Small Business Fulfilment Service

by Simon Bragg on 17th August 2023

Are order fulfilment services right for your business?

First things first, not all businesses require order fulfilment and every fulfilment provider will specialise in different areas. Order fulfilment is great for small businesses which sell smaller, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as beauty products, food/beverages, pet accessories, fashion, toys and games. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend order fulfilment for items that can fit inside a medium to large parcel and weighs less than 25kg.

If your small business sells larger, bulkier items such as large furniture, hazardous substances or one-off, unique items such as vintage clothing then we wouldn’t recommend order fulfilment. If you’re unsure whether order fulfilment is worthwhile for your small business then contact the Whitehouse Solutions team and we can help you make the best choice.

 

Order fulfilment services to help small businesses scale up

Order fulfilment can help your small business or start-up scale up to that next level of success. Whether that’s growing sales and revenue or expanding into new product lines and markets. At Whitehouse we grow alongside your business so as your needs expand we are always there to help.

Outsourcing small business order fulfilment to experts such as ourselves means you save valuable time. Rather than picking and packing orders yourself, you can spend that time on your marketing or designing your newest product.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, outsourcing your fulfilment can also help your business save money. While there are extra costs associated with pick-and-pack fulfilment these fees can be offset. Fulfilment providers will have access to preferential shipping costs and storage fees are much lower than having to organise your own warehousing or self-storage solution.

Customer service can also be improved by outsourcing your order fulfilment with fast, accurate delivery times and simple returns management. Fulfilment providers will have later final collection times than you can personally access due to the volume of items they ship each day. With later final collection times, you can still offer next-day delivery as late as 4 pm. Orders will also automatically be updated with tracking information so customers know when to expect their items and manage their delivery without having to reach out to customer support.

Order fulfilment also helps you scale up during peak periods or meet the growing demand for your products. When it comes to the busier shopping season around Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas order fulfilment can be a lifesaver for small businesses. You can scale up stock levels around peak periods to maximise your sales and fulfilment providers will ensure that each order is picked, packed and dispatched on time. As the peak passes you can reduce your stock levels to reduce your storage fees.

 

Why use a small business fulfilment service?

Get valuable time back to focus on growth

Using a small business fulfilment service gives you valuable time back to grow your business. This could be more time for marketing your products, business planning or new product development.

No one starts a business so they can spend their evenings and weekends packing orders and going down to the post office to dispatch them all. Taking this side of your business off your plate means more time for the things you enjoy doing, a better work/life balance or just spending more time with the family.

It also takes away some of the stress of running an eCommerce business as you no longer have to deal with support tickets relating to deliveries and order statuses. Customers can quickly check their order through your website or tracking code, all of which is updated without any manual intervention.

 

Save money on storage, systems and staff

As a small business, you’re probably packing and shipping orders yourself however as your business grows or during peak sales season you might need to hire extra staff to manage this for you. Extra staff means extra costs and paperwork for your business and hiring someone to pick and pack orders may not be the best investment at this stage in your business. Choosing a fulfilment provider reduces your costs and time spent on admin while improving customer satisfaction.

Warehousing isn’t cheap and as your business expands your garage or shed might not have the space you need to store all of your products, especially if you order in bulk. Fulfilment providers have already invested in fulfilment warehousing and all the systems required to smoothly pick, pack and dispatch orders.

 

Improve customer satisfaction with fast, accurate shipping

High customer satisfaction, glowing reviews and repeat business are the lifeblood of startups and small businesses. Customers are naturally impatient and after placing their order they want their new item as quickly as possible. Order fulfilment will improve customer satisfaction with quick dispatch times and high levels of order accuracy. You also benefit from competitive shipping rates as well as international shipping options which allow you to expand to other markets and offer free shipping options without impacting the bottom line.

