Are you paying more than you need for eFulfillment services because your partner isn’t optimizing for your products’ size and weight?
When most eCommerce companies start evaluating eFulfillment outsourcing options, they often focus on the provider’s track record, tech, service options, and costs. Sometimes they’ll consider accuracy levels, shipping and stocking speeds. Or they may ask about advanced features like kitting or custom boxes. While all these metrics are essential, they don’t cover every base.
One important, often overlooked, competence is their ability to support your SKUs’ size and weight.
Your products’ size and weight impact shipping costs, packaging choices, potential damage during transit, and more. Let’s look closer at these and how they can guide you to the right eFulfillment partners and practices.
How do size and weight impact shipping?
Freight and parcel carriers now use both traditional weight and dimensional (DIM) weight calculations for all shipments. This can significantly impact costs, increasing the shipping costs for packages that are physically large but lightweight.
With our focus on large–sized and heavyweight products, Red Stag Fulfillment reviews every order for both weight calculations to ensure every order is paid correctly. Selecting the improper shipping option, such as paying based on traditional weight when DIM should apply, can yield added costs and slower deliveries, or even returns for re-shipping.
Optimizing for DIM weight has advantages, though. Calculating each determines what you’ll pay and can point out some advantages or opportunities you have. Say you’re paying a DIM weight price, for example. Then, you may be able to include denser filler materials to protect products without increasing costs.
As you can see, your product’s specific physical characteristics play an essential role in which eCommerce fulfillment provider you end up choosing to run your logistics. By paying close attention to any potential company’s specialization in this area, you will benefit significantly in the end through enhanced service levels and lower overall costs. Through planning, as well as capitalizing on our negotiated rate structure, Red Stag can help you craft a plan that is best suited for your business.
Why do some eFulfillment providers focus on certain sized products?
When looking for an eFulfillment partner, you might’ve had some who asked about your products’ dimensions and weight, while others didn’t. Some may ask about shipping fragile items or if you need cold storage support. Detailed questions help companies determine if you would be a good partner and meet their specific capabilities.
In the eCommerce world, companies like Red Stag Fulfillment will specialize, ensuring we work with products and companies where we can deliver world-class service. Specializing makes it clear when our capabilities are right for your products and shipping volume. Or, it makes it easier for RSF and companies to identify when another partner could be a better fit. For example, RSF is built to handle large, bulky, and heavy items from growing eCommerce companies. However, we’re not the best eFulfillment provider if you’re shipping over 1,000 different SKUs each month.
Product specialization narrows eFulfillment companies to a niche of product types. Then, they can become a far superior resource to your eCommerce company because they are knowledgeable of all facets of the narrower niche – from product packaging to specific shipping dynamics. In this capacity, they can offer far greater advice and be a more impactful logistics partner.
For example, we’ll help our partners consider standard and DIM weights on orders and products. They just might save by splitting a single order across two parcels.
Specialization also helps your partner reduce fulfillment costs. That happens because they’re optimizing tools, systems, warehouse layout, staff training, and other internal processes on a set of product characteristics. The more the products are alike, the better these benefits translate from one company to the next. RSF also negotiates with carriers around orders that fit our core competency, giving those partners access to better rates.
Examples of fulfillment specialization by product size in action
You might be asking: “What does this look like, and how does it translate to what happens in a warehouse?” Let’s answer that.
Some eCommerce fulfillment providers may focus on smaller and lighter–weight products. Say your partner focuses on shipping vitamins and supplements. Here, that eFulfillment company would take time to learn potential licensing and packaging requirements, such as FDA approvals or restrictions. They’ll focus on determining the lowest-cost packaging that keeps pills from getting crushed. They may build additional facilities closest to the top import locations.
Another example could be a company focused on smaller media products such as DVDs and flash drives. They’ll become masters of USPS Media Mail and leverage their volume to give customers access to presorted rates—generally available when shipping more than 300 units at a time. Companies that focus on smaller products may operate out of a smaller–sized warehouse to reduce the impact of warehouse lease costs.
On the other hand, eFulfillment companies like Red Stag Fulfillment 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.
For instance, you might be surprised what it’s like to ship an electric bike and why knowledge and best practices for shipping large items can make a significant difference in fulfillment and product safety.
Because we ship a high volume of bulkier products, our shipping discounts with these carriers are greater than companies that don’t have the specific volume and concentration in heavier/bulkier products. We pass on this price reduction to our customers. It allows them to capitalize on cost savings.
Find an eFulfillment partner that fits
A great eFulfillment partner is like a great box for your product: they just plain fit.
Look for a partner that understands your business needs and how to keep your specific products safe. Ask how they’ve handled similar products and any recommendations for ensuring safe, speedy delivery. Find out their plan to help and minimize your costs or tackle supply chain concerns. And don’t stop asking questions until you’re satisfied with their expertise and capabilities.
RSF will treat your business as an integral part of ours because our success depends on helping you scale. If you want to learn more about our eFulfillment, ask questions about your SKUs, or need a hand getting started, give us a call today.
This article was originally published on April 13, 2016. It was updated on April 5, 2021 to reflect current DIM weight policies, opportunities, and Red Stag Fulfillment capabilities.