Bulk Fulfillment vs Pick and Pack Fulfillment: Which is best for your company swag store?

Katreece Hattaway
July 12, 2024

Company swag stores are trending as a great, low maintenance, analytics-driven way to distribute your customized promotional products to employees, clients, and fans. However, there is a bit of a learning curve to decide what type of company store operation is best for your business.


While Sock Club’s custom socks make fantastic brand swag for your company swag store because of the low minimums, easy sizing, and insanely quick turnaround time, our fulfillment services may or may not be what is best for how you want your corporate swag store to work.


In the blog below, we will go over Pick and Pack Fulfillment, Bulk Fulfillment, and Kitting. We will explain what each is, what its benefits and drawbacks are, and how Sock Club fits into each one.



If you decide that branded socks are the right branded merchandise for your store, but our fulfillment services are not the best for your order management, we can help point you in the right direction! Email our team at custom@sockclub.com with any questions.

Infographic explaining the pick and pack fulfillment process

Infographic explaining the Pick and Pack Fulfillment process from Red Stag Fulfillment, who offers contracted Pick and Pack Fulfillment services (source).



What is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

Pick and pack fulfillment is a process in which products are selected (or "picked") from inventory and packaged (or "packed") for shipment to customers. This process is commonly used in e-commerce and retail operations, where businesses fulfill orders from their online store or physical retail store.


In pick and pack fulfillment, the products are typically stored in a warehouse or distribution center, where they are organized and tracked using inventory management software. When an order is received, the products are picked from the inventory shelves and brought to a packing station, where they are packed into shipping containers (such as boxes, envelopes, or bags) and labeled with the customer's shipping address.


The pick and pack process can be done manually, using workers to physically pick and pack the products, or it can be automated using conveyor belts, sorting machines, and robotic arms. The goal of pick and pack fulfillment is to efficiently and accurately fulfill orders while minimizing errors and reducing shipping times.



What’s the best use case for Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

Pick and pack fulfillment is best for businesses that need to fulfill a large volume of orders quickly and accurately. It is particularly well-suited for e-commerce and retail operations that sell a wide variety of products, as it allows businesses to store and manage inventory in a central location and efficiently fulfill orders as they come in.


Pick and pack fulfillment can be particularly beneficial for businesses that sell products with varying sizes, shapes, and weights, as the process allows for flexibility in selecting the appropriate packaging materials and methods for each order.


Additionally, pick and pack fulfillment can be useful for businesses that have seasonal spikes in demand, as it allows them to quickly scale up their operations to meet increased order volumes during busy periods.


Overall, pick and pack fulfillment is a versatile and efficient fulfillment method that can help businesses streamline their operations and improve their customer satisfaction by providing fast and accurate order fulfillment.



What are the drawbacks of Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

While pick and pack fulfillment offers many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:


Labor costs: Pick and pack fulfillment requires a significant amount of manual labor, which can be expensive for businesses. Depending on the volume of orders being processed, businesses may need to hire and train a large number of workers to pick and pack products, which can increase operating costs.


Inventory management: Effective pick and pack fulfillment requires accurate inventory management, which can be challenging for businesses that sell a large number of products. Businesses need to carefully track inventory levels and ensure that products are properly labeled and organized, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.


Packaging and shipping costs: Packaging materials and shipping costs can also add up, particularly for businesses that ship products internationally or to remote locations. Businesses need to carefully weigh the cost of packaging and shipping against their profit margins to ensure that they are not losing money on each order.


Order accuracy: Pick and pack fulfillment is highly reliant on accurate order processing, which can be challenging if there are errors in the order information or if the wrong products are picked or packed. This can result in costly returns and dissatisfied customers.


Scalability: As order volumes increase, businesses may need to invest in additional warehouse space, equipment, and personnel to accommodate the increased demand. This can be expensive and require significant planning and coordination.


Overall, while pick and pack fulfillment can be an efficient and effective way to fulfill orders, businesses need to carefully consider the potential drawbacks and costs before implementing this type of fulfillment process.



A bulk order of custom argyle socks for WBUR being fulfilled in a warehouse



What is Bulk Fulfillment?

Bulk fulfillment is a type of order fulfillment that involves shipping large quantities of products to a single destination. It is typically used for business-to-business (B2B) orders or for retail orders that are shipped to a distribution center rather than directly to individual customers.


In bulk fulfillment, the products are typically packaged on pallets or in large boxes and shipped via truck or other freight transportation. In Bulk Individual Fulfillment, the products are not individually packed or labeled for individual orders, but rather shipped as a bulk order to a list of individual addresses all at once.



