Is omnichannel eCommerce your next growth-boosting project? The stats are on your side.
Businesses that engage in strong omnichannel engagement strategies retain 89% of customers, whereas those with weak ones keep just 33%. Omnichannel sales have received the green light from consumers as well, with 73% of shoppers saying they prefer to shop on multiple sites.
However, omnichannel selling entails more complex logistics. As a growing brand, providing high-quality fulfillment in-house or with an ill-equipped fulfillment provider is a nearly impossible task.
This is where a prep service comes into play. The right prep service can introduce consistency into your shipping processes, protect your business through warehouse diversification, boost your bottom line through supply chain optimization, and much more.
This article will reveal how a prep service can help you gain an edge in business. We’ll also share some expert tips on how to use a prep service for smooth omnichannel fulfillment.
Table of contents
- What is a prep service?
- Why partnering with a prep center is a must for omnichannel selling
- How to use a prep service in your omnichannel fulfillment strategy
- Step into your next success level with prep services
Is your fulfillment process stunting your business’s growth? Get a fresh start with MyFBAPrep.
What is a prep service?
A prep service is an inventory processing, management, and distribution provider that helps you execute back-end tasks associated with eCommerce fulfillment. Some tasks a reputable prep service can assist with include:
- Receiving shipments from suppliers and manufacturers
- Storing goods according to their unique requirements
- Prepping individual units for sale (e.g., packaging, labeling, and barcoding)
- Packing and shipping customer orders
- Processing returns
- Distributing stock across multiple locations/warehouses
- Initiating stock checks
All prep companies are different, so services will vary. But, as a benchmark, MyFBAPrep has a two- to three-day turnaround for prep, over 50 locations globally, and handles all of the “ugly prep” that most 3PLs refuse to touch.
Why partnering with a prep center is a must for omnichannel selling
Perhaps you’ve built a brag-worthy fulfillment process, or maybe you have areas in your business in need of TLC and are wondering if a prep service is worth the investment. The answer is a resounding yes. Below are a few of the perks you’ll enjoy from onboarding a prep service.
Simplify complicated supply chains
Omnichannel fulfillment is a complex puzzle with many moving pieces, from various sales channels and shipping requirements to multiple suppliers and manufacturers. Combine this setup with the need to meet the increased demand across your new sales channels, and you’ll be on the verge of drowning if you’re on your own. However, a prep center will optimize your fulfillment processes to drive efficiency.
Leave more cash in the bank
Since prep services pool the inventory of their customer base, you’ll split the costs for services like warehousing and transport instead of footing the bill alone. Also, by combining your orders across channels, a prep service can secure better freight, prep and pack, and carrier rates. The result is a more profitable and productive fulfillment process and, in turn, higher business ROI.
Drive efficiency, consistency, and productivity
A prep service is your trusted partner, working in the background on the tasks everyone forgets. Whether it’s receiving items from your suppliers and packing them into new boxes, filling shipments with the correct dunnage, or accurately allocating units to warehouses for each sales channel, the right prep center will always have your back.
How to use a prep service in your omnichannel fulfillment strategy
To ensure your omnichannel selling strategy is a hit, it’s vital you have reliable prep, storage, and shipping services you can adjust to meet your eCommerce business’s changing needs. Let’s explore some ways to leverage a prep service to boost omnichannel selling.
Strengthen your brand
As you expand to omnichannel, branding will play a critical role in your success. Many are unaware the fulfillment process falls under the branding umbrella and forms a lasting impression on customers. Through repeatedly providing an unforgettable post-sales experience, shoppers will start to attribute these qualities to your brand, upping its perceived value, so make each opportunity count. Work with a prep center that can:
- Process orders quickly
- Provide fast shipping
- Keep shoppers informed with tracking numbers
- Offer fast, paperless returns
Align products with your brand specs
Consistency in your product presentation is critical to make your brand more recognizable and breed confidence. Use a prep service to align your products with your business branding instead of relying on manufacturers since the latter can lead to irregularity in items, especially when you have multiple manufacturers.
