July 2014 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Does Your Website Help You Stand Out from Your Competition?

Tags: 3PL

Tom Heine, is CEO, Aljex Software, 732-357-8700

Q: Why is an effective company website important?

A: Your company's website is your image to the outside world, so it should be as attractive, relevant, and well-organized as possible. When a potential client or vendor checks you out, more than likely, they will judge you based on your website, so put your best foot forward.

If your site is outdated, consider investing in professional Web design services. There are many low-cost options—from pre-made templates to design students charging low rates—but don't just consider the cost. Look at the payback. Your website should be a moneymaker for you, rather than an expense. In the long run, hiring a top-notch Web design firm is cost effective, because extra business brings in extra profit.

Investing in a well-designed, interactive website can save you money in the long term by cutting down on your company's customer service needs. If your customers can easily use your website to view price quotes, create orders, track shipments, and print proof of delivery documents, for example, they will rely less on your customer service representatives, cutting your labor costs.

Q: What are some other ways companies can make or save money on their websites?

A: For third-party logistics (3PL) providers, creating easier carrier transactions is important. For example, carriers can now on-board themselves. Organizations such as Registry Monitoring Insurance Services, Truckstop.com, and TransCore offer automated on-boarding portals that work as part of the 3PL's website.

Well-designed 3PL websites allow carriers to view available shipments, and accept them online, offering load coverage even in the middle of the night—which ultimately yields better service for shippers and their customers. Some 3PL sites also permit carriers to enter their own check calls, and self-invoice using apps such as EPay manager, which streamlines the payment process.

Finally, if carriers have the option of choosing quick-pay from a 3PL's website, the 3PL may be able to receive a markup. Some 3PLs charge quick-pay discounts of six percent or more. Making this profitable transaction as easy as possible for carriers lets the 3PL pass the savings along to shippers.

Q: What else can companies do to enhance their websites?

A: Use your imagination! Consider all the functions customers or vendors call you about, then determine whether those tasks or questions can be automated on your website.

Computers and the Internet are relatively recent inventions, so now is the time to get as far ahead of the curve as you can. Think about what your customers and competitors will be doing in 2024, and try to get that going now.