If you’re into fulfillment, know that efficient order fulfillment is necessary. And to achieve success, you need to choose the right fulfillment partner.
You can choose between professional clothing fulfillment companies and general fulfillment companies. It is no secret that both companies offer fulfillment services. But this only means that you need to know their differences to choose the best one for your business.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between these two fulfillment partners. We will examine the pros and cons of each to ensure you have an informed fulfillment strategy. Whether you’re a clothing brand or a business with a wide range of products, this blog is for you.
What is a General Fulfillment Company?
So, what exactly is a general fulfillment company?
A general fulfillment company helps businesses in different fields with their fulfillment strategies. These companies do everything a business needs to do to complete orders. Some of these tasks are:
- Getting the goods,
- Storing them,
- Picking and packing them,
- Sending and delivering them, and
- Dealing with returns.
General fulfillment companies are great because they help all kinds of businesses and industries. They’ve got it covered, from home goods to electronics, from drinks to beauty products. And to top it off, people love how flexible and versatile these companies are.
They have top-notch technology to handle tons of orders. With tracking tools, customers get their deliveries right on time. Plus, they’re super efficient at processing orders and have smart distribution networks. That means smooth shipping and quick deliveries to make customers happy!
Examples of general fulfillment companies include:
- Fulfillment by Amazon
- Rakuten Super Logistics
- Red Stag Fulfillment
Even though each company has its own products and services, they all do the same thing. These companies let businesses and industries store their goods in their centers. Then, they handle picking, packing, shipping, and customer service from there.
Pros and Cons Of General Fulfillment Companies
General fulfillment companies have several benefits and challenges. Let’s look at some of them:
Pros Of General Fulfillment Companies
General fulfillment companies offer a wide range of products across several industries. They are not just stuck with one type of item.
They also have the resources to cater to different product categories. It is also no news that they have the technology to fulfill those orders.
As companies and industries grow, so does the number of things they do. If the number of sales goes up, there may be more work to do and a need for more infrastructure and people.
Cons Of General Fulfillment Companies
Lack of Specialization
While they offer versatility, there is a downside, which is a lack of specialization. Perishable or delicate goods enterprises don’t fit general order fulfillment.
There could be damage or spoilage of such products. Also, the general fulfillment company may not know its specific handling measures.
Lack of Customization
Some orders often need some kind of customization or personalization. An example is a letter written or packaging with the customer’s name on it.
But it’s hard for a general fulfillment business to do this personalization.
What is a Professional Fulfillment Clothing Company?
Professional clothing fulfillment companies are all about clothing brands. They’re the experts in everything clothing-related, from clothes to shoes and accessories. They’re like walking encyclopedias regarding variations, colors, treatments, sizes, and styles.
Now, let’s look into the fulfillment process. It all starts with getting the clothes from the sellers to the warehouse. From there, they make their way to the customer’s address.
The journey begins with the talented artists who create those fabulous clothes. Once in storage, they’re stocked and given a fancy stock-keeping unit (SKU). Then, customers can get their hands on their orders.
Note: These companies are super serious about quality control. They make sure those clothes are top-notch and packaged to match the brand’s style.
Also, these companies have expertise in handling returns and exchanges. Companies use ‘Return on Authorization to track inventory. They also use it to ensure their return policies are strictly followed.
Examples of professional fulfillment clothing companies include the following:
- Quiet Logistics
Pros and Cons Of Professional Fulfillment Clothing Companies
Pros Of Professional Fulfillment Clothing Companies
A professional clothing fulfillment firm is best for clothing brands to fulfill orders.
Here are some of the benefits that come with them:
Professional fulfillment clothing businesses focus on the clothing industry. Because of this, they know the fashion industry, inside and out. They are aware of size options, color choices, and even seasonal and trend changes in clothing.
They help businesses with branding and packaging. All to give customers a one-of-a-kind unboxing experience. They can also attach promotional items to packages, such as mini-fans.
Trends in fashion come and go, and there are also seasonal styles. They are experts at adapting to all manner of changes.
Cons Of Professional Fulfillment Clothing Companies
There are many good things about working with a professional fulfillment company. But, there are also some disadvantages.
