Asking the right question when choosing your e-fulfilment partner is essential. Here you can find a list of questions to use when looking for a partnership, provided by Kristina Lopienski, Director of Marketing Communications, ShipBob. Read more from Lopienski here.
If you’re looking for a long-term partnership with your 3PL
- How do I know your company will be around in 5 years?
- Is your company backed by investors/have access to capital?
- How many customers do you have?
- How many employees do you have?
- Do you have any case studies I can read?
If you would like to split inventory across fulfilment centres
- Where are your fulfilment centres?
- Do you let me choose the fulfilment centre?
- How do I know which fulfilment location to choose?
- Does every fulfilment location have a unified storage process and dimensions ?
- Is there a consistent experience across all locations?
If you have or want customers across the globe
- Do you ship internationally?
- Do you have fulfillment center locations in other countries?
- How can I track international orders?
- Which international carriers do you work with?
If you want good customer support
- What hours is your Customer Support team available?
- What is the best way to contact your Customer Support team?
- Will I have a dedicated Account Manager?
If you are shipping subscription boxes
- Do you offer services for recurring orders and/or curated boxes with items from different brands?
- How will you make sure my box is shipped to subscribers at the same time each month, quarter, etc.?
- How does your software handle recurring orders?
If you want your branding to shine
- Do you use plain, standard packaging?
- Can I use custom boxes, mailers, gift notes, or inserts for my orders?
- Do you have partners you recommend for branded packaging?
- Do you offer kitting of orders, or will boxes have to be assembled before they are sent to your warehouse?
If you are wondering how to send inventory to the fulfilment centre
- What is the process for sending inventory and what happens if I don’t follow that process?
- How long does it take to receive inventory and how much does it cost?
- How do I schedule a dock appointment?
- Can I bring my inventory to you myself?
- Can you help me book freight shipping for my inventory?
- My inventory is manufactured overseas — how do I book international freight?
If you want to offer returns
- What are my options for processing returns and what can you do with them?
- Do I have to go through you for returns?
- Where should my customers send returned items?
- Can you process exchanges?
- How do you handle damaged or worn returns?
- What returns platforms do you integrate with?
If you are ready to get started now
- When is the soonest I can get started?
- How long does it take to complete onboarding with you?
- What are the most common mistakes your new customers make and advice you have for a smooth onboarding?
- Are there any minimums?
- How do I connect my online store(s)?
- How long does it take to sync and send my inventory?
- Are there any onboarding or sign-up fees?
If you are trying to calculate costs
- What factors go into pricing?
- What are all the potential fees I will be charged (both variable and fixed)?
- Is their pricing plan easy-to-understand?
- Do I have to pay for standard packaging materials and boxes, each pick, etc.?
- Do you use dimensional weight in shipping calculations?
- How often am I billed and what type of invoice breakdown do you provide?
- Do you have to sign a long-term contract?
- What is the all-in cost (not just shipping but every fee that adds up)?