June 20, 2012, 4:52 PM

When selecting a fulfillment provider, ask tough questions

Don’t be afraid to ask prospective vendors if they’ve lost customers—and why.

No matter how attractive an e-commerce site is, an inability to quickly fulfill orders can leave a retailer without much repeat business. So if an outside fulfillment provider is part of the game plan, choose wisely, fulfillment experts say.

If there’s one lesson to learn when choosing a fulfillment services provider, covering warehousing and pick-pack-ship operations, it’s not to make any assumptions regarding a vendor’s capabilities and its record in serving other retailers, Bill Shea, general manager, Wine Country Gift Baskets, and Mike Murray, senior vice president, operations, ShopNBC, said at the Internet Retailer 2012 Conference & Exhibition in a session titled “10 questions to ask you fulfillment provider.”

Retailers should ask to see evidence of such things as the accuracy of order fulfillment forecasts, and to view warehousing details such as the storage capacity, depth of SKUs that can be stored, and the operating efficiency of item picking and packing systems. “Do the math, and ask the operational folks, not the marketing folks,” at the prospective provider, Murray urged.

It’s also important to understand where the provider may have fallen short in services, and why, Shea said. Don’t hesitate to ask a vendor, “Have you lost any customers—why?” Shea suggested. And get the answer from someone directly involved with the former customer, if not the former customer itself.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Recent Posts from this Blog

FPO

Bernardo Lustosa / E-Commerce

The best way to stop fraud: Make the fraudster quit

Rapid rejection of multiple fraud attempts shows fraudsters that their approach is not working.

FPO

Tia Matsumoto / E-Commerce

Marketing tips for Peak 2016: Start early, finish strong!

A checklist of things to do now to get your email marketing program ready for ...

FPO

Guru Hariharan / E-Commerce

The margin metric that matters and how it improves profitability

Margin analysis first identifies areas where gross and contribution margins are not aligned and then ...

FPO

Lindsey Murray / E-Commerce

How content marketing can increase web traffic and SEO

Blog posts that were published years ago can continue driving leads traffic to your site.

Advertisement

Advertisement