result of optimal picking, packing, and final mile delivery. 1 to 2-day delivery provides a better D2C business relationship, encouraging future sales.

Companies that outsource to third-party logistics will have a leg up on the competition so that they can focus on all the other important areas of customer satisfaction. As you grow and scale your business and deal with recurring orders online, you will learn that automation is your best friend. Outsourcing to a 3pl will save you both money and time.

 

3PL logistics: Next-day delivery

If you read our article “The importance of next day delivery,” you will see that quick delivery is the new customer expectation. It is no longer a simple convenience, but I believe compulsory for businesses in 2021.

“49% of shoppers say that next-day delivery makes them more likely to shop online”

As a growing business, the ability to send more and more parcels gets more challenging as sales increase. Failing to meet the demand of delivery within 48 hours will quickly sink your business.

95% of customers tell others about a bad experience, and 87% share good experiences.

When you fail to despatch products in 1 – 2 days, you risk losing customers to another company that offers it. Next day delivery is a must.

 

Brand Control and Custom Packaging with 3PL Logistics

Outsourcing your health and beauty products to a 3pl provider is a wise decision. Before doing so, it may cause hesitancy to relinquish control.

You may have compared pricing with different companies, looked at warehouse locations, or feared losing brand control.

When you’ve invested so much time and energy into your business, you don’t want it to go to waste, right? Being hesitant is a normal reaction, but you don’t have to worry about that with 3pl logistics. Companies like Selazar take the time to handle your final product presentation and brand packaging with great care and meticulous attention to detail.

Brand packaging matters because customers associate with more than just the products. They also associate with values and pleasing aesthetics of the packaging. The most successful companies understand this.

“30% of businesses report an increase in revenue after improving product packaging”

With the right fulfilment partner, you don’t have to worry about these issues. You can remain steadfast with your brand control. You will always have complete brand control with every detail of your fulfilment process, generating and keeping loyal customers as always.

“43% of people spend more money on brands they’re loyal to”

One of the best health and beauty brands in the UK that fulfil with Selazar is Upcircle. You can see an example of their custom packaging below.

 

THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC & CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS

product bundling, upcircle products, order fulfilment, ecommerce fulfilment, brands that use a 3pl, third party logistics services, growing health and beauty industry 2021, uk health and beauty product shipping, 3pl warehouse, 3pl servicesUnfortunately, the evidence has shown that animal testing in the Health & beauty industry is staggering. Approximately 100,000 to 200,000 animals suffer and die every year from animal testing in cosmetics alone. One company that is doing something about this is Cruelty-Free International. They gather signatures every day from regular consumers to prevent these cruel practices. They’ve collected millions of signatures from all over the world.

 

“A survey of over 15,000 women who buy beauty products concluded that 43% would stop using a beauty product that tested on animals.”

 

Why does this matter?

Well, it matters when working with similar value-centred, socially conscious companies. Growing your brand should also include a 3pl that knows the importance of responsible business practices. That’s why Selazar practices eco-friendly packaging and sustainability.

Eco-friendly packaging

Also known as “sustainable packaging” or “green packaging,” this Earth-friendly fulfilment alternative decreases our carbon footprint. The types of eco packaging supplies associated with green packaging are renewable materials that are safe and sustainable. This includes plastic-free materials, corrugated cardboard, and gummed tape.

“75% of Millennials are willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable product, compared to 63% of Gen Z, 64% of Gen X, and 57% of Boomers”

 

HEALTH AND BEAUTY PRODUCT BUNDLING (DEALS!!!)

Selling health and beauty products comes with all sorts of miscellaneous items like cremes, foundations, brushes, and more. Product bundling or kitting involves picking and packing multiple items and pre-packing them for dispatch Accurate projections are vital with the old-school way.

However in the new-school way, when customers place an order online through your website, our innovative packaging algorithm notifies the distribution warehouse to gather multiple items into a single order. Keeping your stock dynamic – like you!

So, if a customer likes the deal you’ve virtually created, we’ll grab the components and create the bundle at pick time. Making a real bundle to your unboxing specifications. Simple. Convenient. Effective.

 

Conclusion

The health and beauty industries are only going to get better it seems. Make sure you have the right service to help you not only grow steadily but easily. Automation and tech-first smart fulfilment operations are key to managing your products and your brand. Let us know how we can help grow your health and beauty brand with 3pl logistics.

Expanding Fulfilment Operations with new 3PL Warehouse

Announcement: Our new 3pl warehouse

London, 26 May 2021: Rapidly growing eCommerce fulfilment company Selazar has announced the expansion of its operations, with the opening of a new state-of-the-art flagship 3pl warehouse in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The new warehouse will see the UK-based tech company increase its reach to all areas of the country via this prime geographical location.

 

 

Selazar, which was founded in Belfast and also has offices in London and Birmingham, has been on a solid growth trajectory since its launch in 2019. The company has developed a highly innovative proprietary eCommerce fulfilment platform and primarily services medium-sized and bespoke retailers throughout the UK.

The new flagship 3pl warehouse offers the UK’s most accurate fulfilment service.

It is designed for high-speed, high-volume operations and is already demonstrating its capabilities. In the initial test phase, pick time was reduced by 20 percent within 30 days of the commencement of operations. Peak output volume for the facility is 250,000 orders per month and 1,000,000 picks per month at full speed.

Commenting on the opening of the new warehouse, Jack Williams, CEO of Selazar said: “Our new state-of-the-art warehouse marks an important milestone in our ability to provide fast and innovative fulfilment services throughout the UK. As we push to bring turnaround times lower and lower, we are constantly working to optimise our performance. At the Nuneaton warehouse, we’ve managed to turn orders around in less than 30 minutes. Our new target is sub-15-minutes. As an emerging start-up being recognised within the tech eCommerce space, Selazar is proud to bring 75 new jobs to the local community in the near future. “

The flagship 3pl warehouse setup was completed in record time, only two weeks to fully prep the site for change over. Using our tech-first approach, Selazar successfully migrated to the new site without interrupting our partner’s service. The new site will become home to a technology innovation centre where product lines and new start-ups can benefit from market-beating technology while they build pipelines and scale their business.

 

The start of an explosive expansion journey began right here in Nuneaton. The lessons learned and success of onboarding this site will form the base plan for Selazar’s expansion across the UK, EU and the Globe.

Selazar customer Will Duffield CEO & Founder, Starwood Sports – a UK-based retailer of premium products for recreational sports said: “Selazar has been an ideal partner for Starwood Sports, in both optimising our customer experience and distribution costs. The team understands our business and offers outstanding service that has helped us to grow our business. We’re certain the new Nuneaton warehouse will extend Selazar’s capabilities, which will be to the benefit of us and our customers.”

3pl warehouse, 3pl fulfilment centre, fulfilment centre uk, fulfilment centre Nuneaton, fulfilment warehouse near me,

About Selazar

Selazar is a UK-based tech-first eCommerce fulfilment specialist. The company has developed a proprietary, cloud-based warehousing and fulfilment platform for eCommerce retailers. We pick pack and ship products to your customers as efficiently as possible. No fuss, no headaches, just streamlined intelligent automated operations. Our transparent system lets retailers understand, track and ignore the complex process of fulfilment, allowing them to get on with the real work – growing their business.

Being recognised in Northern Ireland for our innovative approach, Innovate NI and Tech Nation have both recognised Selazar with awards for our easy to use platform.

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