About a year ago, I began to entertain the idea of outsourcing fulfillment for my online store. My store had reached the point where the amount of sales were starting to take us away from our other duties here at Stupid Cancer. This milestone was a few years in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to cease the picking and packing we had come to know.
Another huge issue we faced, though, was scalability. Stupid Cancer is located in Lower Manhattan, and the idea of warehousing inventory in our tiny digs was becoming less and less attractive. We were simply out of space.
After eTail West 2014, I had connected with several third party logistics providers (3PLs — also known as fulfillment companies) in the exhibit hall and put out an ecommerce RFP for my business. The RFP included my sales stats, number of SKUs and other granular details which yielded several different quotes.
Throughout the process, I learned a lot about 3PLs and what some will and will not do. For example, it was important to me that the 3PL first connected directly to BigCommerce, ideally in a single-click app or integration. Additional considerations included whether or not things needed to be bagged and barcoded. Luckily, I found a solution that would connect directly to BigCommerce, take t-shirts in bulk and not require items to be bagged and barcoded. Success!
It’s relevant to note that I was the first BigCommerce client that signed on with my warehouse. Through trial and error, we developed a process that made both the customer shopping experience and the store administration a breeze.
1) Dropstream –– $75/mo
Dropstream made the most sense for my warehouse. Connecting your BigCommerce store and Dropsteam is easy and only requires the creation of an API key. Dropstream provides a bidirectional relationship between my BigCommerce store and the software my warehouse uses, Veracore. Orders are sent upon arrival and return at the end of the business day with tracking information attached.
2) ShipStation –– Starting at $25/mo
ShipStation was my shipping client before we migrated. It’s simple to install and can alleviate some headaches you may face as your business begins to scale. It makes split shipping, as well as shipping from multiple locations, really efficient.
3) Whiplash –– Starting at $25/mo
Whiplash is a turnkey fulfillment solution that integrates with BigCommerce. They provide storage and fulfillment with a simple pricing structure of $2.95 per order. Similar to Dropstream and ShipStation, everything is automated.
4) PackageBee –– Free or $49
PackageBee is a free solution that connects multiple sales channels with a number of third party fulfillment platforms. PackageBee will waive the subscription fee when you use one of their preferred fulfillment vendors.
Outsourcing fulfillment of your products is a huge milestone and something to be proud of. Through strategic planning and ample preparation, you can flip the switch and continue selling and scaling your business with limited interruption.
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