Order Fulfilment Services for Pet Food and Pet accessories 2022

For all the pet lovers out there, we know that we consider our pets a part of our family. We want the best options for them when it comes to pet food and accessories. For online business owners, when it comes to order fulfilment services for pet food and accessories, don’t you also want the best?

Today we’re discussing the process of outsourcing your order fulfilment for pet products to a 3pl. You should be considering all sorts of factors when automating product delivery to your loyal customers – such as next day delivery, technology & warehouse management, custom packaging, and 3pl costs. So, lets discuss order fulfilment services for pet food and accessories in 2022.

Table of contents

1) Online market for pet food and accessories

2) Order fulfilment services: Warehouse management pet food storage with a 3pl

3) Next-day delivery of pet food and accessories

4) Pet accessories custom packaging order fulfilment services

5) Scale your pet brand with a variable pricing structure

6) Order fulfilment services for pet food and pet accessories 2022

 

Couple smiling with a happy dog, pet food and accessories, order fulfilment services

Online market for pet food and accessories

Pet food and accessories are one of the largest online markets that exist today. People love their household pets, and this is an industry that is no fad – but a forever booming market. After all, it is estimated that some 62% of households in the world have pets. Pet ownership in the UK has increased every year since 2015 – with consumers spending more than £3 billion on pet food alone. The largest market segments by far are dogs and cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and hamsters. As of 2022, the world market for pet food is USD 94.6 billion – and is expecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% from 2022 to 2030.

In the UK, 20% of pet owners also spend at least £20 per month on outfits, toys, and non-food-related essentials for their pets. This is everything from water and food bowls to leashes and collars, pet beds, and grooming brushes. Because pets need regular grooming between four and six weeks, home grooming products are big sellers. Also, the #1 seller in 2021 were dental care toys, and treats – followed closely by novelty pet beds.

When it comes to our love of our pets, we spare no expense. The online pet food and accessories market is one of the largest industries that will forever dominate eCommerce sales. That is why it is vital you partner with a seasoned 3pl provider that will take your brand to the next level.

 

Order fulfilment services: Warehouse management pet food storage with a 3pl

In the logistics industry, warehouse management is everything. The best 3pls have efficient methods of organisation that incorporate technology for managing stock. Any warehouse management done without a WMS (Warehouse management system) is ineffective and will create mistakes. Pet food must be logged and handled correctly; otherwise, brands will face returns and customer abandonment. Responsibilities for warehouse management include keeping inventory secure in an organised environment, picking and packing the inventory when orders come in online, forecasting supply volumes, and tracking orders in real-time. Ecommerce warehousing ensures your orders are processed smoothly from intake to final mile delivery.

Fifo

When it comes to proper inventory management, there are several methods to make sure inventory is properly stored. One stock management method is FIFO, known as first in, first out. When it comes to ambient foods and products that expire, it’s important that the freshest products are available for consumption first. This means the warehouse must scan, log, and organise in a manner that is compliant with food storage practices. This is why manual methods with 3PLs are liabilities. Real-time computer data is a failsafe for products expiring and being delivered to consumers. This is how technology and FIFO efficiently manage operations.

 

 

image of dog on boxes - pet food delivery order fulfilment, pet food 3pl services

Next day delivery of pet food and accessories

There are several touchpoints that matter when making that final buying decision for customers. There are always price and quality of course, but also delivery speed. In a new age of retail in 2022, customer expectations have changed. Dispatch speed matters when it comes to getting products to your customers fast.

“62% of shoppers say delivery speed influences their purchasing decisions.”

When it comes to ordering pet food, there can’t be much lag time. Consumers often wait until the last minute to renew their online orders for their pets – and “Fido” the cat will not put up with delayed fancy feast delights. Same-day dispatch matters to ensure next-day delivery. Selazar has industry-leading dispatch times that guarantee products move out fast, in the right order, in the most efficient way. This is why brands like Buddy & Lola count on our pet food storage and fulfilment services.

Peak shopping time during the week is between 5 pm and 9 pm. This is why we guarantee same-day dispatch for orders made before 7 pm and offer next-day delivery on orders received before 9 pm. Do not work with a 3pl that has average dispatch times around the industry between 1 and 2 pm. Your consumers will abandon you, and other brands will outsell you.

“26% of online shoppers abandon purchases due to long shipping times.”

 

Pet accessories custom packaging 3pl services

When it comes to your brand, it’s precious. It matters in modern times when customers associate their lifestyles massively with brands. For example, brands such as Buddy & Lola sell non-GMO, gluten-free products tested free from pesticides and glyphosate. Their eco-conscious natural approach to their brand resonates with pet owners. Their packaging and branding reflect this.

50% of consumers say branded packaging makes them more likely to recommend a brand to their friends – with 61% saying branded packaging makes them more excited about receiving products. Branded packaging exposure for your brand is another component of customer experiences. It all matters. Use only 3pl services that offer custom packaging for your brand. This can all be accommodated from fillers to boxes with a high-quality third-party logistics provider.

