Category Archives: Shipping & Fulfillment

Advice on ecommerce order processing from running a warehouse to using marketplace shipping programs.

Order Management, Shipping and Fulfillment Tools: the Essential Guide

Software and services for efficient order processing, economical shipping, warehouse management, and third-party logistics

A successful ecommerce business has a lot to do: research the market, source products, list onto marketplaces and so on – all before getting a single customer order.

When the orders do start coming in, you get the satisfying buzz of making a sale and all that effort finally seems worthwhile. You just have to send the orders out the door. Should be simple, right? Print off the details, pick the items, pack the boxes, add packing slips, stick on shipping labels, arrange for a pick-up (or drop them off)… and now it doesn’t seem so simple after all.

Many sellers quickly go from waiting for their next sale with a feeling of excitement, to waiting with a feeling of fear. Will they have enough stock? Will they apply the right labels to the right boxes? Will they even be able to ship on time?

So that’s the bad news: shipping is a messy, complex, demanding process. It can be a huge challenge, and has been the downfall of many sellers. The good news? It’s a challenge that businesses have faced before, and there are plenty of solutions out there for making it easier, faster, cheaper and more accurate.

In this post I’ll walk you through the Shipping & Fulfillment category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers order management, shipping automation, fulfillment outsourcing (third-party logistics), shipping consolidators, dropship automation and warehouse management.

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Best Practices for Running an Ecommerce Fulfillment Warehouse

Warehouse best practices

This post is by Avery Walts, a Marketing Copywriter for inventory and warehouse management software provider SkuVault. Avery covers the latest updates and happenings in the ecommerce world. A journalist at heart, Avery works to provide information with the reader in mind at all times. Outside of the office you can often find Avery in search of the next best Mexican restaurant.

Picture this: you’re a growing ecommerce company that has outgrown the storage capabilities of your basement. You need a big warehouse, but you’re not sure how to even begin or what to do once you have a warehouse.

In this article, I am going to discuss the best practices and basics of running an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse. Along the way, I will detail everything from outlining objectives to designing safety procedures for your employees.

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Getting Ship Done Right: An Interview with ShipStation’s Robert Gilbreath

ShipStation logo

The first time I heard about ShipStation was back in 2011. I received an email from Jason Hodges, one of the founders, who at that time I knew as the developer of eBay shipping tool Auctane Pro.

Jason told me that he was launching a new multi-channel shipping application called ShipStation. I’ve been running the Web Retailer directory for 13 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of tools come and go, so it’s not easy to get excited about new products. I just thought, “OK, that sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye on them.”

Now, most new tools launch loudly and then go quiet while they wrestle with the messy demands of customer support, staffing, technology bugs and all the rest. But not ShipStation. They just got louder and louder, as they released one new integration after another. There was none of the usual post-launch bunker mentality from these guys.

In just a little time ShipStation had support not only for the top marketplaces (eBay and Amazon), but other sales channels including Magento, Volusion, 3DCart, Storenvy, Prestashop, OpenSky and many more. A new integration seemed to come out every week, covering parcel carriers, marketplaces, shopping carts, fulfillment services and mail consolidators. That’s a breakneck speed of development, and it continues today.

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6 Challenges to Conquer Ecommerce Operational Efficiency as You Grow

Ecommerce Operational Efficiency

This post is by Sam Moses, CEO of RetailOps. RetailOps is an all-in-one warehouse management system for small to medium-sized businesses. Their web-based platform is built to scale and work with the processes of how ecommerce businesses operate.

A few years ago you had faith in your idea, took the plunge and started your online retail company. Now you’re seeing all that passion, drive and hard work pay dividends – your business has taken off! It’s a wonderful feeling, and well worth basking in. Go on, I’ll wait.

However, as great as this growth feels, sustaining this trajectory as a seven, eight, and nine-figure operation poses added challenges. Once you’ve identified your niche and know your customer, scaling your business operations can prove overwhelming – especially when success happens so quickly.

The challenges of warehouse and fulfillment management at scale can be huge – but not so big that they can’t be comfortably managed. As well as some everyday methodical tweaks, effective warehouse management software (WMS) exists to help you crush your problems and ease those challenges, allowing you to take charge of your growing business.

Let’s see how:

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The Future of Distribution – How Products Will Get to Markets

The Future of Distribution

This post is by Jake Rheude, the Director of Business Development and Marketing for ecommerce fulfillment company Red Stag Fulfillment (RSF). When the owners of e-retail businesses could not find a high-quality fulfillment partner, the decision was made to build their own, and the result was Red Stag Fulfillment. This post was originally published on the RSF blog as The Future of Distribution.

Every economic system has segments that produce products and consumers who need them. Between these segments is the distribution system.

Sometimes the distribution system is itself made up of several segments and sometimes it controls production as well. In some industries the producers have taken over the distribution of their products.

No matter how it functions, the role of the distribution system is to efficiently find consumers who need particular products and to ensure that they have access and the ability to buy them if they want.

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