Are you paying more than you should for eFulfillment services? If you work with an eCommerce fulfillment company that isn’t optimized to handle products the size and weight of yours, you are probably paying too much.
When most eCommerce companies evaluate eFulfillment outsourcing options, they focus on the provider’s track record, tech, service options, and costs. Sometimes online sellers will consider accuracy levels, shipping, and stocking speeds at potential order fulfillment partners. Or they may ask about extra services like kitting or custom boxes. While all these metrics are essential, they miss a crucial element of 3PL services: the size and weight of your packages.
One essential and often overlooked 3PL competence is the ability to successfully ship products’ by size and weight.
Your products’ size and weight impact your shipping costs, packaging choices, potential damage during transit, and more. The best eFulfillment company for your business will be one with experience shipping packages in the same size and weight range as your items. Here’s how product size can affect your eFulfillment operations.
How do size and weight impact shipping?
Freight and parcel carriers now use both actual weight and dimensional (DIM) weight calculations for all shipments. This can significantly impact your shipping costs by increasing the shipping costs for packages that are lightweight but physically large.
Red Stag Fulfillment is expert at shipping heavy and oversized packages. We check every order to see if actual weight or dimensional weight pricing applies, to make sure that your shipping charges are correct. Selecting the wrong shipping option and paying based on actual weight when DIM weight pricing should apply can lead to added costs, slower delivery, or even return for re-shipping.
There are instances when DIM weight can work to your advantage. For example, you may be able to take advantage of package consolidation and include additional items in the box at no extra charge. The money you’ll save over shipping two separate packages can offset the DIM weight charges. Through planning, as well as capitalizing on our negotiated rate structure, Red Stag Fulfillment can help you craft a shipping plan that saves your business money on shipping.
Why do some eFulfillment providers focus on certain sized products?
In your search for an eFulfillment company, 3PLs might have asked you about your products’ dimensions, weight, fragility, or need for cold storage. Detailed questions about your warehousing and shipping requirements help companies to determine whether your needs match the services they offer.
Specializing in bulky and oversized fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment specializes in bulky, and heavy products, which ensures that we can deliver world-class service for our clients. Our services are a great fit for shipping furniture, bikes, and other oversized items. We have even been named the best 3PL for bulky, fragile, and high-value products. However, we’re not the best eFulfillment provider if you ship a high volume of small items.
We built warehouses to handle large, bulky, and heavy items. Our aisles are extra wide, to accommodate large boxes, and our shelving can handle the weight of heavy products. We stock thicker boxes that can safely transport heavy products. We even modified our shipping station so we can process oversized orders quickly and efficiently.
When product specialization narrows an eFulfillment company to a niche of product types it becomes a far superior resource to your eCommerce company. A specialized 3PL understands all facets of the narrower niche – from product packaging to precise shipping dynamics. With a fulfillment partner like Red Stag Fulfillment, you get actionable advice for specific fulfillment needs. That can save you money and improve your logistics.
Specialization also helps you reduce fulfillment costs because your 3PL can optimize tools, systems, warehouse layout, staff training, and other internal processes. By focusing on particular product characteristics, rather than trying to serve many different product niches, the more you save with lower fulfillment costs.
Examples of fulfillment specialization by product size
You might be asking: “What does this look like, and how does it translate to what happens in a warehouse?” Here are some examples.
The best way to ship vitamins
Some eCommerce fulfillment providers specialize in working with smaller and lighter-weight products. For example, your 3PL might focus on shipping vitamins and supplements. The eFulfillment company would stay abreast of the latest licensing and packaging requirements for supplements, such as FDA approvals or restrictions. It can help you determine the lowest-cost packaging that will keep pills from getting crushed. If you sell vitamins, the expertise this eFulfillment company provides could help your business grow.
An ideal 3PL for apparel
Another example is a fulfillment center that specializes in shipping apparel. That warehouse would stock bags as well as boxes to ship small orders for the lowest shipping cost. With a staff trained to carefully handle delicate fabrics, your merchandise will be well cared for and that can reduce your product shrinkage.
Your partner for oversized fulfillment
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we focus on larger, heavier, and bulkier products. Our systems and equipment focus on handling heavier and larger products. Our facility has the rack, floor, and dock space to safely move and store these goods. Plus, we train our team on protecting products and themselves during pick and pack fulfillment.
That specialization pays off for our clients. For instance, you might be surprised by what it takes to ship an electric bike. Knowledge of best practices for shipping large items can make a significant difference in affordable fulfillment and product safety.
In addition, because Red Stag Fulfillment ships a high volume of bulkier products, we can negotiate better carrier shipping discounts for oversized packages. Companies that don’t have the specific volume and concentration in heavier/bulkier products don’t have the same leverage for their clients. We pass on this price reduction to our customers, allowing you to take advantage of our cost savings.
Find an eFulfillment partner that fits
A great eFulfillment company is like the perfect box for your product: it just plain fits.
Look for a 3PL that understands your business needs and how to keep your products safe during shipping. Ask how it has handled similar products and whether it has any recommendations for ensuring safe, speedy delivery. See if it has a plan to minimize your costs or tackle supply chain concerns. And don’t stop asking questions until you’re satisfied with their expertise and capabilities.
Your product’s specific physical characteristics play an essential role in choosing the right eFulfillment provider to run your logistics. By choosing a fulfillment company that specializes in products like yours, you gain the benefit of staff expertise and optimized fulfillment facilities.
Red Stag Fulfillment will treat your business as an integral part of ours because our success depends on helping you grow. If you want to learn more about our eFulfillment services, ask questions about your SKUs, or need a hand getting started, give us a call today.
More about eFulfillment services:
- Is Package Consolidation Right for You?
- The Complete Guide to Onboarding with a New Logistics Company
- How Flexible Carrier Selection Can Improve Your Order Fulfillment
This article was originally published on April 13, 2016. It was updated on August 4, 2021 to reflect current DIM weight policies, opportunities, and Red Stag Fulfillment capabilities.