Dealing with eCommerce Inflation

Dealing with eCommerce Inflation

Dealing with eCommerce Inflation

Prices are going up on almost everything. This pattern began during the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued without many indications that the tides will turn soon. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, eCommerce prices as of July 2021 were up 3.1% year-over-year. Before this, eCommerce consumers enjoyed a deflationary environment, with prices declining at 3.9% YoY. eCommerce retailers have to pivot their strategies, pricing, and fulfillment to help minimize the impacts of inflation; as consumers’ discretionary spending dries up, the competition for the remaining dollars increases. Dealing strategically with eCommerce inflation is necessary to ensure survival.

What is causing eCommerce inflation?

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an imbalance in supply and demand. As consumers were quarantined and unable to spend money on experiences, they turned to physical products online. Demand for gym equipment, entertainment centers, and furniture soared as people were stuck at home—this overburdened suppliers.

The pandemic caused a massive shortage in the number of shipping containers. This was caused by the increased demand for goods and the lack of port staff, ships, and containers to transport products. Sea freight continues to cost more than pre-pandemic prices.

Lastly, Chinese suppliers are still struggling to meet production demand. Lockdowns and restrictive policies have led to significant delays in getting raw materials and manufactured goods out of the country. Many savvy eCommerce brands have diversified their supply chain by partnering with more local vendors. However, China is still the world’s largest manufacturing producer, responsible for just over 28% of the global output.

Effects of Inflation

An inflationary period is marked by an increase in the cost of goods and services that decreases the purchasing power of consumers and companies alike. In other words, a dollar doesn’t get you what it did yesterday. What specific price increases and reductions in spending are we experiencing?

Price Increases

Consumer Spending Changes

  • Overall spending reduction
  • Drop in discretionary spending 
  • Shift to generic brands
  • 75% of consumers are spending less due to inflation
  • The top three industries experiencing a drop in sales - Women’s apparel, Men’s apparel, and Electronics
  • Increase in recommerce

Solutions to deal with eCommerce Inflation

Raise prices

As prices rise for goods, services, labor, and shipping, one of the quickest and most obvious solutions is to pass the price increases to customers. It is vital to decide how and when to implement a price increase strategically. Consumers are not heartless, and most expect a fair price for their product and a reasonable profit for the seller. If you must increase your prices to maintain profitability, make sure you:

  • Communicate openly and honestly - let them know why your pricing needs to increase.
  • Determine fair pricing by researching competitors and checking for underpricing in existing price models
  • Cut costs where possible.
  • Consider offering a smaller amount for the same price. Some customers would rather have fewer products than have to pay more.

Keep a safety stock

Avoid stockouts and extended supply chain delays by overordering products that are consistent sellers. Work on building up safety stock and keep a six-month supply of goods. The quantities you can purchase today might be more than what you can get for the same price next year.

Manage cash flow

Small businesses with the most working capital at the end of an economic downturn end up on top. Prioritize revenue generating while cutting costs. Now is the time to apply for financing. Having a business line of credit available before you NEED it can make the difference between growing or drowning.

Diversify your supply chain with local vendors

Because Asia is still struggling with production and fulfillment, now is the time to find local vendors and suppliers. The closer a supplier is to your customer base, the less you will need to spend on shipping. Local manufacturers who were cost-prohibitive might be more competitive in this environment. Inflation has hit shipping carriers hard, and they are passing along the fees to customers through fuel surcharges and labor charges. When dealing with eCommerce inflation, every penny counts.

Partner with a 3PL

While it might not be an obvious strategy to deal with inflation, partnering with a 3PL can help. 3PLs can help negotiate better shipping costs and options due to their high-volume discounts with major carriers. Furthermore, if they are like Falcon Fulfillment, they can help implement an automated inventory management process to avoid stockouts. Lastly, with flexible warehousing available, you can store safety stock with ease. 

Inflation isn’t going to return to “normal” anytime soon. According to Business Insider, inflation is expected to improve in 2023, although gradually, and the first indicator of a more steady supply chain will be shipping prices. Traditionally, eCommerce businesses were immune to inflationary environments, but that isn’t the case anymore. To deal with eCommerce inflation well, implement the strategies listed in this article and consider partnering with Falcon Fulfillment. Contact one of our agents today if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you position your eCommerce well in this inflationary environment.

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Strategies for eco-friendly fulfillment

5 Strategies for Eco-friendly Fulfillment

5 Strategies for Eco-friendly Fulfillment

As the eCommerce industry continues to expand, so have consumer concerns around environmental impact. eCommerce waste is becoming a serious problem. In 2018, the EPA estimated that packaging accounts for about 30% of all household waste. Increased social awareness has magnified the importance of minimizing our carbon footprint. Today, nearly 90% of Gen X consumers said they would be willing to spend an extra 10% or more for sustainable products or services, compared to just over 34% two years ago. Brands that reduce their carbon footprint have a unique advantage in the marketplace. You can build strategies for eco-friendly fulfillment even if you don’t sell “eco-friendly” products. Every decision made toward a more sustainable future benefits us all.

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging is packaging that produces the least amount of pollution regarding manufacturing, production, and disposal. Making a switch to more eco-friendly packaging instantly reduces environmental impact. The myriad of biodegradable, recycled, and compostable packaging options can be dizzying to select the best choice for your brand. Download our “Sustainable Packaging Guide” for more detailed insight on determining what is suitable for your company

There are three main types of eco-friendly fulfillment packaging.

