eFulfillment for Everyone

Thanks to the launch of a new fulfillment service, small- and medium-sized businesses don't have to keep all the plates spinning at once.

Here’s a question for you. What’s the one universal resource that grows larger the more we use it?

Answer: trust.

And together with fulfillment, trust is at the heart of retail. Why? Because while products are important, we as consumers need delivery of our online purchases whenever and wherever we want. Every time.

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We as consumers need delivery of our online purchases whenever and wherever we want. Every time.

More than that, what is the biggest retail trend sweeping across the globe? The explosive growth of e-commerce.

According to Statista, in the U.K. in 2018, online sales across retail grew at an astonishing 13 percent year over year, with household goods stores enjoying 27 percent growth.

This is hardly unique to the British market. So what does this mean for retailers?

Managing complexity

Imagine you’re a new startup with a great product and booming online sales, and you’re looking to expand.

Seems straightforward, right?

Well, if only everything was that simple. Because the stark reality is that the burden and complexity of e-commerce — multiple logins, labor and logistics, shipping and tracking sales, let along managing inventory — can quickly become an almost unbearable load.

If you’re a large e-commerce player, you’ve built the infrastructure (at quite the cost) to manage all these processes, but what if you’re a small business?

How can you possibly keep all those plates spinning at once? And do so affordably?

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Fulfilling orders from multiple channels to consumers globally can make it difficult to meet expectations.

Get cool

Julie Kang wanted her family to beat the summer heat. Frustrated by the lack of cooling products to help keep her infant daughter from getting burned in a hot car seat, she set out to develop her own cooling devices.

And she ultimately started Cool Carats™ LLC.

Cool Carats’ most popular product is the Car Seat Cooler, which can be chilled in the freezer, then placed on a car seat on a hot summer day to cool it down.

As the product gained popularity, Cool Carats sold products on both their website and through online marketplaces.

However, fulfilling orders from multiple channels to consumers across the U.S. was putting a strain on company resources and made it difficult to meet customers’ expectations for fast and free delivery.

She was competing with Amazon Prime and as Julie says, “I was unable to offer customers any shipment under three days.”

A new solution

Enter UPS eFulfillment, a new solution where UPS offers small- and medium-sized businesses worldwide, streamlined fulfillment and shipping services to consumers in the U.S. and Canada.

The solution supports purchases and orders from 21 different marketplaces and web stores, including eBay, Walmart, Etsy and Amazon, including Prime.

“UPS understands that small businesses want the same high-quality services as large e-commerce companies without the same amount of complexity,” said Kevin Warren, UPS’s chief marketing officer.

Just as we as consumers seek ease and convenience in our relationships with retailers, a fulfillment service must do the same with customers. After all, if you’re a small but rapidly expanding business, the last thing you want to worry about is packaging and shipping the product.

Julie put it this way: “UPS has allowed us to have one provider who can fulfill our Amazon Prime orders and orders from all other marketplaces, one provider and one platform that can fulfill all my sales channels and allow me to focus on my No. 1 priority — my daughter.”

Sounds pretty cool to me.

Andrew Busby is Founder and CEO of Retail Reflections and an IBM Futurist.

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