If you‘re an e-commerce business and sell clothes and accessories online, you understand the unique challenges of fulfilling and shipping orders. If you manage the process in-house or have outsourced to a third party, it’s essential to consider the many ways that apparel fulfillment differs from shipping other types of products.
Working with experienced companies that provide apparel fulfillment services is essential because most companies understand packing and shipping apparel’s unique requirements. A partner who understands apparel will help you improve inventory management, reduce your fulfillment and shipping costs, and in the end, ensure your customers are satisfied. Here are more reasons why you need to work with a third-party fulfillment center that has experience managing apparel fulfillment orders.
High SKU (Store Keeping Unit) Counts.
Apparel fulfillment services ensure online apparel businesses can respond to market needs, evolve with fashion trends, and turn over inventory faster. Fashion is a tricky industry with short product life cycles that usually evolve around locations, trends, and seasons, while having a considerable product variation between women’s wear, menswear, and children’s wear and sizes. Therefore, apparel brands must maintain high standards of customer satisfaction to maintain brand loyalty.
Choosing the right apparel fulfillment service can help or break your business. You should ensure you choose a company that understands your business, is flexible, open, and can change course with the latest fashion trends. They should be able to manage and turn over SKU as fast as the seasons and trends change.
Managing high volumes of SKU is vital. Online stores that sell apparel tend to carry large volumes of SKUs that are also very similar, making inventory management processes a challenge. Technology and processes built around high SKU turnover are necessary to ensure efficient inventory management.
Efficient Receiving Procedures
A high volume of SKU doesn’t only make it difficult for inventory management, but they also strain a facility’s receiving department. Clothing manufacturers are known for shipping incorrect quantities of items. You have to trust and have a reliable fulfillment center that’s your eyes and ears on the inbound products, ensuring you’re getting the right quantities of items you’ve paid from manufacturers.
Eliminate Storing Inventory and Packing Boxes.
Unless you’re a brick and mortar shop, managing a physical space may not be ideal for you. Most e-commerce businesses avoid the hassle of storing inventory or dealing with warehouses. An apparel fulfillment center does all this for you, so that you don’t have to pack boxes every day and run to the post office every time a client places an order. They also have the experience and technology to make your business run smoothly. They use seamless integration with your sales channels and various management tools that ensure tasks are done efficiently, like inventory optimization and carrier selection.
You know it’s time to use the services of an apparel fulfillment center when you can no longer keep up with your increasing orders. They help you spend less time worrying about packing and shipping, and giving you more time to grow your business.
Sometimes, products are sold together, like a matching pair of scarves and gloves, yet are manufactured separately. Kitting and other value-added services that an apparel fulfillment center offers enable more efficient sourcing for products. If you have a partnership with an experienced fulfillment center, they give you this flexibility of efficiently shipping products manufactured by different companies, but have been bought together.
Some fulfillment centers also offer services like gift wrapping and personalization services, which add value to your services and satisfy your customers.
Save on Shipping and Ensure Fast Delivery to Your Customers.
Shipping costs are usually expensive for online businesses. Since shipping rates are determined by order volume, collaborating with third-party fulfillment centers gets you to access better freight rates. Most apparel fulfillment centers will let you piggyback on their rates, which help you benefit after collecting the whole warehouse’s shipping volume. Outsourcing fulfillment orders also gives you more buying power when it comes to packing and shipping your materials.
Working with fulfillment centers also helps you deliver your products faster to your customers. The centers are experienced in handling many orders, so you’re guaranteed that your clients will get their products on time.
It Lowers Your Operating Costs.
When running your storage warehouse, every expense is on you. But then, when you use a third party, many fees are shared among all the customers using the facilities including rent, labor, utilities, and other overhead costs. Costs are only incurred when you have orders to fulfill. Plus, you avoid the hassle of hiring and training warehouse employees.
Improve Your Customer Service and Returns.
Returns are a necessary evil when dealing with business online. On average, returns on apparels usually exceed returns for other consumer products. Depending on the kind of clothes you sell, the nature of returns can be varied; for example, compare t-shirts vs. lingerie. All the challenges that you receive when shipping orders are the same, with returns just in reverse.
Return and customer service may take up a lot of your time. When partnering with a third-party fulfillment center, they provide the necessary customer support and an efficient return process. That means your customers are satisfied, and you get improved customer service and better return management.
Managing apparel fulfillment isn’t for every warehouse. You should ensure you find a center with the experience and understands the whole process like https://thrivescreenprinting.com/apparel-fulfillment-services/; not all warehouses can manage apparel fulfillment. Some will be upfront and tell you, but others won’t. When you find the right fit and a center that understands what goes into packing and shipping clothing to customers, ensure that you take your time to make sure the warehouse you’re collaborating with is prepared to handle the unique challenges that apparel fulfillment presents. Doing so will reduce costs, grow your business, and improve your brand experience.