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Oh, Hi Dallas 

MFC Announcement

We’re happy to announce that two-hour, same-day, and next-day delivery is now live in Dallas.

The home of America’s team, rodeos, and famous Texas BBQ is now a member of the Ohi instant commerce family!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to your account manager or contact us here.

How to Choose the Right E-commerce Fulfillment Partner

e-commerce fulfillment partner

Order fulfillment can make or break your e-commerce business. It sounds cliche, but a reliable e-commerce fulfillment partner will help your brand delight customers and grow your business. In contrast, a poor e-commerce fulfillment service will cause you to lose your customers and leave your brand reputation in tatters, no matter how awesome your product is. 

So, how do you choose the right e-commerce fulfillment partners? What are the best criteria? 

Before we delve into the essentials to help you make the right choice, here’s a brief introduction to help you understand e-commerce order fulfillment services a bit better. 

What are e-commerce fulfillment services?

Think of an e-commerce fulfillment service as a command center for your e-commerce business that deals with the post-checkout process of delivering online orders to the customer.

However, e-commerce fulfillment is much more than placing a parcel on a customer’s welcome mat. Fulfillment includes receiving and storing inventory, processing orders, picking items, packing boxes, and shipping the items to the customer’s destination, along with the requisite communication to both internal parties and the end customer.

Who would need e-commerce fulfillment partners? 

  • Businesses that run on a direct-to-consumer model and have no high street store or storage facilities
  • Companies that have simply outgrown in-house fulfillment capabilities to the point they can no longer dispatch orders at scale
  • Omni-channel businesses that are looking to add an e-commerce channel 

Typically, most fulfillment services run on large warehouses on the outskirts of cities, but modern-day fulfillment solutions make use of multiple small-scale warehouses called micro-fulfillment centers. These micro-fulfillment centers are set up in metro areas and rely on automation to cater to customers’ needs and fulfill the goals of faster and more sustainable delivery across different geographic locations. 

Difference between e-commerce fulfillment services and traditional 3PLs

Although traditional 3PLs share some overlap with e-commerce fulfillment services, most 3PL companies focus on just providing basic functions of logistics, i.e., pick and pack, warehousing, distribution, etc.) whereas full-service fulfillment centers offer more comprehensive services, including customer support and returns. 

  • Delivery speed – given their model, traditional 3PLs lack the means to enable instant delivery for brands; they can cut down the wait time to two days or one day (next-day delivery), at best. However, cutting down on delivery time is costly for them. But this is where modern e-commerce fulfillment services like Ohi shine; Ohi, for example, is able to provide deliveries same-day and often in under two hours.
  • Cost – 3PLs often charge based on weight, time, and distance, whereas modern e-commerce solutions like Ohi charge a flat fee. Instant commerce solutions often forward-position inventory in micro-fulfillment centers around the country, significantly reducing the transportation and delivery required on a per-order basis, even if the number of dedicated deliveries increases significantly. 
  • Sustainability – another key difference is proximity to end customers, which allows these modern e-commerce fulfillment services to use eco-friendly transportation (walkers, bicycle messengers, and electric vehicles) and reduce the need for wasteful cardboard packaging. In contrast, this is far from possible with a traditional 3PL.

While there are a few patent differences, 3PLs and instant commerce providers like Ohi tend to serve different needs. Because providing two-hour or same-day delivery coverage throughout the nation (including in rural areas) is impractical and unrealistic for any fulfillment service, many merchants leverage modern e-commerce fulfillment providers like Ohi alongside their 3PL in synergy, to offer an incredible instant commerce experience (where available) and reasonably fast delivery elsewhere in the country.

How to choose the right e-commerce fulfillment partner?

According to an eMarketer report:

“The biggest challenges facing retailers today include transportation, scalability, inventory management, order processing speed and accuracy, and profitability.”

You need a fulfillment partner that can reliably provide services to reach and exceed KPIs in all five of the areas above. This guide will walk you through key factors to keep in mind as you go fulfillment hunting for the right e-commerce fulfillment service.