A professional clothing fulfillment company will cost more than a regular fulfillment business. They charge more for their industry-specific knowledge and expertise. These costs help them meet customer goals.
Specialization is good, but only clothing means other multipurpose businesses can’t join in. Therefore, they maximize costs for multi-industry businesses.
Services Provided by General and Clothing Fulfillment Companies
General and clothing fulfillment companies have almost the same goals. They include:
Keeping track of inventory
Both fulfillment companies use high-tech order fulfillment software to keep track of things. They use advanced technologies to make sure items are in stock. Some of this technology involves access to cloud-based technologies and real-time stock tracking.
Improved Customer Experience
Fulfillment firms offer real-time information, returns, better shipping, and branded packaging. All these provide customers with a great and positive experience.
Fulfillment companies help businesses and companies meet their customers’ order needs. This helps these companies focus on their own growth and other strategies.
Differences Between Clothing Fulfillment and General Fulfillment
Clothing fulfillment and general fulfillment are similar in many ways. But just as they’re so similar, they are equally as different. Here are some of those differences:
|Factors||Clothing fulfillment||General fulfillment|
||Clothing fulfillment offers extensive customisation and branding services. This usually includes relabeling and brand logo stickers.
Clothing fulfillment agents will have more experience handling and customisation of clothing products to fit brand needs.
They may offer branded bags and boxes to keep a consistent image.
They also have adequate returns and feedback for wrong-sized or damaged clothing items and know how to handle such issues effectively.
|General fulfillment focuses on providing accurate order processing and delivery.
Agents may not have the same experience with apparel customisation. However, they can handle fulfilling a wide range of products with limited branding.
Packaging might be primary, so there won’t be much emphasis on the aesthetic appearance of brand imaging.
Their inventory management might not be overly focused on handling clothes as they deal with a broader range of products.
||Clothing and apparel fulfillment agents have more experience dealing with clothing products.
They are more inclined to the clothing industry’s ethics, quality standards, and sustainable practices.
They are more experienced in handling clothing items, from packaging to practicing quality control.
They understand and can resolve issues that may come up when running the order fulfillment of clothing items.
They also keep up with popular clothing trends and understand seasonal demand.
|General fulfillment agents may not have the same expertise or knowledge about the clothing industry.
This is because they handle a more comprehensive range of products.
They may have an idea when it comes to order processing and logistics.
However, when it comes to clothing, their specialization might come up short.
They might not be familiar with the specific requirements and standards of the clothing industry and may not be aware of changing trends.
||Clothing fulfillment agents understand the importance of creating a unique brand unboxing experience for your customers.
They offer specialized branding customization options for different clothing items.
These can include garment bags and brand tags.
The packaging ensures the clothing items are not damaged during transit while maintaining an aesthetic appearance.
They can consist of brand promotional materials such as catalogs or discount codes.
These elements contribute to building your brand recognition.
|General fulfillment agents usually focus on the safe packaging of products and safe transportation to customers.
They only offer standard packaging that may have little to no brand customization options.
The agents focus on the functionality of the packaging and the cost price rather than its appearance.
Since they deal with a wide range of products, their main focus is securing the products for delivery. In addition, this is done without any special aesthetic for any particular item.
||Clothing fulfillment partners specialize in handling returns. This involves exchanging clothing items that your customers might have issues with.
They have processes to manage clothing returns. These processes range from size changes and fitting problems to other product defects.
They also have trained staff that handles the exchange and inspection of clothing items.
They can repair these clothing items if it is within their abilities and restock them if need be.
|General fulfillment agents handle returns and exchanges for various categories of products, including clothing.
However, they may not offer apparel-specific services.
They may have established systems to handle returns but don’t know how to address clothing-related issues such as sizing and customization or minor repairs.
||They have systems to manage inventory issues. This includes organizing clothes according to style and size variations.
This allows them to fulfill clothing orders which increases customer satisfaction.
It also reduces the risk of overstocking or running out of stock.
They can also effectively handle seasonal demand for clothing items and trending clothes specific to their industry.
Customers that desire inventory insights can also get specific analytics. They can make purchases by seeing what’s bought and restocked.
|General fulfillment agents handle inventory management for a variety of product categories. And these often include clothes.