Image of pet food from Buddy and Lola - custom packaging and brand awareness - 3pl services

 

Scale your pet brand with a variable pricing structure

Scalability is on the minds of practically every business owner. Who doesn’t want to grow and make more sales? When it comes to using a 3pl for your pet products, it will be more beneficial with the right pricing structure. I’m talking about fixed vs variable pricing structures.

As more of your pet food and accessories are sold and fulfilled, it helps to have a pricing system with the best value.

Fixed pricing structures offer no flexibility. “A” always equals “B”. £5 per delivery, £6 per delivery, etc. Suppose the cost to fulfil the order as the 3pl was £2 for their business, but you were still charged £6? Businesses need to make a profit obviously to survive, but how does that help you with your profit margin? At Selazar, when we save, you save. Our pick and pack industry-leading rates keep costs low for business owners. So, with this system, prices will fluctuate up and down per order – but never above what was agreed.

This is innovation in 3pl costs.

It’s what is known as a fixed cap variable pricing structure. This methodology ensures you can save more money and scale your online business better.

image of ecommerce warehouse, pet food storage, pet food delivery, pet accessories shipping and storage

 

Order fulfilment Services for Pet food and accessories in 2022

If you’re an online retailer selling pet food and pet supplies/accessories, do your due diligence before picking your 3pl. They are not all created equal and will greatly impact your business. They will be your partner in business, essentially the logistics wing of your operations. Know what you want from your order fulfilment services – from next-day delivery to custom packaging and 3pl pricing. The relationship is important and needs to be built on trust. Should you be interested in our order fulfilment services, set up a no-obligation free discovery call today.

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Fulfilment Services: The dos and don’ts of using a 3pl

Are you currently pondering partnering with a 3pl for your fulfilment services? Are you perhaps already aligned with a 3pl and want to make a change? Whatever the reason, or if you don’t know about 3pl services, this is the article for you. By the end, you will understand what third-party logistics provide for your online business and how you can avoid the common pitfalls of using inferior 3pl companies.

You want to form a strong and productive relationship with your fulfilment services partner. They are an extension of your brand, so trust and reliance are critical. Let’s discuss the complete dos and don’ts of using a 3pl.

Table of contents

1) What is fulfilment services?

2) Inventory Management

3) Custom Packaging Fulfilment Services

4) Dispatch times and services

5) Next Day Delivery

6) Fulfilment Services Contracts

7) Customer service

8) Eco-Friendly shipping

9) Fulfilment Services for eCommerce Businesses

 

What is fulfilment services?

Fulfilment services are a third-party logistics provider that assists online sellers in housing and delivering their products to customers. Fulfilment services are vital to any online business, as they both simplify the ordering process and help businesses streamline operations. They essentially act as the logistics arm of your operations for getting your goods to your buyers.

3PLs offer a variety of fulfilment services for eCommerce businesses. For example, storage and inventory management, picking and packing your products, and shipping your orders to your customers when items are purchased on your website. They also offer custom packaging, inventory management software (so you can manage products online from anywhere), next-day delivery, and returns management.

A comprehensive fulfilment services provider gives you the ability to rapidly build and scale your online business by enabling you to ship large volumes of products – without all the hassle of actually doing it yourself!

What is a fulfilment centre?

Fulfilment centres are centralised warehouse locations where goods are processed, then stored and packaged for shipment to customers. Many online retailers prefer to use 3PLs for fulfilment services as owning or renting a warehouse themselves is expensive – plus shipping and packing products for delivery are time-consuming. Fulfilment services free you up to focus on your core business, meaning growing your product line or marketing your brand.

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Inventory Management

Inventory management is the process of managing the storage and flow of inventory within a 3pl warehouse. Many retailers are not aware of how important it is to have an accurate inventory of their products. Product and supply chain managers take inventory of items that need replenishment and oversee all necessary operations related to warehouse stock. With multiple SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and omnichannel fulfilment, inventory management can get tricky if your business doesn’t facilitate good practices.

DO

Do use a 3pl that digitally maps their warehouse and use tech-first methods for scanning, storing, and managing products. Warehouse management software (WMS) should always be used for accuracy and efficiency. Selazar has a 99.9% order accuracy rate because of our technology.

DON’T

Do not use a 3pl that uses manual methods of managing your inventory. These older primitive warehouse inventory management methods are inefficient and prone to mistakes.

Custom Packaging Fulfilment Services

If you’re a brand-focused seller, chances are you require custom packaging for your products. After all, having great “unboxing experiences” creates a strong affinity with your customer’s brand perception – so it’s imperative to use a 3pl that handles your custom packaging. 3pls that offer custom packaging will have their own standard boxes but will use your custom box if you have them. They also have their own packing supplies – but will insert your custom cards, and other custom additions should you require them.