1. Delivery speed

If your customers are like most shoppers today, they expect fast delivery (and will expect it to get faster and faster).

According to PWC’s recent global consumer insights survey, fast delivery is shoppers’ #1 overall consideration when buying online (ranked top three by 41% of respondents).

With the emergence of same-day and two-hours or less delivery options, the benefit or strength of two-day delivery as a competitive advantage has started to wane. This is because these options are no longer considered fast enough by modern shoppers. Therefore, growth-mindset e-commerce retailers are increasingly pivoting to instant delivery, as this is a proven strategy to improve their customer experience and help enhance customer acquisition and retention.

With instant delivery fast becoming the expectation, longer delivery times may propel your customers to shop from your competitors, hurting your business.

2. Warehouse locations

Nowadays, consumers increasingly are not satisfied with two-day delivery. And it’s near impossible to meet the delivery speed needs of today’s customers with outdated fulfillment models that solely rely on gigantic warehouses based in the middle of nowhere, where land is cheap. While this may seem attractive on the surface, consider what that fulfillment approach means for your last mile delivery experience and delivery speed.

If speed is what you’re after, you need to look for a micro-fulfillment-based solution that utilizes small warehouses (or micro-fulfillment centers) in densely populated urban areas, to shorten the time/distance to the end customer. By keeping your inventory hyperlocal to customers, the last mile delivery experience can be extra quick, since a delivery courier can then deliver one order at a time (point-to-point) instead of hundreds of orders by the truckload.

3. Scalability

A good potential partner should be just as focused on your company’s continued growth as you are. Furthermore, they should be flexible and prepared to acclimate and grow with you as your business grows. You should see evidence that they have the capacity (or are actively adding the capacity) to meet your growing order volume in a way that maintains a high standard of operational excellence and your all-important customer experience.

In summary, make sure you team up with an e-commerce fulfillment provider who is flexible, adaptive, scalable, and capable of tackling unprecedented situations and volume spikes.

4. Data tracking

The only way to scale your business is to have complete visibility into your metrics to maximize your efforts on areas of growth and create solutions for bottlenecks discovered. In addition, as a critical component of brand differentiation, e-commerce businesses must be able to provide excellent customer service, which is dependent on having accurate and timely data at their fingertips.

Choose a fulfillment provider that provides these critical data tracking capabilities in as near real-time as possible:

  • Inventory levels for your products (as well as forecasted ordering schedules)
  • Real-time customer order tracking for all your deliveries
  • Real-time inventory order tracking so you know your products are available
  • Analytics for better insights into product purchase trends

5. Order fulfillment technology and integrations

Technology is critical when it comes to selecting the best e-commerce fulfillment provider. The two most important aspects of this are how your online store communicates with the fulfillment services and how they help you with data leveraging.

With the right technology, you can send product orders from your e-commerce platform to your fulfillment provider for distribution without needing additional insight from you or your team. Furthermore, the software automatically updates order statuses and inventory levels in the warehouse and your company’s website. These should be simple, automated processes designed to streamline your operations and ensure that your online store functions reliably.

Look for a fulfillment service that offers these features:

  • State-of-the-art software
  • Automated fulfillment processes and accurate reporting
  • Integrations with the top e-commerce platforms on the market, i.e., Shopify, Magento, etc. 

6. Returns management

92% of consumers in a survey said they would buy again if the product return process was easy, whereas 79% of consumers expect free return shipping. (source)

E-commerce fulfillment entails more than just delivering packages to customers. Many providers also help merchants with receiving returns and processing refunds, referred to as reverse logistics. An experienced third-party logistics provider understands how to manage returned products efficiently. They can assist a retailer in developing a return policy that keeps profit margins way above the red line.

7. Costs

It is reasonable to expect some initial costs associated with offloading your order fulfillment needs to an e-commerce fulfillment service provider. However, when you do so, you will most likely later save a considerable amount on labor, overhead, packing supplies, and other variable expenses down the road. Furthermore, if you choose a modern e-commerce fulfillment solution, such as one that practices micro-fulfillment with fewer overhead costs, like Ohi, you can often benefit from transparent and low flat-rate pricing, as inventory is forward-positioned and last mile delivery is greatly simplified.

