Order fulfillment services of online marketplaces – A quick look
In our last edition we spoke about the top three online marketplaces in India, namely Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. These three are bleeding themselves dry competing in various categories trying to one-up each other all the time. In fact, many experts believe that the battle of the online marketplaces comes down to who can take the highest amount of losses and still stay in the game the longest. In this situation, what matters the most for these companies then is a loyal customer base. And the only surefire way to get that is with good service, for example, efficient order fulfillment.
Order fulfillment is the whole process, which starts from the point of sales inquiry to delivery of a product to the customer. Thus, it consists of various parts that are related to various arms of a company. Right from the website UI to the warehouse efficiency, everything is tested in order fulfillment. From a seller’s point of view, the better the fulfillment, the higher the sales.
This is a new trend that has been seen for the past year in the Indian market. It is not enough for online retail sites to just be a bridge between sellers and buyers. In fact, to survive in the market it has become a necessity for them to start making sure that the orders coming through their portals are fulfilled correctly. Order fulfilment ventures by these conglomerates are thus a testament to the fast approaching maturity of the Indian online retail market.
So which of these three companies have the best order fulfillment plans? Amazon has Fulfillment by Amazon, Flipkart has Flipkart Advantage and Snapdeal has Snapdeal Plus. Let us look at them one by one.
Flipkart or Amazon or Snapdeal – What do you prefer?
The Flipkart Advantage badge is a hard to miss sight on the website, so much so that there are Chrome plugins for detecting them. It is especially true for buyers who look for the badge so that they can be assured that they can return the product in 30 days if dissatisfied. Flipkart launched its pet stock-and-ship service last year, and it has seen a fruitful response.
This is how it works, Flipkart Advantage merchants will be able to stock their products at Flipkart’s warehouses even before the order is placed. Once the order is placed, quality checks, packing and shipping will be Flipkart’s responsibility. As a result, the merchant will be eligible for Same Day Delivery and Next Day Delivery options, along with the 30-day return policy and order tracking capabilities. Although the exact number of fulfilment centres that Flipkart currently operates is unclear, they are aggressively planning to expand to new territories.
Amazon India offers its order fulfillment services using Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA. Through FBA, Amazon basically provides pick-and-pack centres for their sellers. As an FBA affiliated seller, you just need to send the product across to the nearest fulfillment centre, and Amazon will pack, label and deliver the product to your customer. As an FBA seller, you will be eligible for Free Delivery and One Day Delivery options. Since you can delegate the logistics side of your business to Amazon, you have more time to focus on your business expansion strategies.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by Amazon, 86% sellers who subscribed to FBA saw increase in their profits. In terms of fees, Amazon goes with a pay-as-you-go model. Amazon recently slashed prices for their FBA service, starting 11th August 2015, and the new pricing policy can be found here. Currently, Amazon’s fulfilment centres are located in several places in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal. FBA is also adept at handling customer returns.
Snapdeal offers Snapdeal Plus – an order fulfilment service for its sellers. Snapdeal has over 50 fulfilment centres across 20 cities already operating around the country, and the number is likely to go to 75 by the end of this year. With this strong network of fulfillment centres, it aims to offer delivery within 4 and in certain areas, even 2 hours after ordering. Snapdeal Plus also allows you to stock your inventory in their warehouses, which means you are completely free of all inventory responsibility. Snapdeal aims for the maximum number of orders to come through this service, so that the order fulfillment responsibility rests squarely on their shoulders.
To know more about order fulfillment by various online retail sites, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!