US Fulfillment Services Bring Overseas Business To Americans
Most online businesses were started for two reasons, the ability to sell items cheaper to consumers because of the reduction of costs when you eliminate the need for physical stores and employees, and the ability to sell to a market wider than your local drive up area. Both of these things are rooted in the limitations that come with being physically located in a specific area, and capitalize on the fact that the internet has no physical limitations. One of the ongoing drawbacks that has not been able to be solved through selling over a website instead of from a retail space has been the issue of fulfillment. Even if there is no physical store, the items that are purchased still have to be warehoused in a physical location and the orders have to be fulfilled by actual employees. These drawbacks have been eliminated by the advent of third party fulfillment services.
A fulfillment service is a business that exists to not sell items, but instead to house and manage inventory and process orders for shipment. In many large retail operations, a fulfillment department was typically its own entity, taking orders from the store and processing them from warehoused inventory. With third-party fulfillment services the premise is the same, only being handled by a business that is not directly connected to yours. These businesses house your inventory in their warehouses along with other customer's inventories, thus allowing you to only pay for the space necessary. This eliminates the need for speculative leases on warehouses that may be too big or small depending on sales. It also removes the necessity to manage employees, as all fulfillment is completed by the employees of the fulfillment service itself. Orders are transmitted to the warehouse through a software connected to the online store, and those orders are then completed by the service. A fee is charged per order, as well as the shipping charges that are incurred in order to get the order to the customer. The shipping charges is one of the main reasons that third party shipping services are so important for overseas businesses.
In the past, overseas merchants may have been able to sell products for lower prices than American companies over their websites, but once shipping was factored in the ultimate price paid by the consumer was around the same as purchasing from a US company. This is due to the fact that the shipping charges from overseas were quite high compared to domestic shipping. Now that third-party fulfillment services are able to receive the orders placed on a website that is managed anywhere in the world, the shipping can originate from a warehouse in the United States, even if the business is located overseas. This translates to shipping charges being the same as those seen by US businesses, but the prices paid for the actual goods can be lower. This situation allows overseas merchants to sell to United States consumers exactly the same way that a domestic business should, and compete with them based on price. It is a win for both merchants and consumers.
Businesses that are overseas can now sell to American consumers with confidence knowing that the extra charges that are placed on top of their prices in order to get their products to the buyer's door are not going to make the customer overpay for the item. Businesses that are not in the country can charge US consumers a fair price for items, and allow for profits to be fair to everyone involved. US buyers gain the benefit of a global shopping market, and overseas businesses gain new customers who may not have purchased before.
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