Cross Border Fulfillment vs. Localized Fulfillment

When scaling across multiple countries, regions, and markets you must understand which fulfillment strategy to pursue: cross-border or localized?

Determining a fulfillment strategy to use for your business is complicated enough when looking at a single country, so when you’re scaling across multiple different countries, regions and markets, the task becomes even more daunting. We typically see a direct relationship between a company’s maturation and the decision to use a cross-border or a localized fulfillment strategy.

Which fulfillment strategy to use?

Cross-Border: The low cost and speed-to-market associated with a cross-border direct ship program makes this type of order fulfillment a common choice for startups. In this model, inventory is stored in or near the destination country or region. With the inventory being stored and shipped close to the destination country, this model reduces shipments having to pass through customs and helps to mitigate some, but not all associated costs.

As a company grows, so do customer expectations — and often this leads to the need for a better customer experience (as well as more earning potential!). When looking into expansion strategies and fulfillment options, remember that the complexity of shipping cross-border varies by country and so do the documents and limitations. We are here to help guide you through these processes. Connect with us to learn how we can help.

Hybrid: A hybrid fulfillment model includes both cross-border shipping as well as localized fulfillment. Once a brand attracts a sizable international audience, they typically start looking for ways to better serve their international customers. One beneficial way to serve all customers is through a hybrid fulfillment model. Connect with us to learn more about the hybrid model and how we can help you reach your growing brand and customer base.

Localized: By localizing fulfillment — that is, staging product in close proximity to end-customers — orders can be fulfilled faster thanks to shorter last-mile delivery distances.

By the time a company is looking into localized fulfillment options, their operational needs are likely well-understood. Target markets are established and funds are available. At this stage, some companies are managing fulfillment in-house and others are working with a local fulfillment provider, often leveraging a number of small fulfillment centers in urban centers to stock and ship out products.

Third-party logistics providers with established international networks offer attractive options for companies to store and stock goods in specific regions, or globally, and don’t require the investment that a proprietary network requires. Shipwire customers can access customers in growing markets around the world through our established network of international warehouse locations. Get in touch to learn more!

Sarah Shaffer
Sarah Shaffer
Associate Business Analyst
Sarah Shaffer is an Associate Business Analyst at Shipwire. She works cross-functionally across teams and her work involves network optimizations, profitability analysis and managing transportation communication channels. Sarah is a creative, data-obsessed analyst who, when not at the office, finds joy in skiing, yoga, backpacking, and open-water swimming!
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