As eCommerce businesses grow and their products become more popular, one of the most typical pathways for growth is having your products picked up by a specialised shop or big-box retailer. Finding a third-party logistics (3PL) supplier that can handle B2B and retail fulfillment becomes essential at this stage and ensures your business continues to grow successfully.
Perhaps your eCommerce business isn’t quite there yet. Still, if you’re considering it, you need to think about how you’ll improve your fulfillment operations. When the time comes, you’ll need a fulfillment partner to manage omnichannel eCommerce and retail fulfillment. But what exactly is retail fulfillment? And what characteristics should you look for in a B2B fulfillment provider?
What is an eCommerce Fulfillment?
eCommerce fulfillment is a crucial process in the world of online retail, where businesses ensure that customer orders are efficiently processed, picked, packed, and shipped to the customers. Moreover, eCommerce fulfillment can be managed in-house by the retailer, outsourced to third-party logistics providers (3PLs), or a combination of both. The choice depends on the scale of the eCommerce operation and the resources available to the retailer.
Efficient eCommerce fulfilment is vital for online retailers to meet customer expectations, deliver products on time, and build a positive reputation. A smooth and reliable fulfillment process can lead to satisfied customers who are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend the business to others.
What is B2B Fulfilment?
B2B eCommerce fulfillment is a critical process that involves delivering products directly to businesses or retailers. The orders are often placed in bulk to ensure the receiving company has sufficient inventory for selling purposes. B2B customers typically order in advance and in large quantities to save time and costs associated with frequent purchase orders.
B2B 3PL often function as wholesale distribution hubs for major eCommerce firms, completing bulk orders for retailers selling to customers. These fulfillment providers are crucial in optimising operations to reduce costs and increase efficiency, which is paramount in B2B fulfillment. The ability to fulfill orders on time is vital, and any delays or mismanagement by the 3PL could lead to penalties, refund losses, and damage to the represented company’s reputation.
What to Look for in a B2B Fulfillment Service?
Finding a suitable B2B fulfillment provider for your company is essential. You must ensure that the fulfillment partner can adhere to standards, has a track record of timely deliveries, has expertise with B2B fulfillment, and can offer customer assistance when required.
When seeking a B2B order fulfillment service, there are several factors to consider:
EDI Integration for Multiple Retailers
If you want to process orders and invoice merchants, you’ll need technology and systems that automate these procedures and allow for safe data sharing. Working with big-box retailers requires the use of EDI technologies.
I-Fulfilment B2B and EDI capabilities allow merchants to sell to the entire B2B ecosystem, supporting retail dropshipping (fulfilling orders made on large box retailers) and wholesale shipping (including brick-and-mortar shops), which can link with all of the major retailers.
A 3PL that manages your brand’s incoming and outgoing freight deliveries may save you time and money. I-Fulfilment can arrange domestic and international freight transportation services via our knowledgeable, dependable suppliers network. When I-Fulfilment manages your deliveries, your products will arrive reliably, on schedule, and reasonably priced.
Options for Small Parcel Delivery
Some business-to-business (B2B) orders are not full truckload (FTL). A 3PL that can process and ship 200 units as quickly as 20,000 units can be relied on to handle your eCommerce and retail fulfillment requirements. Having a variety of alternatives for freight and small package carriers is critical for obtaining the best pricing and most dependable services.
Accounts for Third-Party Shipping
3PLs build partnerships and manage connections with hundreds of carriers and delivery methods to automate the scheduling, routing, and tracking processes. Often, a merchant will partner with its own delivery carrier and wish to utilise that carrier for its shipments. A B2B 3PL should be able to manage third-party shipping accounts for scheduling and invoicing. With I-Fulfillment, eCommerce firms can effortlessly select a third-party shipper from inside our industry-leading fulfillment software platform.
Routing Guidelines Compliance
Retailers have different criteria for receiving products, from the smallest to the biggest. It involves preparing products with correct coding, labelling, packaging, and shipping under the retailer’s exact requirements. I-Fulfilment expertise with multiple merchants and our professional fulfillment teams ensures that each purchase is appropriately prepared, packaged, and despatched.
