When it comes to order fulfillment, online sellers are always looking for new ways to improve speed and cut costs, and in this post, we’re going to talk about one option that can help many sellers save money: Kitting.
What is Kitting?
Kitting is fulfillment lingo for the assembly of individual items into ready-to-ship packages, or kits. In the manufacturing process, kitting is often used interchangeably with the term assembly, and it can either mean to group raw materials together in order to create a finished product, or the assembly of two or more finished products into a larger group.
To Kit or Not to Kit?
How do you know when you should kit products? Kitting should be used when you are commonly fulfilling orders with multiple items that are identical.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you sell workout videos online. You have a series of 3 dance aerobic videos that can be purchased individually, or as a group. When purchased as a group, you offer a “buy the first two get the third one free” deal to your buyers.
This is an ideal project for kitting because you have 3 individual items that will be grouped together frequently. In this case, if you outsource fulfillment, you would work with your fulfillment provider to assemble a kit that includes all three videos. This kit would have a unique SKU number to differentiate it from the individual videos, and it would be stocked and tracked as a single unit.
There are a variety of items that can be kitted, and here are a few common ones:
- Media kits
- Product samples
- Promotional items/literature
- Instructional packets
- New product launches
- Game sets
It doesn’t always make sense to kit items, but when it does, there are a variety of benefits, and the cost savings can come from many areas.
The Benefits of Kitting
Here are some of the benefits of kitting, and how those benefits translate into cost savings for merchants:
When kitting is done in bulk, as opposed to each time an order comes in, it becomes more of a linear operation, meaning that items can be kitted more quickly. If you handle your own order fulfillment, this will save you time. If you outsource fulfillment, this will save you money because your pick/pack costs will be less, as each kit will be counted as one SKU, as opposed to paying for pick/pack of each individual item.
Fewer Shipping Mistakes
When items are shipped in kit form, it reduces the chance for error with order fulfillment. It also allows you or your fulfillment house to pre-print shipping labels, eliminating the need for weighing and labeling of individual items.
Kitting can also lead to postal savings with more efficient and cost-effective packaging. For example, rather than packing individual items into a standard-sized box, developing a custom box for popular kits can reduce the size and/or weight of your packages.
Options for Kitting
As an online seller, you may have more than one option when it comes to kitting. Ocassionally it is possible for sellers to work directly with their manufacturers to kit products. This may involve light assembly of parts or components into defined units, or it may involve placing two or more finished products into a grouped single item for inventory, prior to those items being shipped to you or your fulfillment company.
Depending on the products you sell and the number of manufacturers you use, assembling kits at the manufacturing stage is not always an option, and kitting often has to be done after you or your fulfillment house have received the individual items from suppliers.
It is a good idea to talk with your manufacturers and your fulfillment company about your order history and any new or promotional products you plan to offer. You may find that kitting is a great option for you!
Dear efulfillment service
I am an ebay and amazon seller based HK. I would like to ask some questions regarding your fulfillment service in different scenarios, thanks a lot:-
1. e-fulfillment storage provides the re-sending service by receiving my bulk of products from Hong Kong and re-sending them to ebay global shipping center located in Kentucky
(i.e. your company provides only a 1 time resending service, and ebay provides pick-and-pack service for me)
2.e-fulfillment storage provides an USA address and storage area for receiving and storing my ebay returned orders
3. e-fulfillment storage receive my bulk of products from Hong Kong, and providing all storage, pick and pack services, and returned order management
4. e-fulfillment storage receive my bulk of products from HK, and provide the kitting services to bundle some different items together, repack them and provide delivery services according to my ebay orders.
I will be grateful if you would quote about the above scenarios. I have strong interest and urgent needs for locating a fulfillment company located in USA.
Thanks a lot !!
Hi Josephine –
Thank you for the note. We provide warehousing and order fulfillment services for many internationally-based sellers, many of which sell on eBay, so I’m hopeful we’ll find we’re a nice fit!
Our sales team will be in touch soon with an order fulfillment quote.
My product is a photography Nature Book for children, ready to go to the printer very soon. It goes without saying, that any author must list her/his book on Amazon.I have some figures on their fulfillment process but am not sure I want to go that way. If I list it on Amazon and someone orders it, how does it get to you? what do I have to do to get the order fulfilled by you? I may be having the book printed in Hawaii or in China and I need a place for the books to be stored. Not sure yet how many I will be ordering, probably only 500 to 1000 to start with.Not sure about the size and weight of the packages, but the books are 8×8 in size, hardcover, and 40 pages, (if that helps you). Are your storage facilities climate controlled? I’ve never attempted anything like this before and I find it a bit scary. I have found that doing my book in POD< (print on demand) the price is going to be very high in my opinion. it can be done very much cheaper overseas. By the way, where are your facilities located?
I would appreciate your input. Thanks.
Hi Patricia –
Thank you for reaching out! And congratulations on your photography Nature Book.
Regarding your first question about how an Amazon order would get to us, our software integrates very well with Amazon Seller Central, meaning that, as your customers place orders on Amazon.com, if we are warehousing and shipping those books for you, we will connect our software to Amazon so that we’ll retrieve that order automatically. We’ll then pick, pack and ship the books for those orders, and we’ll send the tracking numbers back to Amazon so that your customer receives that tracking number automatically. You’ll be able to oversee all of this with our web-based client portal, where you can keep track of your orders and inventory, run a number of reports, and more.
I think you’ll find we’re quite a bit more flexible than Amazon when it comes to order fulfillment, and we pride ourselves on providing a high level of service, not only with the actual picking, packing and shipping of your orders, but also with the level of client support that we provide.
Regarding pricing, I will have one of our friendly sales folks reach out to you shortly with more information.
I thought that it was interesting when you said that one benefit of kitting is that it lowers the amount of shipping mistakes. I have been thinking about starting my own business but I have been worried about about making shipping mistakes and delaying the arrival of our product. I would be sur to consider utilizing kitting so that I could avboid this issue.