Written by Starshipit
You’ve just stuck the last label to an order in preparation for the courier pickup the next day. Exhausted, you lock up the office and head home – knowing all too well that you’ll need to be up bright and early the next day to do it all again.
But what if there was a better way?
If you’re at the point where you can’t face the prospect of another crazy week of orders, or perhaps you’re finding it difficult to keep up with the growth of your business, it may be time for a fulfilment solution.
Fulfilment software replaces cumbersome manual shipping processes with a single platform that automates tedious manual processes. But fulfilment services can do so much more. When set up correctly, these platforms can save you the hassle of logging into different courier providers, lower the chances of human error and simplify things like international shipping.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the important factors to consider when shopping for a fulfilment system.
How much is it? You don’t a fulfilment service to break the bank, but most providers offer flexible plans that fit the needs of your business. For example, Starshipit offers flexible pricing plans designed for small businesses just starting out, as well as large enterprises shipping 10,000 orders per week.
You want a fulfilment solution that’s flexible and able to grow with your business – not constrain it.
Where is your fulfilment solution provider located? While it’s not essential that a provider is in the same country as you, this is something you need to consider. Why? Because you’ll often find that where a provider is dictates the couriers they support. Location can also play a role in customer support too.
What do you get for your money? Considering we’re talking about software, the feature set is a crucial part of why you’d opt for one system over another. Let’s look at some of the main features that set Starshipit apart from the competition. Although, we also encourage you to compare them with other options.
The challenge of invalid addresses can result in expensive non-deliveries and bad customer experiences. Starshipit has an awesome feature that corrects invalid addresses in one click, so customers will always get their orders, even if they entered their address details incorrectly.
Global ambitions can leave retailers puzzled as to how exactly to go about shipping to other countries. Starshipit takes the stress out of international shipping by automating a lot of the repeatable administration.
Customers expect to be able to track their orders and want to receive multiple updates. When customers are left in the dark about their orders, help desk queries spike. Starshipit’s branded tracking pages and SMS or email notifications are sent directly to customers during five stages of delivery can keep them informed at every step.
Using a rules engine, retailers can assign couriers to orders according to various parameters. This ensures that you are using the best courier for the job. For example, cheapest available rate, rural deliveries, dangerous goods etc.
We touched on this point earlier, but does your fulfilment software provider support the tools and platforms that you already depend on? If not, do they provide an API you can use to build your own integrations?
This point will likely be the make-or-break decision for many businesses, which isn’t surprising given how important it is that your software talks with each other.
We can’t speak for other providers, but Starshipit features integrations with all major couriers in Australia, the UK and New Zealand – as well as the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms and inventory/warehouse management systems. A dynamic API also makes it easy to build new links between tools when required.
When you’ve got an issue, is there anything more important than being able to pick up the phone or fire off an email – and have someone respond quickly? When you’re dealing with all the complexities of shipping, you want a fulfilment provider that understands the space. Starshipit has a team of shipping experts who work with our customers every day, so chances are they’ve come across your problem before and will be able to help.
Our customer support team is based in New Zealand and Australia, but we have other shipping experts strategically located in different countries to ensure have good time zone coverage.
This is somewhat related to pricing – will your fulfilment software provider be able to scale with your business? If you experience a sudden uptick in orders, will they be able to cater for your increased demand and empower you to continue growing your business?
This is another point we’re particularly proud of. We want our customers to succeed and scale. Here’s what a few of our customers have to say about Starshipit:
“Ultimately, I wouldn’t be able to facilitate my business without the access to third party platforms such as Starshipit. Working with starshipit allows me to successfully run the backend of my business, such as fulfilling customer orders effectively and in a timely manner. It is super user friendly and I would recommend to anyone starting an e-commerce business.” – Lily Brown from Chille.
“Since implementing starshipit into my businesses it has made my life so much easier! It’s simple yet effective functionality makes it effortless to print off my orders. It’s freed up so much time for me to work on the things that I’m good at! My advice for other creators is to use starshipit right away! Don’t get caught up fulfilling each order individually. Simply fulfil and print your orders in bulk, giving you the time to do what you love, CREATE!” – Mitch Third from 3rdphix.
Something to consider – that’s not exactly essential – are the features that set a fulfilment software provider apart. What will you get by going with one provider that you won’t get by going with another? In Starshipit’s case, we’ve got a couple of things we focus on that we know set us apart:
Most other fulfilment automation providers are freight aggregators, meaning they offer set courier prices to customers and “clip the ticket” with each shipment that goes out the door. Starshipit is a freight enabler, which means we work with retailers to build personal relationships with couriers (which in turn enables them to negotiate their own, more competitive rates). Over time, this approach allows retailers to scale and provide better customer experiences.
Another point of difference is free and comprehensive onboarding, training and support with every plan, regardless of business size. Whenever you have a question, our team is ready to answer.
So that’s a list of the major factors you should keep in mind when considering your fulfilment system. It may seem like a lot, but it’s always better to thoroughly investigate the ins and outs of a particular piece of software before committing – particularly when the setup can be so involved. After all, a fulfilment solution should save you hours out of your week – not subtract them!