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10 Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Business

10 Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Business

Starting a business is very exciting and daunting. There are many ways it can go wrong, but also many ways it can become very successful. There will be mistakes along the way but don’t worry about making mistakes. Most mistakes can be fixed and you can always rise back up. However, it would be very beneficial if you can avoid common mistakes made by people who are starting a business. This way you can be more efficient and successful.

Starting a business in this modern age

In this day and age, the business world has experienced significant changes mainly because of technology. It is easier than ever to build a business on your own. In addition, there are so many new types of businesses that you can do, especially online. Small businesses are also the backbone of many of the world’s economies. They offer employment opportunities to many people. According to the ISEAS in Singapore, there are currently 70 million SMEs in Southeast Asia and account for 99% of business activities in the region. Small businesses account for large portions of ASEAN nations’ economies.

Considering the promising business climate for small businesses, it is a great time to start building your own business. However, there are many things to look out for when starting a business. In this article, we will highlight the 10 most common mistakes made when starting a business. This way you can avoid them.

10 Most Common Mistakes

Now let’s discuss the 10 common mistakes people make when starting their business. These are usually made because of lack of knowledge and oversight. Don’t feel bad if you have made these mistakes because they are very easy to make and everyone has done them.

1. Misreading or misjudging the market

The market is always changing and new trends always pop up. However, knowing which trends will last is a whole different thing. It is very easy to be swept up by a trend and make mistakes that affect your future. A good example of misreading the market is the fidget spinner. It was very trendy a few years ago but today the market is non-existent. The trend of fidget spinners was merely a fad. Be careful with trends and reading the market.

2 Improper goal setting

Every business needs a proper goal. A good framework for goal setting is the SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. If your goals fulfill these things then it is a good goal. However, many people often forget one of these things when making goals that negatively impact their business. Be sure to have a goal that is ambitious but reasonable for your business. Goals that are too low or conservative can also be bad since they impact growth.

3. Impatience and Fear

Being impatient and rash with your decision-making is also a common mistake. Most businesses take some time before being profitable. Some people can be discouraged and end early during the early stages of a business, either because of fear or impatience. So just wait and the time will come when your business can succeed. And even if it fails, quitting too early may lead to you missing out on many things.

4. Lack of marketing or wrong marketing strategy

A common mistake is also related to marketing. Businesses with a great product or business plan can still fail if nobody knows about it. Marketing is very important and if done wrong it can fail a business. Some people either invest too little in marketing or invest in the wrong marketing. So be sure to know your audience and choose a marketing strategy that fits your business best. This way your resources are allocated more efficiently.

5. Too much flexibility, too little formalization

It is hard to have formalization in a new business. Formalization here means the usage of contracts and documents in your business. The flexibility does make it more fun and manageable. However, too little formalization means that accountability may be an issue. Of course, too much formalization can also hinder progress. So you have to find a good balance between these two.

6. Setting prices too low or excessive promotions

It may seem like a good idea to use a low price when at the early stages of a business. You can attract more consumers and generate more sales. However, if you set your prices too low you will not make a profit or less of it. In addition, when you decide to raise your prices existing consumers will move away from your business because the low prices were the reason why they were there. You have to find a balance between attracting new consumers and gaining profit.

7. Targeting the wrong market segment or misidentifying target

Targeting may seem pretty easy since products are typically produced with a particular consumer in mind. However, you can experience a mistake in targeting because of many other factors. First, your target consumer may already have an existing business that they use so your business won’t be attractive to them. Your consumer base may also experience a shift in preference which means that they won’t buy your products. Mistakes like these are very easy to make, luckily they are pretty easy to fix so don’t worry.

8. Too much and too little spending

Now comes the issue of spending on a business. Businesses need money to expand and grow. However, if you spend too much or too little it will be bad for business. Spending too much will mean that the return on investment is harder to achieve and getting a profit is harder. You may also end up with a lot of debt. Spending too little will mean that your business’ potential will be unrealized. A good rule of thumb would be to spend what you are willing to lose.

