eCommerce Fulfillment – Which Model is Right for You?


Ecommerce fulfillment is at the base of the most common complaints from online shoppers. They are: late delivery, damaged products, and missing orders. By effectively managing your ecommerce fulfillment model, you can successfully avoid each of these problems. 

With a dropship model, you market and sell goods stored at another facility. This form of ecommerce fulfillment allows your product to be manufactured, stored, and shipped from a different facility. 

In a self-fulfillment model, you run the entire shipping process in-house.This form of ecommerce fulfillment cuts out the middleman and gives you the ultimate say over the entire process. 

In the third-party logistics model, or 3PL, you either manufacture your goods or buy them back in bulk before an order is made. Every time a customer buys an item  , your 3PL partner ships it out. 

If you feel that drop-shipping offers too little control over the process, but self-fulfillment offers too much, then the 3PL model is a good option for your ecommerce fulfillment needs. 

If you’re ready to talk to a 3PL provider today, contact Marketplace Valet today. Stacked up against our competitors, there’s no comparison. We offer professional listing management, top-notch product storage, projected inventory reports, and so much more.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the link below:

Use These Tactics For Measuring Your Ecommerce Fulfillment Efficiency

ecommerce fulfillment


To survive the competition, your company needs to deliver exceptional products, fast.

That’s why it’s important to think about ecommerce fulfillment. From the submission of an order through processing to the physical delivery of the product, everything must be on point.

But how do you measure yourself against the rest? That’s a question that many brands have struggled to answer.

We’re here to help. It’s more than possible to measure your ecommerce fulfillment. Here are the tactics you should be using.


Analyze Your Internal Logistics

The first step forward in improving your ecommerce fulfillment is a look backward.

The major logistics you need to look at all depend on what your company does. But, in general, ask yourself a few questions.

What shipping needs are ideal for you, and how does reality line up with expectations? What could go better before any product is sent out, and how can you contribute to that betterment? Is there anything that pops into your head and makes you cringe when you hear “shipping logistics”?

You need to make sure that the ship is upright before you can fix it, so take the time to patch up any glaring holes. Then you can move forward and reach out to the people to whom fulfillment matters the most.


Check in with Customers

At the end of the day, the point of improving your fulfillment is to improve your perception in the eyes of customers. If you want them to keep coming back, you’ll need their approval, right? So you should find out what they’re feeling.

Customer satisfaction is always relevant, but fulfillment gives you a streamlined perspective on it. How happy are your customers with the products they get?

This question comes down to two answers. You need to know what customers are feeling about the quality of your product, and if it lines up with their expectations. It’s one thing for them to be OK with the package they receive–but are they fulfilled?

That sounds more philosophical than it is. In the age of the internet, it’s easy to find out what customers are thinking.

Head to the many places online where your products are reviewed by customers. Amazon, Yelp, or Google are fueled by emotional customer reviews. Whatever opinion a customer has, they’re more than likely to be open about it in an internet comment.

So, brace yourself and head to a website where you can see reviews from your customers. If you aren’t being reviewed on those sites, send out a survey–that’ll be sure to summon the most negative opinions.

Because the positive opinions are nice but unhelpful. If you can find a problem with your packages–maybe it arrived damaged, or stolen–then you can fix it. So, stick to the negative ones and adjust.

The second question is about the efficiency of the delivery. When are your packages arriving, and how could you make them arrive in a faster manner?


Find a Third Party That Tracks Packages

The answer to package-tracking nowadays is tougher than it initially seems. In the old days, it was not possible like it is today. Sure, you could contact truck drivers or receive phone complaints, but the communication was simply not what it is today.

If you’ve ever received a package from Amazon, you must have looked into just how detailed package tracking can be. You can see where it is every day at different specific times, following its journey from point A to point B with precision.

It’s so advanced, in fact, that you probably can’t do it alone. Instead, reach out to a third party, if you don’t already have one.

