Here are three companies that have lead the way:
Amazon – King of Fulfillment
Amazon is scaling at a rapid pace, which means they are constantly utilizing forward-thinking fulfillment strategies. They continue to raise the bar and drive change in how we conduct business. One way they have done this is with their Prime program’s free shipping. Free shipping is now an expectation in e-commerce, and it’s driving new business models. Amazon is dependent on FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service (USPS), which has caused broken delivery promises during the holidays. As a result, they are experimenting with their own sorting centers, where the fulfillment centers send the completed packages to be sorted before the carrier takes possession. Doing their own sorting has dramatically reduced costs and mistakes.
Zappos Caused Consumers to Trust e-commerce
What Amazon initially did for book buying, Zappos did for shoe buying. With free shipping and free returns, Zappos revolutionized the way people bought shoes. They are the #1 seller of shoes on the Internet. In fact, their fulfillment center stocks more than 50,000 shoe varieties.
More than shoes though, Zappos is known for its excellence in customer service. In fact, some say it is a customer service company that happens to sell shoes. This loyalty and relationship model revolutionized ecommerce by making online buying more trustworthy. Their customer service creates an excellent experience for buyers. Buyers then gained confidence to try other online retailers. In 1999, five percent of the shoes in the United States were sold through mail-order catalogs. In four short years, Zappos reached $70 million in sales. The company so disrupted the shoe selling business model that Amazon once tried to compete with them. Amazon couldn’t make it work. So they bought them instead!
eBay Auctions and the Ultimate Search for the Best Deal
eBay brought the garage sale to our couches. This online giant is often the first place consumers shop, even before their local Target. In addition, eBay eliminated the need to attend estate sales in back yards. There are thousands of estate items on sale every day on eBay from all over the world. If the excitement of bidding on an item is something you enjoy, eBay is your fix.
This online seller also had an impact on the fulfillment industry itself. Sales became so robust that local franchise fulfillment houses sprung up to package and ship products for eBay sellers. This fulfillment trend caused a number of independent retailers to close up their e-commerce sites and sell on eBay instead. Regular eBay power sellers flocked to the franchises to save time and money.
At Goodwill Industrial Services, we are keeping pace with innovations in fulfillment and packaging like these. See how we can help your business save time and money when you outsource these tasks to us. Contact us today to schedule a free tour of our facility.