What is the best strategy to fulfill e-commerce orders?
Multinational billion-dollar companies can afford internal logistics departments to handle their deliveries and other related operations. Unfortunately, small and medium businesses cannot afford the capital and time investment required. Product delivery logistics could limit the business expansion scope for individuals looking to start their businesses. Issues like long-distance delivery, cross-border processing, and warehouse management are often too complex to be handled alongside core business operations.
What is 3PL?
A third-party logistics service (3PL) is a company that handles supply chain activities on behalf of businesses. With a 3PL, you can focus on your core competencies while your customers enjoy top-notch delivery. Multinational billion-dollar companies can afford internal logistics departments to handle their deliveries and other related operations.
3PLs help to ensure that product delivery logistics are not a limitation while planning your business scope.
Why should your business partner with a 3PL?
Outsourcing your delivery and fulfillment is one of the most efficient strategies to run a business. While the 3PL handles logistics, you can focus on your core competencies. Here are some ways that companies are benefiting from 3PLs.
1. Reduce incurred costs
When you partner with a 3PL, you leverage their expertise, workforce, and technology to improve customer experience. Businesses that handle their deliveries and fulfillments must have a dedicated staff. If such companies covered the last mile of the delivery, they would have substantial cost challenges.
Most businesses in this category limit their service area so that their prices can remain competitive. For e-commerce businesses, competitive pricing is crucial – customers are only one Google search away from buying from the next vendor. After spending so much on last-mile delivery, business owners without a 3PL still worry about warehouse management. There is not enough time, financial, and human capital for small to medium businesses to address these challenges satisfactorily.
Partnering with a 3PL shifts this responsibility to a company with the required experience, staffing, and technology. Aside from the immediate financial cost of handling your delivery fulfillment, there is a risk of failure because of a lack of experience. Even with quality products, customers will explore other options if your delivery and fulfillment system is inadequate. For businesses with high customer lifetime value, delivery irregularities may cause incalculable losses.
2. Leverage the latest technology
Several delivery fulfillment technology solutions help businesses to improve customer satisfaction. However, business owners will lose their competitive edge without the required expertise. Consumers’ expectation on delivery and fulfillment is steadily increasing. Since they buy products from different vendors, they will undoubtedly compare their purchase experiences. If customers feel less satisfied with your brand’s delivery system than others, they may be tempted to switch.
Partnering with a 3PL service provider with the latest delivery technology will keep your business competitive without the added cost of developing a delivery service in-house.
3. Protect your business from disruptions
Even with the best delivery systems, interruptions and delays occur. Sometimes, they can be so challenging that customers do not get their deliveries for weeks. Under normal circumstances, these disruptions only happen occasionally. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, the ever-changing government policies have made logistics more complex. Restrictions and regulations change more frequently across national borders and between territories within a country.
3PLs keep your business ahead of the curve, preventing such unpleasant surprises from disrupting your operations. Even though more countries are opening up, experts still expect some changes in the future. Outsourcing your fulfilments to a dedicated 3PL will ensure that your customers get their purchases delivered regardless.
4. Easier expansion into international markets
For sellers that wish to expand internationally, logistics is one major hurdle they have to cross. After ensuring that the product fits the international market, they must figure out storage, transportation, and last-mile delivery concerns. Logistics concerns alone can discourage business owners from expanding as much as possible. With a 3PL, the whole process becomes much more manageable.
After partnering with a trusted 3PL, your foreign customers only have to complete the order on your website or any other e-commerce platform. Also, the customer experience is smooth since pricing is transparent. Both the goods and delivery can be paid for at once, while the business incurs no hidden or unexpected costs while crossing the borders.
How do you select a reliable 3PL partner?
Even though there are several 3PL services, not all will suit your business. Here are some pointers to look for while choosing a third-party logistics company.
1. Serviceable Locations
When choosing a 3PL partner, ensure that they can fulfill your deliveries in all your customers’ locations. For international deliveries, ensure that all the destination countries are covered. If you plan to expand internationally, you should consider your planned international expansion locations.
Aside from e-commerce order fulfillment, an effective 3PL service should provide the necessary support for your inventory and other aspects of logistics. The system should give you up-to-date data, business intelligence, and cloud support.
3. Value-added Services
Your business needs a 3PL that puts your brand image first for maximum customer satisfaction. Aside from making the order from your website, the packaging and delivery are the physical connection customers have with your brand. The wrong 3PL service may create an incorrect brand perception in the minds of your consumers.
Stand out from the competition with Boxzooka
Craft a memorable brand experience with us at Boxzooka. With an extensive distribution location in the US and China, Boxzooka can help you expand your brand domestically and internationally. In addition, Boxzooka’s proprietary warehouse management software provides you control of your inventory from your handheld devices' comfort. Finally, Boxzooka puts your company’s reputation first with customizable packaging that accurately represents your brand to your customers.