In the realm of e-commerce fulfillment, value-added services (VAS) encompass additional offerings beyond the standard picking, packing, and shipping processes. These services help e-commerce companies enhance the customer experience (CX) and, in many cases, streamline their operations. And as the name implies, they add value to products being sold online, helping to drive repeat sales.
E-commerce fulfillment value-added services prove extremely valuable for brands that are continually looking for ways to improve their CX and gain a competitive edge. It’s especially important as customer and brand loyalty have become harder to maintain in an era where shoppers have virtually endless choices online.
Most value-added services for ecommerce fulfillment are offered by third-party logistics companies (3PLs) within a warehouse or fulfillment center (FC) setting. Others are provided post-purchase in various locations, such as assembly and installation in an end customer’s home or putting up a product display in a retail store.
Some common examples of VAS:
In addition to these standard warehouse value-added services, companies often require some form of customized VAS specific to their business or products.
Tapping your 3PL partner for ecommerce fulfillment value-added services provides some significant benefits for your business.
Having an expert partner offering VAS helps you address a variety of business scenarios, whether it’s meeting seasonal demand, launching a new product, or providing enhanced services on an ongoing basis.
Ensuring quality in your ecommerce fulfillment operations is another key capability of leading VAS offerings. Any defective or incomplete order that goes out the door can mean a lost customer for life, so quality control and inspections are critical.
Using VAS helps you streamline operational processes and reduce order handling time. Optimization of inventory management through the use of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) services is another plus. This includes managing inventory levels, ordering products, and arranging for delivery.
In many cases, a 3PL can handle a range of VAS for ecommerce fulfillment. This makes it much simpler to manage versus cobbling together multiple service providers to meet all your needs. It also helps drive greater operational efficiency by having operations under one roof and drives down costs through economies of scale, especially in multi-client facilities.
Order personalization and customization options help you create a better customer experience, including packaging that leads to a “wow” unboxing experience. The ability of a 3PL to speed up order cycle time and get products delivered faster also enhances CX and customer loyalty.
Companies can drive additional revenue through VAS by utilizing kitting and bundling services. For instance, by analyzing sales data, assortments can be adjusted to boost conversion, while a hot-selling item can be combined with a slower one, helping to clear idle inventory.
Specialized packaging can be a sales driver, especially around the year-end holidays. Bundling also results in cost savings during fulfillment. If you bundle three items, for example, you incur one line fee instead of three.
While there are instances where value-added services occur outside of the four walls, as noted above, the majority are handled within a warehouse by associates. They could be assigned to dedicated workers who do nothing else or be done in addition to standard pick-pack-ship duties.
If you’re following an insourcing versus outsourcing fulfillment model, space must be allocated in the warehouse for value-added services work to be performed, and equipment set up as required. This includes things such as light assembly, kitting, subscription order prep, Amazon FBA prep, garment-on-hanger in apparel, or any kind of order personalization.
Special associate training is required as these tasks go beyond the scope of ecommerce order fulfillment duties. New hires can be cross-trained to perform particular VAS duties in addition to their regular work.
Because of the complexity and special expertise required to set up and maintain VAS within an ecommerce warehouse, most companies choose the outsourcing model. 3PLs have much more industry experience and know-how to guide you through the process.
As in any other business endeavor, choosing the right partner to implement value-added services for your ecommerce business makes all the difference in the world.
Productiv offers an array of state-of-the-art technologies, proven methodologies, and a deep bench of industry experts who take a consultative approach to crafting the ideal VAS solution for your ecommerce fulfillment needs. The company provides kitting, custom packaging, labeling, assembly, rework, and reverse logistics, in addition to shrink-wrapping and support for international shipping.
Some use cases for Productiv’s VAS include:
Companies across industries are realizing significant benefits from implementing ecommerce fulfillment value-added services. From streamlining operations to driving down costs through economies of scale, to boosting the customer experience, it’s a win-win-win for businesses large and small. Find out how you can gain a competitive advantage with Productiv by speaking with an expert today.
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