Warehousing your product
Retail warehousing is the process of storing inventory until it’s ready to be used.
Once the merchandise comes off the loading dock, your fulfillment partner will have an inventory management strategy for where it goes next, how it gets there, and how it will be stored while waiting to be shipped for customer order fulfillment.
Understanding the fulfillment process is vital, even if you use a third-party logistics partner.
Ask your potential fulfillment partners how they choose which items will be part of a shipment. You’ll want to know if they use the “First In, First Out” (FIFO) valuation method, or they may use the “First Expired, First Out” (FEFO) approach.
Find out if they have policies for every product category to decide which fulfillment method is most appropriate for your needs.
You need a fulfillment partner who will work with you to ensure that the warehousing process is as effective as possible and aligns with your expected order volume for each product.
Order picking and packaging
After warehouse team members pick your items, they must go through the packaging step for safe shipping to your customer.
Most deliveries require high-quality shipping materials to guarantee safe arrival. Kable Product Services takes extra care to ensure each package is safe and secure before transitioning to a shipping partner.
The items may be fragile, requiring the package to be filled with void fill or be bubble-wrapped to protect the products from getting broken during shipping.
We take packaging seriously and maintain high-quality control in this area.
The final step in the fulfillment process is shipping.
Customers should receive your items on or before the estimated date posted on your website at checkout.
Selecting a fulfillment partner close to most shoppers, like Kable Product Services, will benefit your customers regardless of location.
We work with several major shipping partners, fulfilling orders out of our Midwest facility. This location offers 1-2 day ground shipping to almost every zip code in the contiguous United States.
Shipping is not the final step in the retail fulfillment process.
Customers will inevitably return your products from time to time (approximately 20.8% of online orders will subsequently be logged as returns). You want a fulfillment partner with a well-designed returns management process to keep costs down, and inventory accurately managed.
It’s essential to create a stringent workflow regarding return processing.
Steps in the returns process should include: receiving, inspecting, repackaging, and restocking your inventory.
Partnering with a 3PL who can manage this process for you will allow you to devote more time to the daily operations side of your business —cultivating new relationships, tailoring products and services, and growing your business.
Our goal is to minimize returns, and our quality control process includes weight checks, process audits, and random product inspections. This process allows us to keep orders moving quickly and accurately.
Restocking returned merchandise
The final step in retail fulfillment is restocking returned merchandise.
An experienced order fulfillment partner will be ready for this possibility with integrated technology that allows an item to be returned to inventory while simultaneously updating records on the customer’s side as well.