Building and Breaking Bulk
3PL receives inbound merchandise in large quantities, which may not match the amounts required by your B2B clients. That is why your 3PL must be adaptable enough to handle unusual initiatives such as creating master cases for retail or breaking down huge shipments into smaller volumes.
Preparing a wholesale order may include merging several demands to the same merchant, removing or adding labels, and kitting or assembly labour. Experience the I-Fulfilment service – where every client receives exceptional treatment and personalised solutions for seamless B2B order fulfillment.
How I-Fulfilment make B2B fulfillment easy
I-Fulfilment streamlines and simplifies the B2B fulfillment process, making it easy and efficient for businesses to manage their inventory, orders, and shipping. Let’s delve into the detailed explanation:
Comprehensive Inventory Management
I-Fulfilment provides a robust inventory management system that allows B2B businesses to keep track of their stock levels in real-time. This includes details such as SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) information, stock quantities, product variations, and location. A clear view of their inventory ensures businesses can quickly identify which products are available, which need restocking, and which items are in high demand.
Seamless Order Processing
When a B2B customer orders through their preferred channel (website, EDI integration, or manual entry), the system immediately captures the order details and updates the inventory levels accordingly. This automated process minimises the risk of human errors and reduces the need for manual intervention, resulting in a more streamlined and efficient fulfillment process.
Many B2B businesses operate across various channels, such as online marketplaces, eCommerce platforms, and direct sales. I-Fulfilment seamlessly integrates with these multiple channels, consolidating all incoming orders into a centralised platform. This integration ensures that all order information is synchronised and accessible from a single dashboard, simplifying order management and reducing the chances of overselling or underselling products.
Fast and Accurate Pick, Pack, and Ship
I-Fulfilment optimises order fulfillment by automating pick, pack, and ship operations. When an order is received, the system generates pick lists indicating the items to be retrieved from the warehouse. Warehouse staff can then efficiently pick the required products using barcode scanning or other technology, ensuring accuracy and speed in order fulfillment. The system also helps select the appropriate packaging for each order, reducing the risk of shipping errors and minimising packaging waste.
Customised Packaging and Branding
For B2B businesses, branding and customised packaging are crucial for leaving a lasting impression on customers. I-Fulfilment assists B2B businesses in meeting retail compliance standards by providing goods-in user guides and resources. Our platform helps businesses track and manage compliance-related tasks, such as product labelling, safety, and packaging requirements. This ensures that your products always comply with the latest regulations, reducing the risk of costly fines and product recalls.
In addition to retail compliance, branding and customised packaging are crucial for making a lasting impression on your customers. I-Fulfilment empowers businesses to create a unique and memorable unboxing experience for their clients by offering custom branding options.
Real-time Tracking and Reporting
I-Fulfilment provides real-time tracking and reporting capabilities, enabling businesses to monitor the status of their orders from the moment they are picked up until they are delivered. This transparency allows B2B businesses to keep their customers informed about their shipments’ progress, reducing customer inquiries and improving satisfaction. Moreover, the reporting feature provides valuable insights into order trends, inventory performance, and shipping costs, helping businesses make data-driven decisions to optimise their fulfillment strategy.
Scalability and Flexibility
B2B businesses often experience fluctuations in demand and may require scaling their operations during peak seasons. I-Fulfilment offers scalability, allowing businesses to easily adjust their inventory levels, staffing, and fulfillment capacity to accommodate changing demands. This flexibility ensures businesses can efficiently handle slow and busy periods without over-committing resources.
Customer Support and Returns Management
I-Fulfilment assists businesses in managing customer inquiries and returns efficiently. Their multilingual customer support helps companies promptly address customer concerns, enhancing their reputation for excellent service. Additionally, the returns management service streamlines the process of accepting, inspecting, and restocking returned items, reducing the time and effort involved in handling product returns.
Contact us to request a quote and learn how I-Fulfilment can optimise your B2B fulfillment.