Which Fulfillment Service is Best for Your eCommerce Business?
When you first start an ecommerce business, you were able to pack and fulfill orders yourself. But because you’re so good at what you do and offer in-demand products, your business has grown. Now, you need a scalable solution for order fulfillment that doesn’t cut too much into your profit.
If that anecdote sounds familiar, then you’re probably already looking into order fulfillment options using a third-party logistics and warehousing service so you can spend your time on business development instead.
To help you decide which online retail fulfillment service will work best for you, we’ve compared three big ones: Shopify, Amazon, and Walmart. And when it’s time to prepare your inventory for shipment to a third-party warehouse, Shipping Pilot can do all the work for you.
How Does Shopify Fulfillment Work?
The Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) aligns all your sales logistics and expenses, so your profit, overhead, and outgoing payments are easy to track.
To start, you’ll need to apply to join the Network. When you’re approved, you select products to include, which you’ll then ship to a designated warehouse. Once at the Shopify warehouses, robots fulfill orders with 99.5 percent accuracy. SFN notifies you when your inventory begins running low.
The cost of the service varies depending on how much inventory you store in the fulfillment warehouse, how often you receive orders, current shipping rates, and any special treatments your products require to prepare for shipment.
Controlling the Customer Experience Using SFN
SFN allows you to select custom packaging that aligns with your brand, as well as package inserts. You maintain full control over your inventory and customer data.
In short, SFN allows you to manage your customers’ full experience and maintain your own brand look and feel.
Who is Eligible to Use Shopify Fulfillment Network?
Shopify Fulfillment is available to vendors in the U.S. and Canada who can ship everywhere, assuming all shipments originate domestically. You must ship a minimum of three orders per day, and you cannot sell any regulated or perishable products.
How does Fulfillment by Amazon Work?
Amazon sellers who sign up for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) free up the time they’d spend shipping out orders themselves by providing inventory to Amazon to fulfill using Amazon shipping and packaging.
FBA is an end-to-end solution for inventory storage, shipping, and returns, through Amazon, a service your customers already trust and rely on. It lets you access the power of Amazon Prime, too.
Amazon Packages and Return Policy
While Shopify allows you to use your brand’s own packaging, when you use FBA, your products are shipped using Amazon’s packing materials and boxes.
Before providing Amazon with your inventory, you’ll be asked to prepare each item. This is your only opportunity to include insert cards or branded packaging before relinquishing control to Amazon. Amazon will provide you with guidelines on how to prepare your products to their standards.
Because Amazon is using their resources to package and ship orders for your ecommerce company, you also get the benefit of their return policy and speedy Prime shipping.
The Cost of Fulfillment by Amazon?
FBA pricing is fairly competitive, but bear in mind the value you’re getting for their fee: their distribution network and infrastructure, their delivery service, their returns and customer service systems, and more. You do, however, need to complete prep work before sending inventory to the Amazon warehouse.
The price you pay for FBA will depend on the amount of inventory you supply, how much you sell, and any additional service you purchase for your ecommerce business.
How Does Walmart Fulfillment Work?
Walmart Marketplace sellers can apply to sign up for Walmart Fulfillment Services to gain access to the big box retailer’s supply chain capabilities.
Like FBA, Walmart will pick, pack, ship, and deliver your customer’s orders with two-day shipping. They give you control of how your products are presented on their website, while managing your inventory for you. Walmart provides customer service, refunds, and returns for all orders fulfilled by Walmart.
Who is Eligible for Walmart Fulfillment Services?
Walmart has stringent guidelines regarding the products that can be shipped using their Fulfillment Services offering. If your ecommerce business checks all the boxes, you can apply.
First, your products must ship to the Walmart Fulfillment center from the United States, and they cannot be regulated or perishable. The maximum product weight is 30 pounds, and dimensions must be no larger than 25” by 20” by 14”.
How Much does Walmart Fulfillment Cost?
Walmart Fulfillment Services have an easy-to-understand cost structure. It includes a fulfillment price based on shipping weight, plus a fixed monthly storage fee.
The total cost, like other fulfillment services, will vary based on lots of factors, like product size, order frequency, and more. To get an accurate cost estimate, it’s best to talk to the fulfillment service directly.
Get Great Advice from Shipping Pilot, Where Your ECommerce Shipping is On Auto-Pilot
We’ve spent years overseeing shipping logistics, warehousing, FBA prep, and more for our products, and we got so good at it, we decided to extend our services to other e-retailers looking to scale their online businesses.
We can help you navigate every step of your order fulfillment process, including preparing your products for FBA, warehousing, shipping at discounted rates, kitting subscription boxes, and more.
To learn how Shipping Pilot can help you, contact us online. We’re excited to talk to you!