It’s important to understand that cost is often overemphasized as a criterion when looking at e-commerce fulfillment providers. By enabling fast delivery, retailers often see outsized ROI via gains in conversion rates and customer loyalty metrics like repeat purchase rates and customer lifetime value, which more than justify the initial cost of enabling these fulfillment services.

‘Modern problems require modern solutions.’ 

Outdated traditional e-commerce fulfillment solutions might still dominate the e-commerce landscape today but will increasingly fail to meet the needs of modern customers who want instant delivery. Look beyond a single 3PL partner approach and consider using a mix of fulfillment partners that together address your customers’ needs.


At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

Oh, Hi Seattle

Seattle MFC Announcement

We’re happy to announce that two-hour, same-day, and next-day delivery is now live in Seattle.

The home of grunge, coffee culture, and the famous gum wall is now a member of the Ohi instant commerce family!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to your account manager or contact us here.

Instant Delivery: A Quick Guide for Retailers

instant delivery

85% of online shoppers look for better options when delivery speed is too slow.

Within the last couple of years, delivery speed has become a top priority for online shoppers and a huge opportunity for retailers. The evolving preferences of the savvy shoppers, their increased reliance on online shopping and need for instant gratification have propelled the rise of various instant delivery platforms like Ohi and marketplaces like GoPuff, Instacart. These next-generation platforms take the delivery speed and convenience of Amazon, Walmart, and other retail giants, and deliver a better and faster approach to instant delivery.

So, what is instant delivery, and why is it a must-have for your success as a retailer? 

What is instant delivery?

Instant delivery isn’t a novel concept; many of us have already experienced ultrafast delivery via a quick and easy meal ordered through Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or whatever your go-to meal delivery app is. 

According to Chris Walk, the Founder and CEO of Omni talk, the idea of instant delivery is based on ‘the universal truth of speed,’ according to which, when given a choice, people will always choose to get something as fast as possible instead of waiting.

Before sub-two-hour delivery entered the game and pushed the reset button on customer expectations, same-day delivery was the fastest delivery option, and 41% of online shoppers happily paid for the service. 

However, unlike same-day delivery, where products can be delivered within 24 hours, instant delivery is an ultrafast delivery that generally happens within two hours or as fast as 15 minutes from the customer’s time of order. 

It is e-commerce fulfillment on overdrive, made faster and better with advancements in e-commerce technology. Instant delivery is very much related to the broader quick commerce model.

Ultrafast delivery businesses like GoPuff and JOKR focus on products meant for immediate consumption that customers frequently want immediately. 

Instant delivery examples you might be familiar with

  • GoPuff – with facilities strategically placed across hundreds of markets, GoPuff maintains an extensive network of driver-partners, allowing it to deliver quickly within 30 minutes. Each brand’s products are sold alongside hundreds of other brands in GoPuff’s own marketplace. 
  • Walmart express delivery – customers get ordered items on their doorsteps in two hours or less. The express delivery is available on many Walmart purchases, including groceries, apparel, electronics, and other essentials.
  • Amazon two-hour – previously just for Prime Now users, two-hour delivery is now available on groceries and many other goods through the Amazon app or website.
  • Instacart delivery – picks and fulfills orders from third-party retailers’ brick and mortar stores in as little as 30 minutes.
  • Ohi instant delivery – Ohi’s hyperlocal micro-fulfillment centers allow direct-to-consumer brands to offer instant delivery in two hours or less.

