7 min read

Reduce RTOs With These Packing Materials This Festive Season

September 9, 2022 by Debarshi Chakrabarti - 7 min read

reduce RTOs with these packing materials

The festive season is knocking at the door, and we know what that means for your business – a surge in orders. But with more orders, there come more hassles too. Mismanagement of time and resources, hasty work, poor packing of products and delivery delays during the season rush becomes a source of stress for businesses.

While brick-and-mortar stores deal with the seasonal rush in specific ways, it is different for ecommerce businesses. The chances of orders returning to origin are high, and the returned orders end up being deadstock. 

Inadequate Packing = More RTOs. There is a direct correlation between product packing and RTO orders. If the product is packed improperly, there are higher chances of it getting damaged, thus, an increase in RTO orders. Quite simple.

Difference Between Packing & Packaging

Often used interchangeably, these terms are not quite the same. There is a difference between the two. While packing refers to the layers inside the box to protect the product from damage, the packaging is done to the parcel or orders shipped to the customer. These processes overlap at certain points and purposes but have distinct roles.

Packing

  • It is the process of making a container or box suitable for a product to ensure safe transportation and storage. 
  • Packing is a material used to cover a product and stop it from moving around and getting damaged.
  • Packing prevents the product or items from breakage, leakage, pilferage, etc.
  • Different methods used in packing are wrapping, cushioning, weatherproofing and sealing. 
  • Common materials used for packing are bubble wrap, cardboard, cellophane, foam packaging etc.

Packaging

  • It is the designing and manufacturing of an attractive box or bags using which the products are packed, stored and made ready for transportation. 
  • Packaging is an essential tool in marketing for boosting sales.
  • Besides protecting the product from damage, good packaging also engages the customers.
  • Businesses use packaging to engage and build a visual relationship with customers.  
  • There are two types of packaging – primary and secondary. 
  • Marketers use primary packaging to sell the product to end customers.
  • Secondary packaging is used to transport the product from one place to another.
Same/Next Day Delivery

Why Is Proper Product Packing Important?

For Protection

The main and the most apparent reason for packing a product is for its protection against damage, breakage and pilferage. Packing gives the product a cushioning and a snug fit inside the box, so it does not stay loose or rattle during storage, handling and transportation. The suitable packing material also shields the product directly from heat, humidity and other factors that might damage the product.

For Safety

In logistics, mistakes happen, and unforeseen problems arise. Despite proper packing, a product may break or get damaged. Choosing the suitable material to pack can be the difference between safe return/ disposal or a disaster waiting to happen. 

For example, if you sell glass vases, it is best to wrap the vase in paper or bubble wrap and then put it inside the box with other dunnage. This way, even if the glass breaks, the shards will still be held in the paper and minimise the risk of cuts when the customer tries to take the product out of the box. 

Sustainability

Businesses are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and proper packing is a crucial aspect of that. Using recyclable packing materials takes this one step further and positively impacts your customers’ minds. This affects the brand, the product and the business overall. Switching from heavy-duty plastic wrapping to dried leaves and using paper packing instead of styrofoam blocks are some ways companies are trying out these small but effective changes.

Common Types Of Packing Materials 

Air Bags

These are plastic bags or pillows filled with air and sealed tightly to offer protection to products. It works as a space filler for shock absorption and damage protection.

Bubble Wrap

This is the most common type of packing material used by businesses. It is lightweight and is used to wrap fragile items like glass, ceramics etc. Companies can reuse this material if the bubbles remain unpopped.

Dried Leaves

In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of dried leaves as a cheap and eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Leaves from bamboo, banana, and coconut trees are used for packing. They work similar to paper but require less processing.

Paper Honeycomb 

Paper honeycomb is another eco-friendly packing material. It has strength and rigidity because of its unique form of hexagonal-shaped cells. This material is lightweight and has seven times the strength of traditional cardboard.

PE Foam

Polyethylene foam is a durable and versatile material that is used for packing. These are dense materials that can be used as rolls, buns, sheets or custom cut to fit the product. 

Styrofoam Pellets

Also known as packing peanuts or foam popcorn, these are loose-fill packaging and cushioning materials used to prevent damage to fragile objects during shipping. They are shaped to interlock when compressed and free flow when not compressed.

Kraft Paper

This material is made of recycled paper that is typically crinkled and stuffed into packages. It is popular as it is eco-friendly, inexpensive, reusable and effective against damage and shock.

Corrugated Paper

Corrugated paper is made from layers of brown wrapping paper laminated together and used as a flat, thin sheet.  It has more strength and durability than Kraft paper and offers a better packing finish to the product.

Thermocol

Also known as stretch polystyrene, thermocol is a popular choice as a lightweight packing material.  Although not the most eco-friendly, this material is known for its strength, energy absorption capacity and cushioning effect. 

Fiber Packing

Fiber packaging can be made from different materials. These include recycled newspaper, cardboard, or natural fibers such as wood pulp, bamboo, bagasse, and wheat straw. Known as pulp packing, these materials are made with renewable resources, compostable, and completely biodegradable.

Packing Tips For eCommerce Businesses 

  • Choose suitable materials for packing your products. When packing, consider the product’s weight, shape, size, fragility and value and choose the material accordingly.
  • Pack each item individually. Do not leave any space, but do not overfill your box or container. 
  • Keep sufficient cushioning. Having insufficient fillers will have the product to bounce around in the box during delivery. Overstuffed boxes, on the other hand, can burst open during delivery.
  • After packing your product/s, seal the box properly. Use the H-Taping method to close the boxes for the best sealability. Use brown tape or duct tape.
  • If you cannot manage the packing, it’s best to take help from a 3PL provider like Shiprocket Fulfillment than struggle with in-house packing and packaging. 

Summary

Proper packing can save businesses a lot of hassles. The festive season will bring a rush of orders, and it can be challenging to manage all of them properly. With these tips, businesses can manage their packing effectively and reduce product damage, breakage or spillage, reducing the overall number of  RTO orders. These practices will help prevent damage to your product when shipping and can save you money on replacing damaged goods. Appropriate packing improves customer experience and results in a strong brand with satisfied customers.

