As a publisher, you face many competitive pressures. The impact of digital media and the consumer’s growing desire for more immediate gratification are two of the greatest.
Keeping pace with the high rate of change in the marketplace is causing every publisher to look at new and better ways to raise the level of satisfaction for their customers – and for many this means improving their product fulfillment and distribution operation by outsourcing or finding a new third party order fulfillment provider.
Not to be overlooked is that outsourcing is a big decision and order fulfillment is not the same for all types of companies. This means taking the time to ensure potential partners have the exact capabilities you need as a publisher. Here are 6 things to look for in a potential fulfillment vendor.
One way you as a publisher can compete with digital media is by presenting products in unique ways. This can include combing printed materials with premiums or other items. Finding a fulfillment center experienced with kitting and relabeling makes it easy to bring additional value to your customers.
Margins are tight for everyone, so working with a fulfillment warehouse who offers savings on shipping costs and a location that reduces transit time to your customers is a big positive. This will help you fulfill the buyer’s desire for more immediate gratification.
A fulfillment center with technology that provides up to date inventory tracking and low inventory alerts is a valuable tool for making sure you have the right amount of products on hand at all times.
Order Processing and Payment
Publishing fulfillment can be a very transactional business. A fulfillment partner with the ability to process orders and take payments creates a more seamless experience for your customers and will make your operation easier to manage.
Many publications are sold as subscriptions or otherwise shipped on a regular schedule. Having expertise and a process for automatically shipping such continuity programs can often save money during the pick pack process.
Beyond just inventory management, having access to program data is a valuable way to understand and manage your business. The right fulfillment partner will provide flexible reporting tools that you need to improve your business and maximize your margins.
The demands of fulfilling and shipping customer orders are unique for publishers. Pick pack warehouses are a dime a dozen, but smart publishers understand the value of fulfillment partners who know their business, and what they need to be successful.
Working with a third party warehouse who specializes in fulfillment for publishers is a simple way to save money, improve service to your customers, and better compete in the marketplace.