Shopify Fulfillment Network

Learn more about the Shopify Fulfillment Network and how to improve fulfillment for your Shopify store.

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Successful marketing is what you need to get a lot of sales, but the customer's post-purchase experience ensures that sales keep happening. Ecommerce stores that provide a great product and a great customer experience are the ones that manage to stand out and grow their business.

For any ecommerce business to succeed, its processes must be streamlined and running smoothly. Shopify not only allows you to sell products through Shopify stores, but it also offers to take upon itself the order fulfillment process by providing fulfillment services to sellers as well as independent ecommerce business owners.

Instead of hiring and training a team of people to handle fulfillment, you can utilize Shopify's fulfillment services through the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

With a vast network of fulfillment centers, using the Shopify Fulfillment Network can help provide better order fulfillment, keep customers happy by reducing delivery times, and provides competitive shipping rates.

What is the Shopify Fulfillment Network?

The Shopify Fulfillment Network is a service that handles the order fulfillment process for Shopify businesses that sell in the United States.

What's in Shopify Fulfillment?

Shopify fulfillment is an end to end solution that takes care of all your fulfillment needs from order placement to returns management. Read further to find out more about the processes included in Shopify fulfillment.

Order fulfillment

If you're using Shopify shipping, the process of order fulfillment is pretty simple. You can use the same Shopify admin for your Shopify store and start the fulfillment process. Use the admin to go to Orders, and you will have access to all the orders placed on your store. From there, you can go to the fulfillment page, and your job will be done with a few clicks.

Once you have selected a shipping service and finalized the order, you can choose the option to send the shipping details to your customers right away so that they stay in the loop and do not have to face uncertainty.

Order management

Whether you need to hold an order for some while or provide same-day fulfillment service to your customers, Shopify has got you covered. Using the Shopify admin, you can manage orders across all the sales channels from a single place.

Shopify uses artificial intelligence and a team of fulfillment experts to ensure accuracy in picking, packing, and shipping. You can use the Shopify integration for fulfillment services even if you do not own a Shopify store as long as your business meets the SFN (Shopify Fulfillment Network) criteria.

Inventory management

Inventory management is a service that Shopify provides as part of the fulfillment process. Suppose you do not have the resources to manage a warehouse or focus on other aspects of your business. In that case, you can reliably leave the job of inventory management to Shopify.

Along with providing warehousing service, Shopify allows you to maintain full visibility of your inventory by providing you real-time updates. Shopify uses AI to predict demand based on seasonal trends and customers' buying behavior, thus allowing timely inventory replenishment. With Shopify inventory management, you can practice bundling and create custom alerts to maintain inventory levels and apply SKU specific product rules.

Shipping

Shopify's vast network of fulfillment centers and fulfillment partners are two things that allow businesses to provide their customers with several shipping options, including same-day delivery, at extremely affordable rates.

Shopify offers a variety of fulfillment centers for inventory storage. It also gives businesses smart suggestions for strategic placement of their inventory in different centers across the country to serve a diverse customer base at lesser shipping rates.

Warehousing

Shopify offers warehousing services as part of fulfillment. It uses its team of expert workers and AI to safely handle, organize, and store the inventory. The systematic manner in which Shopify manages inventory helps make picking and packing more efficient.

Shopify charges for warehousing at a per pallet/shelf/bin basis and allows you to keep different SKU's separately for ease of access. You can also choose to bundle different SKU's together at the time of order fulfillment.

Returns management

Though undesirable, product returns are inevitable. As is mostly thought returns don't signify a loss of customers. If managed effectively, product returns can become an opportunity to gain the trust and the satisfaction of the customer and to show them that you care.

Fortunately, along with providing other fulfillment services, Shopify also takes care of product returns and manages your returns based on your return policy.

Shopify fulfillment models

Being a Shopify store owner, there are a variety of fulfillment models that you can use. We have discussed them in detail below.

Shopify Fulfillment Network

One option is to use Shopify's fulfillment network and manage your sales and fulfillment from the same platform. Shopify uses a team of fulfillment experts, artificial intelligence, and trusted fulfillment partners to provide an end to end fulfillment service to businesses.

What is the Shopify Fulfillment Network?

Shopify has a network of fulfillment centers to cater to businesses' warehousing needs, a team of fulfillment experts to ensure effective management of different processes, artificial intelligence to ensure accuracy in order fulfillment, and trusted shipping partners for a timely delivery.

Pros

  • Real-time inventory updates.
  • Advanced order management options
  • Lower operations costs

Cons

  • Shopify Fulfillment can be expensive for you if your business is just in its infancy.
  • You will have less control over the third-party service providers that Shopify uses to complete the fulfillment process.
  • Shopify offers fulfillment only if you have fewer than 2000 SKUs.

Self-fulfillment

If you are a small business and have more time than money on your hands, it is a good idea to manage fulfillment on your own. Self-fulfillment provides you with the ease, control, and flexibility you need when your business is still in its infancy.

What is self-fulfillment?

Self-fulfillment is when you take care of your order fulfillment process yourself, either as an individual or with a team. Handling the processes yourself can help you save a lot of money if you are a small business and your sales volume is low.

Pros

  • Fewer operations costs if the business is small
  • Flexibility in order management
  • Ease in managing special business needs

Cons

  • Challenging to manage as the business scales
  • Hiring and training staff for handling different processes can be challenging
  • Less efficiency as compared to logistics companies

3PL provider

If you're looking to scale your business or run out of warehouse space, it's a good idea to use a 3PL to manage your storage and shipping needs. The services provided by different 3PL providers can vary; it is, therefore, essential to do a cost-benefit analysis while keeping in mind your business needs before choosing a 3PL provider.

What is a 3PL?