Instant delivery stats

  • 68% of consumers said fast shipping would lead them to place an online order, according to a February 2021 Digital Commerce 360 survey. (Digital Commerce 360).
  • Around 61% of Nielson IQ’s latest survey participants said they would like to have their orders delivered as fast as possible.(Supermarket News)
  • Meanwhile, 65% of shoppers in another study said they would be willing to pay more for faster and more reliable deliveries. (Business Wire)
  • 55% of customers on average will switch to a competitor that offers faster delivery service. (RetailWire)
  • According to Ohi’s analysis, two-hour delivery is associated with 61% higher repeat purchase rates. (Ohi)
  • 85% of consumers in a study said they search elsewhere for better options when delivery speeds are too slow. (Flexe)
  • The same study also revealed that one of the top two reasons for shopping cart abandonment is that delivery speeds weren’t fast enough. (Flexe)
  • In addition, a 2021 global consumer insights survey conducted by PWC also shows that fast delivery is shoppers’ #1 overall consideration when buying online (ranked top three by 41% of respondents). (PWC)

How does instant delivery work?

Customers and retailers alike love a lightning-quick delivery service. But, have you ever considered how instant delivery services deliver, say, a carton of milk or a pack of sodas so fast?

There are a few different ways instant delivery platforms could operate to deliver your products to your customer’s doorstep in less than two hours. Instant delivery platforms and marketplaces can either run their own dark stores/fulfillment centers or fulfill orders from third-party retailers’ existing brick and mortar stores. Once a shopper places their order, they are fulfilled at the closest fulfillment center or third-party retail store by workers (“pickers”) and delivered by local couriers, often on bikes/scooters.

 Here’s a quick rundown of different models:

1. Vertically-integrated instant delivery model, i.e., GoPuff

In this model, instant delivery platforms like Jokr and GoPuff pick the ordered products from their dark stores or MFCs to deliver typically within 10–30 minutes.

Technicalities could vary; however, here are a few salient features of a vertically-integrated model:

  • These marketplaces run their own first-party MFCs, typically one in each neighborhood, similar to dark stores.
  • Employees pick up orders, and couriers deliver them.
  • Running the first-part MFCs is also less expensive compared to the hefty cost of renting space in retail stores.
  • Following a customer’s order, workers (called “pickers”) fill it at the appropriate micro-fulfillment facility, and a local courier (typically on a scooter or bike) fulfills it.

2. Third-party delivery platforms, i.e., Instacart  

These delivery platforms function on an “asset-light” model. For these platforms to operate, they don’t need to set up fulfillment centers, purchase inventories, or establish supplier relationships before expanding to a new city. Compared to the other two models, these are also far easier to scale. 

  • These delivery businesses do not need fulfillment centers or dark stores to operate. 
  • They pick products and deliver them directly from third-party physical retail stores. 
  • After an order is placed, a personal shopper goes to the store (or multiple stores) to pick up everything, then delivers it to you at your doorstep (typically within an hour or two).

3. Direct-to-consumer delivery model, i.e., Ohi 

This model is specifically for DTC brands or e-commerce retailers that are looking to add a DTC channel. The direct-to-consumer (D2C) instant delivery providers like Ohi provide instant delivery and micro-fulfillment solutions specifically for DTC sellers or e-commerce businesses looking to set up a DTC channel.

Although this model sounds very similar to the vertically-integrated model, they have some dissimilarities. 

  • For instance, under the DTC model, customers will place orders directly on a brand’s DTC website, rather than on a marketplace website/app.
  • The instant delivery service takes care of the back-end order fulfillment functions.
  • These services have dedicated MFCs hyperlocal to the consumer, enabling instant delivery for their clients.
  • In addition to the above, instant delivery platforms like Ohi use eco-friendly transportation for last-mile delivery.

For many direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands, pairing with an instant delivery provider like Ohi is the only viable option to meet their online customers’ demands and stand toe-to-toe with Walmart and Amazon when it comes to delivery speed. The reason is that many DTC-focused businesses lack the network of retail stores needed to pull off instant delivery on their own. That’s where Ohi’s DTC-focused website integrations, micro-fulfillment network, and post-purchase experience centered on instant delivery come into play.  

Here’s how Ohi’s quick delivery works:

Instant delivery vs. traditional 3PLs

All this instant delivery talk begs the question, how are instant delivery platforms different from third-party logistics companies? 

