Domestic Shipping Fulfillment: What You Need to Know
According to Digital Commerce 360, the e-commerce market in the US grew by 44% in 2020? This is an incredibly popular part of the US economy that’s increasingly becoming more competitive as more people start new businesses.
For this reason, you need to use all the right strategies to make your e-commerce business as successful as possible.
One of these is understanding and using domestic shipping fulfillment properly. However, this can be a complicated concept.
If you’re thinking of using order fulfillment when it comes to domestic shipments, you might not be sure about how it works, whether it makes sense to hire domestic shipping services, and makes your customers happiest.
As a result, you might feel a bit stressed about figuring out how to use shipping fulfillment the best way.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to about domestic shipping fulfillment.
Finally, you can run your e-commerce business even more smoothly and get more customers.
What Is Domestic Shipping Fulfillment?
Before we get into how domestic shipping fulfillment works, it’s important to understand what it is. Basically, this is what occurs between when your customer who’s based in the same country as you puts in an order and when they finally receive that order.
There are several steps involved in domestic shipping fulfillment, and they can include shipping, warehousing, and packing. They can also involve other aspects of shipping, like emailing your customer about their order.
Depending on the complexity of your domestication shipping fulfillment process, it may be worth hiring domestic shipping services to complete the process for you.
We’ll get into that in a moment—but first, we’ll cover the different steps that occur during the domestic shipping fulfillment of orders.
Domestic Shipping Fulfillment Steps
There are several steps that take place during domestic shipping fulfillment. These include receiving your inventory, storing your inventory, processing the domestic customer order, shipping the order, and managing returns.
Receiving Your Inventory
When you run an e-commerce business, the main product you’re selling is the inventory you send out to your customers. Depending on your needs, you might stock the inventory yourself or have another business, such as shipping fulfillment services, do it for you.
Whoever ends up receiving the inventory, they’ll be in charge of taking in the stock, examining what inventory when it’s received, managing the inventory system, and labeling the inventory.
Storing Your Inventory
Once you’ve received your inventory, you’ll store it. If you’re managing this part of the process yourself, you’ll need to shelve it, as well as track items as they go in and out, so that there aren’t delays when they’re ordered.
If you’re working with a fulfillment center, then they can manage this part of the process for you.
Processing the Domestic Customer Order
When you’re managing your own inventory, you’ll pick the order off the shelf once the customer has put their domestic order in, take it to the packing station, inspect the item for any damages, and box and move it to the shipping location.
This will also involve any branding boxing processes, such as putting free swag or labels in the box before you take it to the shipping location.
Considering how many steps take place during the processing part of domestic shipping fulfillment, it’s no surprise that many e-commerce business owners choose to have another company manage this process.
Shipping the Domestic Order
Once everything is packed up and ready to go, it’s time to ship the domestic order. Depending on the weight and size of the item, handling requirements, and how far it has to go, you’ll choose the right shipping method for the order.
With domestic orders, it might make sense to offer free shipping to your local customers. This will encourage them to not abandon their shopping cart and maximizes the chances of them becoming repeat customers.
Other options include implementing a flat shipping fee or determining based on how far the package will go.
For domestic orders, you’ll usually go with USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL Express. The shipping itself is usually done by them since it’s rare for e-commerce stores to personally deliver packages.
If you’ve hired a domestic e-commerce shipping fulfillment company to carry out your orders, they’ll manage the entire process of shipping the order themselves.
Managing Domestic Returns
One of the most important elements buyers look for when doing online shopping is the ability to make free, easy returns. If your returns aren’t free, you should make this clear when your customers are putting in their orders.
Either way, you should have a thorough, easy-to-understand returns policy so that you don’t end up with unhappy customers. It might be smart to automate this step so that there aren’t any pending refund issues.
Different Types of Domestic Shipping Fulfillment
There are three different types of domestic shipping fulfillment. These are in-house (when you do it yourself), dropshipping, and third-party fulfillment. By knowing how these work, you can decide which one works best for you.
In-House Domestic Shipping Fulfillment Model
If you’re a new merchant or have a small inventory, chances are you can do all your domestic shipping fulfillment yourself. One of the biggest benefits of this model is that it’s cheaper since you don’t have to pay for an external company to handle everything for you.
Additionally, you’ll have a bit more control over your customers’ experiences. After all, you’re in charge of every element, including the type of shipping and how you’re packaging your items.
Another benefit is that you can easily brand your products by customizing packages before they’re sent off.
However, there are some drawbacks to this model. First of all, it’s less efficient.
The second you start getting lots of orders (or lots of returns), you might feel overwhelmed by having to manage every single step of the domestic shipping process.
You’ll also have other issues such as limited storage space and limited growth potential. You’ll be boxed in (pun intended) by the size of your company as you try to get your products out to more and more customers.
If you do manage to handle all of this, the bigger issue is that you’ll become all consumed by shipping processes as your company grows. So while this option might work, for now, it might not be the best one long-term.
Dropshipping Domestic Shipping Fulfillment Model
With dropshipping, all you handle is getting the customer to make the order, such as branding and putting products on your websites that your customer pays you for. Once this has happened, an external company making the product ships it to your customer.
You don’t have to invest too much with this model because someone else will be storing all the inventory.
Additionally, they’ll handle the whole shipping process, which means you can have more flexibility—like going on vacation whenever you want.
However, there are several drawbacks to dropshipping. For one thing, you don’t have much control over the customer experience or the inventory. In a way, it feels like the business isn’t even being managed by you.
You also will lose a large part of your profit to the dropshipping carrier.
It will also be hard to keep up with customer demand each time a new order comes through since you’ll have to process each order separately.
Additionally, if your manufacturer is based abroad, your domestic customers will have to wait a long time to receive their item.
Third-Party Domestic Shipping Fulfillment Model
Finally, there’s the third-party domestic shipping fulfillment model. This is the best of all worlds because the fulfillment services work directly with you to help you ship off items as you get more orders and your company grows.
They also offer specialized services and have years of experience, which means they know how to manage every single step of the domestic shipping fulfillment process.
They’ll also provide you with many useful features, such as data analytics, turnkey integrations, and order management.
Not only will all the shipping be handled, but you’ll also feel like you’re making customers happier with each order.
Need More Information?
Now that you’ve learned everything you need about domestic shipping fulfillment, you might need more information. Maybe you want tips on how to brand your packages so that your customers keep coming back for more.
Or maybe you want to learn about domestic shipping fulfillment services near you.
Whatever information you need, we can help. At Fulfilltopia, we’re experts when it comes to domestic shipping fulfillment. We also offer e-commerce fulfillment services. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now.