Are you designing, creating, and managing your inventory? Congrats! You are officially an eCommerce badass. In case you aren’t quite there yet but want to be, we recommend checking this blog out first: How to Start an eCommerce Store for Custom Screen Printed T-Shirts. You can come back to this one after.
In today’s business world, providing strong fulfillment is essential to maintaining a positive relationship with your customers. By definition, fulfillment is the process of ensuring that a customer’s order is complete and correct before it is shipped. This includes making sure that all products are in stock and that any necessary customization or personalization has been completed.
So, how do you know how to get the best fulfillment options? How do you know how to maximize your fulfillment in general? In this blog, we’re going to show you the different types of fulfillment, as well as 10 fulfillment tips for custom screen print shirts.
Self-Fulfillment vs. Third-Party Fulfillment
Many eCommerce entrepreneurs face the decision of whether to fulfill orders themselves or to outsource fulfillment to a third-party company. There are pros and cons to both options, and the best solution for your business will depend on your specific needs. Here’s a look at some of the key considerations for each option:
Self-fulfillment: What to expect
- You have complete control over the fulfillment process
- You manage your inventory on your own
- You are responsible for packing and shipping all orders
- You manage exchanges and returns on your own
- You have control over the entire customer experience
- Self-fulfillment can be less expensive for smaller brands
3rd party fulfillment: What to expect
- You don’t have as much control over the fulfillment process
- Your fulfillment partner stores your inventory in their warehouses
- A 3rd party company handles the entire fulfillment process for you
- Your fulfillment partner handles the entire return and exchange process
- Your fulfillment partner plays a significant role in the customer experience after each sale
- 3rd party fulfillment can be more cost-effective for larger brands that are selling lots of units
So, which option is best for your custom screen print shirts? Only you can determine that. We recommend that you consider your inventory needs, your budget, and your customer service goals to make the best decision for your business.
Why is Fulfillment Important for Managing Your Business?
There are a lot of responsibilities when running a small business, from keeping track of inventory and finances to ensuring customer satisfaction. It can be a lot to handle, which is why fulfillment is so important.
Fulfillment is the process of getting products or services to customers. This can include everything from manufacturing and shipping to delivery and installation. Having a good fulfillment process in place is essential for any business, but it’s especially important for small businesses.
Here are a few reasons why fulfillment is major for small business owners:
Having a solid fulfillment process in place can help you save money on shipping and other costs associated with getting products to customers. First, by keeping your inventory organized and streamlined, you can avoid over-ordering and incurring unnecessary costs. Second, streamlined fulfillment can help you keep track of your inventory levels so that you never run out of stock, which can cost you sales. Finally, by working with a fulfillment partner that offers scale pricing, you can save money on your shipping costs as your business grows.
By streamlining your fulfillment process, you can avoid paying for unnecessary steps or duplicate services.
An organized fulfillment process can also help you save time. With inventory that is organized and up-to-date, you can ship out orders quickly and accurately so you don’t have to deal with angry customers or lost sales. By automating some of the tasks associated with fulfillment, you can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Improve customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business, but it’s especially important for small businesses. While some might simply see fulfillment as a process to check off, it’s important to remember that fulfilling orders could be the first and last interaction that a customer has with your company. As such, it’s essential to make sure that every order is fulfilled flawlessly.
When customers receive their orders quickly and accurately, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their purchase. On the other hand, if orders are delayed or items are missing, it can lead to frustration and even rage. That’s why it’s so important to have a reliable fulfillment process, whether you do it yourself or hire a company to help you.
Scale your business.
As your small business grows, you’ll need to be able to scale your fulfillment process accordingly. When you’re fulfilling orders quickly and accurately, your customers will be happy. Happy customers are more likely to come back and buy from you again.
10 Expert Fulfillment Tips for Custom Apparel
If you’re in the apparel business, you probably already know that fulfillment can be a real challenge, especially if you have limited time, money, and resources. After all, you are only one person. Not only do you have a million tasks in your head all at once, but you also cannot stretch yourself too thin or else your operation could fall apart.
But never fear! We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you keep your customers happy and your business running smoothly.
1. Keep accurate inventory levels.
Nothing is worse than promising a customer a shirt only to find out that you’re out of stock. There are many reasons why keeping accurate inventory levels is necessary for fulfillment. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that if you don’t have enough inventory on hand, you can’t fulfill orders. This can lead to frustrated customers and lost sales.