Scale Your Business
Sep 9, 2022 by Debarshi Chakrabarti

6 min read

Ultimate Guide To Delivery Route Planning

August 12, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

When running an ecommerce business, fast and efficient delivery is critical. It is imperative for improving the customer experience, but it also minimizes delivery costs and increases delivery efficiency. This is why delivery route planning must be a significant part of your eCommerce fulfillment process. Delivery route planning is a new concept, but it’s catching on quickly. eCommerce companies of all sizes can be crucial.

Delivery route planning is not easy for ecommerce businesses, especially for companies with multiple warehouses and delivery routes. You might think your delivery management process is simple as an online retailer. You send a box to a delivery service, and they get it to the customer on time. However, a lot goes behind the scenes to ensure timely delivery at the best rates. Otherwise, you might end up spending more. 

Let’s look at delivery route planning and how you can utilize it more effectively for your eCommerce business

What is Delivery Route Planning?

Delivery route planning is a process that involves choosing an optimal delivery route to ensure customers’ orders are delivered quickly and in the most cost-effective way possible.

It’s an essential part of logistics operations and can be challenging. Businesses invest heavily in delivery route planning to make it easy to plan deliveries efficiently.

Importance of Delivery Route Planning

Delivery route planning is a critical factor in the success of your business.

As you expand and improve your company, you must ensure timely and accurate deliveries. By utilizing delivery route planning software, companies can conveniently track delivery personnel in real-time and access data that can help them with future planning and optimization. This allows you to increase productivity, optimize routes on demand, and scale operations.  

Last-mile delivery is the most expensive part of your eCommerce fulfillment supply chain. Business owners need to optimize this process to minimize costs and maximize customer satisfaction. Delivery route planning is essential because it allows you to meet customer expectations and calculate shipping costs accordingly.

Courier companies with fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment regularly utilize delivery route optimization software to make informed decisions about every shipment they deliver. That is how they prioritize different deliveries and successfully have a high success rate in record time. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment

How Can You Plan Delivery Routes?

Plan for Ahead

Regarding delivery route planning software, you need to be able to plan. This is important because it will give you ample time to plan your deliveries while accounting for each customer’s preferred delivery option. 

Your business may have many delivery options for customers, but only one of them will be the most efficient way to get your products from point A to point B. Before you start planning your deliveries, be sure to consider all of your options. You might have several different ways of delivering packages, including same-day and next-day delivery. You’ll also need to consider whether or not there are any restrictions on where you can have packages. These factors will affect how long it takes to get a package from one place to another and how much money it costs.

Communicate With the Driver

Although we all love technology and automation, it’s important to remember that humans are still involved in the process. This means that when you have a system in place, there should be seamless communication between you and the delivery driver. If the driver has any doubts about the journey, you’ll be able to address them immediately. It also means that if there are potential delays or unexpected setbacks in the delivery process, you’ll be notified immediately, and you can provide solutions and suggestions for rerouting deliveries around those issues.

Use Optimization Strategies

Delivery route planning software is a must-have for any company that relies on delivery services. Planning your delivery routes manually is time-consuming and inefficient. With route optimization software, you can automate your delivery planning process and save time and money. Using route optimization software will help you save time and resources while reducing delivery costs by reducing fuel use. It also optimizes routes based on real-time information, such as sudden changes in weather or unexpected setbacks. Ensuring your deliveries are handled efficiently is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction—saving money in the long run!

Things to Look For in a Delivery Route Planning Software

Budget Friendly

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a delivery route planning software is its cost. If you’re trying to cut down expenses, the last thing you want is a complicated system that puts your drivers in the middle of their routes with no way out. 

The app should be able to handle your company’s unique needs, whether it’s just one driver or multiple drivers per route. In addition, the program should allow you to manage courses and quickly create new ones as needed.

Efficient Features

When looking for delivery route planning software, you want to ensure it has all the features you need.

It’s essential to consider the features offered by the app to find one that will work for your business.

Some essential features are optimized route planning, real-time tracking, smart work allocation, dynamic rerouting, and electronic proof of delivery.

Good Track Record

When choosing a delivery route planning software, there are many things to consider. A good track record is one of them. Here are some questions to consider – 

  • Are your contemporaries using this product?
  • Do they have satisfied customers?
  • What do their customers think?

You want to ensure that the company has a proven track record of satisfied customers and that other businesses in your industry are utilizing it. It’s also essential to see what people say about the product and any case studies available.

Final Thoughts

Planning your delivery routes can be challenging and time-consuming, which is why using route optimization apps can help streamline the process and save time and money. While several expenses come with using delivery apps, such as installation training and the cost of the app itself, it’s important to weigh those costs against the app’s advantages. Some companies will see savings immediately, while others may need to conduct a complete cost analysis to determine if they are getting their money’s worth.

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Aug 12, 2022 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Types of Shipment Notifications for Enhancing Customer Engagement

August 10, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

Providing your customers with a superior purchase and delivery experience is essential for the growth of your business. You must ensure they receive the maximum support and have a seamless experience on your website. But the wheel doesn’t stop there. Customers need to be kept in the loop around the clock about the whereabouts of their eCommerce orders. You’ll probably lose customers faster than ever if you don’t follow that. Sending out proactive and transparent shipment notifications can help you make the customer experience more engaging and delightful for your customers. 

Shipment notifications are not restricted to just one notification you may send. They are a series of notifications you need to send customers so they can stay updated with the status of their orders. Let’s look at shipment notifications, their importance, and the different types of notifications you must send. 

What are Shipment Notifications?

Shipment notifications are real-time notifications that inform customers about the status and position of their eCommerce order. 

These notifications are also known as delivery notifications. Usually, these notifications are sent via email, but today, businesses use several different communication platforms, such as WhatsApp, SMS, and IVR. 

