A company that sells its products or services through its official website will have only one eCommerce platform and it may outsource order fulfilment to one center or provider. This leads to only one fulfilment channel for the company and all its products or services. The moment a company makes its presence felt on a global marketplace or third party eCommerce platform, there is more than one fulfilment channel. While there may still be only one order fulfilment center or provider at the backend, there is a multichannel outreach, which is more relevant and visible to the target audience. There are some inherent issues in having more than one fulfilment channel and you should address them before they start to adversely affect your business.
One of the most common problems of having more than one fulfilment channel is lack of uniformity. You may have your products listed on your official website and on two other online marketplaces. This is almost avoidable right now. You have to use as many platforms as you can to reach out to your target audience. However, if your website shows only five products available and the marketplace shows more or vice versa, then you have a discrepancy. Many websites show a certain number of items available in a particular product category or even for a specific type of product. The same number may vary across marketplaces and the number on the official website may be completely different. The customer is completely perplexed at this. The target audience may or may not deal with such a baffling reality and might just go ahead and choose another brand.
Managing more than one fulfilment channel is also a daunting challenge. While you may be selling the same products, you might have only one warehouse and hence simplified inventory management, there would be different outreaches wherein the services offered might not be identical. The shopping experience, the customer service, the delivery and even returns management may vary, thereby directly affecting the consumer. This does not augur well for any brand. Uniformity is crucial, not just in branding and advertising, customer service and sales but also in terms of how the consumers perceive the omnipresence of the company and all the availability of its products across platforms.
You may choose multiple or a single fulfilment channel, as long as you can ensure uniformity. The customer should not have to deal with any major discrepancy and the level of satiation should not vary.