Instant delivery and traditional 3PLs are poles apart in terms of delivery speed, transportation, and approaches to warehousing. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between quick delivery and traditional third-party logistics.

  • Instant delivery typically relies on micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) positioned within densely populated areas, enabling ultrafast deliveries, i.e., within 15 minutes to two hours after placing an order. Whereas traditional 3PLs deliver in 3 to 5 days, their fastest expedited delivery is typically two-day or the next day.
  • Traditional 3PLs rely on massive warehouses, typically as large as 300,000 square feet. On the other hand, instant delivery platforms rely on micro-fulfillment centers that are much smaller – usually 2,000 to 5,000 square feet – located hyperlocal to customers in the densely-populated areas of major cities.
  • Another difference is the form of delivery chosen for the last mile. For transportation, traditional 3PLs rely on bigger delivery vehicles, since orders are delivered in huge batches owing to the increased travel distance. However, because of the vastly reduced distance between MFCs and the end customer, instant delivery providers often use eco-friendly two-wheeled vehicles such as bikes, e-bikes, or scooters.
  • Depending on the size of the business, a typical e-commerce store may have 15,000 or more SKUs. Amazon, for example, has the potential to store about 350 million SKUs, including both fast-moving and slow-moving items. On the other hand, Instant delivery services rely on micro-fulfillment facilities with a capacity of 2,000 to 4,000 SKUs (total SKU count for all brands within the MFCs) of typically fast-moving items.

Types of businesses instant delivery works best for?

While it’s true that instant delivery has opened up a lot of doors to brands that couldn’t otherwise offer the convenience and speed of two hours or less delivery, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Here are three factors to help you determine if instant delivery is the right fit for your business:  

1. Brands that have a higher-order volume and lower SKU count 

Instant delivery is a good fit for products with a high order volume or products that sell fast and have a lower SKU count. As instant delivery providers rely on micro-fulfillment centers, a larger SKU count would reduce shelf space, therefore, it is ideal for fast-moving consumer goods.  

With the localized nature of MFCs, instant delivery doesn’t lend itself particularly well to highly specialized items like bespoke crafts, artisan goods, or customized products.

2. Brands that sell consumables or products that are needed right away

Instant delivery works well for products that customers want or need on an urgent basis. Products including food, beverages, beauty, personal hygiene, fem-care, or home-testing kits – the kind of products your customers might find at a local convenience store or pharmacy – are ideal for instant delivery.

3. Brands with non-bulky items 

Delivering bulky items such as large electronics or furniture is far from possible on a bike or scooter, which is the mode of transportation for many instant delivery businesses.

In addition, 15 minutes or two-hour or less delivery services use localized micro-fulfillment centers with a smaller storage capacity. Hence, it would be pointless to cram the smaller space with bulky goods that won’t turn fast.

For this reason, instant delivery works best for non-bulky products that can be packed and shipped quickly without a lot of manpower or special handling. This means that a carton of milk or a can of soda can be delivered with instant delivery; however, bulky items such as furniture, large electronics like TVs, and larger appliances are a no-go.

So, does instant delivery makes sense for your e-commerce business? 

Benefits of instant delivery

1. Cut down on delivery time and last-mile costs

The longer an order has to travel to get to the customer’s doorstep, the more chances for things to go wrong in that last mile, such as order mixups, traffic jams, and other delays.

As opposed to traditional 3PLs, instant delivery companies can get goods into the hands of customers in a relatively short time. As quick commerce businesses like Ohi rely on micro-fulfillment, the last-mile transportation times and costs are reduced considerably, making it more feasible to offer two-hour or less delivery. This converts to a positive post-purchase experience, enhanced consumer satisfaction, and a significant return on investment for e-commerce businesses.

3. Ensure operational excellence  

Instant delivery platforms like Ohi use modern technologies (including AI or machine learning forecasts) to provide your DTC with inventory accuracy and on-time delivery rates that outperform the conventional third-party logistics providers. Platforms like Ohi also integrate with various last-mile delivery providers to make sure your customers get fast and efficient delivery that translates into higher customer happiness and fewer or zero CX support inquiries on late/missing deliveries.

