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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.
Before exploring the benefits and many outsourced fulfillment options available to eBay sellers, it’s important to understand what eBay itself offers for fulfillment services. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly straightforward – back in 2019 eBay announced the proposed launch of eBay Managed Delivery. This program was geared towards offering a fulfillment service for eBay merchants using national fulfillment partners. These fulfillment partners would receive, store, and ship orders on behalf of sellers. However, while the company hasn’t officially rolled back this announcement, eBay also hasn’t formally rolled it out either, leaving merchants guessing whether eBay really intends to launch a fulfillment network similar to Amazon.
Further complicating the scenario is that eBay has announced the launch of similar fulfillment programs in Germany via Orange Connex and more recently in Australia using the same Orange Connex platform. Orange Connex operates its own fulfillment centers and provides fulfillment services for eBay merchants in Germany and Australia. Perhaps eBay will be rolling out something similar in the US – and because they haven’t formally rolled back the Managed Delivery program, merchants may still have an eBay fulfillment option at their disposal in the near future.
But as for now, the answer to the question for US merchants is “no.”
Quite frankly, using a 3PL service is a better solution for eBay vendors as it changes the dynamics of diversification back under their control. By choosing a 3PL, vendors have a say in fulfillment distribution warehouse locations, speed of service, and cost of services like free shipping, tracking, and returns on their terms.
Further, using a 3PL allows sellers to build a profitable relationship with a personalized business partner.
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:
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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.
Vendors often juggle many aspects of their business. By working with a 3PL partner, vendors can tailor eBay order fulfillment that suits their business model.
Key services to look for in an eBay fulfillment company:
Amazon sellers can use an FBA multichannel fulfillment center if they’re part of Seller Central. FBA allows sellers the option of eBay order fulfillment from an off-site warehouse. This option means that Amazon handles all the logistics of packing and shipping for you, including the return process.
The success of Amazon depends on its shipping efficacy and customer service, which get passed on to eBay fulfillment clients. Through Seller Central, eBay vendors can access the FBA multichannel fulfillment channel, even if they come from a web store. However, Amazon needs help to handle your side of customer service or returns and puts the onus back on the vendor.
FBA also allows sellers access to Prime customers, a massive pool of potential clients, and increased sales. Faster delivery times mean happier clients and better reviews. Additionally, using an FBA prep and fulfillment service is instant access to a global network of eBay fulfillment services.
Amazon charges clients high fees for stock held in their warehouse for an extended time frame. Since businesses often work on tight margins, this additional cost can impact revenue. Sellers must sell their inventory within six months or face fines.
Sellers managing a profitable eCommerce business model might face unscheduled increases in Amazon fees. Amazon reserves the right to change the prices without notice.
FBA deliveries ship in Amazon-branded packages, which might produce a negative effect when customers price check online. Sellers can pay $1 per product for non-branded boxes, but that additional cost leads to losses in net profit. Also, relying on Amazon shipping cartons boosts Amazon as a brand rather than the seller’s image.
Fulfillment by eBay sellers also creates additional charges from Amazon on orders that aren’t bought through the Amazon network and impacts profit margins. This is why most companies give a lot of thought and consideration regarding Fulfillment by Amazon versus Fulfillment by Merchant, and ultimately savings costs and having more control by implementing a fulfilled by merchant strategy.
All in all, using a standalone fulfillment center is the best option for outsourced eBay fulfillment services. 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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