A 3PL or third-party logistics provider is a company that offers to take care of the fulfillment needs of your business. The services provided by 3PLs can range from inventory and order management to shipping and returns management.

Pros

  • Specialized logistics infrastructure to benefit from
  • Easy scalability
  • Efficient customer service

Cons

  • Less control over customer service
  • Less control over brand image
  • It can be challenging to find a 3PL that suits you can trust and that suits your needs

Dropshipping

When you are only interested in making sales and do not want to handle other business aspects like inventory management and order fulfillment, dropshipping is the option for you. Shopify has integrations with trusted supplier platforms like Amazon that allow Shopify sellers to make sales without hassle.

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is when your supplier holds the inventory and takes care of the shipping process for you. You pay the wholesale price to your supplier and manage your store's prices according to your preference.

Pros

  • Low startup cost
  • No inventory management required
  • No need to manage fulfillment

Cons

  • No control over the supply chain
  • Low profit margin
  • Highly competitive

Which fulfillment model is best for Shopify stores?

The best fulfillment model to choose depends on the type of business you're running and how mature your business is. While there is no "best" fulfillment model, here are our suggestions:

  • Your company is new or small: Self-fulfillment
  • Your company is rapidly growing: 3PL or Shopify Fulfillment Network
  • Your company is enterprise-level: Self-fulfillment
  • Your company doesn't want to manage inventory at all: Dropshipping

How to choose a fulfillment provider

Suppose you're a Shopify seller and are looking to hand over your business's fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider. In that case, there are a few essential things that you must keep in mind before making a decision.

Integrations with Shopify

The first and the most important thing to look for in a 3PL provider is whether it offers a Shopify integration. A Shopify integration with the 3PL provider is crucial because it helps automate the process of order pushing from your Shopify store to your fulfillment provider, thus keeping your processes in a flow and making your job easier.

2-day shipping service

If you wish to offer shipping services like 2-day shipping, you must check whether your 3PL provides that. Once you have identified different 3PL providers that offer a 2-day shipping service, you must compare the shipping rates and the quality of service they offer and choose the provider you think will suit your business needs and customer preferences.

Strategic fulfillment center locations

Choose a 3PL provider that has a vast network of fulfillment centers spread across the country. This will allow you to place your inventory in centers near your customers, reducing transit time and shipping costs.

SLAs for shipping and delivery

When choosing a 3PL provider for your business, make sure that the service level agreements are in line with what you are looking for, and a 3PL fulfillment service will be able to cater to your business needs now and in the future.

Reduced shipping costs for your brand

Controlling shipping costs by making smart choices is a great way to cut down your expenses. While choosing a fulfillment service provider for your business, it is important to choose one that offers reduced shipping costs for your brand.

Shopify fulfillment services

Considering outsourcing fulfillment to a fulfillment provider? Here are some of the leading 3PLs for eCommerce merchants:

Shopify Fulfillment Network

Shopify Fulfillment Network helps businesses to stay on the top of their game by taking care of all their fulfillment needs efficiently and affordably. Whether or not you are a Shopify seller, you can use the Shopify Fulfillment Network to take care of your logistics needs ranging from inventory storage and management to shipping and returns management.

ShipHero

ShipHero offers easy integration with different sales channels like Shopify and Amazon. As a fulfillment service, it helps e-commerce brands by picking, packing, and shipping their orders. ShipHero charges on a pay-as-you-go basis and does not ask for any set-up fee. Its optimized shipping saves you from overpaying and thus also from overcharging your customers for shipping.

ShipBob

Acknowledged for its best fulfillment technology by Adweek's Retail Awards, ShipBob serves more than 4200 e-commerce businesses as a 3PL and provides an accuracy rate of 99.95% in fulfilling orders. Using ShipBob as a 3PL can help you improve your transit time and shipping costs as ShipBob allows you to strategically store your inventory in warehouses near your customers.

Red Stag Fulfillment

Red Stag Fulfillment is a cloud-based order fulfillment services with a network of fulfillment centers across the United States. The company offers complete transparency in terms of processes and pricing. Whether you are looking for discounted shipping rates or wish to offer your customers a same-day delivery service, Red Stag fulfillment has got you covered. Moreover, Red Stag Fulfillment provides flexibility by catering to your special business needs.

Rakuten Super Logistics

Rakuten Super Logistics has fulfillment centers strategically located all across the US and has partnered up with trusted shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Its smart e-commerce fulfillment tools like SmartFill, SmartFreight, and SmartShip Organizer have made the process of online retail management extremely simple and easy to use.

Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF)

Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment offers one-day and two-day deliveries that you can use to your benefit and increase your customer base by making them wait for less time. What sets apart Amazon's Multi-Channel Fulfillment from its competitors is its simplified operations and easy management.

Shopify Fulfillment FAQs

Shopify Fulfillment is a service offered by Shopify to e-commerce businesses that fulfill the SFN criteria. Following are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Shopify fulfillment.

Does Shopify offer fulfillment?

Yes, Shopify offers fulfillment services for Shopify sellers and other ecommerce businesses that ship from the United States, Canada, or Australia.

How much does Shopify Fulfillment cost?

Shopify charges per fulfillment for picking, packing, shipping services, and charges per month for storage and special projects. The storage charges are calculated on a per pallet/shelf/bin bases and depend on the number of SKU's and the number of total products. Shipping charges are based on the chosen shipping service and carrier.

Does Shopify own warehouses?

Yes, Shopify owns several warehouses as part of its fulfillment network and suggests businesses to distribute inventory to achieve proximity to different customer bases at the same time.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing a fulfillment service, there is no right or wrong option; it all depends on the size of your business, your resources, and the goals you have for your business. To choose the best fulfillment service for you, you must consider all of these factors together and then make a decision.

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