If you are starting an online business and you started running the operations numbers, you have probably noticed that they get pretty big pretty fast. It gets expensive to get things from Point A to Point B.
E-Commerce Fulfillment Providers are designed to take the friction out of order fulfillment. You will, of course, pay for that service but you may also find that removes a component of your business that is not your core competency.
“There are several EFPs. Yugster.com uses Webgistix. Amazon is actually the largest EFP, although most people think of Amazon only as a retailer. These two companies take different approaches to fulfillment services. Webgistix offers a customizable solution that is integrated with a retailer’s order-entry system. Amazon offers a self-serve solution that allows retailers to plug into Amazon’s fulfillment infrastructure. Other EFPs, such as WeFulfillIt, are also emerging as demand for these services continues to rise sharply.”
You need to get references if you are planning to do this though. It’s not that these companies are disreputable, they are quite reputable, but you will need to calculate the numbers for YOUR business and also hear firsthand experiences from their customers who ship a similar product line as the one your are considering. Mark Ayotte mentions scalability in his article and that is a critical component that any business owner will want to keep in mind. In good times or bad, scalability is key.