It does not matter if you are a high-volume seller or have just a few dozen weekly sales from your eBay activities, eBay is a fantastic sales channel and essential to your overall ecommerce success. Though the site offers sellers a number of tools that help to ensure success, where fulfillment is concerned, there are some further steps that will help you to grow your business. While some companies choose to implement the standard eBay sales model (in which the seller handles storage, packing and shipping), there are many benefits to utilize a fulfillment company instead. In this article, we are going explore the many benefits that come from using a fulfillment company and how implementing this strategy can improve your overall sales.
Best eBay Fulfillment Partners
In terms of fulfillment of orders placed on your eBay store, there are options that include eBay's own fulfillment center as well as other private services. The latter are often called third party fulfillment, and many of them focus in on helping fulfill e-commerce orders. A fulfillment company is just as it sounds – a company that manages your inventory, packages it for shipping, and gets it to the buyer. And while it might seem that handing over control of so much of the actual business is unwise, it actually works in the opposite direction - giving you time to focus on growing the business and really leveraging what eBay business you already have.
It would look like this: You have your products shipped to the fulfillment center's warehouse or storage facilities. They handle inventory management and tracking, accept orders as they are received through your eBay (and other ecommerce) accounts, pick and package the products accordingly (and per your preferences, which can mean inserting specific documentation, sales materials, and so on), and ship it promptly.
Naturally, there are greater benefits to be gained by using fulfillment services as part of your eBay ecommerce business as opposed to self-fulfillment. They include:
- Improved seller ratings - Firstly, you may enjoy such affordable shipping costs that you can integrate free shipping into your business model. If you do, your seller ratings automatically increase per eBay's policies. As they say, "If you offer free shipping in your listing—and we can confirm the buyer did not pay for shipping—you'll automatically receive a 5-star rating on your shipping and handling charges detailed seller rating." Even without free shipping, the detailed seller ratings allow buyers to rank you highly for shipping charges, speed and quality. Never get a bad rating for slow shipping, poorly packaged goods, damages, and the rest if you have experts handle it.
- Better shipping - Because a fulfillment center focuses entirely on shipping, you get better packaging materials, more knowledgeable workers handling the products, and a far more professional looking package. It is much less likely that you will receive any negative feedback associated with the speed, quality and appearance of the packages sent.
- Speed and price - It is just common sense to recognize the savings potential in a fulfillment service. They have long-standing and pre-existing relationships with major shipping services and can offer you the reduced prices they negotiate. Because of this, you are more likely to see your customers' orders arriving faster and for less.
- Tracking - A fulfillment center can greatly improve your eBay business by serving as a point of contact for a buyer. They input tracking data and respond promptly to any inquiries from buyers.
- Returns - Because fulfillment services tend to have much lower return rates due to damaged goods, it is automatically a benefit. When returns are needed, they offer an incredibly professional face to clients who need to make a return of any kind. They keep you almost entirely out of the "loop" and handle the legwork.
- Customer service - The best fulfillment services offer optimal customer service to your buyers. They are able to resolve issues promptly and you don't have to stand in the middle, trying to get and then convey answers to an unhappy eBay buyer.
While there are far more pros than cons to using a fulfillment service (and we never even mentioned the overhead costs you can save by working with them for storage and shipping of your merchandise), there are still a few cons to consider. One is cutoff times. Because eBay works all day and night, it can be challenging to keep ahead of customer issues. For example, if a customer re-enters the eBay system to change something related to the purchase after it was initially submitted, how will the fulfillment center respond? Usually, it means creating a policy for cutoff times and ensuring your buyers are aware. There are also some questions you must not leave unanswered in regards to tracking details being provided to buyers and who will be in charge of customer questions directed to you through the eBay portal. All of this can be addressed and worked out with a professional fulfilment service.
While there are a few technicalities to consider, they are not substantial enough to make a partnership with a fulfillment service unwelcome. It is going to greatly improve your eBay operations and boost your credentials with the site while also improving your ranking and profitability.
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