Are you currently working with a fulfilment centre, and if so, are they offering you the right kind of service?
Although delegation will free up more of your time, if your international outsourcing isn't a total end-to-end solution, you could be hurting your business.
Instead of freeing up your time, it could be creating more bottlenecks, where a more well-chosen partner could help you streamline, prevent problems from occurring, and give you the time you need to focus on growing.
Here are seven reasons why you need a total solution for international outsourcing.
1. Knowledge Of International Markets
How well do you know the markets you're intending to sell to?
As an e-commerce business, there are both upsides and downsides to making your goods available worldwide.
The upside is that you can encourage more sales by expanding into new markets. The downside is that if you don't understand the regions you're looking to sell to, you're going to make some costly mistakes.
Experienced international fulfilment centres should already be well-acquainted with international markets, and should be poised to help you spot and navigate any potential issues.
2. Laws & Regulations
Certain products cannot be shipped to certain regions. There are restrictions and regulations that could hold your business back, and you will waste time and money trying to work through these concerns if you don't have the right experience and know-how.
3. Delivery Speed
If you can't rest easy knowing that your shipments are being delivered to your customers in a timely manner, your business isn't ready for international expansion, your systems aren't efficient enough, or you aren't taking advantage of the right outsourcing services.
Generating repeat business and customer loyalty will prove difficult at best if you don't emphasise delivery speed. Customer happiness should be a priority if you want to outshine the competition.
You may be aware of one way to get your products to different parts of the world. This doesn't necessarily mean that you know the fastest, most cost-efficient way of delivering shipments on time.
This is why finding the right partners is absolutely key. Expanding into international markets could end up costing more than it's worth if you don't.
5. Cost Efficiency
Every e-commerce business wants to save money where they can. Cost efficiency means the ability to pour more of your resources back into your business - marketing, advertising, strategic partnerships, product procurement, and so on.
You may be able to do it all yourself, but will you actually save anything by taking it all on? The opportunity cost could end up being greater than resources spent on international outsourcing and fulfilment.
6. Systems & Scalability
If you want to do picking, packing and shipping right, you have to put the right systems in place for your warehouse. But without prior experience, it's hard to know what software tools to implement, who to put in charge of what tasks, and how to make things more efficient.
Furthermore, ensuring scalability is virtually impossible with a makeshift system. If you don't have a plan in place for the growth of your company, you will have to improvise when customer demands begin to increase.
7. Improved Business Focus
You can't keep your focus as a business owner when your attention is pulled in every direction. This may be required of you as you are getting your operations set up, but you need to be able to streamline and systemize your processes as you go, or you will have less time to focus on marketing your wares.
If you don't have a total solution for international outsourcing, your focus will suffer. You will have to oversee and manage yet another aspect of your business that could be more efficient.
You can outsource different parts of your business to different companies, but keep in mind that this could end up being more costly. It could even slow things down unless the disparate entities talk well to each other.
Business owners should be seeking out holistic solutions so they can address many potential challenges at once, instead of improvising as new issues arise.
Christopher Moore is the Marketing Mixologist at Floship, a venture backed logistics startup based in Hong Kong that specializes in global eCommerce fulfillment and crowdfunding fulfillment. He’s been in and out of Asia since 1999, before joining Floship he was across the border in Shenzhen involved in various emerging tech oriented projects, including multiple successfully funded Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns focused on robotics and virtual reality.
Floship deliver goods worldwide from Hong Kong, China; a total-solution for outsourced international fulfilment to all major markets. Floship provides discounted bulk rates for crowdfunded projects and excels at helping ecommerce merchants fulfill their goods globally.