Many companies specialize in tracking packages for companies like yours. With their information, you’ll be able to tell how quickly anything you send gets to a customer, and whether it’s before or after the promised deadline.

That information will allow you to analyze the efficiency of your delivery, a key component of fulfillment. And you can adjust to improve.


Track Reverse Deliveries

One way to be sure that your measurements of delivery speed are accurate is to track reverse packages, too. In a perfect world, a customer will never send you something.

But, every once in a while a customer will want a refund. And they’ll end up sending back whatever you originally sent.

One silver lining about that refund? The returned package will travel through the exact same shipment route that it first went through, but backward. So, you’ll get another chance to keep track of the different locations and times that are marked during the shipment.

If you find yourself in a panic, checking your email while waiting for a package, yikes. That feeling is exactly how some of your customers are feeling while waiting for your shipments.

And, if the returned shipment comes back fast, you’ll know you’re on the right track. But don’t be afraid to adjust.


Make Changes for Better Ecommerce Fulfillment

The point of measuring fulfillment is to improve your company. Eventually, you’d like to be the perfect company. However, it’s unlikely that those changes will come overnight.

By taking gradual measurements, you’ll make gradual adjustments. You’ll be able to make subtle changes over time without disrupting the day to day functions of your company.

And, with that patience in mind, you should get a start on improving your business.


It’s Time to Fulfill

When you can track your ecommerce fulfillment, you make positive changes for your company in two ways. On one hand, you’ve better organized how your company works, which allows you to function better.

And the customers will notice. Better ecommerce fulfillment means associating your brand with efficiency and speed. A rock-solid brand is one of the most important tools you have in your arsenal to advance your company and grow into the future.

Looking to up the ante with your fulfillment? Reach out to our team. We can get you started on maximizing your potential today.

What are you waiting for?

Advanced Guide: Ecommerce Fulfillment Structures

ecommerce fulfillment


Fulfillment is the backbone of e-commerce.

As more shoppers browse online, they expect the products they order to arrive safely. However, the three most common problems consumers encounter online all involve shipping.

Top complaints are late delivery, damaged products, or missing orders. Even e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay were guilty of these missteps.

You can avoid making the same mistakes by planning out an efficient way to ship your products.

Here’s how to manage your ecommerce fulfillment and avoid snags before they become big problems.


What Makes a Successful Ecommerce Fulfillment Structure

Getting your product in the right place at the right time takes a lot of detailed planning. Unfortunately, ecommerce fulfillment has the potential to generate devastating problems for your business.

To really succeed, you need:

  • Fast processing

  • Accurate order fulfillment

  • A reliable return system

  • International shipping capabilities

  • The ability to scale your system up to match your business growth

  • Mobile-integrated technology–especially since mobile is poised to take over 45 percent of the e-commerce market by 2020

  • Failsafes that will kick in if you see a surge in shoppers

  • Affordable costs that will allow you to keep your prices competitive

You have several different options for achieving these goals, but most e-commerce businesses choose from one of three ecommerce fulfillment models.


The Dropshipping Fulfillment Model

In this model, you market and sell goods stored at another facility.

This is a common option for Amazon resellers or other businesses that don’t produce a unique product. With drop shipping, your product is manufactured, stored, and shipped from an entirely different facility.

Your dropshipping partner handles the logistics for each order. When a customer makes a purchase, they’re notified immediately. They pack and ship the product and handle any returns.

All you have to handle is the marketing side of your business.

The Benefits of Dropshipping

You don’t purchase or produce products you don’t need. Instead of buying in bulk and hoping you hit your sales goals, you only pay your supplier for the products your customers buy. That’s an efficient way to do business.

Best of all, you don’t need to worry about the logistics of ecommerce fulfillment. You won’t need to plan out storage, hire a packing staff, or worry about returns. Your dropshipping partner handles those concerns for you.

The Drawbacks of Dropshipping

The entire dropshipping process hinges on you selling products another company has created. Since your end product is out of your control, you can’t use product quality to build your brand identity.

