Options of E-commerce Order Fulfillment

With the Internet boom, e-commerce is a top-notch activity requiring more often a fulfillment service. If you take online orders, an order fulfillment service can help you enormously, saving you from the tedious packing and shipping process that is probably not your core competency, as you probably have not had the experience of a fulfillment company you can partner with.By means of drop shipping, a form of blind shipping of merchandise from the manufacturer to the end-user, fulfillment companies are the helpful hand saving your time. Otherwise, you would have to forward to the end-user the merchandise and the lack of experience on this process may increase your costs and cause delay.Because time can make the difference between a successful e-commerce business and another closing sooner than you expected time, the choice of your fulfillment company is an important decision that you must analyze. Starting with the advantage of having your inventory stored off-site, order fulfillment enables the small e-commerce owner to store a larger quantity and variety of inventory.The fulfillment service will be in charge to receive and organize your inventory in its land-based storage service, while you will be able to log in through the fulfillment company’s web-based interface to check your current inventory and the drop shipping history of each item. Many online e-commerce sites and small retailers use drop shipment to close their deals, as an example, eBay sellers.Order fulfillment can be tracked online and even automated, accepting shipping requests via your web-based application, emailing the invoices generated directly to the fulfillment company’s storage center, from where the shipping request is received, and the items ordered are automatically packaged and shipped to the customer, in fact, a drop shipping process.Outsourcing your order fulfillment is convenient, even if you are just an individual running a small e-commerce website. A fulfillment company for small commerce sites, independent vendors and individuals willing to start an e-commerce activity, will be pleased to reply to all your enquires related to order fulfillment and drop shipping, as well as its overall fulfillment service.A few factors to consider when selecting a drop shipping and fulfillment company is the location of the fulfillment service, size of the storage facilities, shipping options provided, turn-around time, order fulfillment, communication between the company, the distributor and customer service, error rate managed by the company as well as the gross costs of the service.More than storage, shipping costs are the highest item within e-commerce order fulfillment, so make sure to find a fulfillment company offering you a savings in delivery, and depending on your e-commerce approach, verify if the company provides domestic and international shipping, returns processing, secure payment gateway, electronic support, online ordering, reporting and tracking, as well as a customer service call center.Copyright @2006, 4th Media CorporationYou have permission to publish this article electronically free of charge, as long as the bylines and links in the body of the article and the bylines are included.
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Business of Love

