January 19, 2022
In 2020, there were a total of 256 million consumers making purchases online in the United States and globally, 4 trillion. In the US alone, we’re anticipating we will have 300 million online shoppers in 2023. How much money are these people actually spending online? Approximately 768 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, according to Statista.
Your virtual shopping cart can do more
For businesses that sell products online, a shopping cart is a must-have. But many businesses don’t know that shopping carts have uses that go beyond retail sales.
Smart companies use them to orchestrate internal distribution systems. For example, a retailer that needs to send supplies to its stores or an insurance company that wants to ship forms to its agents.
This sort of system is called Shopping Cart Integration. It combines virtual shopping carts with fulfillment software to create a system that automates the labor-intensive process of shipping and handling and inventory management.
A professional fulfillment firm can create a customized Shopping Cart Integration system for a company.
You’ll save time and money
It doesn’t always make sense for a company to handle its own distribution network. By outsourcing this function to a professional fulfillment firm, a company can avoid a number of expenses.
The number of hours being spent on distribution is decreased because the company no longer handles ordering, fulfillment, and shipping. Because the fulfillment firm will store the goods and supplies that must be distributed, the company doesn’t have to buy or lease warehouse space.
Before fulfillment software was integrated with shopping carts, companies dedicated all or part of an employee’s time to overseeing the supply chain. With Shopping Cart Integration, much labor is eliminated because 80 percent of the process is automated.
Many businesses and industries can benefit
Here are a few examples of how various businesses can use Shopping Cart Integration:
- A food brand can distribute cases of their product to grocery stores.
- An over-the-counter allergy medicine company can distribute rebates to its customers.
- A popular, self-published author can sell and distribute their book and promotional items.
What can shopping cart integration take off your hands?
When fulfillment software is combined with shopping cart programs, a multi-faceted system is created. Here’s what these systems handle for you:
- Billing (when applicable)
- Payment (when applicable)
- Shipping—records and costs
- Communication with the recipient
- Communications with the company
Shopping cart integration explained
Here’s an example of how such a system would work:
Let’s say Acme Corp. makes a widget that it must distribute to 10 regional locations. Acme Corp. contracts with a fulfillment company, such as Bluegrass, which uses Shopping Cart Integration to create an internal distribution system.
The fulfillment company will store Acme Corp.’s widgets in a secure, temperature-controlled warehouse.
Acme Corp.’s regional directors have access to the customized system, where they can order the widgets they need. Orders come to the fulfillment firm, where employees will pull widgets from the warehouse, package them, and ship them. All ordering and shipping is done in real-time so there is no need to collect orders for batch shipments. The widgets are shipped more quickly and efficiently because of the system used by the fulfillment company.
Back at Acme Corp.’s headquarters, a staff member can access the system to monitor shipments. The staff member also receives emails about inventory at the warehouse. When inventory is running low, the system will automatically notify Acme Corp. If widgets are back-ordered, the system can generate notifications to the sales directors. Through the system, Acme Corp. can also monitor where the shipments are and how much is being spent to ship their orders.
How to get started
Because Shopping Cart Integration allows for so much customization, a company should plan for time to work with the fulfillment center on the customized design of its system. The initial setup is the most challenging aspect of Shopping Cart Integration. After the setup is complete, the system nearly runs itself, mechanizing 80 percent of the functions that were once handled by staff.
An experienced fulfillment center will know exactly what needs to be done to efficiently set up your shopping cart integration. After working with many different e-commerce platforms, they know what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Just another reason working with a third-party fulfillment center can save you time, money, and a headache.
If you are a business looking for a fulfillment center to work with, Bluegrass is here for you. We have a team of experts who can answer your questions or even take you on a tour of our warehouse. You can also fill out a form on our website to get your own personalized quote.