In today's fast-paced business world, B2B enterprises are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations, and one area that deserves attention now more than ever is faster B2B order fulfilment.
The B2B buying landscape has undergone seismic shifts in recent years, with digital experiences playing an increasingly important role. As a result, B2B fulfilment has become a critical component of customer expectations. In fact, it's often the key driver of customer loyalty and repeat business, making it a crucial source of lifetime value for your enterprise.
Given the importance of B2B fulfilment, it's only natural that you want to partner with a 3PL that can help you fulfil orders in the most profitable and sustainable way possible. With the right partner, you can optimise your supply chain and ensure that your customers receive their orders quickly and efficiently, which can help to boost customer satisfaction and drive growth for your business.
Partnering with a third-party B2B fulfilment service can provide numerous benefits, including the ability to leverage their expertise to scale your business more quickly. In addition, a robust B2B order fulfilment solution can offer seamless omnichannel experiences for your customers while reducing the overhead associated with inventory management and fulfilment.
However, determining the best B2B order fulfilment strategy can be challenging. Wholesale quantities, complex order configurations, compliance regulations, freight costs, tax laws, and product limitations are just a few of the factors that can pose significant challenges for efficient B2B fulfilment operations.
If you're new to the industry and struggling to choose the right fulfilment partner for your market niche, don't worry - we're here to help. In this post, we'll provide clarity on B2B fulfilment, highlight key differences between B2B and B2C order fulfilment, and share criteria you should consider when selecting a B2B fulfilment company for your business. So let's dive in!
What is B2B Fulfilment?
B2B order fulfilment is the process of delivering products to other businesses rather than to end consumers. In most cases, B2B orders involve shipping goods in larger quantities to wholesalers or retailers, for resale.
The B2B sector, or B2B eCommerce, caters strictly to other businesses and retailers who usually buy goods in advance to stock up and resell them to their customers through one or more channels. Therefore, B2B order fulfilment and shipping typically deals with bulk quantity orders.
Apart from the bulk quantities, there are other reasons for the higher stakes involved in B2B fulfilment.
Warehousing and logistics operations for B2B fulfilment tend to be complex and are expected to follow sophisticated routing procedures without glitches. B2B orders are often palletised and shipped via freight to ensure safety. Smaller orders may be packed in cartons and shipped via parcel.
- B2B fulfilment is subject to numerous regulations based on the industry and type of products being fulfilled. Sometimes, even a simple mistake can lead to costly chargebacks.
- Often, expensive goods are involved that require extra care in handling throughout the fulfilment process.
- Trade barriers like subsidies, legal issues, shipping levies, quotas, customs regulations and tax laws can hamper a shipper’s ability to deliver B2B orders promptly.
Main Differences between B2B and B2C Fulfilment
The way order fulfilment functions for B2B versus B2C has the following fundamental distinctions.
|Team of buyers represent a single client or business. Hence, the sales process takes longer.
|Because of the single buyer, the sales cycle is often shorter.
|Order Size and Volume
|Larger order quantity, but lower in frequency.
|Smaller orders and generally handled in a single transaction.
|Order Fulfilment and Shipping
|Deals with larger shipments that require freight shipping. Shipping processes take longer, cost more and require advanced handling equipment.
|Low cost and much faster. Orders are generally shipped via couriers directly to the customer.
|More complicated regulations to comply with.
|Fewer regulations than B2B fulfilment.
|Overall fulfilment costs
|Higher than B2C order fulfilment.
|Lower than B2B order fulfilment.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a B2B Fulfilment Partner
As we've discussed, B2B order fulfilment is considerably more complex than its B2C counterpart. Approaching it in a haphazard manner can not only result in financial losses, but it could also cost you a valuable business account that you've worked hard to secure.
However, for savvy entrepreneurs, B2B order fulfilment represents a significant opportunity to build strong customer loyalty and achieve key business outcomes. With the right B2B fulfilment partner, you can position your business to meet the evolving demands of the B2B landscape and take advantage of this opportunity.
To ensure that you choose the best possible B2B fulfilment partner for your business, it's essential to evaluate potential partners based on the following criteria:
Technology lies at the core of efficient B2B fulfilment. A tech-enabled fulfilment partner lets you get a real-time picture of your order and ensure end-to-end supply chain visibility during inventory movement. Also, warehouse management and inventory management tools are vital for a 3PL to create accurate inventory and demand forecasts and run warehouse operations without hassle.
Excellent Customer Care
As you navigate the world of B2B fulfilment, you can expect to encounter numerous incidents that require your service provider to resolve grievances quickly. In addition, staying up-to-date on the progress of orders is essential to ensuring timely delivery and customer satisfaction.
To meet these challenges, it's crucial to partner with a B2B fulfilment company that can provide you with the necessary customer service support to deliver on your fulfilment promises and satisfy your customers. When evaluating potential partners, consider the following factors to assess their customer service capabilities:
- Proactive in resolving challenges
- Service personalisation
- Value for client’s time
- Promised fulfilment
- Understanding of clients’ needs
- Follow-up initiatives
Choosing a B2B fulfilment company with deep expertise means you can leverage their extensive knowledge of B2B fulfilment. Only a provider with an expert team can fulfil the promise of minimal downtime and error-proof fulfilment operations.
Strong Shipping Network
It’s vital for the success of your B2B business that you work with an established ecosystem of experienced shipping professionals. It empowers you to extend your brand reach, offer the best possible shipping solutions to your customers, and keep your delivery promises with ease.
Benefits of Teaming up with B2B Fulfilment Partner
Industry-leading B2B order fulfilment partners, like PACK & SEND, take the whole fulfilment question off your hands and offer the cutting-edge fulfilment you need to grow your business.
Listed below are the advantages you avail yourself by partnering with a third-party B2B order fulfilment partner:
- Reduced overhead expenses: You can curtail countless operational expenses on labour, rent, utilities, insurance, and equipment and pay for the resources that you have used.
- Excellent warehousing and inventory management: The right technology makes it easier for you to manage inventory better and protect your margins.
- Scalability: It lets you be flexible and react quickly to diverse fulfilment requirements in the most profitable manner.
- Global expansion: With an international shipping and fulfilment partner by your side, you can have unrestricted access to multiple locations across the globe.
- Top-notch reverse logistics: Return processes are time and resource-intensive. B2B fulfilment partners with excellent reverse logistics capabilities manage that, too, without any hassle.
- Shipping regulation proficiency: Their extensive shipping experience helps you meet and beat complex shipping regulations and deliver your B2B order without disruptions.
The B2B industry is experiencing exponential growth following its participation in the eCommerce sector. But B2B order fulfilment can be too big a feat to perform solo. There are numerous regulations to follow. Plus, the capital involved in storing and managing inventory is significant.
Hence, if you truly want to optimise your B2B order fulfilment process, outsourcing it to a specialist 3PL is best. Using their logistics expertise and established network of shipping partners combined with tech-enabled distribution flow, you can execute efficient B2B fulfilment without a miss.
Now if you need to outsource your B2B fulfilment to the right 3PL partner, speak to PACK & SEND experts today!
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