  • Compostable packaging - made from renewable plant-based materials and or biopolymers and must break down within 90-180 days in commercial composting conditions.
  • Reusable packaging - can be used multiple times and intertwines with sustainable packaging design.
  • Recycled packaging - typically sourced from plastics that have been reprocessed at a recycling facility and given a second life.

Optimized Transportation

Another area to boost eco-friendly fulfillment is to optimize transportation. Transportation contributes significantly to growing greenhouse gas emissions. Ways to streamline transportation include reducing trips, ensuring a high fill rate on shipments, and utilizing local distribution centers. A 3PL partner can provide strategic transportation solutions to build a sustainable eCommerce business. They can boost the fill rate per transport vehicle, which reduces overall gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, a 3PL can eliminate stages of the transportation journey by leveraging multi-site distributions and optimized route planning.

Inventory Costs ExplainedStreamlined Inventory Management

Streamlining inventory management might not be an obvious strategy for eco-friendly fulfillment, but errors can be costly in time and resources and create inefficiencies. Every improperly labeled, categorized, or shipped product must be returned, restocked, or discarded. Ensuring your fulfillment team has a streamlined inventory management system will reduce errors, time inefficiencies, and returns or exchanges. A fulfillment team that implements the following inventory management protocols will be more effective and, as a result, more eco-friendly.

  • Automated processes 
  • Single SKU (QR coding/barcoding etc.)
  • Accurate and real-time reporting
  • Integrated technology 
  • Open communication within supply chain partners

Developing an inventory management process that incorporates as much automation and digitization as possible helps reduce human error, but it isn’t 100% necessary. Businesses managing inventory manually can still be eco-friendly if they create processes that are mindful of reducing waste and include checks and balances to ensure accuracy. 

Domestic or Localized Supply Chain

A hyper-local supply chain is a way to create a more eco-friendly fulfillment strategy. If the raw goods you sell can be sourced from suppliers closer to your customer base, it reduces your carbon footprint. It takes a lot of energy and money to ship goods from overseas. Furthermore, issues with supply chain delays and gridlocks are mitigated more easily with domestic vendors.

FALCON FulfillmentFalcon FulfillmentEco-friendly Fulfillment Partner

Choosing an environmentally-minded fulfillment partner can instantly increase your company’s eco-friendly score. One of the most straightforward strategies for eco-friendly fulfillment is partnering with a 3PL that already has processes to encourage sustainability. Falcon Fulfillment offers optimized transportation, sustainable packaging options, multi-site distribution, and automated inventory management.

Consumers are willing to pay a little bit more to know that their purchase is going to a company committed to sustainability. Implementing strategies for eco-friendly fulfillment is a process. Start by choosing a few ways to create a sustainable business, like swapping traditional packaging materials for sustainable options. As your business grows, your sustainability strategy can as well. If you want to learn more about eco-friendly fulfillment, get in touch with one of our agents today. 

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7 necessary ecommerce integrations when getting started

7 Necessary eCommerce Integrations When Getting Started

7 Necessary eCommerce integrations when getting started

There are many things to consider when setting up your online store. There are a few basic integrations that every eCommerce business needs. Here are 7 necessary eCommerce integrations when getting started.

Website Builder

Your website is your storefront. Utilizing a website builder integration allows you to create a professional-looking website without hiring a custom developer and designer. Many website builders come with various applications, features, and integrations that help streamline sales and fulfillment. Some of eCommerce's most popular website builders include Shopify, BigCommerce, Square, and Wix.

Payment Gateway

Making sales online requires a way to receive and refund money. Your payment gateway is a necessary eCommerce integration when getting started. There are many to choose from, and your website builder probably has a few preferred payment gateway options. To decide on which payment gateway integration is right for you, consider the following:

  • What payment methods do you need
  • Best ways to accept money
  • Available payment options (the more, the merrier)
  • Integrations available for your website
  • Customer data security
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • How chargebacks are handled
  • Customer support resources

Accounting Software

Every eCommerce CEO loves counting their cash from sales but loathes crunching numbers, especially when taxes are involved. A vital eCommerce integration when getting started is accounting software. Things to consider when selecting an accounting solution are the number of users, regularly updated (to stay current with best practices), easy-to-use format, and getting started training, as well as automated billing, payments, and cash forecasting. Ensure that your software can either provide your accountant with essential reporting or be easily accessed by them or their team. Lastly, your accounting software must integrate easily with your eCommerce platform and payment processing systems.

Customer Support Software

When you start selling online, you must deal with unhappy or confused consumers. A robust customer support system will ensure customers get help and support immediately. Here are some of the best customer support software implementations in 2022, according to

  • Hubspot
  • Zendesk
  • Gorgias
  • Help Scout
  • LiveAgent

Inventory Management

If you have a product, you need a way to manage your inventory. Inventory management systems integrate seamlessly with your sales systems. Ensuring your stock is updated-to-date, accurate, and tracked in real-time will prevent stockouts, missed sales opportunities, and optimal ordering. A fulfillment service provider typically offers this type of software integration. Make sure they can integrate with your POS systems or they are willing to build custom APIs.