You also give up a lot of control over the fulfillment process with this model. If you find a good drop shipping partner to work with, that’s not a problem. If, however, your customers start seeing late deliveries, damaged goods, or the wrong items arrive at their doors, you’ll bear the blame for those mistakes.

Lack of product customization, poor product quality, and no control over the fulfillment process are all common concerns with the dropshipping model.


The Self-Fulfillment Model

In the self-fulfillment model, you own the entire shipping process in-house. You manufacture your product, store it in your warehouse, and pack and ship every order.

Many large-scale companies use the self-fulfillment model. It cuts out the middleman and gives you the ultimate say in the process.

Benefits of Using the Self-Fulfillment Model

You get detailed control over your shipping process and avoid paying fees associated with someone else handling your shipping logistics.

This is a good option for products that require a specific shipping procedure, like food, alcohol, or large items.

It’s also great if you want a personal say in every aspect of the shipping process.

Drawbacks of Self-Fulfillment

Self-fulfillment has one obvious drawback: It’s expensive.

Not many companies have the resources to launch a full-scale fulfillment operation right off the bat. If you don’t have an experienced logistics staff, it can break your business in no time.

For many e-commerce businesses, self-fulfillment is a goal to work for, not a first step.


The Third-Party Logistics Model, or 3PL

In this model, you either manufacture your goods or buy them in bulk before an order is ever made. Rather than ship them out yourself, you store them at a third-party fulfillment center. Every time a customer buys an item, your 3PL partner ships it out.

If drop shipping offers too little control over the process and self-fulfillment offers too much, the 3PL model is a good compromise.

You can sell your own product in the way you choose, but you’re not on the hook for the entire ecommerce fulfillment process.


You don’t have to worry about shipping logistics. Instead, you can outsource logistics to your 3PL partner.

That means you can focus on running the client-facing side of your business while your 3PL company keeps things moving from behind the scenes.

This model is a good fit if you produce a unique product, but you don’t have the space, manpower, or expertise to handle your own shipping.


Like dropshipping, 3PL relies heavily on the experience of your partner. If the shipping process breaks down at any point, your customers will blame you, not your 3PL company.

That’s why it’s essential you do your research before choosing a 3PL company to partner with. Ask about their warehouse conditions, inventory management, shipping rates, and customer service offerings.

If something goes wrong, you need to be sure your 3PL company will be there to help.


Ready to Talk to a 3PL Provider? Contact Marketplace Valet Today

At Marketplace Valet, we pride ourselves on our level of service in the 3PL marketplace.

We started as an e-commerce business in need of fulfillment. We learned firsthand what makes a successful fulfillment operation, and we’re excited to pass that expertise along to you.

Stacked up against our major competitors, there’s no comparison. We offer professional listing management, top-notch product storage, projected inventory needs reports, and more. Best of all, our customer service department is there to help solve any problems that arise.

Find out why you should choose us as your ecommerce fulfillment provider.

Brace Yourselves: Prepping for Holiday Ecommerce Fulfillment


Before you know it, you’re already in the middle of the new year. Business is going well but a thought crosses your mind that you wouldn’t expect until later in the year:

The holidays are coming.

Before you panic or brush off the thought because it’s “too early”, have a proper think about this topic. Because you’ll need to ask yourself:

Are you prepared?

Better to ask now than when it’s too late and you can’t do much about it. 


1. Plan Your eCommerce Fulfillment Early

We all scoff at places like Walmart for putting up their decorations and products for the holidays early – like September early.

“Halloween hasn’t even passed yet!” we might think.

But maybe there’s method to this retailer madness that we’re overlooking.

When it comes to the holiday season, the last opportunity for you make your purchases with vendors tends to be early. We’re talking August and September early.

Walmart doesn’t seem so crazy now, do they?

If you want to make sure you have plenty of stock, you need to make sure you get your orders placed. Especially your best selling products.

Organizing early also allows you to iron out the details of any discount sales or special offers you plan on having.