9. Hiring employees

Hiring employees is definitely important for a business. You can’t run a business by yourself, especially if your business is growing. However, you can make a mistake by hiring the wrong people, not hiring enough, or hiring too much. Employees cost money and they have to be a worthwhile investment. If you are not careful then employees may have a negative impact. If the number of employees doesn’t match your business needs you can either waste money or miss out on opportunities. Try and find a balance when hiring employees.

10. Not committing to the business enough

Lastly, it’s a matter of commitment. Commitment to a business is usually what leads to success. If we give up easily or do not commit to our business, we can’t expect to succeed. New business owners have to stand by their business even if at that time it does not seem successful. Steve Jobs committed fully to the business that he created in a garage with his friend. If he did not stay committed and dedicated, he would not have achieved the level of success that he did. So commit to your businesses and stand by them. Stand by your businesses and give them all you have.

So now we have discussed the most common mistakes that new business owners make. There are many ways to make mistakes but also many more to succeed. Don’t wait around to start your business. These promising times are the best time to start a business. If you are worried about the initial costs or about your lack of knowledge, don’t worry. AsiaCommerce is here to help. We offer services that range from export imports, procurement and sourcing, logistics, and forwarding. We can help with reselling, sourcing, and dropshipping. In addition, we offer extensive educational content that can help you develop your business skills. Join AsiaCommerce’s membership today to get many benefits for your business!

Outsourcing: Third-Party Logistics and Sourcing

Outsourcing: Third-Party Logistics and Sourcing

Businesses that are involved with goods or products cannot escape what is called logistics and supply chain. A supply chain is the system of organization, peoples, activities, information, and resources with the goal of supplying products and services to consumers. Logistic management is essentially the organization of goods from one point in a supply chain to another point. Supply chain and logistics can range from simple to incredibly complex. The complexity typically depends on the size of the business and the type of product. The most complex supply chain and logistics are typically seen in multinational manufacturing and retail. The simplest can be seen in local businesses with local suppliers. However, there is a middle ground between the complex and simple. This spot is typically habited by big domestic businesses and businesses that involve export and imports. Their complexity is brought on by either their size (like with large domestic firms) or the international trade process. These supply chain and logistic systems are usually not as complex as multinationals, but they are more complex than small local businesses. The tricky thing here is that these supply chains and logistics are usually too complex to do on your own but they do not warrant the investment that will be required like in multinationals. This is where outsourcing and third-party logistics come in.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is essentially when a business makes a contract or agreement with another company to take care of an existing or planned activity that can be done internally. For bigger companies it may involve exchange of information, assets, and employees. However, in the context of small and medium enterprises it is usually just giving up certain duties and responsibilities to the outsourced company so you can focus on more important things. There are upsides and downsides to outsourcing your logistics and supply chain. The first advantage is that you can just make requests to your third party to procure products for you, so you can essentially just sit back and wait until it arrives without the hassle. The second advantage is third party firms that accept outsourcing contracts are usually more focused on a particular goal. This means that their operations will be more efficient and effective than if you do it yourself. The disadvantage will be that you lose some control over the operations and if something goes wrong, you do not have a say in how to solve it. The second disadvantage is that you will have to incur more costs. This is because these firms have profit margins on their services so you will have to pay that margin compared to when doing it yourself.

Third-Party Logistics

Now that we understand outsourcing, let’s focus on what a third party logistic provider is. A third party logistic provider is a firm that accepts contracts or businesses to manage their customer’s logistics, sourcing, and many more. Third party logistics will provide advantages for those looking to have a more efficient logistic system, more time for other operations, or even cut down on costs depending on the scale of the operation. The typical third party logistics will serve various functions. These functions include transportation, warehousing, reverse logistics (recycling, returns, disposing), international shipping, and handling. However, the most common usage of third party logistics is to procure and source products from suppliers. They will typically handle everything from packing to shipping the goods from suppliers. Although it is not always the case, third party logistics can also provide services that help relations with suppliers. This can include negotiations, communications, and management. However, their involvement with the business depends on the amount of information sharing between your firm and the third party logistics.