Shipping and Fulfillment Software

Customers want to know where their orders are at all times. The “Amazon Prime Effect” has led to consumers expecting orders delivered in 2-days or less. This isn’t always possible but keeping a consumer informed when their package will be delivered minimizes frustration when things take a bit longer. You can only offer this “satisfaction” boosting information if you have detailed, real-time shipping and fulfillment integrations. Your carrier can offer some level of insight, and if you work with a white-glove fulfillment team, they can provide this detail, and many will have a system that can notify customers on your behalf.

The world of eCommerce is moving toward a full-service omnichannel experience. Ensure that you have the best chance for success by implementing a few of 7 the necessary eCommerce integrations when getting started. While setting up these integrations can feel overwhelming, many website builders offer pre-built integrations. Furthermore, when you partner with a 3PL like Falcon Fulfillment, they can offer top-of-the-line proprietary software to their clients that streamline order fulfillment, including returns and exchanges. That means you can focus on what matters most in your business. If you want to learn more about the technologies and integrations, Falcon offers, get in touch with one of our agents today.

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Ecommerce Order Fulfillment

ECommerce Order Fulfillment 101 - What you need to know

eCommerce Order Fulfillment 101 - What you need to know

A solid eCommerce order fulfillment strategy is the center of your business success. After all, getting orders into the hands of consumers quickly, effectively, and with a high customer satisfaction rate is fuel for growth. A company that doesn’t fulfill orders well will fail fast. It is essential to understand what fulfillment is, the elements involved in the process, and what types of fulfillment offer the best benefits for my company. This article will outline what eCommerce order fulfillment involves, the different kinds of fulfillment, and the key indicators it is time to outsource fulfillment.

What is eCommerce order fulfillment?

Fulfillment is the process of getting a product delivered once an order is placed. It involves receiving, inventory storage, order processing, picking, packaging, shipping, and returns management. Order fulfillment consists of every aspect of the product journey, from receiving to final-mile delivery.

Basic Steps of eCommerce Order Fulfillment

Inventory Receiving

Products are received, counted, and checked for quality when they arrive from the vendor or manufacturer. This can occur at any location but typically happens at a warehouse, distribution center, or fulfillment center. Some small eCommerce businesses manage this aspect of fulfillment out of their own homes. However, once orders hit a threshold that overwhelms your living room, basement, and garage, it is probably time to outsource fulfillment. Regardless of where receiving occurs, it is vital to ensure the correct quantities, quality, and type of products being received before they are added to the inventory management system.

Inventory Storage

Once products are received and input into the inventory management system, they are ready to be stored. Items are stocked and shelved to minimize the time necessary to fulfill an order. The key is having a well-organized warehouse. Optimize your fulfillment process by implementing inventory management best practices.

Order Processing

Order processing begins when a customer places an order. The order details are sent to the inventory management system that triggers product selection from the warehouse or storage area. Once the product(s) are selected they are then packaged for shipment. 


The package is loaded onto a shipping carrier transport and begins the journey to the customer's address. This part of the journey can involve multiple types of transportation and carriers depending on the size, shape, and requirements of the final-mile delivery.

Returns Processing

Order fulfillment doesn’t end when the customer receives their package; it ends when a customer is satisfied with their purchase. This is why returns are the final aspect of eCommerce order fulfillment. When your business grows to a size where returns become a time-soak, it is probably time to outsource fulfillment and returns management to a larger expert team.

What are the different types of eCommerce order fulfillment?

There are generally three main types of order fulfillment. They include; in-house, dropshipping, and 3PL fulfillment. A fourth type, a hybrid, can involve a cross-section of all three types depending on volume and product types.

In-house fulfillment

In-house or in-store fulfillment is when a company fulfills its orders from its facilities, labor, and resources without the assistance of a third-party provider. Most companies begin by fulfilling orders in-house because it is the most cost-effective fulfillment option that allows for the highest level of control.


Dropshipping is another popular fulfillment option, where orders are fulfilled directly from the manufacturer or vendor without going through the typical fulfillment channels. Dropshipping is convenient and affordable but offers limited control over the quality and quantity of inventory. Understanding the pros and cons of dropshipping can help you decide if this is the right fit for your eCommerce brand.

3PL Fulfillment

3PL Fulfillment is where the entire order fulfillment process is outsourced to a third party. 3PL teams specialize in every aspect of eCommerce order fulfillment. They have flexible warehousing, labor, and resources to ensure your business can scale quickly. If you want to maintain tight control of every aspect of order fulfillment, a 3PL may not be suitable for you. However, if you have outgrown your warehouse space or your team is overwhelmed with demand, it might be time to outsource fulfillment.

What is the difference between 1PL, 2PL, 3PL, 4PL, and 5PL Fulfillment?

There are slight differences between the different “PL” providers. 1PL fulfillment involves a supplier fulfilling their orders directly, whereas a 2PL consists of a transportation partner like FedEx, UPS, or USPS. A 3PL is a more extensive operation that alleviates more of the order fulfillment journey. 4PL and 5PL companies take on a more significant role as order fulfillment concierges. The following image illustrates the difference between the different logistics providers.

When should you partner with an eCommerce order fulfillment service provider?

