Fingerhut has had an e-commerce presence since the early nineties, and over the years, the company has grown its selection of goods into an online department store. Fingerhut is a bit different than most of its competitors in the fact that it has no physical locations. Its competitors like Macy’s and JCPenney all started with their well-known brick and mortar locations, but Fingerhut started as a mail-order catalog and later adopted the e-commerce model. Even without physical locations, Fingerhut is a very popular platform, and there is high interest from manufacturers and brand owners to sell on their website. In this blog post, we have compiled all of the information you need about how to sell your products on Fingerhut.
Dropshipping With Fingerhut - A Step By Step Guide
The first step in this whole process is making the Fingerhut buying department aware of your brand. Fingerhut is a part of Bluestem Brands, Inc., a parent company for six additional brands; to initiate business with any of the seven companies, you have to go through the parent company. Other brands under this umbrella include Appleseed’s, Blair, Draper’s & Damon’s, Gettington, Haband, and Old Pueblo Traders. Bluestem is very clear on how they wish to be approached by potential suppliers. According to their website, to be considered as a supplier, potential suppliers have to “submit an email to [email protected] This email should be very brief, stating your product category, a few product details, and your contact information.” They ask that suppliers make this a simple email with no attachment or photos and warn that including these things will result in an automatic rejection.
Information you should include:
- Brief introduction of your brand
- Contact information
- Office and warehouse location
- Company website
- Product category
- Target audience
- Size of product selection
- Inventory management
- Connection capabilities
After you have sent this brief introductory email, you will be sent a followup acknowledgment email, and the appropriate buyer will review the information you provided. Once a buyer has reviewed your information, they will reach out to you if they are interested in doing business with you. Once the buyer has reached out, further information will be exchanged, and a call will likely be scheduled to learn more about your products and capabilities. From here, the buyer will decide if you are a good fit to become a new supplier.
New Supplier Setup
If you are selected to become a new supplier, you will have to go through a whole set-up process before your products can go live on the Fingerhut website. At the start of this process, suppliers will have to fill out a New Vendor Set-Up Form, providing all necessary company information. This completed form must then be sent to the buyer along with a Certificate of Insurance, a completed W-9, and a Manufacturer’s Certificate/Code of Conduct. Next, they will be sent an invitation to access the Bluestem system for registration, and they will then be given a Vendor ID number and Onboarding instructions.
Once a supplier has been given its Vendor ID, they can move on to the product set-up phase. Bluestem requires that all suppliers first watch the training videos they provide before they start submitting products. After the training videos have been completed, products and product information can be submitted through their designated portal. In addition to the training videos, new suppliers are given a training guide to help with the product upload process.
Suppliers will be able to upload products in bulk with a spreadsheet template, but as much information as possible must be filled out for each product. Products must be uploaded following all rules and requirements in place.
Bluestem has specific requirements for the product images you provide. All images must be of a particular size, dimension, type, and DPI. Images must be sent directly to Merchandising via EFT site by the vendor.
As a Bluestem vendor, you will be measured on your overall performance with a scorecard. The scorecard is used to track specific metrics that are important to Bluestem; these metrics include:
- Sales (measured in dollars)
- Sales (measured in units)
- Cost Purchases
- Inventory Turn
- Customer Cancels
- Product Markup
- Advertising Cost
Bluestem EDI Connection
Once you become a Bluestem supplier, you will be required to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to communicate back and forth. After your registration process, you will be contacted by the Bluestem EDI team with the necessary instructions and information. Dropship suppliers use EDI to communicate the following:
- Inventory feed
- Dropship purchase order
- Functional acknowledgment
- Ship confirmation
- Purchase order change
To maintain accurate inventory at all times, an 846 Inventory Advice Document must be sent daily. An 846 allows Bluestem to put the items with inventory up for sale and remove any items with zero inventory from view on the Fingerhut website.
Every item you ship out for Bluestem must be individually packaged and labeled in a polybag or box without a hanger. All product packaging to comply with the Toxicity of Packaging requirements and must have a warning label to help prevent child suffocation.
Anytime an order is placed for one of your products on the Fingerhut website, a purchase order is created. Purchase orders are then provided to the supplier along with a date by when it must be shipped. Orders must be shipped within the specified time to avoid late fees. Partial shipments and substitutions are not allowed; all orders must be shipped in full as ordered, or they have to be canceled. Accurate inventory should always be provided to ensure on-time shipping, and any delays in shipping must be communicated.
Bluestem Packing Slip and Shipping Labels
As a Fingerhut/Bluestem supplier, you will be required to include branded packing slips in each order you ship out. Branded packing slips must be created to create a consistent company look regardless of where orders ship from. Guidelines for how to create these packing slips will be provided, but all packing slips must be provided in English and Spanish and include basic information including the following:
- Bluestem Brands Division & Address
- Total Cost
- Customer Billing Address
- Product Code
- Customer Shipping Address
- Product Description
- Order Number
- Quantity per Product Code
- Customer Number
- Product Personalization Comments
- Invoice Date
- Thank You Statement
- Shipping & Handling
- Return Panel
- Tax Amount
- Exchange & Return Information
In addition to requirements for the packing slip, Fingerhut/Bluestem require dropship suppliers to create specific shipping labels. Shipping labels have to be addressed with the supplier name and a Bluestem address in the Ship-From section and the customer’s name and address in the Ship-To section. All shipping labels must also include the customer order number and the Bluestem Brand SKU. Samples of the packing slip and shipping label should be sent to Dropship Operations for approval, before the first shipment at [email protected]
Shipping Cancels and Returns
Fingerhut/Bluestem has specific shipping requirements in place to ensure all orders are shipped correctly and promptly. All drop-ship orders where Bluestem pays for the cost of the freight should be shipped as outlined in the vendor manual. Once an order has been shipped, the vendor is then required to provide the tracking number for each package. Payment for orders is only issued once a tracking number is provided.
In the event that a customer cancels an order, Bluestem will notify the vendor who must then immediately cancel and halt shipment of the order.
Customer Returns are to be sent to the Bluestem Distribution Center for processing.unless otherwise arranged for the vendor to process returns. In this case, a Dropship Undeliverable/Refused Returns Credit Form must be emailed to [email protected] within three business days after receipt of the returned product(s).
What Comes Next?
Once your products have gone live on the Fingerhut website, you should begin to receive orders. It is essential that you continue to follow all of the requirements they have in place to keep your metrics and vendor status healthy. At Right On Tech, we’re here to help vendors just like you stay ahead of their competition on websites like Fingerhut. We have created solutions designed with vendors in mind, and we would love to speak to you about how we can help you increase your sales. Contact Us for more information.