Warehouse workers move products around and interact with each other.

Fulfillment Center vs. Warehouse: What’s Best For Your Business?

By: The H&H Group

“Fulfillment center” and “warehouse” are often used interchangeably, but they each offer retailers a different set of services. Just like all squares are rectangles but all rectangles are not squares, a fulfillment center is a warehouse, but not all warehouses are fulfillment centers. Depending on what type of retailer you are, you may find that one of these buildings serves your needs better than the other. At The H&H Group, we are here to help you through this decision!

How Can A Fulfillment Center Work For You?

A fulfillment center is a place where retailers store inventory until it is purchased directly. The fulfillment center has a much more hands-on relationship with the customer because its primary function is to get merchandise into the customer’s hands as quickly and accurately as possible. Maintaining these standards is essential to a retailer’s customer, as they have expectations for timely delivery of their soon-to-be favorite products.

Fulfillment centers are especially convenient for small to medium-sized businesses! For a self-publishing author, a fulfillment center is crucial for printing and shipping their books out on demand. A dog groomer might use a fulfillment center to custom print and send out thank you cards with a small gift for their clients’ animals. The possibilities are nearly endless! Using a fulfillment service like ours means we take the hassle out of several aspects of your shipping needs, including organizing, printing, packaging, and shipping your products. We can even take on your print marketing material needs!

How Would You Use A Warehouse?

A retailer will utilize a warehouse to store goods. It is a large building with different storage options depending on the needs of the retailer. This retailer may be another smaller warehouse that needs more space to keep their product or a large chain store that owns the warehouse. There are several types of warehouses designed to meet the needs of a variety of retailers.

Private Warehouse and Public Warehouses

A warehouse can be either public or private. A private warehouse is a warehouse owned by one company and used to distribute its goods to customers. A company or retailer may lease a public warehouse for extra storage.

Specialty Warehouses

Specialty warehouses meet specific product storage needs, and they can be either public or private. Automated warehouses may have AI or robotics to automate some of their production. These warehouses often require less staffing than traditional warehouses, while a distribution center, also called a DC, is a fulfillment center that requires more hands-on staffing. They have a direct relationship with the customer and bridge the gap between your business and your customers. 

Some warehouses are long-term relationships, but an on-demand warehouse is typically leased for short periods—less than six months but sometimes as short as one month.

And for retailers who need temperature control, a climate-controlled warehouse is ideal for storing their sensitive inventory. Produce, dairy, and frozen dinners are all examples of merchandise that need climate-controlled storage.

A company may choose to build a warehouse if they have a product with particular storage specifications. These specifications can be something like refrigeration or the unusual size or shape of the items that need to be stored.

What Is the Difference Between a Fulfillment Center And A Warehouse?

Think about warehouses and fulfillment centers as being siblings, but not twins. They are similar but have different perks that benefit your business. Warehouses are typically long-term storage solutions designed to keep inventory on hand for an extended period. A warehouse is the better option if you need generalized storage or have unique storage considerations, such as refrigeration.

Fulfillment centers keep your product moving and are designed as a short-term resting place for your merchandise as it makes its journey to the customer. If you want a warehousing solution that will help you fulfill your online orders and satisfy your customers, a fulfillment center is the better choice for you. At The H&H Group, our fulfillment center can do more than just storage, making us a great partner for your business.  Plus, at The H&H Group, we also have a dedicated warehouse to help with warehouse services.

How Can The H&H Group Help With My Fulfillment Needs?

If you are having a difficult time with order processing logistics, our team is here to help. It can be frustrating to keep all your orders straight, especially if your e-commerce business is expanding. No one likes to receive the wrong item! At The H&H Group, we pride ourselves on our accuracy and reliability as a fulfillment center. We will work carefully with you to determine which of our fulfillment services is the right fit for your unique supply chain needs. Our experts will develop a customized strategy and implementation plan to fit your business and make order fulfillment feel like a breeze. Contact us with any questions you may have about your businesses’ fulfillment center needs.