3. Potential for brands to be sustainable

According to Shopify, consumers demand fast, free, and sustainable delivery at checkout. In addition, nearly 72% of customers want brands they shop at to use sustainable packaging. According to another study, around 80% of customers say sustainability is essential. 

Not only does an instant delivery solution have the potential to meet your customers’ sustainability demands, but as mentioned earlier, it can also translate into better delivery and post-purchase experience as well. 

As instant delivery platforms rely on hyperlocal micro-fulfillment centers, there is very little reliance on fuel-based transportation or wasteful exterior packaging materials, which together minimize your brand’s carbon footprint.

Instant delivery providers like Ohi enable their partner brands to offer carbon-neutral delivery to their eco-conscious customers.

Instant delivery is transitioning from a nice-to-have to a must-have

Simply put, two-day and next-day delivery is not fast enough for the modern consumer. Therefore, growth-minded e-commerce retailers are increasingly considering methods of enabling instant delivery, as this is a proven strategy to improve their customer experience and enable enhanced customer acquisition and retention.


About Ohi

At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

Q&A: Understanding Micro-Fulfillment

QA Greg Michael

Given the ongoing trend towards instant commerce, micro-fulfillment continues to be a hot topic in the e-commerce space. We sat down with Ohi’s Michael Witalec (VP of Ops) and Greg Szczepanski (Head of Special Projects, Ex-GoPuff) for a Q&A on micro-fulfillment and how Ohi approaches it.


There’s been a lot of buzz around micro-fulfillment in recent years due to the rise of fast grocers and quick/instant commerce. How does Ohi fit into this trend?

Greg: Ohi is leading the next generation of instant commerce. Our unique distribution model enables brands to meet their customers’ expectations of rapid delivery on their own direct-to-consumer (DTC) websites. By offering a DTC-focused solution that helps brands with many aspects of their post-purchase experiences (centered on a curated instant delivery experience), we stand apart from other fast grocers and other quick/instant commerce models out there by giving control over the customer experience (and data) back to the brands themselves.

So, what is micro-fulfillment with Ohi like?

Michael: Micro-fulfillment is the miniaturization of traditional fulfillment, from both a space and time perspective. We’re in dense urban areas to intentionally shorten the distance to the doorstep, requiring a much smaller footprint. We’re tendering orders in much smaller batches and often interacting with the same person who will interact with the customer, which enhances the end customer experience.

What kind of products or brands work best with Ohi’s micro-fulfillment model and why? 

Greg: While micro-fulfillment works best with non-bulky items and lower SKU counts, as you might expect with inventory being distributed throughout the country in small non-traditional warehouses, Ohi prides itself on flexibility. We’re eager to explore innovative solutions with any DTC-focused brand.

Last-mile delivery seems like a critical success factor in micro-fulfillment. How does Ohi ensure timely and accurate last-mile delivery? 

Michael: Final delivery is critical to success because that’s where the direct interaction with the customer is strongest (and most tangible). We’ve built many strong delivery partnerships that enable us to optimize the final delivery experience for every order. Combine that with our LiveOps team and continuous system monitoring, and you get a big piece of our signature instant delivery experience.

What are some things for direct-to-consumer businesses to consider when choosing a micro-fulfillment strategy or partner? 

Greg: Great question. From a financial aspect, evolving a DTC-focused business delivery system has traditionally been critically important to reach or maintain profitability. Businesses invest deeply in their supply chains to reduce the cost of fulfillment and TnT, and this mentality is pervasive among operations teams. With Ohi, while we are favorable in the cost department for many situations (e.g. because inventory is forward-positioned), we find that the instant delivery experience presents unique ROI beyond cost reduction – in terms of the customer experience, which leads to improved repeat purchase rates, customer lifetime value, and other growth-focused ROI

Additionally, by leveling up their DTC performance with Ohi, brands enjoy greater margins and control over more of their overall business, while avoiding some of the negatives associated with their B2B2C channels, including chargebacks.