  • You no longer have the time to focus on your core competencies
  • You have outgrown your warehouse space
  • Your team is overwhelmed by the demand
  • Order errors and returns are increasing
  • You know you are paying too much for shipping
  • You want to expand into a new market or location (International)

This post about eCommerce order fulfillment is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a whole industry that handles the logistics surrounding order fulfillment. When you first launch an eCommerce business, it can be daunting to know how to get your orders to your customers quickly and effectively. Keeping your customers in mind is the most important aspect of building your business. If satisfying your customer is your top priority, it will guide every decision, including what is the best fulfillment option. If you want to learn more about how Falcon Fulfillment can help alleviate the burden of getting orders delivered in a timely fashion, speak with one of our knowledgeable agents today.

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5 Essential eCommerce Website Features

5 Essential eCommerce Website Features

5 Essential eCommerce Website Features

Whether you are a well-established brand or just getting started, a well-designed and executed website is essential to success. A recent forecast by reveals that eCommerce is expected to grow by over 50 percent during the next four years. eCommerce revenues could reach an incredible 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025. To capitalize on the growing market, eCommerce websites and features must cater to new consumer tastes. Your website is your storefront. From the homepage to the product pages, each segment has specific elements that cannot go ignored if you want to minimize cart abandonment and increase sales. This article will share 5 essential eCommerce website features that contribute to conversion and customer satisfaction.

Must-Have eCommerce Website Features

Responsive Design

Now more than ever, consumers are using multiple devices to scroll, shop, and learn. Screen sizes vary from a watch to a 65” monitor. Furthermore, purchases from mobile devices are on the rise. Retail mCommerce sales (mobile purchases) hit $359 billion in 2021, a 15% increase over 2020.

Your eCommerce brand cannot afford to lose market share because your design isn’t optimized for mobile. Investing in responsive design will make your site mobile-friendly, improve the aesthetic of all screen sizes, and increase the time visitors spend on your site. has an excellent responsive design and great design overall. They cater to a youth lifestyle and have invested in ensuring their buying experience is easy across all devices.

User-Friendly Navigation

There is nothing worse than having to search for what you are looking for and being unable to find the navigation menu. The navigation is like the foundation of your website. It is where every user will go to locate what they are looking for. Make sure the navigation is prominently placed and easy to use. Eye-tracking research shows people spend 80% of their viewing time on the left portion of your website and only about 20% on the right. Consider using secondary navigation on the left side.

An excellent example of solid navigation design is They have anchored their navigation in the left quadrant with a responsive and extensive dropdown navigation menu for their unique sales verticals. User-friendly navigation enables your consumer to find what they are looking for quickly and effortlessly if a customer has to look too hard for something, they will simply find what they need from a competitor.

Easy and Generous Return Policy

A return policy is often an afterthought for most eCommerce owners, but it can be an effective marketing tool. With more customers shopping online, the details, clarity, and ease of making a return can make the difference between a “sale” and a “save for later.” Ensure your return policy is easy to find and prominently displayed at the point of sale. Use easy-to-understand language. Lastly, make it as simple as possible for a customer to make a return. The more flexibility they have to change their mind, the more likely they will make the purchase.

In fact, 92% of consumers will buy again if the return policy is easy. A great example of a generous return policy is from They are so confident in their return policy they have placed it in their top header!

Multiple Payment Options

Consumers want to be able to pay with whatever platform, card, or app is most convenient for them. Credit and debit card options are standard. In order to improve conversion and attract a broader audience it is important to offer multiple payment options. Payment options that are gaining traction include; Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Boleto, Stripe, Venmo, Square, and E-wallet. With so many ways to pay it can be hard to narrow which will cater to your specific audience. The essential feature is to have more than one way to pay at checkout. This gives consumers flexibility to give you their money easily. After all, you don’t want to prevent a purchase simply because you didn’t offer a payment gateway that was easy for them.

Omnichannel Platform

Omnichannel is the new buzzword in the world of eCommerce for good reason. An omnichannel platform, simply stated, is where a consumer has a seamless shopping experience across every location and channel that offers your product. This means that the website, social channels, third-party retailers, and the brick-and-mortar stores create a singular brand experience. Omnichannel development requires unification across point of sales systems, inventory tracking systems, marketing efforts, and UI/UX design. A daunting task, especially if your sales efforts have become fragmented. It is worth the time and energy to refocus your brand and your technology integrations though. Expect to see more omnichannel fulfillment and growth in the future.


Designing and developing your website to convert as many consumers as possible is a massive undertaking. At Falcon Fulfillment we cannot help you implement the 5 essential eCommerce website elements, but we can give you more time. We alleviate the fulfillment headaches and allow you to focus on your core competencies. From receiving to final mile delivery, we ensure your product gets into the hands of your customers. We can even manage customer service and returns! Get in touch today to gain back some time to focus on your eCommerce future.

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6 Main Causes of eCommerce Shipping Damage and How to Prevent It

6 Main Causes of eCommerce Shipping Damage and How to Prevent It

6 Main Causes of eCommerce Shipping Damage and How to Prevent It

Except for ordering or receiving the wrong size item, a damaged or defective product is the number one reason a customer will return an item. Unfortunately, damaged goods are all part of doing business as an eCommerce. Online returns cost retailers an average of 21% of the overall order value. You can reduce returns and improve customer service scores by focusing on minimizing shipping damage. There are a few practical and cost-effective ways to increase the chances your package arrives in excellent condition. Here are six main causes of eCommerce shipping damage and how to prevent it.