They may not have specialized capability for apparel items, but they do have management systems that can handle diverse product categories like electronics and home goods.
They could find it challenging to manage clothes difficulties like apparel fulfillment agents.
This is because they don’t have built-in tools to keep track of different sizes and colors and to handle other fashion-related features.
||Pricing is based on the unique factors that go into handling clothes.
They may base the cost on the type of packaging required and garment care. It could also be based on the size and style of the item.
There may be additional costs for aesthetics as well.
Care expenses can come from extra care, like steaming and minor repairs to maintain their quality.
|In General fulfillment, the size and weight of the product play an important role in pricing.
Agents may have pricing cost schedules based on the weight and size of products and how they are stored, packaged and delivered.
Distance also matters as agents calculate different rates based on locations—local and international shipments.
Agents might offer discounted shipping prices if the number of products is more significant.
How To Make the Right Choice for Your Business
Getting a fulfillment partner to deal with orders, inventory, and shipping can ease the burden of your business activities. This is why it’s important you pick the right one. Here’s what you need to do:
Assessing Your Business Needs:
When considering a fulfillment partner, it’s essential to understand the needs of your business and how this partnership can cover them. Some fulfillment partners specialize in working with a particular type of business.
Hence, it’s essential for you to work with a fulfillment partner specialized in serving your particular business needs. In addition, understanding the demand for products in your business can help you pick the right partner.
Ensuring Brand Alignment:
Ensuring brand alignment with a fulfillment partner means ensuring the partner’s standard of operation goes well with your brand’s identity and goals. Finding a partner that delivers services consistently according to your desires is necessary.
Defining your brand values and mission and identifying fulfillment needs will help you decide between prospective agents. Evaluate the fulfillment partner’s infrastructure, such as storage facility and order management software, and you can also review references from their clients.
Gauging Operation Scale:
This means understanding the size of your business operations by assessing factors such as the number of orders received and the capacity of storage space required. Doing this can help you determine the resources you’ll need from your fulfillment partner to run your business effectively.
Ensure your fulfillment partner can meet your order volume and have the suitable storage capacity to store them safely. Consider if their order system can handle your order frequency.
Evaluating Cost vs Value:
This determines if the cost of a service or product is worth the value you receive. Evaluating cost vs Value ensures you’re spending wisely and getting what’s worth your money back.
To get the right partner, you have to set a budget so you don’t spend too much and compare the prices of fulfillment agents to ascertain which fits your budget perfectly. Take note of additional expenses that come with storage and handling fees.
Checking Company Expertise:
Inspecting how well a company can understand tasks and requirements related to your business is an essential factor in finding a suitable fulfillment partner. When checking their level of expertise, you may want to find out if they have the capabilities to satisfy your business needs.
It’s necessary to scan through their track record and qualification to decide. You can learn more by asking current and former clients about their satisfaction and any potential red flags. Speaking to company staff and asking them specific questions determining their experience level could help them select a partner.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Fulfillment Partner
When running a fulfillment business there are a few important factors to consider before choosing a fulfillment partner:
Do you work with digital items or physical items like clothes? Agents may specialize in managing and shipping certain products. Work with an agent who knows how to handle the products you sell.
Storage and Inventory Management
You may want to consider their ability to handle storage and inventory management of your products. Check how they ensure order accuracy. If the agent’s management software can merge with yours, it increases the ease of management.
Order Processing Efficiency
Look for an agent that can process and ship orders to your customers promptly to ensure they receive their purchases on time. Ensure they have procedures to minimize order inaccuracy and fulfill orders correctly.
Location of Warehouses
Find an agent with a warehouse that is near your customers. It reduces shipping costs and time and gives you a competitive advantage in fast delivery. Consider shipping for global customers as well.
Shipping and Delivery Options
Check if they have reliable delivery options like standard and express shipping. If you have more international customers, get an agent with international shipping experience. They should also provide good tracking services to your customers.
Scalability and Flexibility
Consider their ability to adjust to your business, in resources and capacity, in cases where your business expands. If you experience seasonal popularity of products, check if they can handle increased demand and if they offer custom packaging.