Given how important demand forecasting is for micro-fulfillment (because each MFC has very limited space), how does Ohi approach it?

Michael: Very carefully. Space is only a constraint over a fixed period of time, so with Ohi’s  AI-based predictive demand forecasting models and regular input from our brands, we’re able to achieve high in-stock performance with our MFC network. With our hubs, which we’ll talk about more, we’re also able to control the distribution to MFCs in real-time, based on inventory levels.

Fulfilling orders out of (what will eventually be) hundreds of MFCs sounds incredibly complex; how does Ohi keep it simple operationally for clients?

Michael: We learned early on that simplicity was critical to our clients, as they want to focus on growth opportunities and not day-to-day logistics. We borrowed from tried and true methods to launch hubs, which dramatically reduce injection points and aggregate demand for the client. From there, our team handles the more complicated aspects of allocation across the MFC network for our clients.

What are Ohi’s “hubs,” and how do they work with the micro-fulfillment centers?   

Greg: Ohi’s hubs help to facilitate replenishment of inventory to MFCs while simplifying the inbounding process for our clients via fewer injection points. Because they’re actual distribution centers and are much larger than MFCs, hubs maximize efficiency when it comes to the intake, processing, storage, and distribution of goods (to MFCs) for our clients. This means less money wasted paying for temporary storage, dealing with stockouts, or losing customers due to delayed or incomplete orders.

Traditional fulfillment typically involves much larger warehouses on the outskirts of cities. How does having MFCs hyperlocal to customers affect last-mile delivery costs?

Greg: Consumers nowadays want same-day deliveries. Many companies are trying, often unsuccessfully, to meet the demands of today’s customers with outdated fulfillment networks. 

Ohi MFCs utilize small and automated storage close to the end customer to achieve cost savings and accelerate delivery times. There are three key components that allow Ohi to perform this process successfully: 1) a robust enterprise and logistics management system to manage the warehousing, inventory, and order management; 2) forward logistics facilities that minimize travel distance/time/cost; and 3) easy technical integration with clients’ e-commerce platform.

Increasing oil prices have been quite the headline in recent months. How do rising energy costs affect Ohi’s micro-fulfillment cost versus, say, traditional fulfillment with next-day air?

Michael: We’ve been in a dynamic environment since our launch a couple of years ago, with real estate, labor, and now fuel markets becoming volatile. Our model utilizes economies of scale with larger movements of inventory to a forward location (the MFC), reducing fuel on a per-order basis. Combined with our growing use of electric-powered and eco-friendly transportation, we’re reducing our carbon footprint while reducing dependence on traditional energy sources.

It seems like micro-fulfillment might involve a lot of extra transportation/trips – how does Ohi make this sustainable? 

Greg: With Ohi forward positioning our clients’ products in small MFCs around the country, we have substantially reduced the amount of transportation and delivery required on a per-order basis, despite the increase in the number of dedicated deliveries. Importantly, our close proximity to end customers allows us to use eco-friendly transportation (walkers, bicycle messengers, and electric vehicles) and reduce the need for wasteful cardboard packaging. For our residual carbon footprint after those measures, we’re able to use carbon offsetting (through our partner, EcoCart) to provide carbon-neutral order fulfillment.


At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.

The DTC Playbook: 10 Essential Plays to Accelerate Direct-to-Consumer E-commerce Growth

The DTC Playbook
DOWNLOAD FREE

With the modern consumer facing an unprecedented proliferation of new brands, marketplaces, and in-your-face advertising, it has become critical for growth-focused DTC companies to create better customer experiences.

That’s why Ohi has published The DTC Playbook: 10 Essential Plays to Accelerate Direct-to-Consumer E-commerce Growth.

This complimentary playbook provides DTC decision-makers with best practices to:

  • Create next-level pre and post-purchase experiences
  • Leverage instant delivery to meet customer expectations
  • Expand and enhance your e-commerce tech stack
  • Enable subscriptions to boost customer retention
  • Adopt sustainable e-commerce

Ready to take your direct-to-consumer channel from good to great?

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