You are planning to ship your orders via a fulfillment service, but you don’t know how to manage your operations via your product feed manager…
Is it possible to synchronise stocks and differentiate orders directly from your product feed manager?
Indeed, while the many benefits of fulfillment are undeniable: shipping time, access to the buy box, returns management, carrier costs, and multiple locations, its impact on your operations should not be overlooked. Whether you use Amazon FBA, Octopia Fulfillment (Cdiscount), Mano Fulfillment, or Rakuten Fulfillment Network, the points to consider are similar.
This article will enlighten you on the different issues relating to fulfillment marketplace logistics and the automation of your processes, particularly via BeezUP.
1. Draw up your marketplace fulfillment strategy
Even if your business strategy is already established, it is important to make the right choices about the fulfillment services you want to use: choice of marketplaces, location and finally segmentation of eligible products.
a. Choice of marketplace
Although the use of a fulfillment marketplace service is not exclusive, it is best to start by choosing just one in order to learn how that specific one works.
In order to choose the most suitable one, beyond just the price factor, here are some criteria to consider:
- Geographical position
- Types of packages supported (volume, weight, specific products, etc.)
- Countries of delivery covered
- Openings to external orders
- Returns management and customer service
- Other benefits: easy access to the Buy Box, promotional actions from the marketplaces (“shipped by” filters/sorting by product, members-only offers, specific fulfillment picto/logos on the product, etc.)
b. Choice of location
Some fulfillment services may offer you the chance to choose the location of the warehouse from and/or to which you must send your products.
This choice is strategic and must be made taking into account a number of criteria:
- Reason for using fulfillment: geographical extension to a zone not covered by your own logistics, or to complement your coverage.
- Economic balance: here is the calculation 👇
Cost of shipping (for you) your palletised products to this warehouse ➕ Total cost of shipping by fulfillment versus total cost of unit shipments by you to the destinations covered.
- Inter-warehouse stock reallocation possibilities
- Possible customs constraints removed
c. Segmentation of the products eligible for fulfillment
Once the contracting stage is over, you need to segment your catalogue and share it with the marketplace.
The first step is to determine which products you will send to the marketplace for fulfillment purposes.
This choice can be based on several criteria, depending on your fulfillment strategy:
- Complete outsourcing of the logistics: all products
- Geographical extension: best products in the corresponding zone
- Complementarity on particular products to be shipped: products concerned
- 80/20 strategy to boost your sales: 20% of top-selling products contribute 80% of the value
Then, at the operational level, depending on the chosen marketplace, there are several possibilities:
- Identification by the “inventory” feed of products eligible for fulfillment, at Amazon, for example.
Within BeezUP, just a custom field containing the list of eligible references or the logical identification rule will be sufficient.
- Creation of a separate feed containing only products eligible for fulfillment, at ManoMano, for example.
In BeezUP, a dedicated fulfillment network must be selected.
The choice of products can be made in different ways: manual selection, exclusion by logical filters, exclusion by automatic rules.
💡Tip: to avoid having to redo your settings already in place for the non-fulfillment network, BeezUP’s “copy mappings” feature can be very useful!
- Settings in the back office of the marketplace, at Cdiscount, for example.
In such a case, the marketplace takes care – depending on the references received – of switching them to the “fulfillment marketplace”.
2. Management of your orders and stocks in fulfillment
The management of your fulfillment stocks and orders is closely linked to your product feed manager. Indeed, the latter allows you to automate your processes, to manage and differentiate your own orders and stocks, or those in fulfillment.
a. Management of your own stock and your fulfillment stock
One of the difficulties in the operational management of the fulfillment marketplace lies in the potential cohabitation of n stock repositories: yours and that (or those) of the n fulfillment marketplaces.
Here, too, there are different possibilities depending on the marketplace:
🧭 Active routing
Some marketplaces, such as Amazon, allow you to control, by reference, the transition from your stock to that of the marketplace and vice versa.
With BeezUP, you just have to modify your custom field and define the references to be considered on your stock and those on the marketplace’s stock.
🧭 Passive referral
Other marketplaces are less permissible: if there is marketplace stock, it will be prioritised. You will therefore have to wait until it is sold out to sell yours.
💡 Tip: if you don’t want yours to be used at all, you “just” have to push a stock to 0 for the relevant references. With BeezUP, a simple custom field allows you to do this.
🧭 Stock cohabitation
In order to have your stock and the fulfillment stock on the marketplace cohabit “in competition”, there is a rather simple trick, generally accepted by marketplaces: transmit 2 different references for the same EAN. One for the fulfillment stock and one for yours. 😉
b. Impact on order management
Although you no longer process them logistically, this “non-management” of fulfillment orders impacts your information system on several levels:
📦 Order identification
It is essential that these “fulfillment” orders can appear in your “regular” order management environment, with the attribute that they are not shipped by you.
This is essential to ensure that your various operations are aware of the special nature of these orders.
💡Tip: at BeezUP, all fulfillment orders from our sellers are identified as such and our modules (PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Shopware, etc) also inherit this property.
📦 Exclusion from logistics
Once fulfillment orders have been identified, it is imperative that they are excluded from your internal logistics processes to avoid potential costly duplicate shipments.
💡Tip: To provide double protection, in addition to their identification, BeezUP ensures that fulfillment orders are never transmitted in a status that makes them eligible for shipping.
📦 Stock management
Your stock, the central indicator of your logistics, must be managed so that:
- It is not decremented for your synchronised “fulfillment” orders
- However, it continues to be decremented for your own orders
- The quantity transmitted on each fulfillment is known and monitored over time
💡Tip: our various free CMS modules allow such a control
📦 Customer service
Your customer service tool should also have this information about the special handling of fulfillment orders. This is to ensure that your team members are aware of the special context of these orders. The personalisation of responses to your end customers also depends on this.
💡Tip: At BeezUP, our customers use our marketplaces messaging feature “Conversations” to reply and display the context of the order concerned.
The fulfillment services offered by the main marketplaces represent a “multifaceted” opportunity for the majority of e-merchants.
Whatever your reasons for subscribing to a fulfillment offer, you must be careful when setting it up. Today, logistics is a key factor, both for your internal organisation and for ensuring a good customer experience on marketplaces.
Fortunately, cohabitation with an e-commerce feed manager such as BeezUP simplifies this strategic logistical operation and allows you to fully exploit such services.
Co-founder and CPO at BeezUP