4 minute read

Is your eCommerce fulfillment operations a competitive advantage or has it become a liability holding back your growth? 

Brands are under constant pressure to live up to the Amazon standard. With Amazon now shipping a majority of their orders within two days or less, your customers have become accustomed to lightning fast delivery times, no matter where they live. In fact, 40% of customers say that delivery times greater than 3 days would prevent them from following thru with a purchase. 53% of shoppers say that speed of delivery is an important factor when deciding to make an online purchase, so much so that 80% of customers look for same-day delivery options. 

 

Amazon now has 75 fulfillment centers within the US alone. How can your fast-growing D2C brand compete with Amazon for customer experience?  By all accounts, you can either join them and utilize FBA for your fulfillment strategy or build your own unified fulfillment network. 

There are some disadvantages to using FBA, the most common are:
  • Expensive FBA Fees
  • Long Term Storage Fees
  • Higher Return Rate
  • Strict Product Prep Guidelines
  • Commingled Inventory
  • Your sales and customer data is now Amazon’s data
  • No inventory visibility

Perhaps you’ve decided that Amazon FBA is not a fit, but at the same time, you know that you cannot open 75 fulfillment centers to service your customers. Your brand is growing and you now see fulfillment as a bottleneck to your growth. 

Have you noticed any of the following lately:
  • Long shipping times to customers
  • Increase in shipping upgrades to premium services (second-day air, next-day air)
  • Increase in shipping costs
  • Bad customer reviews
  • Concessions to customers for late shipments
  • Canceled orders due to stock-outs

If so, then you need to start by rethinking your fulfillment strategy to turn what is a liability into a competitive advantage. 

 

Fulfillment as a Customer Retention Machine

customer retention

 

Now that your customer has purchased your item, how do you ensure that they remain a long term customer and not a one and done?  Order fulfillment can have a huge impact on customer satisfaction and retention. 

Some key drivers that keep customers happy and help to strengthen your brand are:
  • Free shipping, who doesn’t love free shipping
  • Fast delivery, less than two days is considered fast these days
  • Speedy handling of issues such as lost, delayed, or damaged shipments
  • Free and easy returns

 

Building your own FBA like Experience

As you look to scale your fulfillment operations, some things to consider:

  • Location
    • The closer your products are to your customers, the cheaper the shipping will be.
    • This also allows for faster delivery within two days or less.
  • Technology Stack
    • You will need a flexible unified fulfillment platform so that you can see all of your eCommerce operations within one dashboard. 
    • Your platform will also need to be flexible enough to integrate with all of your current and future partners. 

There are many options available for brands to manage their fulfillment operations but finding the right platform and partner that has the flexibility to build your own fulfillment network is key to building a solid FBA like experience. ChannelApe offers this to D2C brands today. 

ChannelApe provides a flexible unified platform that top D2C brands have used to create a single customized network of top 3PL companies across the globe. The unified platform gives you a central hub for all of your order fulfillment activities and is flexible enough to operate on your own terms. Unlike Amazon FBA, you will have an end to end visibility into your complex supply chain. 

As your supply chain partner, ChannelApe will turn your fulfillment strategy from a liability into a competitive advantage.




Jason DePietropaolo
Jason is an e-commerce expert who founded a D2C nutritional brand. After years of scaling the brand, Jason saw a need for a platform to automate orders and fulfillments. He went on to cofound ChannelApe to accomplish his goal.