E-commerce has exploded over the past few years and today more and more people are getting into business without ever opening a storefront. Typically, there are usually three avenues for people to get started.
- Work with a drop-shipper so that you handle marketing and order processing while leaving fulfillment to them.
- Collaborate with a logistics team that will manage an off-site warehouse for fulfillment while you focus on order, marketing and growth.
- Handle order and fulfillment directly by maintaining a stocked warehouse on site.
There are dozens — even hundreds — of magazine articles, books and websites that lead you through the details of this type of work, but here we’ve brought together the information you need to know to begin the process. These tips will guide you through choosing the approach that works best for you without bogging you down.
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Working With a Drop-Shipper
Drop shipping has been around for ages and most of us are familiar with the concept thanks to businesses like Avon. Working with a drop-shipper offers a number of advantages since you don’t have to worry about inventory, warehouse logistics or even shipping issues. At the same time, people on the front lines often aren’t made aware of problems with inventory and, when customers complain, it can be difficult to find answers quickly.
Working With an Off-Site Warehouse
Collaborating with a warehouse logistics team that can manage an off-site warehouse brings information and accessibility one step closer. The biggest advantage to this approach is that you’re still close enough to inventory to handle issues as they arise while avoiding the headaches than can come with truly hands-on inventory management. The key here is having a warehouse coordinator with a strong background in management and logistics.
Handling Orders and Fulfillment Directly Using a Small Business Product Inventory Software
Finally there’s the most direct route, which is managing the inventory yourself. These options can seem a bit overwhelming to new business owners since inventory management can be so complex. The biggest key here is investing in a robust piece of small business product inventory software while learning about the best ways to understand and use analytics to control inventory and grow your business.