Online company store fulfillment centers provide in-bounding, product storage as well as order pick, pack and ship services. Operating a fulfillment center can be quite complex at scale, requiring sophisticated software systems to track inventory and order processing. Fulfillment centers also require a substantial investment in warehouse space, racking, computers, software and labor. For these reasons, most promotional products distributors have chosen to outsource the fulfillment of their client’s online company stores to a 4th party warehouse.
Choosing an online company store provider who is outsourcing fulfillment comes with some disadvantages. Those include:
The company you hired to be responsible for your online company store is not directly in control of the operation.
Separate Software Systems
The company you hired to operate your company store almost certainly using a different software system than the fulfillment center. This leads to inefficient silos of data and information making accurate and timely reporting more difficult.
It will be difficult for a 4th party to accurately inspect merchandise for quality.
It will be difficult to get an answer or make urgent requests. You will need to call the company you hired and they will then have to call the 4th party warehouse to get an answer for you.
The nature of company store fulfillment
Fulfillment is easy to outsource when it is simply box-in, box-out or pallet-in, pallet-out. This is not the case with online company stores which deal with numerous SKUs, sizes and color options. Orders are typically picked by piece from a master carton.