Go From Frenzied Fulfillment to Smooth Shipping

10 tips for creating a multichannel distribution model that’s built to last

Turns out, profit margins like to hide out in shipping and fulfillment costs, so even though using an all-inclusive shipping software like Stamps.com might seems like overkill to some sellers, it will actually mean discounted rates, cost efficiencies, and streamlined workflows that are well worth it in the long run. And while protecting profitability makes sense, the most meaningful adjustments in fulfillment are based on what today’s ecommerce consumers are expecting. For example, it’s been quite a while now since Amazon proved that an online order can be delivered in two days, for free. The long-term effect puts tremendous pressure on sellers to efficiently process orders and get them in the hands of the buyer quickly and cheaply. Shipping automation has benefits for even the smallest merchant who wants to efficiently process orders and get them in the mail. In a world where Amazon owns airplanes and drones, it’s no wonder independent sellers feel helpless.10 tips for a multichannel ecommerce distribution model that’s built to last. #Webgility @Stamps Click To Tweet

It seems that everyone’s getting in the fulfillment game—customer-facing platforms are now experimenting with multi-location warehouse fulfillment and FBA syncing to enable larger catalog sellers across additional categories to use them as an inventory-management platform. We take a simpler tack: We advise customers to go ahead and plan for success. In other words, don’t be shortsighted. Realize that when your business grows, your accounting, inventory, fulfillment, shipping, and logistics will become exponentially more complex. Robust tools will sustain much higher volume and handle far more use cases—omnichannel sales, dropshipping, multiple locations, and high volume sales—so it’s worth it to build a tech stack that will grow with you and handle unforeseen selling peaks. In other words, use software that automates and integrates everything and is built to grow with your business so you’ll never be a victim of your own success.

Here are seven things you can do right now to help cover your costs now and in a decade:

  1. Choose a shipping automation tool for shipping discounts, data sharing, automatic tracking, customer alerts, address confirmation, and much more.
  2. Make sure your inventory naming and organization is buttoned up, up to date, and accurately listed across all channels.
  3. Maintain your master inventory list in your accounting, either in QuickBooks Desktop (Enterprise) or Xero.
  4. Share order data across all business systems to accurately track and forecast sales and ordering needs.
  5. Find out which geographical areas of the country are most cost effective for you to ship to, and expand your marketing outreach to sell more in those areas.
  6. Invest in a shipping review with a consultant so you can be sure you’re using the most cost-effective materials for packing which are also best suited for your products.
  7. Experiment with selling on different channels to learn where your most valuable customers like to shop.
  8. Stop entering data into multiple systems. Automation can take you off of that hamster wheel so you can make meaningful progress.
  9. Know the KPIs that are most important to your particular business. Average order value? Customer retention rate? Every model is different.
  10. Hydrate. Ecommerce is a marathon, not a sprint.

Remember, technology is the answer and automation is the solution. Best of luck!



Before founding Webgility, Parag led product teams at Amazon.com and was a founding partner at the leading web development company Gate6. Parag is a self-proclaimed data addict.