6 Main Causes for eCommerce Shipping Damage

Improper Packaging

Suppose the package selected to ship your product is too big or too small, the probability of damage increases. When a box is too large, the product has more room to shift and move in transit. If it is not shock-proof, the likelihood of damage goes up. Similarly, if a package is too small, the product has limited cushioning and is more easily crushed, scratched, or dented. There is a “Goldilocks” size for every product. A box or bag that is not too big and not too small; it’s “just right.”

Incorrect or Inadequate Filler

Failing to wrap or insulate the package with enough filler will result in more movement during transit. Furthermore, selecting a protective filler that isn’t appropriate can also increase the likelihood of damage. For example, shipping a bone china tea cup unwrapped and tucked into loose packing peanuts is a recipe for disaster.

Poor Handling

Your product will be jostled, tossed, stacked, shoved, and moved in ways you never could imagine. Products travel through various machines, conveyors, delivery vehicles, and people before they reach their final destination. Even when eCommerce fulfillment teams do their absolute best to package a product, it can still absorb shipping damage due to a lack of proper handling. Whether your delivery driver is just having a bad day or they had to make a hairpin turn last minute to avoid a stray dog, your package can take a tumble.

Mislabeled or Improperly Sealed

Not every transportation employee will heed the “Fragile” stickers affixed to packaging, but many do. Not adding a label at all can mean the difference between someone tossing your package on the front porch and carrying it there. Another common cause of eCommerce shipping damage is poor sealing. When the adhesive cannot hold the weight or has lost its ability to keep a box closed damage is bound to occur.

Failing to Track or Inspect Shipments

Many eCommerce businesses get so busy they fail to implement inspections along the fulfillment journey. Your product is passed along and if there are not quality control inspections along the way it is difficult to narrow down where the most shipping damages occur.


Pests can ruin everything. While beetles, cockroaches, and birds are typical varmints found in warehouses the main perpetrator are rats. Rodents can chew through almost any variety of materials and use many types of packing materials to build their nests. They damage boxes, plastic and fiber tie downs and more. Weak, chewed up, and damaged corrugated packaging cannot withstand the same weight or transit stress as a perfect one.

6 Main Solutions for eCommerce Shipping Damage 

Right-size Packaging

Right-size packaging uses the appropriate materials, quantity, and size to protect a product and showcase a brand well. Right-size packaging ensures the proper dimensions to minimize shipping damage, and it saves money on shipping costs. Carriers charge based on weight and dimensions so getting the balance between protecting the product without paying for extra airspace is vital. Here are 4 ways that right-size packaging can boost profitability.

Correct Type and Amount of Filler

After getting the package size correct, the next tip to reduce eCommerce shipping damage is to select the right type and amount of dunnage. Dunnage is any packing material used to protect goods during shipping. There is a plethora of void fill and protective packaging materials to choose from. Many eCommerce companies are shifting their packing materials to sustainable choices. Our sustainable packaging guide can help you select the most eco-friendly materials to limit shipping damage.

Test Your Packaging Before Shipping

It might seem silly to package a product and then drop it off a 4ft cliff, but that is precisely what can make the difference between a refund and a 5-star review. Put your packaging to the test by shaking it, dropping it, banging it, rolling it, vibrating it, and torturing it as many ways as possible. If your product maintains pristine quality after rigorous trials, you can be assured your product should arrive with minimal shipping damage.

Use Quality Sealing Tape or Adhesive

Select high-quality sealing tape that is rated to hold the weight of your product. Also, ensure all edges are aligned and sealed fully to prevent snags.

Inspect Regularly

From the receiving dock to the final mile delivery it is important to document damage and shortages. Keeping a record of manufacturing damage can help you work with your vendor to modify shipping or packaging to minimize damage. Furthermore, if you are using a carrier that consistently delivers packages that are sustaining damage it can tell you it’s time to change. Track damage sustained including images of damage through the entire fulfillment process.


Keeping a regular schedule of extermination in your storage and warehousing facility is crucial to keep pests away. Limiting access points and sealing all food items well will also keep from attracting bugs, beetles, and flies. It isn’t possible to keep pests from entering an open door but you can minimize shipping damage from them by ensuring you exterminate regularly and seal boxes fully. 

The main causes of eCommerce shipping damage are not difficult to prevent but they do require attention to detail. Many eCommerce business owners have restricted time and energy to focus on ensuring they have the best possible packaging, materials, and inspection procedures. This is why partnering with a fulfillment expert like Falcon Fulfillment can help minimize shipping damage. Not only can we select the best shipping options for your product but we also ensure the highest quality standards for handling, cleanliness, and accuracy. Get in touch today to see how we can help save you money on shipping damage returns.

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Inventory Costs Explained

Inventory Costs Explained and Mistakes to Avoid

Inventory Costs Explained and Mistakes to Avoid

Inventory costs are one of the assets and liabilities a company has on its balance sheet. Managing inventory costs is crucial for success. Managing inventory is a complex process that involves multiple vendors, suppliers, fees, and reports. Striking the delicate balance of ordering and storing the right amount of inventory is tricky. Companies don’t want to under-order but they don’t want to over-order. Establishing what to track and when to make adjustments can be confusing. This article will explain the main inventory costs and common mistakes to avoid when creating an inventory management process.