Why and When You Should Outsource

Choosing to outsource logistics will not always apply to every business and situation. You have to have the right reason and situation in order to get the most out of outsourcing. If you are starting out, some third party logistics can be useful especially if they can help with things like customs, delivery, and more. However, it depends on what your business is. If it is domestic or local, you will have to take into account where your supplier is. If the supplier is a great distance from you it will be beneficial. Third parties can also help with finding suppliers, so it will be a great help. However, if it is nearby then it may be unnecessary. For businesses that require export and imports then it is a good decision. The customs and regulations can be burdensome and complex, so having help from an experienced firm will be good. Outsourcing your sourcing and logistics will be a great help to your business. A good reason for this would be if you want to focus on more important parts of your business. For example, you can instead focus on marketing or managing your business. However, if your reason is to cut costs it will depend on your business size and type. Outsourcing logistics will be beneficial for most businesses. However, you will have to analyse your business and see if it is the right decision.

Now that we have learned more about outsourcing and logistics, you can start developing and expanding your business. We have discussed third-party logistics. AsiaCommerce is one such third party that can provide solutions. However, AsiaCommerce is not just a third-party logistic since we also offer export-import services, procurement, and sourcing, as well as many more services. We offer fulfillment services that can satisfy all your business needs for an affordable price. You can just tell us what we want and we will do everything for you. All you need to do is sit back and do what is most important for your business and yourself. Join AsiaCommerce today and gain all of these benefits by clicking the banner below.

How to Set Your Busy-Season Shipping Strategy

How to Set Your Busy-Season Shipping Strategy

Your process is set and you’re all stocked up on supplies. The next step is to figure out the customer-facing details—specifically, what are you going to charge for shipping?

The most common options are free shipping, flat rate shipping, and exact cost shipping. We’ve got some tips to help you figure out which one is right for your store.

1. Free shipping

Shipping costs are frequently the most-cited reason why people abandon their carts, so offering free shipping is a smart way to use a compelling offer to improve conversion rates, without solely relying on percentage or dollar value discounts.

That said, it’s not always cheap to provide, even with the discounted rates you get through with USPS, UPS, DHL, and Canada Post. If you want to offer free shipping to everyone, you need to understand how it affects your margins and what rates you’re on the hook to cover—including what it costs to ship your heaviest items and shipping to your furthest locations.

However, it’s not all or nothing when it comes to free shipping.

You could offer free shipping some of the time, to some of your customers. Consider sending a free shipping coupon code to your current customers to encourage repeat orders, or offering free shipping above a certain order size to increase your average order value.

However, when providing free shipping, you’ll need to watch out for shipping cutoff dates. If you’re only springing for free standard shipping, you’ll need to make the expected arrival dates crystal clear so your customers can order in time for their holiday of choice.

2. Flat rate shipping

If you want to offset some of your shipping costs and still avoid sticker shock when people check out, a flat rate shipping policy could be the perfect fit. With flat-rate shipping, set a price that will cover most of your shipping costs, most of the time, and be ready to cover the cost for particularly expensive shipping options or items.

With flat rate shipping, aim to set a price that will cover most of your shipping costs, most of the time.

Your customers will always know the shipping fees ahead of time, and you’ll still recoup most of your shipping costs, which is the best of both worlds.

3. Exact cost shipping

With exact cost shipping, customers can see exactly what it’ll cost to ship their order, and pay for it when they check out, and they’ll get the same discounted USPS, UPS, DHL, and Canada Post rates.

Remember, cart abandonment rates tend to go up around BFCM and other holidays, and shipping costs are one reason why.

Just remember: Cart abandonment rates tend to go up around BFCM, and shipping costs are one reason why. It’s not a deal-breaker to offer exact cost shipping, especially if that’s what works best for your business, but it is important to be aware of the potential impact—and have a plan in place to win back shoppers who’ve abandoned their carts.

4. International shipping

You might not be shipping internationally right now because it seems complicated and expensive, but it’s not as tricky as you think it might be. Plus, customers are more and more likely to shop outside of their borders, so if you’re considering expanding your audience, an international shipping strategy is one great way to do it.

