IronLinx’s eCommerce order fulfillment operation specializes in the unique needs of online businesses of all types. From the simplest business-to-consumer (B2C) orders to the more complex business-to-business (B2B) orders, we have the experience and capabilities required for a seamless fulfillment experience in the following areas (among others): beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, books, baby, consumer electronics and accessories, fashion, toys, natural and organic, and pet products.
Customer Segments and Industries Served
eCommerce has incredible growth potential in the coming years. In 2018, US eCommerce sales exceeded five hundred billion dollars—15% higher than 2017. IronLinx specializes in eCommerce order fulfillment in industries including: beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, books, baby, consumer electronics and accessories, fashion, toys, natural and organic, and pet products.
The COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously driven enormous growth in the eCommerce space and severely upended global supply and distribution operations (See: How Has Covid-19 Complicated eCommerce? and Retail Season 2020: Three Operational Risk Factors to Consider). IronLinx is in a position from which to assist sellers — both new and old — in navigating these unchartered waters.
Beauty and Cosmetics
At more than one trillion dollars and counting, the beauty and cosmetics tranche of the wellness industry continues to grow at a notable clip. Over the last fifteen years, IronLinx Fulfillment has become intimately familiar with the unique eCommerce fulfillment needs of the beauty and cosmetics products space such as special packaging and handling needs, custom pack-outs and branded packaging materials, wholesale routing guide compliance, climate-controlled storage, and multi-channel integrations.
Health and Wellness
At four trillion dollars and counting, the wellness industry is on the move worldwide and the trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. Ironlinx Fulfillment specializes in handling the unique eCommerce fulfillment needs of health and wellness product sellers which often include climate-control, lot-control, wholesale routing guides, special packaging needs, and multi-channel integrations.
At more than one hundred billion dollars in annual revenue, the global market for books remains substantial. From a fulfillment perspective, books are generally not all that complex; however, notable issues include the complexity of multi-channel sales and high SKU-counts, custom pack-outs (complete with branded packaging materials and marketing inserts) for literary subscription boxes and high-end books, routing guide compliance, and returns and exchange management.
At nearly ten billion dollars in sales, the global market for baby and children’s products is substantial—and the market expects above-average rates of growth in the coming decade. From a eCommerce order fulfillment perspective, the handling requirements of baby products range from routine to complex—the range depending largely on product type and branding. Notable complexities include special packaging and handling requirements for fragile and/or luxury items; custom pack-outs complete with branded packaging materials, marketing inserts, and return labels; routing guide compliance for large retailers like Barney’s, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Target; and returns management.
Consumer Electronics and Accessories
At more than five hundred billion dollars and counting, the global market for consumer electronics and accessorial items is enormous and growing at a rate of more than 7% per annum. From a fulfillment perspective, consumer electronics and accessorial items present a number of unique challenges: high-value items and large SKU-counts; special shipping and handling requirements; custom pack-outs complete with branded packaging materials, marketing inserts, return labels, and invoices; routing guide compliance; and returns and exchange management.
At nearly five hundred billion dollars in sales, the global market for apparel, footwear, accessories, bags, and jewelry is substantial. Driven by a burgeoning global middle class, the continued worldwide expansion and adoption of the internet, and the rapid proliferation of smart devices (especially phones), country-specific industry growth rates are substantially exceeding those of GDP levels across the world. From an eCommerce order fulfillment perspective, the fashion industry can be particularly nuanced. Notable issues include the special packaging and handling requirements for delicate and/or expensive items; custom pack-outs complete with branded packaging materials, marketing inserts, and return labels; wholesale routing guide compliance; multi-channel sales; and returns management.
At more than twenty billion dollars in annual revenue, the global market for toys and games remains substantial. From a fulfillment perspective, toys and games range from fairly straight-forward to complex. Notable issues include: multi-channel sales, custom pack-outs (complete with branded packaging materials and marketing inserts), routing guide compliance, and returns and exchange management.
Natural and Organic
The global market for natural and organic products is growing rapidly at more than 8% per year and is unlikely to slow down anytime soon. From an eCommerce fulfillment perspective, the shipping and handling requirements of natural and organic products can be quite nuanced. Notable complexities include unique handling and storage requirements; custom pack-outs complete with branded packaging materials and marketing inserts; routing guide compliance for large retailers like Whole Foods, UNFI, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Costco; and returns and exchange management.
At more than one hundred and fifty billion dollars in annual revenue, the global market for pet food, toys, and supplies is substantial—and growing at a rate several times that of the economy as a whole. From an eCommerce order fulfillment perspective, pet products range from fairly straight-forward to complex. Notable issues include: multi-channel sales, custom pack-outs (complete with branded packaging materials and marketing inserts), routing guide compliance, and returns and exchange management.
Benefits of Outsourcing eCommerce Order Fulfillment to IronLinx
Managing order flow is no small chore, especially during peak retail season. With a little growth, even modest internal order fulfillment responsibilities can become hard to manage—not to mention the spikes. Given that it takes only one poor experience to dissuade repeat customers or generate negative reviews, it generally makes sense to outsource to a third-party like IronLinx who has the tools and experience necessary to allow you to seamlessly grow your business.
One of the most attractive aspects of eCommerce is that it is so readily scalable; however, such growth requires the operational capacity to scale just as quickly. Many companies rapidly find success on the sales front, but subsequently stumbled in their handling of the operational challenges inherent to fulfilling orders. The end result: missed opportunities at best and catastrophic failure at worst. To avoid such outcomes, companies could either 1) spend a considerable amount of money establishing the capacity needed to handle uncertain growth (or even just a spike) or 2) acquire an expansion option at little to no cost by outsourcing fulfillment.
As an order fulfillment provider, we are not in business to break even or lose money; however, due to the efficiencies yielded by the investments that we have made, we can turn a profit and still save our clients a substantial amount of money relative to them handling their fulfillment internally — savings which open up sales opportunities that otherwise might be too expensive. Consider just some of the internal fulfillment costs that are required at scale: storage space, labor, packaging materials, and shipping costs.
Firms that don’t focus on selling are unlikely to ever get much, if any, traction. Attempts to avoid fees by handling kitting projects or fulfillment matters internally might seem a prudent way to save money in the early stages of a business’ life; however, if growth is the ultimate goal, these efforts are nothing but counter-productive: hours upon hours spent on logistics and operations are hours not spent on sales and marketing—and are actually more likely than not to generate higher error rates, higher logistics costs, and higher levels of customer dissatisfaction.
Returns management can represent a substantial drag on resources; however, being in the fulfillment business, we are able to realize process efficiencies that are otherwise unobtainable—and, better still, we are able to do much of it free-of-charge. Time-consuming processes that we handle:
Receipt of product
Issuing call tags