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Marketing Services

The Support Report

1 Aug, 2008 By: Doug McPherson Response

Experts in teleservices, fulfillment and shipping, and payment processing explain what DR marketers need to know to raise profits, lower headaches and ... much more.

Tips for Saving Money With Fulfillment Services

  • 1. Ensure your box size is optimized to reduce freight charges. Since freight represents such a large cost, spend extra time making sure your boxes are the right size and that packing materials or literature doesn't push your order weights above the desired threshold.
  • 2. Analyze which percentage of your packages should ship from different coasts. Crunch the numbers and determine what percentage of your orders ship to the West Coast, East Coast and destinations in between. Get your fulfillment vendor to determine if bi-coastal fulfillment makes sense and develop a plan for allocating inventory, batching orders and reporting shipments by warehouse. Your fulfillment vendor should already have a proven system for doing this, which could save you a lot of money on freight and help to reduce returns and customer service calls.
  • 3. Analyze carrier time-in-transit. If you're getting higher than average returns and customer service calls, it might be because your carrier is not delivering your packages within the promised timeframe. Your fulfillment house should be able to provide you with tools for tracking time-in-transit and its impact on your business.
  • 4. Use a zone-skipping and consolidation service. If you have a lower price point item and don't require premium delivery service, consider using a lower cost, zone-skipping/post office consolidation service such as UPS Basic, UPS Mail Innovations or FedEx Smart Post. Each offers hybrid residential service to the 48 contiguous states, plus Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  • 5. Check your customer service call dispositions for mis-pack and late delivery trends. One way to ensure your fulfillment house is shipping your goods correctly is to monitor customer service call dispositions. Get a report showing which percentage of calls were due to mis-packs and late deliveries. If your fulfillment vendors ties calls back to orders in their reporting, you can dig deeper and see which specific bills of material were involved. You might discover that a mis-pack trend was actually a bill of material setup issue.
  • 6. Pre-kit product to reduce fulfillment touches and costs. Instead of picking and packing every order on the shipping line, it may make sense to pre-kit your product in one large assembly job to reduce touches on the shipping line.
  • 7. Use interactive voice response (IVR) and Web customer service to reduce call center costs. Like freight, customer service is a major back-end cost. Your fulfillment vendor should be experienced with IVR and be able to offer advanced features such as database queries for order status or refund status.

Source: Moulton Logistics Management, Van Nuys, Calif.

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