As your brand becomes more established and your sales grow, you may start to feel a bit overwhelmed – especially if you fulfill and ship products on your own. And with the holidays knocking on the door, peak season fun can turn into a frenzy as you try to keep up with all your orders. Shopify reports that on average, Black Friday and Cyber Monday generate 3.6x and 3.1x more sales respectively than a typical day in November. So it’s a good idea to prepare for this increase in advance.
This is where 3PL or third-party logistics services like Printful’s Warehousing & Fulfillment can come in handy. Fulfillment companies can take considerable workload off your hands by handling the time-consuming process of managing your inventory and shipping orders.
Read on find out how warehousing services can save time and shield yourself from unnecessary worries this holiday season.
1. Save valuable time
One of the most important benefits is that you can save a lot of time. And probably any store owner will agree that there’s no such thing as too much time when it comes to getting ready for major sales events. When Cyber Weekend is in full gear, you’ll be able to spend all of your attention on your store, marketing campaigns, customer support, etc. instead of rushing to pack and ship out products. You can make sure customers have a great shopping experience, all the while your orders are safe in the hands of your fulfillment partner.
2. Free up space
From a purely practical point of view, working with a 3PL company can also be a considerable space saver – especially if your products are on the larger side. Before peak season begins, you’ll want to stock up inventory. If you have different products and variants, stocking all of them at home or office can become chaotic even for the most organized person.
3. Be closer to your customers
Another important element here is the location of your fulfillment partner’s warehouses. If you fulfill orders on your own, you’re probably doing that from one single location, which means that shipping times to places that are far away from you can be long. 3PL companies often have several fulfillment centers, which means that packages can reach customers much faster simply because they’ll have shorter distances to travel.
4. Access lower shipping prices
3PL companies usually have negotiated special shipping rates since they handle huge numbers of orders every day. Then they can pass on these rates to their customers too. For ecommerce stores, it’s crucial to offer competitive shipping prices. Statista reports that in 2017, 54% of respondents named expensive shipping as their main reason for cart abandonment.
Being able to access better shipping prices can also provide you with new marketing and sales opportunities. Offering free shipping, for example, can be a major selling point for your store. Lower shipping rates mean that they won’t eat up your margins too much, or, if you decide to incorporate the shipping fee in your product prices, they won’t have to climb too much either. Free shipping can be a great feature to highlight during peak season – people will expect these kinds of deals during the busiest shopping time of the year.
Check out our blog post to find out how offering free shipping on your store can increase average order value.
If you fulfill all of your items through the same company, managing your shipping settings in general will be easier – you won’t have to juggle different rates from different partners. Not to mention that fulfilling orders through one warehousing company means that items from the same order are more likely to ship out together rather than separately. This can be more cost-effective, plus, buyers will be happy to get all of their goodies at once, especially if they’re shopping for gifts.
5. Promote your brand
Usually 3PL services are white label, which means that their branding won’t appear anywhere on your orders. Of course, if you fulfill orders on your own, you can take special care of every package, but when holidays come around, you probably won’t have as much time to personalize each order. The good news is that many fulfillment companies offer the chance to highlight your brand. So when buyers receive their orders, they look like they came straight from you.
6. Reduce order fulfillment times
If you’re using Printful’s print-on-demand drop shipping service, you might think that warehousing is not really for you. But there’s one important area where our Warehousing & Fulfillment feature can help you – order fulfillment times.
Warehousing orders have much shorter fulfillment times. Orders that contain warehouse items only are fulfilled in one business day.
Plus, orders for warehouse items submitted before 12 PM EST are fulfilled and shipped out on the same day. If fulfillment is delayed and we don’t get an order that qualifies for same-day fulfillment out on time, we’ll automatically refund the order fulfillment fee.
If you have a design that you sell on Printful products and that you’re sure is going to be a best-seller during the holiday season, consider using Warehousing & Fulfillment to shorten fulfillment times. Order products with this design in bulk and stock them at our warehouse.
There are two ways you can do this:
- Submit a screen printing order – it will work for simpler designs that don’t have many different colors, and it’s available on a selection of our products
- Submit a bulk order for DTG, cut & sew, or embroidery products – choose this option if your design is more complex
When you submit an order, you’ll see a checkbox to store items at one of our warehouses right after fulfillment. Check out our same-day fulfillment page for more info on this feature and to see the full list of Printful products you can stock at our warehouse.
This way, you’ll cut fulfillment times during peak season, which means happier customers who will get their goodies faster. And this will also be great news for buyers who leave their holiday shopping to the last minute (we’ve all been there) – they will be glad to hear that they can get their items in time.
Warehousing & Fulfillment will have its own holiday order deadlines. We’re planning to publish this year’s deadlines sometime in October, so stay tuned!
Some things to consider
3PL services are not going to work for everyone, of course. Although there are several benefits that you get, they do not come for free. Each fulfillment company has its own pricing plan and things that it charges your for, but typically you can expect to pay order fulfillment fees, storage fees, custom packaging fees, etc. So if you’re thinking of using a 3PL company, you’ll have to sit down and crunch some numbers to see if it makes financial sense for you to do this.
But if you have a loyal customer base and constant stream of orders that you can count on, warehousing & fulfillment can be a huge help during the busiest time of the year. And if you’re planning to use warehousing for this year’s holiday season, hurry up – it’s high time to order your products so you can get them to your fulfillment partner’s warehouse right on time for peak sales!
Have you worked with a 3PL company before? Or do you have any questions? Share in the comments below!