Small Businesses have differing requirement to large corporations. Some will need to be walked through the process of setting up a state-of-the-art eCommerce store slowly. Other small businesses are run by owners who have learned a wide range of skills. The point is each client is different and to pigeon-hole you and assume that a one-size fits all solution will help you sell more is just fanciful.
As parents we all know how attached you get to ‘your baby’. You’ll see their first breath taken, their first crawl and their first unaided steps. We all have to let go at some stage. And that’s the same for eCommerce businesses. Many of our customers spent a significant amount of time working just by themselves or with just one or two members of staff. They would have rolled-up their sleeves, knuckled down and work hard building their business. But there comes a stage when you can’t micro-manage a company any more. You can keep an eye on certain aspects, but when it comes to the stage that you’re just selling too much to do the packing on your own and it’s starting to affect your ability to send products out quickly and accurately.
It’s at this point that you need to assess your options. You need to consider ‘how can I do this better?’ The mantra of what we do here is that of allowing business owners to focus on what they do best, what they enjoy and where they’ll get the greatest return for their investment. Cash flow is never an insignificance. It should always be a consideration and improving your cash flow should be a regular task for any owner-manager. It may be a difficult task weighing up outsourcing functions of your business that you currently employ others to do, but much of the cash you’re currently spending on picking and packing staff can be used elsewhere, perhaps to increase stock levels, enhancing marketing campaigns or improving your website.
What we do here at Cloud Fulfilment is help small business owners become more efficient. We show you how moving your stock into an outsourced-warehouse allows you to greatly reduce your fulfilment costs. Per order, the amount it physically costs to pick, pack and ship items can be drastically reduced. This extra margin per order can be re-used however you see fit.
You’re probably thinking that there must be some initial capital costs, and you’ll be correct. For you to use industry-leading warehousing you would pay about £2.10 per SKU (unlimited volumes per SKU) and about 40p per cubic metre per day. If we say an average warehouse for a small business is about 150m² this may work out about £10000 + business rates a year to rent. If you add in electricity and the rest you’re talking about £18,000. If we assume that you can safely store 3 pallets vertically you’re looking at a cost of £32.43 per cubic metre per year. This is the cost if you have one pallet of products stored or three hundred.
Now, we all know how seasonal business can be. One month you’ll be full to the rafters with stock, the next week you’ll be frantically trying to acquire new stock as the racks are bare. The point is that with outsourced small business order fulfilment, with Cloud Fulfilment at least, you won’t be paying for storage that you don’t use. Let’s say on average you use half of your current facility throughout the year. Even without the cost of staff, their HR costs etc., you’ll be saving around 26% per year (£4,680).
But going back to that seasonal, flexibility issue. You won’t have to hire or manage new seasonal staff. Our systems kick in and handle increases in your sales. It happens, without you knowing. That safety net is ready in case you have a successful marketing campaign or your products get mentioned on TV. You won’t have to pay more storage, just the same rate per order/sku combination.
This is the second key factor that small businesses need to consider when choosing a fulfilment solution: flexibility. We already know that outsourced fulfilment houses are cost-effective and we also know they’re flexible. Another consideration you should be aware of is transparency.
Hidden charges are something that ‘low cost’ service providers seem to excel at. Although some of those companies may flippantly say they’ll charge you to spend a penny, all of our charges are clearly displayed here. You already know your current sales volumes and you can predict how much the service will save you, but when you become a customer it is important to be able to cross-reference your invoices with your sales – and this is something you can do within the dashboard. For each sale you will see a break down in the picking and packing costs …
And you can see on a historic daily basis the amount of capacity used and download your invoices at any time.
The fourth pillar of great small business eCommerce fulfilment is customer service. Any service you consider should allow you to have any questioned answered quickly and accurately. We have a dedicated support team ready to give advice and support via the ticketing system which can be found when you log-in to your account or via the telephone number displayed at the top of the website.
Small businesses not only don’t have to pay exorbitant rents to landlords, nor do they have to pay for staff whether they take one order per day or several hundred, and they certainly don’t have to suffer intense amounts of stress is sales volumes increase. We’re there for small business as we offer a complete, outsourced eCommerce fulfilment service.