The different types of notifications direct-to-consumer businesses can send are order processing, label created, order shipped, and reached courier hub. 

However, whatever type of notification you choose, its main goal should be to engage with the buyer and keep them informed about their shipment. 

Different Types of Shipment Notifications

Shipment Creation

The first type of shipment notification is the ‘shipment creation’ notification. This includes information about the order being created on your panel, and you will begin processing it soon. 

For example, when we receive your order at Shiprocket Fulfillment, we send out an order-created notification to the customer once the label is generated. All notifications about processing, shipping, etc., must follow after this notification to keep the customer informed and engaged with their incoming order. 

Shipment Exception

Sometimes, shipments are delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. What do you do in these situations? The best way to avoid confusion and a negative impact on the customer experience is to communicate with the customer and keep them in the loop about the shipment. 

A shipment exception notification tells the customer that the original delivery date cannot be achieved and gives a rescheduled delivery date. You can expect greater understanding and a stronger seller-customer relationship by providing the customer with realistic expectations and keeping them informed throughout the journey. 

Delivery Notification

Finally, once the shipping courier drops off the shipment, a delivery notification must be sent to the customer. Why is this important? Sometimes, customers are not home to receive an order, and you must deliver at a security desk, lobby, etc. In these situations, the customer must know that the shipment is delivered so they can pick it up in time. Also, if there is a fake delivery attempt, the customer will be able to inform you sooner, so you take the right action and ensure successful delivery. 

Importance of Shipment Notifications

Transparency

The foremost importance of shipment notifications is transparency. Maintaining a transparent communication channel with the customer can help simplify your customer experience. When they have information, their doubts and questions will reduce, and their trust will increase. To make their journey delightful, shipment notifications can aid transparency. 

Improve Brand Connect

You must have heard the saying – out of sight, out of mind. With the customer dealing with thousands of different things daily, they tend to forget they have an incoming order or that they even shopped with you. Shipment notifications can help you stay on the customer’s minds by constantly popping on the communication channels they are most active on. They remember your brand, associate positively, and the chances of repeatedly shopping increase drastically.  

Keep Buyers Informed

Finally, shipment notifications help inform the buyer about their order’s whereabouts. The correct information makes the buyers less susceptible to doubt and keeps their delivery anxiety under check. Whenever a customer places an eCommerce order, they have a minute doubt that it might not be delivered. Shipment notifications are like reassurances to the customer, making their shopping experience pleasant. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment

Improve Customer Satisfaction With Shiprocket Fulfillment

Shiprocket Fulfillment’s fulfillment centers are staffed by industry experts and are equipped with scalable and flexible technology to meet the changing needs of businesses of different sizes. With dedicated space to store products, automated processes, and knowledgeable staff to assist you, it’s easy to realize the advantages of choosing Shiprocket Fulfillment as your fulfillment partner.

Shiprocket Fulfillment fulfills customers’ orders quickly, professionally, and at a low price. The brand offers several other services like online order tracking, easy returns, inventory management, and shipping tools. Shiprocket Fulfillment is an end-to-end solution provider with fulfillment centers in more than 35 countries. These fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest technology to ensure that your orders are processed smoothly. 

eCommerce is booming, and more and more businesses are participating in this growth. However, only a handful of these businesses are profitable. That’s because there’s a lot that goes into managing an eCommerce business that not everyone realizes. Proper inventory management, competitive pricing, low fulfillment costs, and fast shipping speeds add up to keep your customers happy, retain repeat customers, and grow your business. The right fulfillment service can help with every aspect of this. Hopefully, you now have some insight into how to optimize your eCommerce business using Shiprocket Fulfillment as your fulfillment service.

Final Thoughts

Shipment notifications are an integral aspect of your business’s supply chain process. Without them, the link between your brand and customer breaks, leaving the customer in the dark about their order. Utilize your communication channels and reach customers with the right shipment notifications at the right time.

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Aug 10, 2022 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

The Benefits and Challenges of Direct Store Delivery

August 5, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

eCommerce fulfillment is of different kinds. You can either have your warehouse and conduct operations from there, or if your business is picking up slowly, you can even ship your products from your home or office. If you are a retail seller and want to move your business online, you need to figure out a fulfillment solution to help you run both aspects smoothly. However, your fulfillment method must evolve with your business. Mistakes are inevitable if you ship your products from your home, even when you are receiving a heavy demand. Direct store delivery is one of the many fulfillment models available for businesses in India. Let’s look at immediate store delivery, its advantages and disadvantages, and the best practices if you want to follow it for your business. 

What is Direct Store Delivery?

Direct store delivery refers to delivering goods directly to a retail store or location rather than a centralized warehouse or fulfillment center

Advantages of Direct Store Delivery

Lower Costs

The first advantage of direct store delivery is the lower costs. It can be a cost-effective option for businesses that want to simplify the supply chain and streamline operations. It can help you reduce logistics costs by eliminating the process of shipping, warehousing, and several other operations. 

Improved Delivery Speed

It can help you improve the delivery speed of orders since customers can pick up their products directly from retail stores rather than waiting for their orders. It is particularly suitable for consumer packaged goods as it ensures better product availability and higher inventory turnover. 

Beneficial For Fragile and Perishable Goods

When you sell fragile and perishable goods, it is difficult to maintain an end-to-end supply chain with utmost accuracy. Direct store delivery gives you an even opportunity to reduce damage and ensure that they move faster. Therefore many companies in the grocery industry opt for the direct store delivery model. 

Challenges of Direct Store Delivery

Difficult for D2C Fulfillment

Even though direct-to-store delivery might be a suitable option for retail businesses, it can make direct-to-consumer fulfillment very hard. Utilizing your retail stores as micro fulfillment centers needs careful monitoring of inventory, and it is usually more expensive. Direct-to-consumer businesses thrive on shipping from multiple distribution centers. 

Tendency to be Expensive

For businesses that do not have an offline presence or retail stores, the direct store delivery model can be expensive as inventory stocking needs to be more precise, and the opportunity cost of lost sales is high. 