START-UPS TAP A BIG POTENTIALIF BUSINESS is your first love, the coming time is yours to woo. The hesitant flirting the Indian entrepreneur started with February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, a few years ago has now turned into a fullfledged affair. Varied trades spruce up their offers in the run-up to the Festival of Love, which industry experts say has become the second-biggest business opportunity in the calendar, even surpassing Diwali and New Year. Businesses, so it seems, aren’t falling behind the changing festival mix of Indian youth.For K Vaitheeswaran, who co-founded online retailer Indiaplaza, business around valentine’s Day has been growing by leaps since 2006. “Direct spending on Valentine’s day is nearly 30-40% more than Diwali, making it a rich opportunity for retail entrepreneurs to boost their topline,” he says. From gifts, candies to expensive gadgets, Indiaplaza helps lovers exchange articles through the internet, across boundaries and even away from their parents’ eyes. The first time Indiaplaza tried to cash in on Valentine’s Day was in 2002, but it was a washout then, with not much ‘awareness’ about the day.In 2003, there were protests and agitations over Valentine’s Day celebrations across the country, Mr Vaitheeswaran recalls. But the tough beginning was soon followed by a surge in the day’s appeal and business started to boom. “(The protests) created more excitement about the day’s importance. And because the protests were offline, people switched to the ecommerce website to send their gifts across. Thereafter, the sales started showing a rising trend on this festive day,” he says.According to US National Retail Federation, US consumers alone spent nearly $13.7 billion last year on Valentine’s Day shopping. This was a 22% rise from the past five years. As for the domestic market, an independent study on the consumer markets in India, presented at the 2007 International Marketing Conference, suggests that the Western fancy has started to take roots in Indian markets as well. The study noted that Valentine’s Day sales in 2007 were about 15% higher than that during Diwali at these retail outlets and this is expected to increase by 20-25% in 2008.Only the Christmas season rings in bigger revenues. And it seems entrepreneurs in the country clearly aim to boost the day into first place as more and more start-ups start to capitalise on the opportunity.Despite the pressure to buy gifts, most of the money spent on V-Day this year would keep up the trend set in the previous years. Spending would go to tokens of affection – cards, candies, flowers and nightouts. Floricultural start-up Ferns ‘N’ Petals, for instance, is gearing up for the Cupid’s arrival in a manner unlike any other. Apart from selling flowers, Vikaas Gutgutia’s company is banking on service as a major differentiator for this year. The company has planned to offer midnight delivery service, in addition to selling cakes and chocolates with its flowers on Valentine’s Day. It is also offering its customer the choice of buying gold-plated flowers. Says Pawan Gadia, vice-president at Ferns ‘N’ Petals, who jump started the company’s much-touted franchisee model, “Product innovation for such days is the key to success. You always have to think what different can you do this year which would excite the customer. A mundane run-of-the-mill product line each year does not help when you are working in such a business environment.” F’N'P is hoping to increase its Valentine’s Day sales by 40% this year, adds Mr Gadia.What is a day of gifts without cards? According to Anil Moolchandani, founder & MD of Archies, Valentine’s Day sales account for nearly 12% of the company’s full-year sales, making it the single-biggest occasional sale period for his company. “The trick is to promote and market as much as you can when your business is linked to an occasional sale,” he says. “Essentially, occasional sales help you build a brand presence and to add to this with more and more companies joining the occasional bandwagon for this day, it is becoming easier for any start-up in this space to cash in on the Valentine’s Day sales,” he adds.Archies, founded in 1979, introduced its first Valentine’s Day card in 1984 and it took sustained marketing efforts till 2000 for this occasion to “become critical mass for the company,” recalls Mr Moolchandani. Somebody once wondered cheekily why Valentine’s Day comes exactly nine months before the Children’s Day on November 14? The guys who make it all happen, the matrimonial websites, are also tapping into the business potential of Valentine’s Day.Bharat Matrimony, one of India’s largest matrimony websites, sees the day as a raw material for its business. Says Murugavel Jankiraman, founder and CEO, “We are planning to ramp up the promotional activities around Valentine’s Day period considering that online activity for our website picks up around this period. Unlike other festival days, Valentine’s Day is connected directly to our core business, and it always helps to use such events, which directly relate to your core business as effective marketing tools.”Like Bharat Matrimony, luxury bags maker Baggit too plans to leverage on this opportunity, “More than anything else, it’s an occasion to gift and dress up and clearly a fashion brand would see synergies in that. In fact, we are timing our sale this year on February 12, very close to Valentine’s Day,” says Baggit founder Nina Lekhi. “In case you have a product targeted for the youth, Valentine’s Day would be the point to test response to a particular campaign, which you might want to roll out on a larger scale later,” she adds. In short, what has worked for these entrepreneurs is the packaging of their products. “On days like the Valentine’s Day, there may be little sale in terms of quantity for many business start-ups, but the trick is to fix yourself a niche area and make it high margin business for yourself, as events like Valentine’s Day do not tend to be mass market phenomenon,” says Mr Vaitheeswaran. “With Love’s Light Wings Did I O’erperch These Walls,” said Shakespeare’s Romeo to his sweetheart Juliet.For a start-up with aspirations to make a big mark on the competitive business stage, Valentine’s Day can give wings and plant a kiss of success on the entrepreneur’s cheeks of desire.

US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%

US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 1.14%. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 0.98% and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up by 0.71 per cent

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US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%
Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. Source: Reuters
US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 345.25 points or1.14 per cent. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 35.88 points or 0.98 per cent and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up 75.75 points or 0.71 per cent. A Reuters report said that today’s strength was on the back of a report which said the Federal Reserve will likely debate on signaling plans for a smaller interest rate hike in December, reversing declines set off by social media firms after Snap Inc’s ad warning.

Source: Comex

Nasdaq Top Gainers and Losers

Source: Nasdaq

Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. The BSE Sensex ended at 59,307.15, up by 104.25 points or 0.18 per cent from the Thursday closing level. Meanwhile, the Nifty50 index closed at 17,590.00, higher by 26.05 points or 0.15 per cent. In the 30-share Sensex, 13 stocks gained while the remaining 17 ended on the losing side. In the 50-stock Nifty50, 21 stocks advanced while 29 declined.