Fulfillment companies Europe
Storage and order fulfillment services are an important part of being an online retailer, but also very time consuming. European ecommerce fulfillment providers can take care of the entire logistics process for you, including inventory storage, preparing orders and shipping.
- What is fulfillment?
- What does a fulfillment company do?
- List of European fulfillment providers
- Pros and cons of outsourcing
As an online business, you probably start out by taking care of storage and shipping yourself. But once orders start increasing, this can quickly become a burden. Of course you can move to a bigger warehouse and hire extra staff. But maybe you do not want to. The alternative is to outsource fulfillment to a specialized fulfillment center, which acts like a warehouse and distribution center in one for your ecommerce business.
What is fulfillment?
Fulfillment describes the logistical process after the arrival of an order. This includes picking the right products, wrapping the items in shipping packaging and printing a shipping label. Storing your inventory and the shipment itself also fall under fulfillment services.
What does a fulfillment company do?
You can also outsource order processing. This is the core business of fulfillment partners. They can set up fulfillment warehouses optimally and process your orders efficiently. Order fulfillment is often automated or even robotized. This reduces errors, costs and is often more sustainable as well.
‘Choosing a fulfillment partner can help optimize your business.’
If you outsource your order processing, you outsource all warehouse operations. An ecommerce fulfillment company often offer more than just the fulfillment process itself. In addition to warehousing, order picking and shipping services, a logistics partner usually helps with returns or inventory management.
In addition to logistics processes, a fulfillment partner sometimes also handles customer service, marketing tasks and product photography for ecommerce businesses. However, the logistics processes remain the core. This means that customer service support is mainly focused on questions such as delivery time, current stock or order status.
List of European fulfillment providers
There are many fulfillment providers that operate across Europe. This is especially important when you have cross-border sales and need international shipping to reach all of your customers. If you are using software from ecommerce platforms, sometimes the software company has integrations with a third party logistics company. That can make the choosing process a bit easier.
You can connect your ecommerce website to the software from fulfillment services.
Do you want to outsource shipping but manage and keep your own stock? Then take a look at our list of logistics companies. Below, you will find some of the most popular European fulfillment providers:
Active Ants is a cross-border fulfillment company with locations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The company is known for its large-scale use of order picking robots. Retailers can outsource logistics but also product photography, customer service and payments.
Salesupply offers national and international solutions for storage and logistics as well as customer service. The company works with fulfillment centers across the world, among them 10 EU countries: Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK.
Huboo is an order fulfillment company from the United Kingdom, with additional offices in the Netherlands and Spain. The company offers order picking, storage and shipping as well as returns. Inside Huboo’s warehouses, retailers get a micro-hub with their own hub manager for a more personal service.
Direct Link is part of PostNord and offers cross-border ecommerce solutions. The company provides mail and parcel distribution as well as warehouse logistics. The fulfillment provider has offices worldwide, including 4 countries in Europe: Sweden, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom.
ShipBob is a fulfillment company that is headquartered in the United States, with fulfillment centers across Europe as well. In addition to fulfillment, the company also offers inventory management, order tracking and integrations with ecommerce software.
Fulfilment by Amazon is the fulfillment solution for sellers on Amazon. You can also use FBA to sell up to half of the stored products on other platforms, like your own store. FBA offers order picking, packaging and shipping as well as returns and customer service.
Bol.com is the largest online store in the Netherlands and Belgium. As a seller on the platform, you can let Logistics via Bol.com take care of storage, order picking and returns. Merchants can also choose to only outsource shipping. It has six warehouses across the Netherlands.
FedEx is a delivery and fulfillment service from the United States, with European offices in France and Germany. The fulfillment center network processes over 210 million shipments across Europe per year, delivering next-day to more than 75 thousand European addresses.
Byrd is an e-fulfillment company that is active in Austria, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. It offers storage, order picking and shipping and software to optimize the logistics and fulfillment process. The company has over 20 fulfillment centers across Europe.
Octopia provides cross-border retailers with ecommerce fulfillment services across Europe. They ship more than 20 million parcels per year to over 20 European countries from their warehouses in France, with more than 540 thousand square meters storage space. It also provides other services.
Pros of outsourcing your order processing
When you use fulfillment solutions, you no longer have to worry about your storage or distribution services. You can easily scale up as your business grows, or take a step back when things are not going so well. This comes at a price, but through collective agreements, a logistics partner can send packages more cheaply.
Furthermore, late cut-off times are often possible. In addition, a logistics provider can more easily realize multiple delivery options. Consider, for example, same-day delivery, where carriers often work with a minimum order.
Fulfillment solutions have a more efficient work process.
The same applies to packaging materials, new equipment and efficient work processes. With an automated packing machine, you can send products in personalized packaging without padding material. But with only your own volumes, it takes a long time to pay it back. A fulfillment partner will already have this sort of equipment, making it easier to ship orders efficiently. Because of the efficient equipment and up to date software of a logistics partner, you can provide your customers with a more quality service.
In addition, fulfillment companies offer all kinds of convenient integrations with marketplaces like Amazon. You can then be sure to meet the terms of these platforms surrounding delivery time, packaging and the carriers you may partner with for delivery.
Cons of outsourcing order processing
Of course, outsourcing the logistics process does not only come with benefits. The high costs are often a big con for small businesses. Although for fast-growing online stores, outsourcing fulfillment is sometimes a way to save money as it is cheaper than having to rent additional warehouse space, train employees or update software each time.
Though the process is optimized, you will have less control over it.
The disadvantages of fulfillment lie mainly in the fact that you can exercise less control over the process. Of course, the process is optimized, but you can feel more on top of the process if it is happening in your own warehouse. For example, if a customer calls about a return, you will not be able to see if it has arrived, and in what condition the item is.
An employee at a logistics company will often have less time to include a handwritten note or gift with the order. However, there are some fulfillment providers that do focus on customization. This is often on product level, such as sending above-average-sized packages.