Direct to Store Delivery vs. Traditional Order Fulfillment

How is direct store delivery different from traditional order fulfillment? This is a question most eCommerce sellers have.

The critical difference is that the direct store delivery model is an alternative to centralized distribution. Centralized distribution involves the inventory stored in a warehouse or fulfillment center wherein the suppliers or manufacturers send their goods to a retailer‘s warehouse or fulfillment center. 

The goods are stored in this warehouse or fulfillment center until they are picked and packed for a customer, saved for safety stock, or delivered to a retail location. 

Delivery directions are a type of decentralized fulfillment and distribution. This means the inventory is stored in multiple fulfillment centers and shipped whenever a new order is received. 

For direct consumers or D2C businesses, decentralized fulfillment and distribution are more beneficial as they do not need to invest in maintaining retail centers that can act as micro fulfillment centers. 

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Best Practices for Direct Store Delivery

Record Data Actively

The first and foremost best practice for direct store delivery is recording data. Accurately registering data on all steps can mitigate miscommunication and mistakes between the supplier and retail store. Sharing the correct information with all stakeholders can eliminate errors and improve your inventory management as well. 

Strengthen Customer Service

Next, it is essential to create a feedback loop with customers so that the customers pick up the right products. Improving customer service can also enhance demand forecasting as you will understand trends, demands, requirements, etc.

Establish Omnichannel Sales

Direct delivery also allows you to establish omnichannel sales as your products are not just available online but also in retail stores. This improves brand visibility, and you can connect with customers on multiple channels. It also allows you to centralize your inventory data, and you can keep a check across channels about the average sales, inventory turnover, etc. 

How Can Shiprocket Fulfillment Help?

Shiprocket Fulfillment can provide you with a network of fulfillment centers located more than 35 across the country. All these fulfillment centers are WMS enabled and have the latest logistics and warehouse tech to ensure that your products reach customers in record time. With Shiprocket Fulfillment, you can provide your customers with one-day and two-day delivery options as you can store inventory nearest their location. This will considerably reduce the shipping time and help you save on logistics costs. You can also create a network to manage inventory from a centralized location and stock it in different areas. By delivering orders on time and with past tags, you can also reduce RTO for your business. It is an optimal solution for direct to consumers businesses as they can utilize the decentralized inventory management system while not investing in micro-fulfillment centers like retail stores. 

Final Thoughts

Direct delivery can be a suitable option for your business if you are moving into the online space or have just started creating your online presence. By creating an omnichannel sales experience for your customers, you can deliver more than they expect and provide them with a uniform and enhanced shopping experience across channels. With a direct store delivery model, you can also offer buy-online-pickup-in-store services, which can benefit your business

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Aug 5, 2022 by Srishti Arora

4 min read

Eshopbox VS Shiprocket Fulfillment – Brief Comparison of Features

July 21, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 4 min read

Order fulfillment is an integral aspect of your eCommerce supply chain. Customers today are very mindful about how they receive the product and whether they receive it on time. Suppose your brand fails to deliver to the customer’s expectations. In that case, you can expect a backlash on social media and several negative reviews that can negatively impact your business. 

To ensure that your product reaches the warehouse to your customer on time and in perfect shape, you need to ensure that your operations are running smoothly and working efficiently to deliver the order on time. Therefore, choosing a reliable 3PL fulfillment provider for your business is necessary to avoid mistakes, deliver efficiently, reduce costs, and optimize operations. 

Let’s briefly compare the services Eshopbox and Shiprocket Fulfillment offer so you can decide on the most suitable 3PL fulfillment provider for your eCommerce business.

Shiprocket Fulfillment

Shiprocket Fulfillment is a third-party fulfillment provider for e-commerce businesses across India. We have fulfillment centers located across 35+ locations in India. We help you with end-to-end order fulfillment and take care of water management, inventory management, warehousing, packaging, shipping, and returns management.

Eshopbox

Eshopbox box is a fulfillment solution that helps you distribute and deliver goods across India. 

Service Comparison

FeatureShiprocket FulfillmentEshopbox
Integrated PlatformYesYes
Fulfillment Centers35+6
Warehouse Management SystemYesYes
Logistics TechnologyYes (With Shiprocket)Yes
Daily DispatchYes Yes
1-Day and 2-Day ShippingYesNo
Returns ManagementYesYes
Quality Check for ReturnsYesYes
Dedicated Account ManagementYesYes
Prime-like Shipping BadgesYesYes
Order Tracking UpdatesYesYes
Data-Driven InsightsYesYes
RTO risk predictionYes (With Shiprocket Engage)No
Automated WhatsApp CommYes (With Shiprocket Engage)No

Integrations

FeatureShiprocket FulfillmentEshopbox
Channel IntegrationsYes. Amazon, Shopify, Magento, etc.Yes
Carrier Integrations14+ carrier integrationsNone

Why Choose Shiprocket Fulfillment?

Store Inventory Closer to Customers

Shiprocket Fulfillment has more than 35 WMS-enabled fulfillment centers across India. All you need to do is send your inventory to our fulfillment centers. We will handle fulfillment operations like order management, inventory storage, warehousing, shipping, and reverse logistics. You can store your inventory closer to customers and reduce the transit time. This way, you can deliver 3X faster and offer customers one-day and two-day shipping for express delivery. 

Reduce Fulfillment Costs

When you store inventory closer to customers in thoroughly equipped fulfillment centers, you can reduce your fulfillment cost by up to 50%. The order processing costs reduce, storage and inventory management costs increase, and you can ship the proper orders by improving efficiency across your business. 

Upgraded Logistics and Fulfillment Technologies

Shiprocket Fulfillment has the latest warehousing, fulfillment, and logistics technologies. With warehouse management systems across the spectrum, you can ensure top-level order processing in each fulfillment center. You can also integrate your websites into the marketplaces with Shiprocket Fulfillment to ensure that no orders are missed when processing shipments.