DO

Do use a 3pl that offers custom packaging. Even if you don’t currently need custom packaging, it’s a favourable option if your brand chooses to do so later.

DON’T

Don’t use a fulfilment services solution that doesn’t offer custom packaging if it’s important to your brand. One of the worst purveyors of fulfilment that do not do custom packaging is FBA – which delivers everything with its own branded packaging. Though fulfilling with them has perks, complete brand control is not one of them.

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Dispatch Times and Services

When fulfilment services refer to dispatch, that means an order that has been made online from your store has been picked from its shelf location and been made ready for pickup from the courier. If you were to think of this as delivering a parcel to a post box – then this is accurate. Though it’s not been delivered yet, it’s been (dispatched) made ready for pickup. This means packages can be delivered the same day or the next day depending on courier pick-up times.

DO

Do use a 3pl that offers same-day dispatch and has longer dispatch times within the warehouse. This offers the best solution for your customers. Dispatch speed is your competitive advantage – which is why Selazar offers later cut-off times for dispatch than its competitors. Any orders made by 7 pm are guaranteed same-day dispatch.

DON’T

Do not use a 3pl with standard industry dispatch cut-off times around 1 or 2 pm. This delays delivery times for your customers.

 

Next Day Delivery

Today customers have higher expectations than they did five years ago. Waiting 3 – 5 days for a package used to be normal – then it increased to 2 – 3 days. As eCommerce has expanded and supply chain logistics have gotten more efficient, more customers are expecting next-day delivery. A recent survey found that 62% of people expect next-day delivery options.

DO

Do use fulfilment services that offer next-day delivery for your customers. It’s much more convenient and will keep customers happy.

DON’T

Don’t use a 3pl that is unable to offer next-day delivery. Your competitors will be looking for the same solutions for fulfilment services, so don’t neglect these options – or you may lose customers simply due to delivery options.

Fulfilment Services Contracts

Going into business with any 3pl for fulfilment services can make you feel nervous – after all, they are looking after your business interests. Getting into a contract that you can’t get out of (when you’re very unhappy with services rendered) could be a nightmare. It’s always a smart idea to have the freedom to decide your business strategy – if and when you want to.

DO

Do use a 3pl with rolling month-to-month contracts. Whether due to budgetary constraints or you’re simply unhappy with their services, it’s always best to have an immediate exit strategy later.

DON’T

Don’t get into annual or multi-annual contracts. This could be detrimental to your businesses should your fulfilment services provider not “deliver” on its promises. Also try to avoid unnecessary administrative costs such as “joining fees” or arbitrary annual costs. All 3pls have their own costs associated with their services to function obviously but be aware of unnecessary price-gouging practices.

Customer service

As a tech-forward 3pl, we pride ourselves on our technology for smart and efficient fulfilment services. However, when it comes to service, nothing beats good old-fashioned. Business is challenging, and when issues arise, you don’t have time as a business owner to wait for email replies or make a customer support ticket. Business moves fast, and sometimes you need help right away. Live customer service support will always remain a mandatory tenant of b2b service – no matter where technology takes us.

DO

Do use a 3pl that you can call and speak to over the phone (or via video chat) if and when you need it during regular business hours. Your business and time are valuable, and you should be treated with the respect and dignity you deserve. Never settle for less than excellent customer service with your 3pl.

DON’T

Don’t partner with a 3pl that does not value your business enough to pick up phone calls when you need them. In business, you need trust as well as respect. Make sure your 3pl is there for you and makes you their priority.

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Eco-Friendly shipping

Sustainability and green fulfilment strategies are responsible business practices that are mandatory for everybody to reduce our worldwide carbon footprint. We believe that sustainable practices are the future of supply chain logistics. That’s why we make it our mission to be a leader in environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices for our industry.

DO

Do use a 3pl with eco-friendly business practices. Ask them what they do precisely to be a part of the eco-friendly green revolution. An astonishing 81% of customers prefer to buy from sustainable sellers.

DON’T

Do not use fulfilment services with no commitment to ethical, eco-friendly practices. Consumers increasingly favour brands with a commitment to environmental sustainability.

 

Fulfilment Services for eCommerce Businesses

Third-party logistics are a single-source, integrated platform and service to help grow your eCommerce company faster, easier, and more cost-effectively. Finding the right fulfilment services partner will allow you to focus on your core competencies and reach more customers – while giving your business a hands-off worry-free experience.

One of the most common questions we hear about eCommerce fulfilment is whether companies should use a fulfilment service for their orders. The answer depends on the customers your company is trying to attract, the size of your order volume, and how you want to run your business. Fulfilment services are very useful and can help you save time and money. Outsourcing and automating your logistics for managing, packaging, and shipping products could reshape the future of your brand. If you have more questions about this or have other related fulfilment services questions, schedule a free no-obligation discovery call with us today.

 

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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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