Inventory Costs Explained - Categories

What are the main costs associated with inventory? There are four primary categories of expenses related to inventory management. 

Purchasing Costs

Purchasing costs are the price paid to a supplier or vendor for a product. If you purchase 100 vintage-style handbags at $15 per item, your purchase cost is $1500. This line item does not include shipping, handling, taxes, or insurance. Some companies calculate the purchase cost within the ordering cost category. It depends on personal preference and the desired level of detail.

Ordering Costs

Typically, ordering costs include labor, fees, and transportation associated with getting your product shipped from the manufacturer to your storage facility. The expenses in this category tend to be small compared to the purchase costs but can add up quickly if not measured accurately.

Carrying Costs

Carrying costs, also known as “holding costs,” are fees associated with keeping inventory in stock. Anything from employee wages to warehouse rents is included in this category. Carrying costs vary significantly according to the type of product that is being sold and managed. Higher costs are associated with products with a limited shelf-life or requiring consistent handling, movement, and restocking.

Stockout Costs

Stockout costs are any costs related to the loss of revenue from inventory shortages. These costs can add up for various reasons, like; running out of a product before your in-store or online inventory management system is updated. A customer purchases a product that is no longer available, which triggers a refund process. The sale is potentially lost when a suitable alternative cannot be offered. Sales are also lost due to stockouts. How many consumers go to a competitor when a product is listed as “out-of-stock”? It is a missed opportunity cost. Fortunately, many of these costs can be avoided or minimized. Companies can increase their supply chain resilience by partnering with a competent 3PL.

Inventory Costs Explained - What to Track

Storage Costs

Storage costs include repetitive payments related to inventory storage management. These include warehouse rents, heating and cooling costs, lighting, security, and employee wages. Any fee for maintaining a clean, organized, and pest-free space would be considered a storage cost. Holding onto inventory that is slow-moving or considered deadstock increases storage costs quickly.

Capital Costs

Capital costs are typically the largest upfront investment regarding inventory costs. They are a one-time fee required to physically store and carry inventory to the designated storage facility. Capital costs can include land purchases, building or buying a warehouse, and sourcing inventory equipment (e.g., forklifts, pallets, storage racks/shelves, etc.).

Damage & Obsolescence

Things get banged, bruised, and battered in the shipping and receiving process. It is essential to track this inventory cost closely. If a pattern of damage is noticed, it can be corrected; otherwise, it is like flushing money down the toilet. Similarly, items that become obsolete are like leaving money on the shelf. Businesses still carry the costs of unsold and outdated products in the balance sheet.

Theft and Fraud

Theft and fraud associated with managing inventory costs can only be solved through careful tracking and utilizing accurate inventory management systems. While it won’t catch every criminal that threatens the bottom line, it will undoubtedly show where items are going missing.

Taxes and Insurance

“There is nothing certain in life but death and taxes.” (Paraphrase Ben Franklin) Inventory costs of taxes and insurance are determined by many factors, including but not limited to; types of product, location, and local ordinances related to product distribution. It is best to consult a lawyer regarding the nuances and costs associated with this category. Alternatively, partnering with a 3PL with extensive experience in your industry can typically provide introductions to legal counsel and help ballpark costings where appropriate.

Inventory Costs Explained - Mistake to Avoid


There is nothing worse than missing out on a sale because of stockouts. Proper inventory management systems and tracking can help forecast accurately and avoid losing sales. It is more important to overstock than understock. For one, you miss a sale. Second, you can lose a customer permanently. Third, you have to issue refunds which costs you additional money in employee wages and customer service strain. Include inventory management in product forecasting to help avoid understocking whenever possible.

Failing to Include Inventory Management in Forecasting Sales

The entire process of managing inventory is complicated. Including inventory management in forecasting will improve accuracy and minimize overstock or understock situations. Inventory management data will include product levels, cycles and highlight stock value categories. This helps businesses forecast not based on sales numbers alone but the overall health and movement of products through the inventory management process.

Launching a Product and Retroactively Managing Inventory

Launching the business and then getting around to managing inventory can be tempting. This is a significant mistake because by the time inventory management is a need; it has become a problem. Implementing inventory management before a product launch can help with forecasting, restocking timelines, and reducing stockouts. Accurate sales data, stock levels, and performance are readily available by preparing to track inventory management from the beginning.

Always Buying in Bulk

It is important to buy what you need when you need it. Sometimes bulk purchasing is ideal. Other times, it is a gamble. It might be tempting to buy 1000 units of your most popular product, but it could cost you if that item trends out or becomes obsolete before you can sell them. 


There is a lot of information involved when explaining or managing inventory costs. It can be an area of business that causes many owners sleepless nights. Falcon Fulfillment utilizes a proprietary inventory management system that touts a 99.9% accuracy rating. We pride ourselves on helping our clients have accurate data so they can make the best decisions for their businesses. If you would like to learn more about how Falcon can help streamline your inventory costs, get in touch with one of our agents today.