 

Gain the confidence and tools to grow

Starting a small business and launching a new product can be a nerve-wracking experience that can quickly cause self-doubt. Do people actually want to buy my new product? Will I be overwhelmed with orders? How do I manage people returning items?
All of these doubts can be put aside when you partner with a fulfilment provider, especially one designed with small businesses in mind. At Whitehouse Solutions we take these stresses away by doing away with minimum order volumes, warehouse space is charged per pallet, carton or unit with no minimums and a fully integrated returns process makes managing returns a breeze.

 

Sell where your customers are

As a small business with tight profit margins, each order is important. Customers search for new products in many different ways with some going straight to Amazon or eBay while others prefer to purchase directly from your website. Fulfilment providers make it easy to sell your products across multiple platforms so you don’t lose out on potential sales while making sure stock levels are updated across the platforms.

 

What does Whitehouse Solutions offer small businesses?

At Whitehouse Solutions our order fulfilment service is designed with small businesses in mind.

  • Fully managed pick, pack and dispatch order fulfilment
  • Integrated return management solutions
  • No minimum order volumes
  • No set-up fees
  • No long-term contracts
  • 100% pick and pack accuracy
  • Fully transparent costs including shipping and picking fees
  • Warehouse space is charged per pallet, carton or unit with no minimum
  • We scale alongside your business as it grows
  • Popular eCommerce platform integrations
  • Multi-channel fulfilment
  • Container haulage from ports to our warehouses
  • Range of value-added extras including contract packing, shrink wrapping, rebranding & gift packing

 

How have we helped other businesses grow?

At Whitehouse Solutions we’ve worked with many businesses across a range of sectors and have helped them to not only pick, pack and dispatch orders but to grow their business as well.

We have worked with Ooni, the popular pizza oven, who have grown from just a few parcels a month to now in excess of 27,000 just in the UK. The Whitehouse team have managed to scale the operation with them, growing their warehouse capacity from just under 10,000 square feet in 2015 to in excess of 100,000 square feet and still growing. The team now not only ships their online orders but also trade orders into the likes of John Lewis, Lakeland and Selfridges with their very strict delivery requirements.

“We have been partnering with Whitehouse for pretty much all of Ooni’s existence and very proud to call them our partners – they have grown every step of the way with us” Greg Muir – Chief Operating Officer

 

Small business fulfilment FAQs

What does order fulfilment mean?

Order fulfilment refers to the complete process of receiving, processing, and delivering customer orders. It involves all the steps necessary to fulfil a customer’s purchase, from the moment the order is placed to the point of delivery.

 

What is eCommerce fulfilment?

eCommerce fulfilment is the same as order fulfilment however the service is tailored to eCommerce businesses. This can include integrations for popular eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, eBay, Amazon and Magento.

 

What is the difference between order fulfilment and shipping?

Order fulfilment and shipping are related concepts within the broader process of delivering products to customers, but they have distinct meanings and roles:

Order fulfilment encompasses the entire process of receiving, processing, and delivering customer orders. Whereas shipping specifically refers to the transportation of products from the seller or fulfilment centre to the customer’s specified address.

 

What are the options for order fulfilment for online sellers?

Online sellers have several options for order fulfilment, depending on their business size, resources, and specific requirements. Here are some common options:

  • In-house fulfilment
  • Dropshipping
  • Third-party logistics (3PL) providers/Fulfilment providers
  • Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
  • Hybrid fulfilment

Find out more about each order fulfilment option in our blog posts.

 

What’s the best way to do eCommerce fulfilment for a new small business?

We recommend that new, small brands start fulfilling orders in-house, to begin with. This allows you to get an idea of what order volumes to expect as well as experiment with different packaging and postage options. It also helps to keep costs down where there are just a couple of small, low-value orders per day.

Once your order numbers reach a level where you no longer have the time to pack and dispatch them quickly or once your average order value starts to increase it’s time to look at outsourcing this to a small business fulfilment provider.

 

What does an eCommerce fulfilment provider do?

Each time an order is placed on your website or 3rd party eCommerce platform it is sent through to the fulfilment provider. The fulfilment provider will then pick the products that have been ordered from the warehouse, package these up and send them to the customer. Some fulfilment providers provide extra add-on services such as rebranding products, contract packing and more.

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