Once you’ve decided on a pricing strategy, it’s time to get into implementation by making sure each product is shipping-ready, and that starts with adding accurate weights.

If you have difficulty with setting shipping strategy for your online store, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.

Need help with fulfillment? We can help you! You can fill the form here: https://asiacommerce.net/south-east-asia-marketplace-distribution-fulfillment/

How to Set a Shipping Strategy for Your Online Store

How to Set a Shipping Strategy for Your Online Store

A new customer comes to your website, finds a product they want at a price they like and adds it to their cart.

They get to the checkout page and then it happens. They get hit with the shipping and handling rates and all of a sudden they start second-guessing their decision to buy. 

Suddenly a product they thought had a fair price is starting to seem a little expensive. One of two things happens next. Either they decide to press on despite the increased costs, or they abandon their cart and leave your website disappointed. 

So what can you do to influence this decision? 

Let’s take a look at some shipping strategies and how you can use them in your business. 

Shipping Rates and Abandoned Carts

The real challenge when figuring out your shipping strategy is determining a solution that cuts into your margins as little as possible yet remains attractive to your customers.

And this is something you’re going to want to get right. Studies have shown that shipping and handling fees are the number one factor driving shopping cart abandonment. 

Shipping Rates and Abandoned Carts

With this information in mind, let’s look at the three most common shipping options and the pros and cons of each. 

Option 1: Offer Free Shipping

Offering free shipping – usually just for domestic orders – is a sure-fire way to get your customer’s attention, however, depending on your margins, it can also potentially cut into your profits.

That said, the marketing punch that displaying ‘Free Shipping’ on your website provides can be a significant advantage over any competitors that don’t offer the same perk. Deciding to offer free shipping will require you to either absorb the cost or slightly increase your prices to cover it.

You could also try offering free shipping with a minimum order amount or minimum number of items. This should drive up your average order value and help you have more profit dollars to apply the shipping cost against.

Prominently advertising that you offer free shipping can be an effective way to drive up conversion rates. Chubbies offers free shipping on all their shorts (including return shipments) and which they proudly display on their website so customers shopping know that the price they see is the price they pay.

Option 1: Offer Free Shipping

Determining whether to offer free shipping or require a minimum threshold often comes down to your margins and the niche you operate in.

If you offer luxury or handmade, one-of-a-kind items, rolling in an extra percentage for shipping and handling into the cost of your products probably isn’t too much of an issue. However, if you’re in a highly competitive market where both free shipping and the lowest prices are the norms, like refurbished cell phones, for example, marking up your products to cover shipping costs may not the best idea. This is where you have to consider either a different option entirely or absorbing the cost for the shipping on most of your items.

There are, of course, exceptions.

Large or particularly heavy items like full tower PC cases or furniture can cause some problems for your ‘Free Shipping’ promotion. Doing your research and knowing your numbers about things like how much each of your products actually costs to ship, how your competitors handle shipping, and your allowable profit margin can help you make the right decision.

Option 2: Charge What You Get Charged

In some shopping carts, it’s possible to set up real-time shipping quotes – in other words, your customers more or less pay exactly what you would pay to ship your products.

There are always small discrepancies that can happen, of course, but in many cases, you can end up breaking even between the shipping charges you collect and what you ultimately have to pay to ship the package.

Simple Sugars, a store that was recently on Shark Tank, employs this tactic, offering real-time shipping quotes to their customers at checkout. Once a customer gets to the checkout, they select where they want their order shipped to, and the calculator does the rest.

Option 2: Charge What You Get Charged

Using a real-time calculator like this can win you a lot of trust with your customers. It shows that you aren’t inflating your quoted shipping fees or raising your item prices to cover the charges.

This strategy doesn’t have the same persuasion power free shipping does but it’s an easy way to make sure that you’re not draining shipping costs out your ears, and that your customers are getting the best deal possible.

This is also a good option to use for heavy or oversized shipments that you simply cannot or do not want to allow to ship out under a free shipping promotion.

Option 3: Offer Flat Rates

Your third option is to offer a flat rate for every package, or flat rates for weight ranges and order totals.