What are the benefits of Bulk Fulfillment?

Bulk fulfillment can be more cost-effective than other types of fulfillment, as it allows businesses to take advantage of economies of scale and reduce shipping costs. It is useful for businesses that need to ship large quantities of products to a single location, such as for a trade show or retail distribution center. It is also useful for companies that want to do a lot of individual shipments of the same product at one time to one single compiled list of individuals.



What are the drawbacks of Bulk Fulfillment?

Bulk fulfillment may not be suitable for all types of products or businesses, particularly those that sell directly to consumers. This is because it does not allow for individualized packing or product selection, which can be important for brand identity and customer experience, depending on the campaign and/or giveaway. Additionally, bulk orders can be more difficult to track and manage than individual orders, which can lead to logistics challenges if not properly planned and executed.



What type of fulfillment does Sock Club offer?

Since Sock Club started as a sock subscription service in 2012, we are built for large Bulk Fulfillment logo merchandise orders. We have been doing this type of shipping and sorting for over 10 years, so we have worked out the kinks. We do not offer pick and pack fulfillment services; there are companies that can offer that service for your branded gifts much more smoothly and cost effectively than we can.



A custom kit including branded socks for a client appreciation gift that Sock Club made in partnership with corporate gifting company Teak & Twine.

A custom kit including branded socks for a client appreciation gift that Sock Club made in partnership with corporate gifting company Teak & Twine.



What kind of custom swag projects typically include Bulk Fulfillment?

Since the pandemic, we have seen a lot of our clients have an increasingly remote or hybrid workforce. They are looking for solutions to get customized promotional items to motivate their workforces that is working from home. Therefore, more and more companies are using bulk fulfillment to get employee appreciation gifts out to their employees. That’s where we come in.


Generally, our clients are having their employees place orders through their company swag store so that address collection is super easy. Then, we are able to take those addresses and fulfill those individual orders in bulk. Most of our bulk fulfillment orders also include our custom mailer boxes since they really provide an extra gifting element for employee incentives when delivered in the mail.


Some best swag use cases for Bulk Fulfillment that have been trending lately include bulk shipments of business gifts to clients for prospecting and appreciation, bulk orders placed and fulfilled from a brand apparel pre-sale on a company swag store, and post-trade show follow up orders for company giveaways from leads collected at that show.



How is Kitting different from Fulfillment?

Kitting and fulfillment are two different processes, although they are often used together as part of a larger order fulfillment strategy.


Kitting involves grouping individual products or items together into a single package or kit. The products may be related, such as a set of tools or a collection of cosmetics, or they may be complementary, such as a combination of products that work together for a particular purpose.


Fulfillment, on the other hand, involves the complete process of receiving, processing, and delivering orders to customers. This includes activities such as inventory management, order picking, packing, and shipping.


Kitting can be an important part of the order fulfillment process, particularly for businesses that sell products in sets or bundles. For example, a company that sells a makeup kit may package together several individual makeup products in a single kit and sell it as a complete package.


While kitting and fulfillment are different processes, they are often used together as part of a larger order fulfillment strategy. After the kit is assembled, it may be stored in a warehouse or distribution center until an order is received. At that point, the kit is picked from inventory, packed into a shipping container, and shipped to the customer as part of the overall fulfillment process.



Does Sock Club offer Kitting?

Yes! We can certainly kit the best swag items together for you and either individually fulfill the order in bulk, or ship the total order of kits in bulk to you. 


We can also kit other office swag with our socks and boxes. We do ask that at least one item in the box is a Sock Club product, which works out for you because our branded socks are such a hit!



Conclusion

In conclusion, while company swag stores are a popular and easy way to distribute promotional products, it is essential to choose the right fulfillment method for your business. 


Pick and pack fulfillment is ideal for businesses that need to fulfill a large volume of orders quickly and accurately, while bulk fulfillment is useful for businesses that need to ship large quantities of products to a single destination, such as for a trade show or retail distribution center. 


Kitting, on the other hand, is a way to package multiple products together into a single kit, making it ideal for businesses that offer product bundles or subscription services. 


Sock Club's custom socks are perfect for company swag stores due to their low minimums, easy sizing, and fast turnaround time, and they offer different fulfillment options to fit various business needs. With careful consideration of the benefits and drawbacks of each fulfillment method, businesses can choose the one that best suits their operations and customer needs.