How to Manage Outsourced Fulfillment That Looks and Feels In-House

Mar 29, 2012 1:20 AM  By

The decision to outsource order fulfillment can be a difficult one for merchants, but Steve Warren, vice president of business development for fulfillment services provider Fifth Gear, offers some suggestions that can make your outsourced fulfillment operation have that in-house feel.


Communication between merchants and vendors is critical, Warren says, “especially when outsourcing your retail operations. Your fulfillment provider needs to be aware of special promotions, changes in inventory, and new business initiatives to provide the best service possible. At the same time, the merchant needs to understand what challenges the warehouse is dealing with and what customers are clamoring for to make the partnership run smoothly.”

Another common concern for merchants considering outsourcing their fulfillment is brand integrity.

“When you outsource your order fulfillment, you’re entrusting your brand image to another company,” Warren says. “That’s why it’s important to ensure that your brand is conveyed uniformly across all aspects of your operations – from your custom packaging, to the returns process, to how communications with customers are handled. If the experience is seamless, your outsourced fulfillment operations will feel in-house to your customers.”

If you want to know more, Warren will be speaking on this topic at the Operations Summit in Memphis May 2-3. For more information, go to