The right prep service will accept inventory from your manufacturer or supplier in any state and prepare them for market according to your brand standards. To put this into perspective, at MyFBAPrep, we can follow your branding guidelines per SKU down to the minute detail, whether it applies to placing the label in a specific place or how to apply plastic packaging.
Ensure compliance across sales channels and 3PLs
Every sales channel has unique shipping requirements and customer expectations, like Amazon’s drop test on product packaging. 3PLs are the same — for example, many won’t accept items without labels (you should avoid these types of 3PLs).
To account for varying needs, create a service-level agreement and packaging requirements for each sales channel and establish brand guidelines. Then, hand over the reins and let the prep service do what it does best.
Increase inventory efficiency
A prep partner serves as a centralized inventory pool, helping you limit issues like stockouts, excess inventory, and end carrier surcharges.
Since they can hold and prep your inventory for wherever you need to sell, think more strategically about your inventory. For instance, instead of committing all of your stock to bundles to create a unique SKU, you can prep batches at a time to prevent selling out of individual bundle components.
Work with your prep service to outline mission-critical details such as:
- Your key selling territories
- The best way to split inventory to mitigate risk and save cash
- How to package items to maximize warehouse space
- Optimal areas to house stock bound internationally
- How you’ll approach strategic moves like creating bundles and kits and rolling out special packaging
If you feel your requirements are too complicated, remember, with the right fulfillment provider, no product is too unique and no request too large.
At MyFBAPrep, we recently received 50,000 dog bones in 26 gaylord boxes. Thanks to our AI-backed tools, expertly trained staff, and optimized fulfillment processes, we readied the bones ready for sale with the right labels and packaging in 24 hours.
Outshine your competitors
Competition is stiffer than ever online, but this also provides the chance to make your brand memorable. Consider that in 2020, only 30% of stores had optimized their business for omnichannel sales.
Work with your prep service to identify new ways to make your brand stand out and shine through your fulfillment processes. To give you an idea, you could:
- Test different packaging (e.g., use sustainable materials, go packaging free or minimalist).
- Offer more options to customers for shipping and returns (e.g., locker drop-off, hub and store pickup).
- Pass cost savings on to customers (e.g., offer free returns, give refunds once goods are dropped off at the refund hub).
- Identify how you can unify your sales platforms through your prep, packaging, and fulfillment (e.g., keeping branding and customer service consistent across channels).
Break into your next success level with prep services
Omnichannel eCommerce is the new way to sell online, offering brands a rich opportunity to stand out from the crowd, “wow” shoppers, and boost sales. However, you’ll need a reliable fulfillment partner to execute an omnichannel selling strategy successfully.
Define what you need to include in an omnichannel sales strategy that’ll ensure smooth operations. Then, find a prep center that can meet your current and future fulfillment needs, check the fine print for fair fees and sufficient support, set suitable SLAs, and continuously improve your fulfillment process as you work with them.
It may take a little effort at the start, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. With thorough prep service vetting, the right fulfillment approach, and the desire to win, you’ll increase your service quality, boost efficiency, lower costs, and raise customer satisfaction.
About the Author
Ready to kickstart your prep service journey? Speak with MyFBAPrep.
Rachel Go is the marketing director of MyFBAPrep, the leading eCommerce warehouse network for Amazon aggregators, enterprise-level brands, and top Amazon sellers. Operating a global network of more than 50 warehouses and seven million square feet of operating warehouse space, MyFBAPrep offers a full suite of eCommerce 3PL services, including Amazon wholesale and private label, direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment, and B2B retail. Powered by its SaaS technology platform Preptopia™, sellers gain access to unified billing, analytics, business intelligence reporting tools, and real-time inventory views across multiple warehouses in the network. The company also provides FBA Prep automation, modern robotics item picking, and a dedicated account management team. Based in Coral Springs, Florida, MyFBAPrep moves over $1 billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and processes over 10 million units annually. For more information, visit MyFBAPrep.com.