We have top-notch logistics in a place where the first mile, last mile, and B2B shipments are handled with ease. 

Fulfill Website and Marketplace Orders Conveniently

You can synchronize your website and marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify, Magento, etc. And import orders without any interference. Also, you can meet the stringent marketplace requirements by processing orders in thoroughly equipped fulfillment centers with a skilled team that can help you reduce the order-to-ship time. 

Fast-Shipping Tags

You can also add fast shipping tags to your shipments as you can offer benefits of express shipping like one-day and two-day delivery to your customers. This can help reassure your customers about exceptional shipping service without paying any premium. 

Decrease RTO and Improve Delivery

When you store inventory closer to customers and deliver orders on time, you can reduce RTO and improve delivery for your business. This will help you ship faster, increase repeat purchases, and ensure a pleasant shipping experience for your customer. 

Final Thoughts

Eshopbox and Shiprocket Fulfillment are reliable fulfillment solutions for your business. However, you must thoroughly compare their services to ensure which service can help your business flourish. Giving importance to e-commerce fulfillment and choosing the proper fulfillment solution for your business has never been more critical. We hope this comparison enables you to decide what features you are looking for in your 3PL fulfillment providers and which one is more beneficial for you. 

Jul 21, 2022 by Srishti Arora

4 min read

The Basics of Standard Shipping

July 12, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 4 min read

eCommerce shipping is probably the most crucial aspect of your fulfillment supply chain. It is the connecting link between your online website or marketplace and the consumers. Not to mention, how you ship the order and delivery experience plays a massive role in the customer’s overall shopping experience on your website. According to statistics, customers always prefer shopping with websites with plenty of delivery options. In 2022, customers want the most variety there is. From standard shipping to the fastest express option, customers wish all of it laid in front of them so they can make the best choice. Eventually, all that matters is your shipping is fast, accurate, and reliable. Standard shipping is probably the base option every customer expects from the seller. Even though it is slow, it does cost less, so if customers are not in a hurry, they usually prefer to get their orders via standard shipping. 

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Let’s look at standard shipping, the difference between standard shipping and other kinds of shipping, and how 3PL fulfillment providers can help you provide the best shipping options for your business. 

What is Standard Shipping?

Standard shipping is one of the most economical shipping offered by eCommerce sellers worldwide. For domestic orders, the transit time for standard shipping is 5-7 days, and the orders are shipped via ground transportation. For international shipping, the transit time is 7-30 days. 

How Does Standard Shipping Work?

Before a customer places an order, they must select their preferred shipping method. Standard shipping automatically applies to your orders if you don’t offer different shipping options

In standard shipping, when a customer orders, you pack the goods as usual, and the courier company picks up the goods from your warehouse or fulfillment center. The entire supply chain procedures are carried out as expected. The products are shipped from the courier hub via ground transportation. 

After the product is shipped, you can share tracking information with your customer and keep them updated via a tracking page, Email, and SMS updates. 

Standard Shipping vs. Express Shipping

Standard shipping and express shipping vary in terms of shipping, delivery deadlines, and price. The average shipping and transit time for standard shipping is 7-10 business days, whereas express shipping is carried out in 3-5 business days by courier companies. Today, express shipping also offers the options of same-day and next-day delivery, and customers are willing to pay a premium for the same. 

Standard Shipping vs. International Shipping

Standard and international shipping are not two different forms of shipping. Standard shipping is utilized in international shipping as well. International shipping takes slower, and shipping costs are also cheaper. Usually, products are delivered within 7-30 days, depending on location. 

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How Can 3PL Fulfillment Providers Help?

3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment can help you ship your orders with multiple shipping methods like standard, express, and expedited. 

Outsourcing order fulfillment operations can help reduce the stress on your business, optimize fulfillment costs, and give you a chance to focus on more critical aspects of your business. We have fulfillment centers in more than 35+ locations across the country, and all you need to do is ship your inventory to our store. After that, we will handle all your incoming orders and deliver them seamlessly to your customers. Not just this, with Shiprocket Fulfillment, you can store inventory closer to customers and save on shipping costs even when you ship with expedited shipping. For standard shipping, you can reduce your shipping costs by a considerable margin and help deliver faster with regard to the timelines. With an improved delivery rate, you can decrease RTO by 60%, increase customer satisfaction, and eventually bring more repeat customers to your store. 

Not just this, our fulfillment centers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to help automate operations, reduce discrepancies, and improve the supply chain operations for your business. With Falcon weighing machines, you can expect to reduce weight discrepancies as the quality is the same as that of courier companies. 

Get ahead of the competition, provide multiple shipping options to customers, and ensure you stay on top of the game without having to lift a finger for eCommerce fulfillment. 

Final Thoughts

Standard shipping is the most basic form of shipping, yet it can be a game-changer for many businesses. Ensure you follow best practices to process your shipments on time so you can reach your customers with timely delivery. 

Jul 12, 2022 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Beginner’s Guide to Wholesale Shipping in eCommerce

July 5, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

eCommerce shipping does not only consist of parcel shipping, where you receive an order from a customer and deliver it to them with the help of a courier company. Securing SKUs from different manufacturers is essential to the entire eCommerce logistics supply chain. Wholesale shipping is the key facilitator of the logistics supply chain for B2B eCommerce orders. Even though the requirements are different, the expectations remain the same. Businesses placing wholesale orders still require affordable and on-time shipping for their orders. To provide such services, you must wholly understand wholesale shipping, how to begin doing it, etc.

Let’s look at wholesale shipping, how you can begin, the difference between standard shipping and wholesale shipping, and a few tips for looking for wholesale suppliers.  

What is Meant by Wholesale Shipping?

Wholesale shipping refers to the shipping and delivery of bulk wholesale orders. 

These orders are also B2B orders placed by retailers or D2C business owners rather than one customer. They usually include a large quantity for one product. Even the manufacturers who take these orders do not expect to ship below a certain pre-defined quantity. 

How to Start Wholesale Shipping?

