ECommerce today encompasses every product category, from food to musical instruments to sporting equipment to cannabis products. Some of these items need a specialty fulfillment center that can provide services such as keeping frozen items cold during storage and shipping or understanding how to legally ship products containing lithium-ion batteries. Finding a 3PL that offers the specialty eCommerce fulfillment services your company needs is one of the best ways to take your business to the next level.
What is a specialty fulfillment center?
A specialty fulfillment center might be one that provides exceptional services, such as cold storage or hazardous materials handling. Specialty fulfillment can also mean special services, such as high-level security or kitting services.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common specialty fulfillment services and ways a specialty fulfillment center can help your business thrive.
Specialty logistics services at Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment prides itself on creating custom solutions for our clients. Our dedicated onboarding team works with each new client to make sure their order handling is up and running to their specifications so their customers get an omnichannel fulfillment experience.
Here are just a few of the specialty logistics services Red Stag Fulfillment provides:
- Kitting: We can kit and unkit, giving you faster fulfillment and flexible inventory management.
- High-value inventory handling: Our 24/7 security ensures that high-value products are protected from theft, and our expertise in storing and shipping fragile items ensures that you don’t lose inventory to damage, inside the warehouse or in transit.
- Dimensional weight reduction: We use our deep knowledge of oversized shipping to help you find creative solutions to minimize or eliminate dimensional weight charges.
Types of specialty fulfillment
Specialty fulfillment centers offer expertise in storing and shipping products that require extra care or special handling. Here are five of the most common types of specialty fulfillment services.
ECommerce has found a profitable niche in supplying food products, including perishable and frozen items. Consumers order packaged foods, produce, groceries, meal kits, and more online.
A specialty 3PL that handles food products needs food storage and handling certification. Facilities that ship perishable products may require cold storage or freezers in their warehouses.
But, even if your company sells food products that don’t require special storage, it’s critical to work with a 3PL that understands the particular needs of food fulfillment. For example, products with expiration dates need FIFO inventory management to rotate inventory and ensure that your merchandise gets shipped before it expires.
Controlled substances shipping
Subscription wine clubs are growing in popularity, and CBD products are legal in all 50 states, creating new opportunities for eCommerce entrepreneurs. But there are many rules about shipping alcoholic beverages, which vary from state to state. And there are strict regulations about which CBD products are legal for interstate commerce and which are not. A specialty fulfillment company can help you navigate the regulatory environment for your products and build a successful business selling in this popular market category.
Hazardous materials storage and shipping
When you think of hazardous materials, you might think of radioactive waste or dangerous chemicals, and there isn’t a big online retail market for either of those. However, hazmat is a much broader category that includes things like batteries, paints, common household chemicals, and more.
There may be special requirements for safely storing hazardous materials, and you might need to add a hazmat label to the packaging when you ship certain products. Many carriers add a surcharge for delivering parcels with a hazardous classification. However, items such as lithium batteries are considered hazmat sometimes (when shipped loose) and not others (when shipping installed in a laptop or other product). Your specialty 3PL can help you stay on the right side of shipping regulations and offer tips to avoid surcharges.
High-value merchandise needs special handling in online retail, just as it would if you sold it in a brick-and-mortar shop. If your products are fragile, you need a specialty fulfillment center that can provide safe storage and pack them properly to ship without damage. You also need a warehouse with tight security to prevent the theft of expensive merchandise.
Bulky and heavy fulfillment
Oversized products such as furniture, car parts, recreational equipment, and more are now regularly sold in online commerce. However, you can’t take large merchandise to any 3PL and expect good results.
A specialty fulfillment center with expertise in oversized shipping (like Red Stag Fulfillment) will have procedures to move your items safely so they don’t get damaged in the warehouse. And, like Red Stag, that warehouse will have heavy-duty conveyor belts and wide aisles to accommodate bulky and heavy products.
Specialty fulfillment services for fast-growing companies
Specialty fulfillment isn’t just about your product; it’s also about the add-on services offered by the 3PL. Here are some specialty fulfillment services that could accelerate your business’s growth.
If you introduce new products through crowdfunding campaigns, you need a 3PL to manage the all-at-once fulfillment when your rewards are ready to ship. Look for a specialty fulfillment house with experience in crowdfunding fulfillment.
Kitting means pre-packing items that will ship together. It can save you time and money if you sell subscription boxes, bulk orders, or collections of your products. That can speed the picking process, allow you to add flare to the contents of the package, and provide more secure packing for delicate items. Not every 3PL offers kitting, so ask about this specialty service.
Shrinkage is a drain on any eCommerce company, but warehouse shrinkage can be a devastating cost if you sell high-value products. One special service provided by 3PLs like Red Stag Fulfillment is a zero-shrinkage guarantee: We pay the replacement cost for any items lost or damaged in our warehouses.
Dimensional weight shipping
Dimensional weight is a “weight” calculation based on the dimensions of a package. If the dimensional, or DIM, weight is greater than the actual weight, the carrier will bill you for the DIM weight. DIM weight pricing can add substantially to your shipping costs for oversized products that aren’t very heavy. A specialty fulfillment center with experience shipping oversized merchandise can help you reduce or eliminate DIM pricing through strategies such as package consolidation.
Red Stag Fulfillment’s specialty services help us execute accurate pick and pack every time
Red Stag Fulfillment provides a broad spectrum of fulfillment services, including specialty services like kitting, high-value fulfillment, and oversized shipping. If you have specialty fulfillment needs, we’d like to help you meet them. Give us a call.
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