This includes making sure those special offer details on your eCommerce fulfillment website actually work.

Prepping early also makes it easier for a customer to make their purchases. They know that you’re a reliable source and that the product will be available on time for the holidays.


2. Find Your Peak Day

One of the best ways to prepare is to determine when your peak day of purchases will happen.

This may mean enlisting the help of a third-party logistics company to help you make this prediction.

Knowing this information will help you not only anticipate when your sales will increase but help you see the reason why and plan accordingly.

With this data, you will be able to plan your marketing strategy and help you prepare the details for those special offers you’re planning.


3. Consider Your Fulfillment Plan

Everyone knows things get crazy around the holiday season, so part of being prepared means making sure you can handle an influx of orders to ship.

Are your current methods going to be effective enough? Or will you need to use third-party fulfillment?

Use your peak day analysis to help you figure out what to expect when it comes to your eCommerce fulfillment strategy.

If you’re still working out of your home or if you have your own warehouse, make sure to stock up on the shipping essentials:

  • Boxes

  • Bags

  • Tape guns

  • Labels

  • Packing materials

  • Ink

You get the idea. You want to be as prepared as possible. It’s better to over-prepare than under-prepare!


4. Determine Holiday Logistic Strategies

During this hectic time, it’s a good idea to look at your logistic strategies and determine if there will need to be changes.

This could mean administering a special customer service policy.

You might need to change any service level agreements you have.

Amidst the shopping chaos, you want to set the proper expectations for your customers.

It’s also a great time to determine if you’d like to invest in offering seasonal packaging. You know, seasonal branded packages, wrapped packages, and gift tag messages. That sort of thing.

This investment is usually a great one. Who doesn’t like to receive professionally wrapped products or branded packages with a message from a loved one on it?

Believe it or not, according to a Google survey, 40% of online shoppers stated they’re more likely to film or photograph the unboxing process.

What’s more, an analysis has found that unboxing videos on YouTube have grown by 57% in 2014.

It’s clear that people like to show off this process and you can use this to your advantage, holiday season or not. These videos provide:

  • Anticipation

  • Show off the product

  • Assisting customers in making an informed decision on whether or not they want to buy the product.

This can definitely help you in the long run so make sure your stuff is looking great!


5. Be Ready for Hiccups

With eCommerce fulfillment, problems can and do arise. The holiday season makes no difference.

Where there is difference can be found in how a customer responds to any issues that arise due to the frantic time of year.

Be sure you’re ready for anything. This includes:

  • Administrative mistakes

  • Items going out of stock

  • Damaged goods

Nothing is worse than when any of these things go wrong. With the season comes stress for everyone involved.

Regardless, if anything goes wrong, reach out to the customer to try and make amends.

Make sure to apologize and offer alternatives where possible.

Replace anything damaged as soon as possible.

Improve your packaging. 

Improve diligence when it comes to administrative details. 

Maybe sweeten the deal with a special discount offer for their next purchase. 

Whatever you do, make sure you address the customer, sympathize with them, and make sure they feel heard and taken care of.


6. Make Sure Your Channels are Ready

This means making sure your multi-channel fulfillment mediums are prepared. Your sites look nice and everything is functioning correctly. 

Test every page. Test the checkout process. Try any special offer codes you’re using. 

It’s a real pain in the neck when you’re trying to buy something and the checkout process doesn’t work the way it should. It can turn into complaints and even loss of sale.


7. Hire Smart

If you anticipate needing temporary workers, make sure to hire them early. This will allow you to train them sufficiently and have them ready to go when the actual seasonal rush begins. 

The last thing you want is to be training people during prime shopping time.

For a successful season, your eCommerce fulfillment machine needs to operate as smoothly as possible. 

This includes hiring help like us at Marketplace Valet. We’ve got you covered for all your multi-channel fulfillment needs. 

Need help selling your stuff online? Contact us today and we’ll help you develop a sensational plan so you can relax this holiday season.