Look for Supplies

The first step in beginning your wholesale shipping journey is to find the correct wholesale shipping supplies. This will help ensure that The products you want to ship are delivered safely, and undamaged, and the shipping costs are also low. 

These supplies will include shipping boxes and pallets rather than pouches, small boxes, etc. To ship fragile items, you must ensure they have proper dunnage and are handled carefully. 

Secure the Permissions

The next step is to secure the necessary permissions. Do thorough research about who you are shipping your products to, the courier company you are shipping with, the licenses required to ship the products, etc. 

Since the shipment is of a large quantity, thorough checks and balances need to be placed, so you do not face any confusion with the authorities later. 

Set Up Shop

Once you have all the necessary permits, supplies, etc., you need to have a window from where you can take orders and carry out shipping. This can be done by creating a website online on eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, Bigcommerce, etc. 

You can add plug-ins for your B2B orders directly to your current eCommerce website. 

Partner With a 3PL

After setting up your eCommerce website where you can carry out transactions, you must partner with a 3PL fulfillment provider like Shiprocket Fulfillment or with any courier company that can help deliver your wholesale orders seamlessly. Look out for partners that offer you the lowest rates, have comprehensive pin code coverage, and an on-time delivery service record. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment

Difference Between Wholesale and Standard Shipping

A common question that might arise in many eCommerce retailers’ minds is the difference between wholesale and traditional shipping. Let’s have a look. 

Wholesale Shipping

Wholesale shipping is shipping bulk orders from a manufacturer, wholesaler, etc., to a retailer. It is a business-to-business transaction, and the order quantity is substantial. The shipping is usually done in huge boxes or pallets, and the order frequency is not very high. However, the need for on-time delivery is strict as the buyer carries out their business with the help of these products. Usually, wholesale shipping is recurring and is done on a contractual basis where shipments are pre-decided for regular intervals. The shipping costs are generally higher as the shipment size is more significant. 

Standard Shipping

Standard shipping refers to shipping orders from a business to an end customer. The transaction is from the company to the customer, and the order quantity is minimal compared to wholesale shipping. The shipping is done in small boxes, flyers, pouches, etc. speed, order accuracy, and low-cost shipping are primary. The shipments are not recurring. 

Tips For Finding Wholesale Suppliers

If you are a retailer who is looking for wholesale suppliers, here are a few tips for you- 

  1. Attend trade shows, eCommerce expose, etc., to come in contact with wholesalers who might be shipping orders for your desired products. 
  2. Join forums online and connect with like-minded wholesalers. 
  3. Facebook groups are an excellent way to connect with wholesalers in your region. Several Facebook groups online share recent updates, new inclusions, and other products they might be selling. 
  4. Explore the local wholesale shops in your region to find the sellers shipping the products of your choice. 

How to Conduct Wholesale Shipping Successfully With 3PL Fulfillment?

3PL fulfillment providers can be a savior in wholesale shipping. Taking care of wholesale shipping alone can be a hassle since you must conduct huge shipments and tie up with carrier partners who might be overcharging you. You must guarantee on-time shipping to get into a tiff with your retailer. In such scenarios, wholesale shipping can be carried out seamlessly with 3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment has more than 35 fulfillment centers located across the country. This means you can store your inventory wherever your retailers are based and ensure that all your shipments are delivered on time with lower shipping rates. This will help you save on shipping costs, guarantee on-time shipments and the hassle of processing a B2B order which can be tedious. Not just this, you can also eliminate the problems associated with discrepancies as all our fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest weighing machines to ensure the correct way it is recorded. 

A skilled force and an automated warehouse can help you process your B2B shipments and deliver your wholesale orders on time. 

Final Thoughts

Wholesale shipping is an integral aspect of any eCommerce supply chain. If you are a buyer, you need to ensure that the manufacturer or wholesaler is the right fit for you. If you are a wholesaler, you need to ensure that you ship your product seamlessly to your retailer and deliver on time to ensure that your business is carried out smoothly. Tying up with 3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment can ensure that the supply chain remains intact. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Jul 5, 2022 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Inventory Cycle Count: Significance and the Best Practices for Success

June 28, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

To succeed with your eCommerce business, you need an intelligent and efficient strategy for inventory management. Proper inventory tracking and positioning are essential to take care of the inventory levels, improve order processing efficiency, and enhance delivery. To maintain a thorough inventory strategy, you must have a dedicated system to count inventory to avoid issues like overstocking and stockouts accurately. Inventory cycle count is one technique to track inventory so you can stay updated at all times. They can be a disconnect between the physical numbers and your online stock. Processes like inventory cycle counting can help you reduce these discrepancies.

To make it easier for your business, let’s look at inventory cycle count, it is its importance, and the best practices to help you succeed. 

What is Inventory Cycle Count?

Inventory cycle count refers to the process of accounting for inventory in which certain items are counted at a time at regular intervals, so it forms a cyclical schedule. 

So instead of counting the entire physical inventory at once, you can focus on specific items and conduct a cycle review regularly. 

This way, you can conduct inventory counting without halting warehousing and fulfillment operations. This inventory cycle count is helpful for large businesses with a large variety of SKUs.

Types of Inventory Cycle Counting

ABC Cycle Counting

The first type of inventory cycle counting is the ABC cycle counting. You categorize your inventory into three parts: A must contain high-value items, B the middle-range ones, and C the lowest-value items. You conduct their inventory count cycles based on the priority starting from A. 

Control Group Cycle Counting

In the control room cycle counting, you focus on a small control group of inventory and frequently count over a short period to find out issues in the technique. This way, you can find yourself in your accounting process and understand the process better. 

Opportunity-based counting

Opportunity-based inventory cycle counting is done at particular stages in the logistics pipeline, like when the items are received in your warehouse or when inventory levels get low. 

Geographic counting

In geography type of inventory cycle counting, you focus on specific areas in your warehouse and conduct inventory count accordingly. 

