Using On-Demand Fulfillment in Your Business
Updated July 30, 2018
What is On-Demand Fulfillment and is it the right approach for my business?
On-demand fulfillment sounds like the way you want your hamburger, but what does it actually mean as it relates to eCommerce?
When your customers orders something from your website, the back end capabilities of your shopping cart probably include an automated email telling you that you've received an order. Great! But then who fulfills the order? When you use an on-demand fulfillment service, that service would be notified through email or as part of its integration into your site (such as via an app on Shopify). Rather than producing, picking, and packing an order yourself, your fulfillment partner does it all for you.
Some services such as Amazon fulfillment are strictly pick and pack, meaning you send Amazon your product(s) and they fulfill your orders as they come in. Fulfillment partners that inventory your merchandise typically charge a fee for holding inventory, which can add up if your order volume is low.
The bulk of our on-demand fulfillment partners are printers, and they not only produce t-shirts and other merchandise, they also label and ship our merchandise directly to customers as orders come in. Using a full service print and fulfillment partner is ideal for businesses that don't want to carry inventory. On-demand fulfillment also reduces the need to plan SKUs or organize shipping materials and contracts.
Any business such as a coffee shop or brewery should be selling t-shirts ( and more). On demand fulfillment is a lean inventory approach that should be utilized by more mom and pop businesses, especially those with a large following. Traditional screen printers require larger order minimums and set-up fees, whereas on demand printers only charge you when a shirt is ordered. You can let you fans see and try on a sample shirt, for example, and drop ship or replenish in-store inventory as needed.
When your office is mobile, as is often the case for artists and creative hustlers, on-demand fulfillment means you aren't tied to an office to be able to process orders. Everything in your online store can be managed remotely.
For retail businesses like clothing stores that do carry inventory, on demand fulfillment can be a great way to test new designs. It costs nothing to add a new shirt or hoodie to your store when you use on demand printers, so you can see which designs are popular before you invest in any inventory.
Want to learn more? Contact us, we love talking shop!