By: Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO of ShipHero
At a glance, selling on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others seems like a golden ticket for new and growing eCommerce businesses. The idea of selling products on the biggest marketplaces in the world should, in theory, increase your sales and grow your company. But there’s always something brands overlook when it comes to selling on marketplaces: order fulfillment.
How can you fulfill orders across multiple marketplaces that have their own shipping policies or customer expectations? With disparate data coming in from so many systems, it can be tough to fulfill orders and ensure you have enough inventory for all of them.
Marketplace fulfillment comes with its fair share of drawbacks that you should be familiar with before finalizing your decision. Fortunately, eCommerce brands can overcome these challenges with some help. There’s a reason almost 90% of Fortune 500 businesses are using 3PL providers instead to fulfill their orders.
The issues with marketplace fulfillment
eCommerce marketplaces have lowered the barrier of entry for new brands and contributed to the eCommerce industry’s rapid growth. However, the model isn’t flawless. Here are some of the most common problems eCommerce brands face with marketplace fulfillment:
No direct integrations with marketplaces
As your brand grows, integrations are vital to maintaining a seamless workflow. However, switching between different platforms to obtain crucial information is time-exhaustive and inefficient, inviting delays and possible errors.
Additionally, direct integrations are vital for streamlining fulfillment operations – they’re necessary to gain real-time order information and update inventory data according to recent orders.
Hard to sync inventory data between multiple marketplaces
Many sellers list their products on multiple marketplaces to reach a wider audience. However, this practice makes it difficult to sync your inventory data. If orders are fulfilled at different marketplaces, you’re prone to losing track of inventory counts, leading to shortages or overstocking.
Lack of centralized data to see which channels are performing best
Performance monitoring is critical for growing eCommerce brands; you need to identify areas of improvement and learn from your successes. Unfortunately, eCommerce marketplaces don’t offer centralized data, including key performance analytics and fulfillment insights.
Without the correct data, it’s challenging to monitor your brand’s success or lack thereof. Additionally, having access to meaningful insights helps brands streamline their marketing and customer support efforts.
Multiple fulfillment methods make it difficult to keep track of orders
Many eCommerce brands offer customers multiple fulfillment options, including various delivery options (including overnight and 2-day delivery), order pick-up, or mail-order delivery.
Unfortunately, the more options you offer, the more difficult keeping track of orders becomes. For example, if customers have arranged to pick the order up, you’ll have to keep track of whether the order was picked or if there’s been a rescheduling.
Hard to meet Amazon’s stringent requirements for Prime shipping
Amazon’s latest Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) option seems to offer eCommerce merchants the best of two worlds – you get access to the exclusive Prime label but retain autonomy over your fulfillment operations.
Unfortunately, while SFP fulfillment is an excellent idea, in theory, Amazon’s stringent requirements make it challenging to qualify for the program. To maintain the exclusive SFP status, your Prime trial orders must have a cancellation rate of less than 1%, a minimum 99% on-time rate, and all orders placed before 2 pm have to be fulfilled and shipped on the same day.
How to improve marketplace fulfillment
While marketplace fulfillment comes with its fair share of drawbacks, you can streamline and optimize the fulfillment process with some help.
Leverage software that integrates with multiple marketplaces
Merchants can integrate advanced inventory and warehouse management system software with marketplaces to organize all relevant data, analytics, and insights in one place.
The right fulfillment software gives you access to order details in real-time, helps monitor sales and performance metrics, and reliably monitor inventory levels and forecast demand.
Work with a 3PL that offers fast shipping speeds
Meeting the shipping expectations of modern consumers is increasingly difficult, but third-party logistics providers help you provide expedited shipping options without incurring high costs.
Given that 43% of abandoned carts are due to high shipping charges, and 54% of consumers under 25 declared same-day delivery as their top purchase driver, growing eCommerce brands need to step up their logistics game.
Make use of distributed inventory to cut down on shipping costs
Distributing inventory across multiple, strategically-placed fulfillment centers helps eCommerce brands simultaneously provide faster shipping times and reduce last-mile delivery costs. This is because, with a distributed inventory, you can ship products to customers from the fulfillment centers closest to them.
How ShipHero improves marketplace fulfillment
ShipHero’s leading warehouse management solution and fulfillment services help growing eCommerce brands optimize marketplace fulfillment. Our fully integrated system syncs your inventory and eCommerce store data, and you can set automation rules to streamline tedious processes.
ShipHero helps eCommerce brands grow sustainably with our:
Done-for-you fulfillment services for multiple marketplaces
ShipHero’s outsourced fulfillment services take the pressure of order fulfillment off your hands, so you can focus on growing your store. We’ll manage your inventory, pick and pack orders (and ship them, too), and take care of reverse logistics regardless of how many marketplaces you’re selling on.
Thanks to ShipHero’s leading warehouse management system and team of fulfillment experts, fast-growing eCommerce brands like yours can keep up with evolving consumer expectations. With our network of distributed fulfillment centers, you can offer customers 2-day and overnight delivery options without incurring high last-mile delivery costs.
Our highly trained workforce and advanced software collectively minimize pick and pack errors, reducing wrong order requests and protecting your bottom line.
Multiple marketplace integrations
Whether you’ve partnered with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, or another marketplace, ShipHero’s warehouse management system integrates directly with your marketplace and centralizes all the relevant information.
You can view inventory data in real-time, access team reports, view order history, and access key information like actual shipping costs for each order, all from one central dashboard.
Easy returns management
Your returns process dramatically impacts customer loyalty, and you don’t need to take our word for it. A report revealed that a positive return experience affects brand loyalty in 95% of online customers, and over 65% of online shoppers consult a brand’s return policy before making a purchase.
To meet consumer expectations and help our eCommerce partners secure customer loyalty, ShipHero offers done-for-you returns management and reverse logistics services. ShipHero integrates with your marketplace and manages returns as they come in, preventing delays and improving customer retention.
Marketplace fulfillment comes with its fair share of drawbacks, including a lack of integrations, disorganized data, analytics, and stringent requirements to qualify for more recognized fulfillment programs.
Thus, many growing eCommerce brands partner with ShipHero to overcome these challenges and optimize their marketplace fulfillment. With ShipHero, online retailers can offer expedited shipping times, minimize pick and pack errors, manage returns easily, and centralize their real-time inventory and order data.
Optimize your marketplace fulfillment with ShipHero today.
Schedule a meeting today with our experts to learn more about our inventory management and shipping software built for eCommerce brands & 3PLs looking to run their best warehouse and how ShipHero works to ensure that organizations invest in the solutions that match their needs, to improve productivity, revenue, and success.
Click HERE to Schedule a Meeting Today
Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO
About the author: Aaron Rubin is the Founder & CEO of ShipHero. He is responsible for planning and executing the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Rubin’s greatest strengths are leadership, change management, strategic planning and a passion for progression. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of ShipHero’s major initiatives, his entrepreneurial spirit, and keen business acumen. His leadership of ShipHero is grounded in providing excellent customer service that drives improved business operations. His passion for ShipHero comes from the culture and his ability to have an impact on the lives of employees, customers, partners, and investors.