Difference Between Cycle Counting and Physical Counting

Both cycle counting in physical counting or popular audit procedures for inventory. In physical counting, you are supposed to count the entire inventory stock at once, the warehousing and fulfillment operations are halted, and it can be time-consuming and disruptive. 

However, inventory cycle counting involves accounting for specific stock at regular time intervals leading to a cyclical counting. This process is comparatively less disruptive as the entire inventory is not required to conduct this procedure. 

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Steps Involved in Inventory Cycle Count

Gather Information

The first step in inventory cycle count is to decide the number of SKUs you want to work with in each cycle. Decide the number of cycles you want to run, and collect all information regarding the resources you have to do these operations, the frequency, etc.

Assess Current Inventory

Next, you must see how much inventory you have in the database, the current stock levels, existing records, etc. Before you start your inventory cycle count, you must do one physical can’t to help you make sure that you are starting on the right note. 

Start Cycle Counting

Following the assessment, you must start counting the SKUs and maintain records of quantities, locations, and descriptions. These must match the physical inventory records. 

Track and Investigate Problems

Finally, once all information is tracked and recorded, you must register and identify any issues you might find and look for patterns to get to the root cause of any discrepancy

Advantages of Cycle Counting

Efficient Fulfillment

The first advantage of cycle accounting is efficient order fulfillment. It helps you conduct audits without disrupting your existing operations to optimize and deliver simultaneously. This can help you reduce the order to shift time, stay on top of your inventory, and process orders at the same pace or sooner. 

Hands-On Correction

Inventory cycle count is conducted frequently, which helps you take the necessary measures to maintain inventory accuracy. You can minimize errors faster and ensure better order accuracy. 

Greater Sales

The inventory cycle count does not ask you to stop operations, and you can continue to receive orders as usual. With cycle counting in the background, you are always aware of the inventory you have to re-stock and can do it on time. This helps you avoid situations of stockouts and backorders, and you can improve sales considerably. 

Improved Customer Experience

Finally, inventory cycle counting can help you improve the customer’s experience as you can identify inaccuracies in your supply chain and take action to enhance the fulfillment operations. This can help you improve order accuracy, ship on time, and deliver seamlessly without errors. 

Best Practices for Inventory Cycle Counting

Regular Counts

The foremost best practice for conducting a successful inventory cycle count is to do it regularly. You must cover all product categories and stocks regularly to detect issues on time and improve accuracy. 

Choose The Right Products

When you have products with different sales and priorities, you can decide which ones you need to focus on more. For example, if an SKU has more excellent deals, the inventory counting must be done more frequently. 

Utilize Technology

To conduct inventory cycle count regularly and seamlessly, you must utilize technology to avoid human errors and save time whenever possible. RFID and barcode scanning systems can reduce the need to log inventory manually. You must have an inventory management system to update records automatically and crosscheck whenever necessary. 

How Can Shiprocket Fulfillment Help?

Inventory management can be complex if you do it entirely yourself. It requires constant accounting and accuracy for other supply chain operations. It involves a lot of high capital investment in inventory management systems, barcoding, etc. Still, an efficient solution is to outsource it to 3PL fulfillment providers.

3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment help you process incoming orders by storing inventory in different warehouses across the country. All these warehouses are equipped with warehouse management and inventory management systems to help reduce the order-to-ship time for your incoming orders, so you do not need to worry about running an in-house inventory and warehouse management system. 

By storing inventory closer to customers, you can reduce the shipping time, decrease costs, and improve your delivery rate, offering express delivery options like same-day and next-day delivery. 

Final Thoughts

Inventory cycle count is an efficient way to conduct inventory audits and track inventory. However, it can be challenging to carry on continuously and might require additional investment and resources. You can outsource your fulfillment operations to 3PL fulfillment providers to ensure that your orders are delivered on time without having to worry about the working of your fulfillment supply chain.

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Jun 28, 2022 by Srishti Arora

4 min read

Understanding Freight On Board (FOB) in Freight Shipping

June 25, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 4 min read

When you are involved in shipping and logistics, there are several terms that you come across daily. They are essential for conducting operations, sometimes confusing. Keeping a tab of them at all times can be difficult. For example, you must have come across freight on board (FOB). 

FOB shipping

Even though it is a common term, sellers and shippers are usually confused about the true meaning. With this article, let’s look at what freight on board (FOB) is, the cost involved in calculating FOB, its use in shipping documentation, significance, and other relevant terms that you must know.

What is Freight On Board (FOB)?

Freight on board (FOB) is a term used to tell when the liability or ownership of the goods shifts from the seller to the buyer. It is an international legal term that means if a seller is required to deliver goods on both the shipping vessels to the buyer.  

Another rendition is free on board (FOB) which tells if the seller or buyer is liable for the damaged goods during shipping.

When the term freight on board is used with the destination, it determines which party is responsible for paying the freight charges. 

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Costs Involved in FOB

The cost involved in freight on board (FOB) from the seller’s point of view includes the transport costs to the Port of shipment, loading costs for loading goods into a shipping vessel, the marine freight transport, unloading costs, and transportation costs till the final destination. 

When we talk about F.O.B. origin, the buyer will be responsible for all the overhead costs.

For example, suppose a buyer from America buys a wooden centerpiece from India. They must pay for all the transportation costs from the seller’s warehouse to the port, loading and unloading cost, and shipping to the final destination. 

Use of FOB in Shipping Documentation

Freight on board is used in four different ways in freight shipping. It includes – 

  • FOB [place of origin], Freight Collect
  • FOB [place of origin], Freight Prepaid
  • FOB [place of destination], Freight Collect
  • FOB [place of destination], Freight Prepaid

In the above, the first part of the designation tells who assumes the risk of damage and the title of the goods, the buyer or the seller. 

The second part of the designation talks about the responsibility for the freight charges. Prepaid means the seller already pays the costs, and collect means the need to be collected from the buyer. 

Significance of Freight On Board Shipping

Freight on board shipping is critical because it clarifies who is responsible for the shipment in damage situations, payment, etc. It throws light on the titles and makes the process transparent for the shipping company

When the buyer refuses to collect the delivery, a clear freight on board document will help the seller contest this and collect payment. 

