One of the most important single things in business is customer service, I don’t think anybody would deny that.
It’s what keeps your customers coming back to you time and time again, and keeps those recommendations for your product or brand coming in.
So when our team was considering how we were going to get our eMinnow fishing lures delivered to our customers, we took a long hard look at the options, costs and services available. Over the years I have seen many small businesses and start-ups fall into the same trap. Orders start to come in and they think that they can easily manage picking, packing and dispatching from their own offices or perhaps a small warehouse.
What generally happens is the company ends up with the key personnel, the very people that actually need to drive the business forward, embroiled in picking and packing of orders. At the time it feels like a great job is being done because products are getting out of the door, and a little physical labor that is making that happen is good for the soul.
The problem is, that a few weeks later other areas of the business start to suffer, continuity is affected, the eye is taken off the ball, the bigger picture is lost and ultimately no part of the business is running as efficiently as it should.
Weeks or even months of momentum can be lost. That’s why it’s really important to consider what is truly best for the business and the customer at the outset, and in the cold hard light of day a fulfilment service generally works out best for a fast growing brand. I should know because when I lived in England, one of my businesses was a fulfilment company. We used to pack and send up to 1 million items every week. It’s a high stress business built on adrenaline, deadlines, automation, handwork, cost savings and efficiency. A small, business or even a medium sized business will often struggle to offer anywhere near the same level of service and price savings due to the economies of scale.
So my search for a great fulfilment company to handle the eMinnow business began.
Our needs were slightly complicated by the fact that we needed to deliver products all around the globe, as it stands we have orders from over 35 different countries and this is a number that grows every week.
It turns out that the biggest restrictor we found was the cost of delivery, not so much the fulfilment, although we did manage to get some horrendous quotes for both! It seems that the only people in North America that can get really competitive pricing with decent deliveries are Amazon, and they seem to have the monopoly on that. So we started to look further afield.
Funnily enough the further away you look the more competitive everything becomes (no surprise there then really). At the end of the day, after a great deal of research and a number of recommendations, we were able to find a fulfilment company in Hong Kong that was able to do exactly what we wanted and offered 12 months free warehousing in their brand new, climate-controlled facility.
The picture at the top of this page shows the area that has been put aside for eMinnow.
Furthermore, they have the ability to seamlessly scale as we expand, and can deliver almost anywhere on the planet in between 4 and 7 days, for much less than the cost of what we would have been paying (for a 4 to 5 day service) here. This means that we are able to pass some of those savings on to our customer while supplying a great service. We can also offer an 8 to 12 day budget service if the customer requires it. And if we need a superfast service in 1 or 2 days, we can ship directly from the smaller inventory we keep at our office in BC. We now have a lot more options to make sure that we can supply our customers at the level they expect and deserve.
Happy customers mean more business, more business means more customers.