Another reason why accurate inventory levels are so important is that they help you avoid overspending on inventory. If you have too much inventory on hand, you tie up valuable resources that could be better used elsewhere. This can lead to higher carrying costs and ultimately lower profits.
Finally, accurate inventory levels help you make better decisions about your business as a whole. With good data, you can forecast future demand and plan accordingly. This helps you avoid situations where you’re either over- or under-stocked and ultimately leads to a more efficient and profitable business.
2. Stay organized.
A well-organized fulfillment operation will run more smoothly than one that’s a hot mess. For one, it helps you stay on top of orders and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. It also makes it easier to find items when you need them, which can save you a lot of time and frustration. And if you’re organized, it’s easier to stay calm and focused in the face of chaos.
Take the time to develop a system that works for you and stick to it.
3. Communicate with your customers.
Keep your customers in the loop throughout the fulfillment process so they know what to expect and when to expect it. Why? Because fulfillment is all about making sure your customers are happy with the products they receive. If there are any issues with shipping, delivery, or the product itself, it’s going to reflect poorly on your company as a whole. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re staying in close contact with your customers throughout the fulfillment process.
Here are a few tips to help you keep the lines of communication open with your customers:
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Respond to customer inquiries promptly.
- Keep your customers updated on the status of their orders.
- Be available to answer questions.
- Follow up after the sale.
4. Use quality shipping materials.
Cheap packaging will only lead to frustrated customers and damaged goods. Invest in high-quality shipping materials so you can be sure your products arrive safely at their destination.
If you’re shipping items that are sensitive to temperature or moisture, quality shipping materials can help to protect them from the elements. This is especially important if you’re shipping items during the summer or winter months. Quality shipping materials can also protect your items from damage during transit, including bumps, scrapes, and even water damage. Lastly, quality shipping materials give you and your customers peace of mind.
5. Promptly ship orders.
If you take too long to ship your products, your customers may become impatient and contact customer service to inquire about the status of their order. This puts unnecessary strain on your customer service team and can damage your brand’s reputation if not handled properly.
On the other hand, if you ship your products quickly and efficiently, your customers will be more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and will be less likely to contact customer service. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Customers appreciate timely shipping, so do your best to get orders out the door with superhuman speed.
6. Provide tracking information.
Giving your customers tracking information is important for fulfillment because it allows them to see the status of their shipment and know when to expect their products. This can be helpful if there are delays or issues with the delivery. You can build trust with your customers by giving them full transparency into the status of their shipment. Give your customers the ability to track their orders so they can stay up-to-date on the progress.
7. Offer multiple shipping options.
Offering multiple shipping options is important for fulfillment because it allows customers to choose the delivery method that best suits their needs. This can be particularly important for customers who are ordering items that are time-sensitive or need to be delivered to a specific location. Some customers prefer faster shipping times while others are more concerned about cost. Offer a variety of shipping options so that everyone can find a method that works for them.
8. Avoid backorders.
Nothing is more frustrating than being told an item is out of stock after you’ve already placed your order. Here are a few tips on how to prevent backorders:
- Keep an accurate inventory: Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep track of your inventory levels at all times. That way, you’ll know when you’re getting low on a particular product and can take steps to restock before you run out completely.
- Communicate with your suppliers: Don’t wait until you’re completely out of a product before you order more from your supplier. Stay in communication with them so you can keep tabs on their stock levels and make sure you always have what you need.
- Offer alternatives: If a customer comes to you looking for a product that’s out of stock, offer them a similar product that you have in stock. This way, you can still make the sale and keep the customer happy.
9. Quickly handle returns.
There are a few key reasons why it’s important to handle returns promptly for fulfillment. First, it helps to keep your customers happy. Second, it can help you avoid costly restocking fees. And third, it can help you stay organized and efficient in your warehouse or fulfillment center. If a customer is not satisfied with their purchase, make it right as quickly as possible. Prompt return handling will show your customers that you care about their satisfaction.
10. Offer excellent customer service.
“Communicating with customers too frequently will damage your business,” said no one ever.
This one should go without saying, but it’s worth repeating: offer outstanding customer service at every opportunity. This is the best way to keep your customers coming back for more. You want your customers to be impressed with your communication and the quality of your fulfillment process.
Ready to Manufacture and Sell Some Dope T-Shirts?
You’ve come to the right place. At Scrappy Apparel, we specialize in manufacturing luxurious, vibrant t-shirts that are sure to turn heads. Expect the highest quality threads, inks, and printing techniques from us.
Let’s make your apparel brand a success story: