In this installment of our eCommerce Influencer Series, Patrick Cadic, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ware2Go, talks with us about how third-party fulfillment is changing online commerce and how Ware2Go can help small business owners be more efficient and productive.
Ware2Go is an Atlanta-based, UPS-backed warehousing and fulfillment network designed to help merchants easily position products closer to end customers for a fast, inexpensive and reliable order-to-delivery experience.
Patrick joined the company in early 2018 and has worked with many small business owners to help them implement more efficient warehousing, fulfillment, and order delivery solutions.
Let’s get to know Patrick a little better. How did you get interested in the e-commerce industry?
Prior to Ware2Go, I was Vice President of Sales at a fintech startup that was moving the financial services industry forward by using AI and machine learning to create better credit underwriting models. At Ware2Go, I saw a similar opportunity to accelerate markets forward with a smarter and more adaptive model for e-commerce fulfillment. Today, as customer expectations around delivery speeds continue to rise, many businesses are struggling to fulfill and deliver orders to customers in a timeframe and at a cost that matches buyer requirements. The result? Over the past few years, approximately 3/4ths of online shopping carts have been abandoned during the checkout process, and unexpected shipping costs have served as the primary abandonment factor. But while this data is troubling, it also showcases the opportunity for disruption across the e-commerce fulfillment landscape. As more customers come to expect faster and cheaper shipping, merchants need access to services and solutions that enable this level of efficiency without having to build or maintain an in-house model. This is the type of network we are actively developing and offering at Ware2Go.
If you look at the rapid growth of e-commerce, what has surprised you the most?
I think it’s been very interesting to see how the rapid rise and ongoing evolution of e-commerce is pushing companies to rethink how they execute their online strategies. That is, as companies capture more data about their e-commerce customers and begin to better understand the preferences of their audience, they are recognizing the importance of functions they had previously ignored.
From our experience, it seems that the e-commerce focus for many firms traditionally has been on sales and marketing (i.e. attracting shoppers to their site). But as customer expectations around delivery speed and cost continue to rise, many businesses are recognizing that streamlining order fulfillment workflows are just as important to remaining competitive and winning customers. What I mean is, while many businesses have invested significant time and money trying to drive customers to their site, they also need to evaluate what happens when these customers actually visit their site and try to make a purchase.
Today, there’s an expectation among many customers that orders should arrive in 1-2 days. Much of this expectation has been driven by companies like Amazon and Walmart and their same-day / next-day delivery capabilities. But a lot of companies are unable to meet these expectations on their own. So now, we’ve seen major e-commerce players (like Amazon) but also Shopify and eBay launch fulfillment networks to help their merchants achieve faster delivery. At the same time, there’s an entire market of drop shippers, 3pl / 4pl networks, and other various providers that are rising up to offer similar solutions. And as e-commerce sales continue their upward trajectory, all of these fulfillment models are experiencing growth as companies look to achieve even greater levels of distribution efficiency, which is fascinating to watch unfold.
Can Ware2Go help both B2B and B2C merchants with their fulfillment requirements?
Ever since I came into my position at Ware2Go, we’ve been actively providing both B2C and B2B fulfillment services to customers. Many merchants today have some clients that are businesses and some that are consumers, and they want to select a warehousing and fulfillment provider that can manage everyone. Today, a number of our merchants need to fulfill orders to stores and wholesalers as well as to individual customers, and so we’ve evolved to ensure we can meet these expectations. Moving forward, we intend to continue providing both B2B and B2C fulfillment services for our clients and ensuring that all their customers are receiving their e-commerce orders in 1-2-days.
Do B2B customers expect delivery speed just as much as B2C?
Just within the past few months, a large powersports manufacturer engaged us to help them address the heightened demands for speed in B2B fulfillment. In their case, it was the dealers selling products on their behalf that needed inbound shipments to arrive faster at their stores so that they in turn could fulfill individual customers’ orders quicker. So, the customers’ demands for faster shipping were traveling upstream, so to speak. But there’s even a UPS study from 2017 that showed ~2/3rds of B2B customers expected their online orders to arrive in 1-2-days. So, across the board, there really is heightened demand for faster shipping.
How does Ware2Go enable small businesses to grow?
As I touched on previously, customer expectations regarding order fulfillment and delivery have grown incredibly demanding. As a result, companies that haven’t traditionally focused on fulfillment or that have been operating with outdated models are being forced to upgrade their processes to remain competitive in the eyes of their clients and prospects. But for many businesses (particularly SMBs), building or acquiring the technology and tools necessary to support this level of distribution efficiency is prohibitively expensive. The democratization of logistics technology, simply put, has not occurred until quite recently. But now, thanks in large part to on-demand warehousing solutions like Ware2Go, SMBs can implement enterprise-grade fulfillment models for a fraction of what it would have traditionally cost.
For SMBs, the capabilities Ware2Go offers are best thought of in three distinct but interconnected layers; a comprehensive warehousing and fulfillment network, a cloud-based warehouse and order management system, and a set of supply chain optimization tools.
- Comprehensive Warehousing & Fulfillment Network. Ware2Go maintains a vast network of warehouses across the U.S. that merchants can leverage as needed. There are no long-term contracts or inventory minimums associated with the use of this network, and merchants are free to scale their usage up or down at any time. Once merchants inbound their inventory, our warehouse teams handle all pick and pack workflows on their behalf, and our parent company UPS manages the actual delivery component. And, by analyzing each merchant’s unique customer footprint and order volumes as they are onboarded, we can strategically place their inventory in warehouses across the country to guarantee 1-2-day shipping for all their customers nationwide.
- Warehouse / Order Management System. In conjunction with our warehouse network, we give merchants access to an easily integrated and cloud-based WMS / OMS where they can maintain visibility to all their warehouse locations, inventory levels, and fulfillment statuses. This solution can also be used to inbound more inventory, analyze order volumes by seasonality and product type, run reports on overall distribution efficiency, and get in touch with Ware2Go’s customer support teams.
- Supply Chain Optimization Tools. In combination with our warehouse network and technology solution, Ware2Go provides a range of self-service tools and analyst assistance to all our merchants. Ware2Go’s capabilities in this arena enable merchants to strategically decide which warehouses they should leverage across our network in order to maximize delivery speeds while limiting transportation costs. We also help merchants identify the exact amount of inventory they should keep in stock across each warehouse by product type and season so that their storage and inventory carry costs are minimized. And finally, we identify the optimal reorder points for merchants across all their SKUs so that they never experience stock-outs or delivery delays.
The collective provision of all three of these offerings gives small businesses cost-effective access to an enterprise-grade warehousing and fulfillment network that allows them to reach more customers faster, without having to build or maintain any of the tech, equipment, or services themselves.
Online consumers now expect that they can easily return online orders. What options does Ware2Go offer to merchants to manage returns?
If our merchants’ customers need to return an order, they can do so either by shipping an item directly to the merchant’s office / HQ or returning the item to a Ware2Go warehouse. To return an item to our warehouse, the merchant would simply create an ASN (advanced shipping notice) on their customer’s behalf to let the warehouse know an inbound shipment is coming. This can be done directly through our online portal. Once the returned order arrives, it can either be restored as inventory (if undamaged), disposed of (for damaged goods), or returned to the merchant for further inspection.
Some merchants may offer products in different quantity-based packaging. For example, they may sell individual units or master packs of 10 units. How does Ware2Go handle flexible pack sizes?
Ware2Go can ship orders of any quantity, be it a single unit, case, carton, pallet, or full truckload. All it takes is for the merchant to identify each order type as a separate SKU (i.e. one SKU for items sold by case, one for items sold by pallet, etc.). This enables us to fulfill orders of varying quantity without complicating the pick and pack process.
At the same time, we are also capable of providing kitting services (i.e. packaging different types of units together as a single order) provided the merchant follows a similar routine in outlining what each potential order would look like. Once a merchant communicates their unique kitting preferences, we can easily match them with a warehouse or set of warehouses in our network that provide the exact type of service they require.
How long is the onboarding process and are there any minimums with Ware2Go?
While the onboarding duration varies by client, the average time to create an account, select warehouses, and inbound inventory is approximately 4 weeks. However, we’ve had clients up and running in as little as 2 weeks. It all depends on company-specific factors such as the number of warehouses they need access too and the number of SKUs they’re placing in our network. However, there are no inventory minimums or long-term contracts associated with our model – warehouse storage capacity can be adjusted on a month-by-month basis, and there is no minimum amount of inventory you are required to store or ship. We have clients with an average daily shipping volume (ADV) of one, all the way up to several thousand, actively leveraging our platform.
Looking at the next 2 years, what trends or market changes do you envision in fulfillment?
I think one of the major trends we are seeing unfold is that organizations with superior distribution models are using their fulfillment efficiency as a competitive differentiator. In a sense, you could consider fulfillment and logistics as the new “battleground” where companies are seeking to gain an advantage over their peers. In fact, we were just speaking with a CBD supplier who shared that his ability to provide 1-2-day shipping to both his wholesalers and individual customers was what was ultimately driving new sales over competitors. In a market like CBD with so many new merchants rapidly entering the space, this differentiation has been crucial to his success.
As enhanced logistics technology enables real-time access to supply chain data, organizations that aren’t leveraging their operational insights to drive improvement are at a major disadvantage. Today, the leading organizations are utilizing supply chain data to strategically position their distribution centers closer to customers, optimize transportation and delivery routes, and minimize their inventory carry costs. Ultimately, these types of insights enable businesses to minimize their warehousing and fulfillment expenses while also streamlining the speed and accuracy with which inbound shipments are delivered to their warehouses, and outbound shipments are delivered to customers. Over time, the ability for merchants to minimize logistics costs while streamlining their distribution efficiency becomes a key differentiator, and we are already seeing that play out.
We want to thank Patrick Cadic for sharing his knowledge about e-commerce and fulfillment services and for his insight on how Ware2Go can help merchants provide a better delivery experience to their customers.
To learn more about Ware2Go, please visit their website at www.ware2go.com or contact them by phone at 1-855-927-3246.