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eCommerce trends to watch

Q3 eCommerce Trends to Watch

Q3 eCommerce Trends to Watch

Q3 has ended, and online retailers are seeing a shift in consumer behavior. The main Q3 eCommerce trends to watch include; elongated holiday shopping timelines, social selling, and reduced consumer spending. This post will cover both Q3 eCommerce trends and overarching trends from 2022.

Top Q3 eCommerce Trends to Watch

Consumer Spending Will Change

While we still see strong consumer spending habits, holiday sales are expected to slow. As a result of the economic downturn, holiday sales are projected to grow between 4% and 6%, reaching $1.45 to $1.47 trillion this season compared to an increase of 15.1% during last year’s period, according to a new forecast from Deloitte. With inflation hovering just above 8%, many consumers are making adjustments. According to a recent survey by and spokesperson Ted Rossman says,

8 of 10 Americans with travel plans are reconsidering or making modifications to save money.


Retailers can expect higher eCommerce sales as customers comparison shop for bargains. eCommerce brands poised for early sales will be in good shape to have a successful Q4.

Holiday Shopping is Coming Early

November typically marks the beginning of Peak holiday sales, but trends show shoppers have already started making gift purchases. According to a Gartner Marketing survey, nearly half of consumers, 48%, plan to shop early for this holiday season, and the big reason is inflation. They are spreading out their spending. Consumers are beginning to scour retail sites for the best deals and promotions, and deep discounts from retailers are expected to be seen early instead of revolving around “Days” or “Weeks” as in years past.

Brands that are poised to offer early promotions will be able to capitalize on early sales and offset last-minute delivery complications.

Social Selling is Rising in Popularity and Trust

As a result of COVID-19, consumers found that shopping online could keep them safe and save them money and time. This has increased consumer trust in social commerce. Social commerce is using social media to sell goods or services. From increasing your post frequency to engaging influencers to promote your product, now is the time to double down on social marketing and sales efforts.

Enduring 2022 eCommerce Trends to Watch


Consumers are looking for shopping experiences tailored to their preferences. Shoppers are continuing to look for personalization. Personalization includes; displaying recommended products, targeted messaging, and cultivating personalized add-ons. People want their online shopping experience similar to having a personal shopper. AI is powering personalization and getting more accurate by the minute. A brand with a seamless omnichannel experience that offers the best deals and designs for each individual will perform well throughout the end of 2022 and into 2023.


M-Commerce or mobile commerce will continue to be an eCommerce trend to watch. Mobile purchases are trending to be almost 22% higher than in 2021. It isn’t enough that your site is mobile-friendly; it needs to be optimized for mobile. Consumers are spending more time than ever on their devices. You cannot afford to have a sub-par mobile purchasing experience to capture their attention and their dollars. Here are just a few of the best practices for mobile UX design, according to


Infographic by Toptal


As AI-powered chatbots become more intelligent, their use in customer service situations is growing. While human connection is still essential in complicated customer service circumstances, a chatbot can more efficiently and effectively share frequently requested information. Furthermore, chatbots are available 24/7, making it feasible to respond to customers instantly, no matter the timezone or time of day. We can expect chatbots in other business areas, including payments, scheduling appointments, and even hiring. 

While Q3 presents a few new eCommerce trends to watch, they are ever-changing. From implementing chatbots to longer sales seasons, it can be overwhelming to keep up. Falcon Fulfillment specializes in eCommerce fulfillment. We can free up headspace by managing every aspect of product fulfillment, from receiving to last-mile delivery. If you need breathing room to focus on maximizing revenues, core competencies, and flowing with the eCommerce trends, let Falcon help. Talk to one of our agents today.

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6 Signs It Is Time to Outsource Fulfillment

6 Signs It Is Time to Outsource Fulfillment

Running a successful eCommerce business is demanding. It requires a lot of time, money, and expertise. Owners are pulled in a thousand directions daily. They manage product development, marketing, order fulfillment, customer service, staffing, and sales, all while remaining focused on future growth opportunities. It’s like running a three-ring circus, only with fewer furry employees. Order fulfillment is a crucial aspect of running a successful eCommerce business. There is a tipping point where order fulfillment can make or break profitability. Here are six signs it might be time to outsource fulfillment.  

You Can No Longer Focus on Core Competencies

Focusing on your business's core competencies has helped you gain success thus far. Continuing to hone and focus on what your company does best will ensure it continues to grow and thrive. There is a business idea that states, “Work on it, not just in it.” Often, a business owner builds the company around their ability to get things done. This works when the business is small but very quickly will bottleneck growth. When your time and attention are being hijacked by order fulfillment more than 20%, you might want to consider outsourcing fulfillment. A 3PL can give you back the headspace you need to refocus on what matters most to you and your customers.

Your Team Cannot Handle the Demand

Orders are rolling in at rates your team is struggling to keep up with. Does this scenario sound familiar? “Everyone is working around the clock to fulfill orders, yet they are getting increasingly delayed. I’m even pulling in admin, sales, and marketing staff to pack and ship product.” You might be laughing, thinking that would never happen to you until your product gets featured on Fixer Upper, or you missed the window to Prepare for Peak. Engaging with a fulfillment company gives you access to an expanded and expert fulfillment team.

