We understand your business may be interested in learning more about precisely what Sherpack provides, and how our process works step by step. To help out, we’ve created this guide on just what it means to partner with Sherpack, how the process works, and what exactly you can expect from us from start to finish.
What is the Fulfillment Process?
Fulfillment is everything it takes to complete an order for a customer: That includes receiving and confirming a new order, selecting the right inventory, and delivering that inventory to the customer. Fulfillment strategies tend to focus on storage, picking, and shipping processes, since this is where logistics can get a little more complicated – especially for a company experiencing new growth.
An ideal fulfillment process will quickly register the customer order, pick and prep the product in a short time, and ship it out ASAP. Shipping will be done via the right providers so that packages will arrive by the date processed, in the condition promised. The result is a happy customer!
What is 3rd Party Fulfillment?
1st-party order fulfillment happens when the company takes care of storing, picking, and shipping items as necessary. This is a good option for newer, smaller businesses that have a lot of face-to-face interaction with customers, because they don’t usually have many shipments to handle and their inventory is still fairly simple.
However, as a business grows, several things change. Many companies begin to grow the ecommerce side of their business, and need new fulfillment services to deal with the orders that come in online. They may expand the region that they serve, which means broader and more complex shipping they may not be prepared for. Companies may also begin to offer more products with greater customization, posing shipping challenges that they aren’t quite equipped to deal with.
In situations like these, a 3rd-party fulfillment company like Sherpack steps in and takes care of fulfillment logistics. Companies ship products to the fulfillment company, which then takes care of proper packaging, kitting, and shipping that abides by company guidelines. Not all 3rd party fulfillment companies offer the same services or partnerships, so it’s important to compare fulfillment options so you know which is the best to work with, depending on your business.
Should I Use a Fulfillment Company?
There are several signs that it’s time to consider using a fulfillment company. One is an increased number of orders that you don’t have time to process as soon as you would like. Another is technical requirements for shipping and inventory management that your team isn’t well-equipped to deal with. Other companies may find that they are seeing a lot more order errors or shipping returns and decide something needs to change. These are all classic situations where a 3rd-party fulfillment company can step in to help out.
What Are the 8 Steps of Sherpack’s Fulfillment Process?
At this point, you’re probably interested in the details, so let’s change focus and talk in more depth about what exactly Sherpack’s fulfillment looks like. To help, we’ve divided the process into eight simple steps to explain our role and how your business benefits.
1. You Create Your Brand, Your Incredible Products, and Your Store
This is where your company is at now, right? You’ve built a business that you are proud of, and you’ve found an optimal way to create your products for a variety of customers. You’ve got a logo and brand that you’re proud to display, and a storefront – either digital, physical, or both – where people can easily browse and buy items. But as the wrinkles get ironed out, you realize you need some help shipping the orders to customers. And since this is a key part of your customer service, you need a partner you can count on. So you contact Sherpack.
You Connect with One of Our Trail Guides
We start every new customer out with one of our skilled “Trail Guides.” These are special representatives trained to discuss the details of your company’s needs and find which of our solutions could work best in your situation…and for your future plans. Then they help you get set up fast so we can work together ASAP! Trail Guides can advise you on all sorts of fulfillment questions, depending on your level of experience with shipping, but a few of their key services include:
- Set up shipping from our factory with our great freight rates: We’ll get you started with a smooth pickup process and make sure you know exactly where your products will end up, and what freight rates you can get for any particular goods along the way.
- Set up customized receiving and quality control procedures: If your business has special product needs, your Trail Guide will be happy to create a more specific solution for any goods. Maybe you need extra security guarantees or specific climate control – just let us know! Or perhaps you have specific quality control requests to make sure every single package is delivered to each customer the right way: Your Trail Guide will make sure the right quality checks are incorporated into the process.
- Set up packaging guidelines, custom boxes, stickers, etc.: If you have any concerns or desires regarding packaging, make sure you talk about it with your Trail Guide. They can help make sure that packaging meets specific guidelines or includes content like a logo sticker, the right kind of taper, or whatever is most important for your brand. We can also help you set up customized kitting and boxes for subscriptions, bundles, and other special cases.
3. Integrate All of Your Sales Channels Into Sherpack
Once you find an arrangement that works for your company, we work to integrate your sales channels with our system so order data can pass back and forth smoothly. This step can vary depending on just what order system your business uses, how you control inventory, and other details, but we’ll find a solution that’s right for your data management.
For ecommerce platforms, Sherpack can easily integrate with all major platforms for end-to-end tracking, including Square, Shopify, PayPal, Magento, BigCartel, Woo Commerce, 3Dcart, and more. If you don’t use one of the big platforms on your website, then we can build out the integration ourselves to make sure things still work. Ultimately, we make sure that orders can easily, and immediately pass from your company to us.
4. We Receive Your Orders and Begin the Shipping Process
With full-channel integration, Sherpack is ready to take your order information. With storage and packaging options chosen by our Trail Guide, we are ready to receive your products. The next step is receiving orders and getting rid to ship your products out to your customers!
Note that Sherpack does not charge a minimum fee for storage. Our storage fees are based on much product you have in our facility. For our streamlined Pick and Pack process fees are based on the minimum amount of storage required for that process. As always, if you have any questions you can ask your Trail Guide for more information.
5. Sherpack Suggests Best Shipping Methods if Necessary
You may have already discussed this with your Trail Guide to get a good idea of shipping and rates. If not, now that Sherpack is receiving your orders and all their data, we’re in the perfect position to recommend the best shipping based on your goals.
Typically, growing businesses have a couple of different priorities when choosing a shipping method. Some prefer to focus on low costs. Some need fast delivery. We’ll pick the right option for you and explain routes, shipping mechanics, and any other details you need to know.
6. Your Customer Receives an Automated Email for Tracking
As soon as shipping begins, your customer will receive an automated email letting them know that the item has been shipped, where they can look to get updates, and how they can track the location of their shipment for more details.
7. Your Customer Receives Products Exactly How You Had in Mind
Your product arrives at your customer’s destination at the right time, with the right packaging, with the labels you had in mind. Your business gets a notification that shipping is complete for that order so you can update your records as necessary, and send out any follow-up emails, etc., that your brand may have in mind.
8. Easy Reorders Are Enabled for the Customer to Order Again
Depending on your inventory integration, your customers can easily re-order as needed for a new shipment. You get more business, more customer loyalty, and the same great shipping service as before. Repeat as needed while you focus on business growth!
Does this sound like something your growing company needs? Are you interested in learning more? Contact Sherpack today, and we’ll be happy to connect you with a Trail Guide of your own to answer questions about support, shipping rates, packaging, and anything else you need to know to make the right shipping decisions for your company.