This particular method of charging for shipping requires a bit of preparation as you need to figure out your average cost of shipping a package. This is a best practice you should be doing anyway to make sure that you don’t drastically undercharge or overcharge your customers.

When you hit the right cost, you’ll probably be over – or under – the actual shipping cost by a little, but it should even out in the end. 

Truly’s Natural Deodorant takes the flat rate approach, and has a simple $2.99 charge for a single product order.

Option 3: Offer Flat Rates

Angela Collison, the founder of Truly’s says her “main focus in setting up my shipping prices was to make it as inexpensive as possible while still delivering the product in a reasonable amount of time. My products are relatively inexpensive and I don’t think anyone wants to pay as much for shipping as they do for the item ordered. USPS was a good fit for us as they are very affordable for single items and their flat rate priority options allow me to ship out multiple items for one flat rate regardless of the weight. I was able to set up price-based shipping as I have only a few different products, but I am not sure how that would work out for someone who has a large number of products.”

The above quote highlights an important point about the nature of flat rate shipping: figuring out what flat rate works for you, and if you need to do it by order totals or weight ranges will require some testing.

Luckily, USPS does offer a few different sizes of flat rates boxes, and if you have particularly small, but heavy objects, taking advantage of the cost savings from cubic shipping prices can help to bring your flat rates into a comfortable range.

Of course, every business is different and only through testing will you find out what works best for you.

You’ll need to find out the statistics on your products and the best ways to ship them to be able to make the most strategic decision possible. This is where additional apps can help you find information and alternatives (both with shipping carriers and methods) that you may not have had access to previously.

Option 4: Outsource shipping to a third-party logistics provider (3PL)

Outsource part or all of your distribution and fulfillment services to a 3PL. They deliver your products with an out-of-box experience—some 3PLs can even handle returns and provide ePacket tracking.

If you have difficulty with setting shipping strategy for your online store, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.

Need help with fulfillment? We can help you! You can fill the form here: https://asiacommerce.net/south-east-asia-marketplace-distribution-fulfillment/

How to Prepare Your Store to Work With Big-Box Retailers

How to Prepare Your Store to Work With Big-Box Retailers

Your business is at the point where it is about to explode. How do you transition from a small shop (fulfilling orders from your basement) to fulfilling orders with major retailers too? What are the biggest pitfalls to watch for?

First of all, congratulations! This is an undeniably big moment, and while it comes with a lot of change, and a lot of hard work, so did getting to this point—that’s worth celebrating.

But OK, you’re here now, and you’re wondering about the hard work part of it.

There’s so many things that change when you go from fulfilling orders yourself, in your own little space, to selling to independent stores, to dealing with big box chains. And speaking of fulfilling orders, that’s the first thing you’ll need to get a handle on as you grow.

Managing your (new) fulfillment process

There’s a lot you need to know about working with big box stores, and working within their systems—but don’t worry, they’ll tell you about it. In detail.

All big box stores have vendor manuals, these things are like 200 pages of guidelines on how they want to receive the product, because these companies are getting the product in from hundreds, if not thousands, of different vendors

When they get a shipment in they want it to all look the same no matter who it’s from. They want the barcode printed and placed like one inch from the top right corner of every box so that when they get it they know exactly where the barcode is going to be

Working within that framework is going to be a major change (and challenge) for anyone who’s used to shipping and fulfilling orders themselves.

Start outsourcing

If you’re at the point of working with major retailers, it’s time to bring in some professional fulfillment support.

You don’t need to become the warehouse logistics expert as well. Found value in outsourcing this. Basically shipped all your goods to a logistics center and then gave them the instructions on where it’s to go, when it was supposed to go, who it was going to, and then they did all the preparation for that shipment properly, so you wouldn’t get any fees.”

Um, fees?! Yeah, large retailers take their fulfillment process seriously, to the point that it will cost you if you’re not compliant.

If you don’t meet their requirements you get dinged. You get fees taken off your invoice. Like, ‘Oh, you put the label in the wrong spot? That’s $200.

