How the right 3PL Fulfilment partner can help you become successful in Europe
3PL E-Fulfilment, also known as order fulfilment, or web shop (e-commerce) logistics, is an important aspect within the business of every web shop. As the owner of a web shop, you know that sending out the right products can be a time-consuming task. Of course, you want to keep the error margin as low as possible and aspects such as cost and efficiency also come into play.
What is 3PL Fulfilment?
In simple terms, the meaning of 3PL E-fulfilment is: all the actions that must be carried out to deliver a product to the customer, starting from the moment the consumer places an order on your website.
This is a complex process that also involves aspects such as storage, order processing, inventory management, packaging, customer service and returns processing. All of these aspects are needed in order to be able to manage your orders properly within your web shop.
The first thing you will need, of course, is storage space. That usually starts with a room in your own house or garage, but if the range of products in your web shop takes on serious proportions, a warehouse as storage space will not be an unnecessary luxury. However, renting a whole warehouse for yourself can be expensive, you’ll need extra employees to keep in running and you need to invest your own time to manage the warehouse.
So, before you make any decisions about your inventory. Make it clear for yourself how much time and money you want and can invest to keep the storage and handling of your products into your own hands with a dedicated warehouse, or outsource it to a 3PL solution.
Once your stock is in storage, orders can arrive at the web shop. This will then have to be processed. The product must be retrieved from storage (or possibly ordered), it will have to be packaged and then sent to the correct address. That brings its own challenges, especially when your order volumes start growing.
The inventory of your shop also needs to be managed. If products are sold, new products must be ordered. The stock needed can vary, because the demand for products can vary. For example, the demand for certain products may increase around holidays. You need to be able to take this into account in advance. Also, the assortment within your web store can constantly change over time. That's why it is important to look for a fulfilment partner that can provide you with a clear, easy to use, and organized inventory management system.
The packaging is the business card of your shop. Packaging is much more than just a box to protect the product during the logistical process. It is therefore important to also take this into consideration for the success of your web shop. Especially when you are a growing web shop expanding to new markets like Europe, you need to be able to stand-out and get recognized.
Does a (potential) customer have a question about a product or an order? Then this question should be answered as soon as possible. It is also important that any complaints are dealt with as quickly as possible. The importance of a good back office can therefore not be underestimated. Europe consists of many different countries and languages, which you all want to provide with proper answers. Make sure your back office is prepared for that, or find the right (fulfilment) partner that can assist you in this.
Within the logistics of your shop some products may follow the opposite route and thus be returned. With various reasons. These logistics must also be properly managed. If necessary, new products must be sent or money must be refunded.
Why choose to outsource your web shop logistics to a (European) 3PL Fulfilment partner when expanding to Europe?
As a beginning web shop owner you have probably thought about it, or even done it already: Outsourcing your web shop logistics to an E-fulfilment company.
"Outsourcing your web shop logistics to an e-fulfilment partner gives you a big advantage: Focus on your core-business and the things that give you energy."
In the beginning, web shop entrepreneurs often decide to carry out the order fulfilment and logistics of the e-commerce shop by themselves. The number of products and orders is still manageable and doesn't take up too much time. Does the range of products and the number of orders grow? Then you will notice that it will become increasingly difficult to continue to run the logistics of the web store independently. You are then faced with two choices;
- Invest in additional staff, knowledge, materials and storage space.
- Outsource the logistics of your web shop to a 3PL Fulfilment partner.
Besides not having to invest in logistics, choosing e-fulfilment offers you as a webshop owner another big advantage. You can focus on your core business and the things you are good at and which give you energy: Your online store!
Now, you may have outsourced your logistics already, but what to do when you want to expand to Europe? Do you keep your current fulfilment solution, do you send those packages all the way yourself? In both cases your packages are probably in transit for a long time. So, why not look for a 3PL E-fulfilment partner in Europe? It brings you much closer to your target group and therefore gives you the possibility to deliver your products much faster!
Apart from that, the right European e-fulfilment partner will help you with much more than only fulfilment. As mentioned before, Europe consists of many different countries with different cultures, languages and (VAT/TAX) regulations. Proper information and advice is valuable. So, make sure your intended fulfilment partner can provide you with that information, or that it is part of a network that can help you when needed.
Efficient and fast web shop logistics
If you want to continue to grow your business, it can be a good idea to expand to new markets such as the European markets. In order to do that successfully, it is important to organize your logistics efficiently. Of course, you can choose to hire extra personnel and invest in the logistics, but this can increase costs and also the error margin is not guaranteed. A better alternative is to outsource the logistics of your web shop to a party that specializes in the processing and sending of orders.
Active Ants is such a fulfilment company. By outsourcing the logistics of your web shop to us, you can continue to focus on other important issues concerning your web shop. Our automated system means there is no margin for error and it works extremely efficiently and quickly. This ensures low costs and certainty that your customer will receive the correct package quickly. After all, we have one common goal: a happy customer!
Next to that, with our fulfilment centers based in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, you have easy and quick access to all the major European e-commerce countries. France, UK, Spain, the Nordics and Italy are all within a days reach. It diminishes the possibility of lost goods, because they don’t have to travel long distances anymore and it gives you a huge advantage over your competitors since your European customers don’t have to wait longer than a day for their orders.
Advanced e-commerce 3PL Fulfilment by Active Ants
Active Ants works with an, almost completely, automated E-fulfilment system. Small robots ensure that every product arrives at the right place at the right time. They help us, ensure you a zero percent error rate. We take care of the entire logistic process of your web shop. This includes receiving your products in our warehouse, up to the shipment of the product to the customer. But we also take care of the returns when needed. You can read more about our logistics process on our e-fulfilment page.
The advantages of Active Ants at a glance
Our ultimate goal is for you to be more successful with your web store in Europe. We do this by helping you with what we are good at. So that you can focus on what you do best.
Are you choosing Active Ants? Then you get the following advantages:
- Low costs
- Personalized Packaging
Want to know more? Take a look at our Benefits page.
Active Ants goes beyond the logistics of your web shop
Besides online retail logistics, Active Ants can do much more for your web shop. We can support you with issues such as:
- Setting up the payment processing.
- Taking care of the customer service.
- Providing online reports.
- Trade Services and Advice.
Would you like to outsource your order fulfilment to Active Ants?
Would you like to know more about 3PL order fulfilment in Europe and what our services can do for your web shop? Contact us today by giving us a call, or sending us an email. Our dedicated team of experts will provide you with everything you will need to know to expand to Europe. Together, we will work towards a satisfied customer and you will have more time to do the thing you do best: running your web shop!