Friday 23rd June 2017
eCommerce Shipping: In-House or Outsource?
When it comes to shipping your eCommerce orders, you have two contrasting options to choose from. You can fulfil all of your orders in-house or outsource them to a dropshipping or fulfilment company.
The option that you choose will have a big impact on how you use business resources and operate on a day-to-day basis.
Depending on your business’ needs, the option you choose may help you better serve your customers and provide quick, cost-effective delivery for orders.
Here’s how to choose between keeping your shipping in-house or outsourcing it to a 3rd party provider.
Keeping Your Shipping In-House
For many eCommerce businesses, keeping shipping in-house seems like the obvious choice. However, there are a few things to consider before deciding whether in-house fulfilment is the right option for your business.
A major benefit of in-house shipping is the control that it gives you over every stage of the process. Because of this, you’ll be able to rest assured that quality remains high and each customer receives the best possible delivery experience.
Fulfilling orders in-house also means that communication between your fulfilment and customer service teams will be simpler. Investigating lost or damaged orders will be quick, with both teams being able to communicate any problems efficiently.
Fulfilling in-house also means there’s no complex third party system needing to be integrated with your eCommerce store. Something that can carry significant cost.
Handling your shipping in-house does come with disadvantages though.
Picking and shipping orders yourself means you’re going to incur plenty of extra costs. Extra labour and warehouse space will have to be accounted for, as you’re going to need someone to pick orders and somewhere to store your stock.
Storing stock like this could also incur insurance costs, especially as you grow.
You’ll also be allocating less of your time and resources to growing the business and improving sales.
Finally, you may have less experience and knowledge of warehouse systems and logistics, compared to a specialist company - potentially making your shipping processes less efficient.
Outsourcing Your Shipping
So if in-house fulfilment now seems like less of an obvious option, should you outsource your shipping needs to a 3rd party?
When it comes to outsourcing, you could opt for a dropshipping company who will source, store and ship on your behalf. Alternatively, you could use a fulfilment company who will ship products for you but you may still have to source stock and send it to the fulfilment centre.
The advantages of outsourcing your shipping are plain to see. You’ll have more time and resources to allocate to other business areas, with lower overheads for storage space and staffing.
You won’t have to worry about the complex logistics of shipping your products either, as your fulfilment company will be able to plan out the quickest and most cost effective way of delivering your orders.
Depending on your business, outsourcing could be cheaper, and result in a more comprehensive and professional service.
There are however some significant disadvantages to outsourcing your delivery needs.
The most obvious perhaps is that you’ll lose direct control of the shipping process. Ensuring that each order leaves the building with the same high quality packing is left to the fulfilment company.
If the unboxing experience is a big part of your eCommerce business, outsourcing fulfilment may not be the best option.
You’ll also have to integrate the fulfilment centre’s system into your eCommerce store. This could prove complex and, depending on your choice of eCommerce platform, may not even be possible at all.
So Which Is Right for Your eCommerce Business?
Whether you opt for in-house or outsourced shipping really depends on the individual needs of your business.
If you need control over the customer experience, want to ensure excellent communication and rely on a high level of customer service, in-house fulfilment may be the best option.
On the other hand, if you’d benefit hugely from the reduced staffing and storage costs, outsourcing could be very beneficial indeed.
There’s no one correct solution, and the needs of your business will change over time. You should revisit this question regularly to ensure that you’re taking the right path for your business.
Consider the nature of your product and the feasibility of integrating with an external fulfilment system. If you evaluate your business needs against the different options available, you’ll come to the right decision for your business.
The shipping solution that you implement will have a big impact on how your eCommerce business is run day-to-day, which makes choosing the right option essential.
Whether you choose to fulfil orders in-house or outsource them, you should always focus on providing the best service possible to customers. Ultimately, the delivery experience can make all the difference between a customer returning and shopping elsewhere.
Want to find out more about how Statement can help you integrate a fulfilment solution into your Shopify store and offer advice on other areas of growth for your business? Feel free to get in touch and one of our team would be happy to help.