You’ll save yourself a lot of time if you focus on your strengths, and don’t try to become a logistics expert on top of everything you’re already doing. And how should you find a fulfillment partner? Dan says it’s all about the legwork.

It’s not hard to do a Google search to find warehouse and logistics or fulfillment centers. Then you just have to interview them and be like, ‘Do you deal with big box store X, Y, Z?’

Getting your legal stuff in order

It’s not just your fulfillment process that needs to change as you grow. You’ll also need to look into legal protections for yourself and your business that might not have been necessary as a smaller shop.

You had to incorporate it because you wanted to separate the business from your personal life now that you’re being exposed to way more customers. If anything goes wrong, you don’t want to be personally liable. Plus, once you realized you were getting way more exposure.

It’s not just your own protection you need to worry about anymore, either, so make sure you read the fine print.

A lot of larger vendors will have specific requirements on how much business insurance you have. You had to up your business insurance because they wanted a certain amount of coverage.”

Managing your cashflow

Cashflow is always going to be a cornerstone of running your business, but it changes pretty drastically when you go from a small shop to working with big businesses.

The other big thing to prepare for is the payment terms. A lot of these big box stores won’t pay you for 60 days after receiving the shipment. Meanwhile, you’ve probably put out all your money 60 days before you deliver the product to them, so you’re out that money for almost 120 days. Cashflow can be a challenge.

Plus, a big order is great for volume, but take cautions that you’ll need to take another look at your numbers when you’re handling large shipments.

Once you’re dealing with these big orders, they’re great, but you have to output so much more because the volume’s so much bigger. Your margins are smaller because you’re dealing with a big box store, and you’re not getting paid for longer. It’s a different game.

If you have difficulty with preparing your store to work with big-box retailers, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.

Need help with fulfillment? We can help you! You can fill the form here: https://asiacommerce.net/south-east-asia-marketplace-distribution-fulfillment/

Why Your Business Needs a Fulfillment Warehouse

Why Your Business Needs a Fulfillment Warehouse

A fulfillment warehouse can help automate and handle the shipping for you. When you choose to work with a fulfillment warehouse, you will store your inventory at one of their warehouses. Depending on their level of integration with your shopping cart, when an order comes in your fulfillment partner will automatically be forwarded the order to pick, pack, and ship the purchase order on your behalf.

There are a number of advantages to using a fulfillment warehouse including:

  • Cheaper shipping rates. Because fulfillment warehouses ship such large quantities for multiple vendors, they receive cheaper shipping rates. They’re also integrated (usually) with all of the major shipping logistics and 3PL companies, giving you easier access to the widest range of shipping options.
  • Shorter shipping times. Strategically choosing your fulfillment partner and the warehouse to store your inventory means you can store your inventory closer to the bulk of your customers.

Fulfillment warehouses aren’t for everyone, though. There are several disadvantages as well that you need to consider.

  • Branding experience. Generally, if you use your packaging presentation as part of your branding experience, like Trunk Club, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a fulfillment warehouse that will work with that level of dedication and customization for your brand.
  • Additional costs. Although you will likely receive better shipping rates working with a fulfillment partner, there are other rates that need to be paid including what is commonly referred to as ‘pick and pack fees’ as well as warehouse storage fees.

Shipping is a fundamental part of your ecommerce business

Shipping is definitely a challenging aspect for any ecommerce business. Every business will have their own unique challenges they need to work through and overcome to develop the best and most efficient shipping strategy. Like many aspects of building your new ecommerce site, it will take time and tweaking to determine what works best.

Understanding all the variables and evolving your shipping strategy with your growing business is vital to its long term health and success. So once you think you have it figured out, don’t let it go stale. Reevaluate every six months to make sure you’re delivering the absolute best possible service and experience for the best possible price to your customers.

As you can tell by now, shipping can be tough. Deciding what to charge for shipping, then figuring out how you get it to your customer. There are so many decisions to make along the way.

If you have difficulty with packaging and shipping, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products, and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.

Need help with shipping? We can help you! You can fill the form here: https://asiacommerce.net/south-east-asia-marketplace-distribution-fulfillment/