Shopping for clothes online is the new norm. In 2017, online apparel sales accounted for over 27% of all clothing sales in the country. While it’s easy to get your brand off the ground from a product development and marketing perspective, even the largest apparel brands in the county struggle with their pick, pack & ship operations.
What Makes Apparel Fulfillment Different?
There are several factors that contribute to the challenges that come along with apparel fulfillment. While every business is unique many struggles with the same challenges. It’s important to work with an organization that understands these challenges and has developed the proper systems to address them each head-on.
Apparel Return Management
Returns are typically more common for apparel than other industries. On the whole online sales generate an average return rate between 8-10% with the largest spike just after the holiday season. The biggest driver of returns is apparel where it’s not uncommon to see return rates in the 30-40% depending on the product category. The key factor that drives this returns percentage up is sizing and fit. It’s so prevalent in-fact we’ve seen apparel companies tackle this challenge head-on with solutions like Warby Parker’s Home Try-On solution.
All of these returns mean that you need the type of best-in-class reverse logistics ShipCalm has developed. Our solutions are designed to make it easy on your customers, ensure quality and increase restocking speed. With a branded returns portal your customers can easily generate return postage labels or we can ship out both return labels and return packaging with the initial shipment similar to the Warby Parker example. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to develop and document quality standards so that we can determine what should go back to stock and what shouldn’t. We’ve engineered all of these systems to improve the speed your products get back into inventory so the next customer can make their purchase for what is often limited quantities of a particular size or colorway.
Short Product Lifecycle
Fashion trends along with seasonality mean that product lines change quickly. A given set of products may only be on shelves for a few months before that season is over and we’re moving on. This often leaves eCommerce companies asking themselves, “What do we do with all of the random sizes leftover?”
This is where ShipCalm can help by allowing you to easily re-package products into discounted bundle offerings. These packages are often called Mystery Packs and an example would be taking 3 random T-Shirt designs from last season all in size XXS and packaging them together into a Mystery Pack for 50% off. This re-packaging allows you to easily move all of the miscellaneous leftover product from a season.
High SKU Counts
Apparel is unlike almost any other product because of the need for so many different sizes. This coupled with high turnover from trends and seasonality leads to a very large number of SKUs. To keep things organized running efficiently, SKUs need to be organized and sorted by locations and bins and all of these locations need to be flexible enough to scale up and down by thousands of SKUs at a time.
ShipCalm uses advanced warehouse management software and flexible warehouse locations such as picking-bins, shoe-racks or garment-hanging solutions to accommodate all of this diversity. By assigning all of your SKUs to a location our team can easily find the right size and color for every order improving efficiency and bringing you lower costs.
Last Minute Changes
We’ve probably all had the experience of purchasing something online as a gift only to realize a few hours later that the recipient really needs a size medium instead of large. Similarly to returns, being able to make these last-minute changes to orders before they ship is a critical part of meeting customers expectations.
While many Apparel 3PL’s have an attitude of once the order is placed there is no changing it, we take a fundamentally different approach and have developed systems so that we can easily pull back orders that have already been packed and are sitting by the back door waiting for the carrier to pick them up. The key to these solutions is our speed communication. By giving you tools like an online portal to make order changes prior to packing, and an instant messaging platform to speak with your account management team and even the floor staff that literally packed the order means we can react quickly a delight your customers.
Why Use ShipCalm for Apparel Fulfillment?
- Easy to use Technologies – Our team will help you integrate all your sales channels into one easy to use order management software to provide clarity on inventory levels, orders, shipments, tracking information, and more. This will also allow you to have the flexibility to add online marketplaces quickly and easily as you test out new revenue streams. Additionally, you’ll have reporting insights to know which are your slowest moving SKUs so that you can take action and keep your SKU count under control.
- Effortless Return Management – Let your customers use a branded returns portal where the only thing they need to know to initiate their return is the order number and zip code. Not only that but we’ll actually provide the customer service for phone calls, emails, and online chats that are needed for this process to run smoothly.
- Quality You Can Trust – Our quality team and processes was built out of and modeled on medical device manufacturing. There is literally no industry with more stringent quality standards and we take all of those principles and apply them to our apparel quality processes.
What Do Our Apparel Fulfillment Services Include?
We offer affordable and flexible eFulfillment services for online merchants selling a range of apparel, including:
- Baby clothing
- And more
Start Shipping Apparel With ShipCalm!
If your brand needs help with its apparel logistics then look no further. We’re ready to get you up and running in our fulfillment facilities today. If you have any questions at all about our capabilities please open up a chat below, give us a call, or fill out a custom quote form. We love to nerd-out about this stuff and want to hear about your unique challenges. Let’s develop a system together that can scale with your business and take you to the next level.