The Dangerous F-Word in eCommerce: Fulfillment

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For many online retailers, order fulfillment can feel like a black hole in their business. They’ve mastered their marketing and sales strategy but keep finding themselves saying “oh ship” at their endless fulfillment fails. With the right guidance, eCommerce fulfillment doesn’t have to be intimidating. Let’s look at the three main strategies businesses are using to ship their products to customers.

In-House Fulfillment

Businesses using this model of eCommerce fulfillment manage and operate their own delivery process. They have their own storage space or may even lease their own warehouse. Although this model gives online retailers full control over the operation, it requires extensive knowledge and resources that some companies simply can’t afford to invest in. 

Managing your own logistics can consume your time, especially if you don’t have the dedicated fulfillment staff to support you. In this model, you are responsible for managing products in storage facilities, determining and executing packaging procedures, determining best shipping methods, and processing every return. With this strategy, retailers often find it difficult to efficiently scale and keep up with customer demands.


Dropshipping is a popular option for businesses that want as little control as possible over fulfillment. In this model, your product design, storage, and production are handled by another company. You order items from the manufacturer, and that product is then directly shipped to the customer.

For those new to eCommerce and the online retail industry, dropshipping is the easiest way to test the waters. Sellers can get a taste for what eCommerce is all about without making a large monetary commitment. However, the wait time for products to arrive to customers can be substantially longer than those companies using outsourced or in-house strategies.

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Outsourced Fulfillment

Third-party logistics (3PL) companies like Rakuten Super Logistics can help relieve the shipping and fulfillment stress online retailers may experience, while still allowing some control over operations. When leveraging this strategy, your fulfillment partner manages the heavy lifting, with your preferences in mind. From tracking inventory to packing orders, and even managing returns, a 3PL ensures your customers receive a reliable delivery experience from beginning to end. Online retailers never have to worry about any part of the distribution, warehousing, and shipping process. 

Additionally, there are few key benefits to working with a 3PL. You’ll have access to multiple warehouses to store your merchandise and expedite delivery. This leads to the ability to achieve shorter shipping times, decrease shipping costs, and eliminate overhead costs. As a result, you are able to quickly and effectively scale your business. Outsourced eCommerce fulfillment providers have the expertise to manage the critical aspects of shipping and logistics and allow you to focus on the marketing and sales to grow your brand.

Have you experienced difficulties with managing your shipping and fulfillment? Has your current strategy or partner caused disruption to your business? It may be time to reevaluate your fulfillment strategy to meet your customers’ needs. Whichever fulfillment option you choose, make sure it can help you reach your long-term business goals and eliminate those “oh ship” moments.

How can we help you?

Contact us to request a quote and learn more about partnering with RSL to fulfill your eCommerce shipping needs. 

Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce. RSL offers modern fulfillment solutions for leading eCommerce retailers focused on reducing shipping costs, improving order accuracy, decreasing shipping times, and increasing customer satisfaction.