Customer Service Quality
How well they communicate with you to ease business concerns and how they keep customers informed is a significant factor. Consider their feedback team and how they resolve issues that may arise during the delivery process.
Pricing and Transparency
Compare how much the agent charges with other companies and inquire about any hidden costs. Look for an agent that provides clear invoices, so you know what you’re paying for. See if they offer discounts too.
Reputation and Reliability
Search for feedback from other clients about the company to assess their experience history. Check if they have any certifications or skills that demonstrate their experience in your industry. Choose an agent with a reliable track record.
What to Ask Before Selecting Your Order Fulfillment Company
So it’s time to communicate with and enquire about your order fulfillment partner. Here are some important questions to ask to ensure they meet your specific needs and requirements
How many warehouses do you have in your network?
It is essential to know how big their warehouse network is. Having more warehouses means faster shipping times and closer inventories for your customers.
How much space do your warehouses have?
Knowing how much space their warehouse has is important to decide if it can fit your inventory needs. This ensures proper product storage, reducing the risk of damage or loss.
Where are your warehouses located?
Knowing their warehouses’ locations helps you determine if they are conveniently placed close to your customers. This makes shipping cheaper and delivery faster.
What are your order minimums?
Some companies might require you to meet certain minimum order quantities or pay monthly fees to use their services. Knowing these needs beforehand helps you evaluate whether their services suit your business and budget.
What is your policy for lost or damaged items?
Ask about the company’s policy for lost or damaged products, including the reporting process and the necessary paperwork or evidence. You should also learn how they take responsibility and handle compensation, replacements, or refunds if items are lost or damaged during shipping.
What is your policy for shipping mistakes?
Shipping mistakes happen, so it’s important to understand how the fulfillment company deals with them. Ask them about their policy for shipping mistakes like shipping the wrong products, missing shipments, or delivering to the wrong addresses.
What services do you provide?
When evaluating a fulfillment company, it’s important to know what services they offer. Typical services include managing inventory, handling orders, picking and packing products, labeling, shipping products, managing returns, and providing customer support.
Ask about their services and see if they match your business needs and growth plans. Inquire about what extra services they provide, like kitting, customization, or special packaging options.
Top Fulfillment companies
Here are some top fulfillment companies known for their reliable and efficient order processing and shipping services.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a leading fulfillment company that offers online sellers a comprehensive range of services. They handle inventory storage, order fulfillment, shipping, and customer service. Sellers benefit from Amazon’s trusted brand and customer satisfaction.
The Shopify Fulfillment Network is designed specifically for Shopify sellers, providing them with a seamless and integrated fulfillment service throughout the United States.
By strategically situating stores at various locations, they effectively minimize shipping expenses and ensure timely and transparent order fulfillment.
3. Rakuten Super Logistics
Rakuten Super Logistics is an e-commerce fulfillment company offering warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping services. They strategically store inventories across their warehouses to ensure fast and cost-effective shipping. They also emphasize inventory accuracy through advanced inventory management systems and provide real-time visibility into order status.
ShipBob is another top fulfillment company known for its fast and reliable order fulfillment services. Their software provides current data and analysis, helping sellers understand how their fulfillment operations and inventory levels are doing. They focus on streamlining fulfillment processes, reducing shipping costs, and improving the customer experience.
Globallyfulfill is a top fulfillment company specializing in global order fulfillment. They have a worldwide network of warehouses and shipping partners, making it easy for businesses to fulfill orders internationally. With their expertise in global logistics, they ensure smooth cross-border operations and compliance with customs requirements.
Finding the best order fulfillment company is super important for sellers since they rely on smooth and dependable services to handle their orders, store their items, and ship out packages. Several options are available for fulfilling business orders, including Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Shopify Fulfillment Network. Another option is to choose from companies like Rakuten Super Logistics or ShipBob, which also offer fulfillment services. Lastly is the option called GloballyFulfill.
Globallyfulfill is special because we offer personalized solutions for your specific needs. We prioritize the development of personalized strategies that involve order processing workflows, specialized packaging and branding options, and tailored inventory management techniques.
Picking the best order fulfillment partner is important because you operate better, satisfy customers, and achieve success.