You Have Outgrown Your Warehouse Space

It’s challenging to stage receiving and fulfillment when you don’t have the space required to pick, pack, store, and ship products. This is especially difficult when you experience significant fluctuations in order volume. Holiday sales might fill your warehouse capacity and be virtually empty by January. You can utilize flexible warehousing to ebb and flow when you outsource fulfillment. 

Order Errors are Increasing

Order errors are apt to happen, but they become more and more common when staff and management are stretched too thin. Whether the mistakes stem from a lack of time, staffing, space, or technology failures, they are costly. A rise in unhappy customers is directly related to order accuracy and promptness. One bad review will cost you 1 in every ten potential customers. For example, if you receive 300 visitors to your online store daily, one lousy review costs you 30 customers per day. Can you afford that loss? 3PL fulfillment teams can provide almost 100% order accuracy, and they can offer fast shipping.

You Know You are Paying Too Much for Shipping

Shipping is expensive. Leveraging every avenue to ensure you get the lowest shipping rates is good business practice. 3PL order fulfillment companies have preferred high-volume discounts with shipping carriers. They pass along those preferred rates to clients. If you are paying the same or more for shipping as your competitors, it might be time to outsource your fulfillment.

You Want to Expand Internationally

Expanding your business to a new country is a huge undertaking. Expert knowledge is helpful whether you are launching in a neighboring country or taking your business worldwide. Fulfillment companies know how to navigate international customs, export and import law, and other complicated areas. They have managed fulfillment for others and can help create and streamline your process to have the most success in your new market.

Running an eCommerce is a 24/7 job. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of orders to process and your team is running out of steam, it is a sign it is time to outsource fulfillment. Having the headspace to focus on future growth and expansion opportunities is priceless. Partnering with a 3PL fulfillment company like Falcon Fulfillment can give flexible warehouse space, staffing, and cost-effective shipping rates to ensure you have the best possible chance of thriving, not just surviving eCommerce growth. Talk to one of our agents today to see how we can help you scale.

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5 Last-minute tips for retailers to prep for peak

5 Last-minute tips for retailers to prep for peak

Pumpkin-spice lattes firmly held in the hands of consumers signify that peak season has begun. Shoppers are already starting their holiday gift purchases despite inflation and the looming threat of a recession. Don’t worry if you haven’t had the headspace to plan for the holiday sales season. Here are five last-minute tips for retailers to prep for peak. 

5 Last-minute tips for retailers to prep for peak

Diversify Your Carrier Network

Supply chain delays and carrier incidents are expected during the sales surge from October through the New Year. If you rely on a single shipping carrier, you could find yourself in a shipping and fulfillment nightmare. From weather to traffic, peak season is littered with unforeseen situations. Partnering with multiple shipping carriers allows you to pivot orders should the unexpected. 

Over Communicate with Customers

Even if you haven’t stock-piled inventory, now is the time to engage your customers. Not only can you begin peak sales offerings, but now is the time to reach out to suppliers and carriers to determine realistic cut-offs and delivery deadlines. Accurate consumer details on when orders will be received are crucial to maximize peak season and ensure happy customers. Create marketing efforts to encourage early purchases, especially if your carriers are already talking to you about delays. Lastly, if you have the technology in place, now is the time to update automated e-mail correspondence regarding delivery details, returns, and how to get in touch with customer service should it be required. Keeping your customers informed before, during, and after product delivery is the best defense against a poor experience and bad reviews.

Determine Realistic Stock Availability

Reach out to your suppliers and determine realistic timelines to receive products. If they cannot get your ‘best sellers’ in stock until January, you might need to spin up a new product or engage a new supplier. Most goods are procured from Asian manufacturers because of affordability. However, now might be an opportunity to investigate some of the top manufacturers in the US. A local supplier can often deliver products in a shorter timeframe, even if it might be slightly more expensive. In general, diversifying your suppliers makes your supply chain more resilient. Find out what is possible from your existing vendors and be prepared to pivot on products or suppliers if necessary.

Boost Customer Service Efforts

Not only do sales skyrocket during peak season, but so do customer service issues and returns. Now is the time to boost efforts to streamline your customer experience efforts. While we cannot always avoid returns altogether, we can implement strategies to ensure the returns process is as seamless as possible. Refine your return policy and ensure it is visible and uses easy-to-understand language. Another last-minute tip for retailers to prepare for peak is to retrain customer service staff. Host training on how to deal with common customer service complaints reps deal with during the holidays.

  • Product unavailable or out of stock
  • Poor product or service
  • Lack of follow-up or communications
  • No first call resolution

Hire Extra Help

Even if you are late planning for peak, you will still likely need a few extra hands to deal with the sales surge.  Depending on your need, make a solid effort to hire help, so your existing staff doesn’t burn out. Many retailers have standard hiring processes for the holiday season but don’t forget back office, warehouse, and service staff needs also increase.  

Top Last-Minute Tip for Retailers to Prep for Peak

Partner with a 3PL

A 3PL partner can alleviate the pressures of finding a broad network of carriers. They already leverage multiple shipping services and a network of suppliers. A white-glove 3PL can introduce your business to new manufacturers and offer better shipping rates because of their current economies of scale. Furthermore, partnering with a group like Falcon Fulfillment can manage returns and refunds. We are experts in fulfillment and would love to have the chance to help your peak season soar, regardless of how late it might be. Get in touch with our agents today to see how we can help.

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