Other Important Terms

Other related terms with freight on board include – 

  • FOB Origin, Freight Prepaid, & Charged Back 

This indicates that the seller does not pay the shipping cost but has added the cost of shipping to the invoice. The buyer takes ownership of the shipment and pays the bill on a more expensive invoice. 

  • FOB Destination, Freight Prepaid, & Charged Back

This indicates that the seller is taking responsibility for the state until the goods are delivered. The buyer deducts the charges from the invoice. 

  • FOB Destination, Freight Collect, and Allowed

In this scenario, the shipper adds the freight cost to the invoice, and the buyer pays the charges.

Final Thoughts

Freight on board is an important shipping town for international deliveries. You must be aware of it to conduct your shipments seamlessly and deliver to customers without any hiccups. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment
Jun 25, 2022 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Role of Logistics Operations In Better Supply Chain Management

June 22, 2022 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

To successfully deliver products to your customers and drive a high revenue for your business, you need steady logistics operations to ensure that all incoming orders are correctly processed and shipped on time

Therefore, you must develop a robust logistics operation strategy with the correct processes, technology stack, and infrastructure to ensure that you can deliver quality and accuracy to customers.

The logistics operations you bring into place play a huge role in optimizing your supply chain. This article will look at the meaning of logistics operations, their importance, the major processes involved, and how they can help optimize the fulfillment supply chain

What is Meant by Logistics Operations?

Logistics operations refer to moving completed goods from the manufacturer to the end customer. 

This consists of inbound and outbound processes wherein you receive products from a supplier or manufacture them in-house, take them to a distribution center, store them systematically, process incoming orders, and ship them to customers. 

All the operations like warehousing, inventory management, order processing, shipping, and order fulfillment, play a crucial role in optimizing the entire supply chain with the help of logistics operations.

Importance of Logistics Operations

The eCommerce supply chain needs a thorough flow of information and products. Without either, it can destroy the entire order processing and shipping operations either. 

The logistics operations form the backbone of the entire order fulfillment supply chain and, eventually, the eCommerce supply chain. Logistics operations have a dynamic structure. Each component, like inventory management, warehousing, packaging, etc., has a function and impacts the supply chain individually and collectively. 

For example, if you do not have enough inventory, you can face situations like stockouts where you do not have enough stock to ship to the customer. Similarly, if you have improper warehousing, it can take you longer to process orders and also incorrect processing. 

Therefore, you cannot build a strength and supply chain for your business without synchronizing and streamlining logistics operations. 

Major Processes of Logistics Operations

Procurement

The first significant process of logistics operations is – procurement. These suppliers could be the suppliers for your manufacturing unit, and you need an efficient supply chain that takes care of it. Proper communication between suppliers and retailers is necessary to ensure that the raw material and the initial products are ready and on time. 

Fulfillment 

The fulfillment of incoming orders. Involves inventory management, proper storage, order management, picking operations, and packaging. This is necessary to hold inventory close to the end customer so that you can ship it faster. It also involves processing the orders more quickly so that the order to shift time is reduced and the customer can receive the products on time. 

Warehousing

Warehousing is a critical process as it involves the storage of goods in a dedicated space. It organizes the entire process and makes it convenient for logistics operations. With a dedicated warehouse and warehousing technology, you can process orders much faster and maintain a quick supply chain turnover. 

Shipping

The following process of logistics operations is shipping. This is the main leg of delivering the product from the warehousing or distribution center to the customer. It involves tying up with the courier company to carry these goods from one location to another. It includes several operations like first-mile, middle-mile, and last-mile delivery. You need to tie up with an efficient courier partner in all three so that the process is smooth and the supply chain is maintained throughout.  

How Can Logistics Operations Help Optimize Supply Chain?

Inventory Management

Several ways to enhance the supply chain are by optimizing your logistics operations. The first way to do this is by improving your inventory management operations. You need to have in place a technology stack wherein there is a dedicated inventory management system. This will help you synchronize inventory across different warehouses and help you keep a tab on the reorder levels. It will also help you with demand forecasting to know the stock levels you need to replenish. 

Automation

The next technique of optimizing a supply chain with the help of operations is automation. Automating fulfillment operations will help you reduce the processing time in picking, packaging, and shipping operations. This means the order will go out of the warehouse faster. There are seven several ways of digitizing and optimizing the fulfillment process. You can tie up with 3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment, who have dedicated technology stacks like warehouse management systems, order management systems, logistics solutions, etc.

Warehouse Management Systems

Next, you can use a warehouse management system that will help you track your inventory levels, storage, etc. A warehouse management system can help you decide the inventory position based on your warehouse design, and you can optimize the best routes for picking, packaging, etc. 

Real-Time Data Sharing

Next is real-time data sharing. Traditional supply chains lack this feature which causes a delay in processing orders, dealing with setbacks, etc. Real-time data sharing can make the supply chain much more transparent and improve synchronization between the different logistics operations.

Role of 3PL Fulfillment Providers

3PL fulfillment providers have efficient and effective logistic operations in place. Shiprocket Fulfillment is one such 3PL fulfillment provider. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment has multiple fulfillment centers across India. You can decentralize your inventory and store it closer to customers. It has the latest technology stack in each fulfillment center to help with faster order fulfillment. This can help you strengthen the logistics operations, further optimizing your supply chain. 

You can reduce shipping costs, improve delivery speed, offer same-day and next-day delivery to customers, decrease weight disputes with courier companies and simplify your operations by outsourcing order fulfillment to Shiprocket Fulfillment. 

Conclusion

Logistics operations are crucial for the supply chain. You need to be mindful of the functioning to improve the yield and deliver more orders successfully. It is essential to go over the logistics operations regularly to see where you can improve the processes. Tying up with 3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment can give you an edge over the competition, and you can deliver faster. 

Jun 22, 2022 by Srishti Arora