Looking for a New Logistics Provider? First Things First
The competitive e-commerce landscape calls for strategic partnerships between growing businesses and logistics providers that put their customers first.
As e-commerce causes structural changes across the shipping and logistics space, it can be challenging for business owners to find a logistics provider that’s as invested in their business’s success as they are. Indeed, with the breakneck pace of modern fulfillment and the exacting demands put on sellers by industry heavyweights such as Amazon, knowing what to look for in a 3PL or ISP — and what to avoid — is difficult, especially for businesses that are trying to make their way in the e-commerce economy.
For sellers looking for a new logistics provider, a great place to start and an important criterion to have is customer care. That is, of the 3PLs and ISPs you’re considering, which among them really put their customers first?
While it’s important to invest in a partnership that fits your needs and your budget, it’s equally important to understand what you’re getting with any given price tag. You’re looking for a logistics provider that you can work with for years going forward — a trusted industry expert you can rely on to weather an increasingly challenging fulfillment landscape — and that means that cutting corners could cost you down the road.
As you prepare to choose a logistics provider, consider what your business needs to excel. Cutting-edge software? A history of e-commerce success? Reliable shipping strategies? All of these are a must — and failing to invest in them could make things uncomfortable sooner rather than later.
Advanced Management Software
Whichever logistics provider you choose, they should be able to offer sophisticated warehouse, transportation, and order management systems (WMS, TMS, and OMS, respectively). Each of these has a part to play in the fulfillment pipeline, whether it’s monitoring inventory, routing delivery vehicles, or synthesizing orders from omnichannel platforms.
Without top-tier WMS, TMS, and OMS platforms in place, it can get difficult to provide your customers with the kind of fulfillment services they’ve come to expect. Inefficient inventory management can lead to backorders, for instance, and subpar routing can lead to delays that may cause customers to bring their business elsewhere in the future.
Keeping up with the demands of e-commerce fulfillment can put any supply chain to the test. Between the growing expectation of fast, free shipping and the interest in compelling packaging that inspires joy, businesses need logistics providers that can help them expand their customer base on online marketplaces.
Lacking the infrastructure to do so, ill-equipped logistics provider may cost you crucial online business. Plus, if you choose to sell through Fulfillment by Amazon or Fulfillment by Merchant, you’ll need to be able to hit key metrics in order to stay in good standing and continue doing business through the platform.
Responsive Customer Service
Now more than ever, customers expect to be part of the fulfillment process. This means that they want regular updates, alerts if things are delayed, and responsive customer service should they have any questions. The best logistics providers will be able to offer your customers this kind of support — especially if they have the technology to keep tabs on shipments’ location, status, and more.
If a logistics provider can’t respond to customer queries, however, you may be in trouble. Patrons who feel that their time isn’t being valued or that they’re not being heard often do more than shop somewhere else — they warn friends, family, and other potential customers to steer clear of your business.
Investing in the Best Fulfillment Partner for Your Needs
Ultimately, the best logistics provider for your business will depend on a range of factors, including the size of your budget, the scope of your specific needs, and the nature of your business. While you inevitably will want to find a fulfillment partner that can deliver value to your operation at a price point you can afford, remember to consider what role customer care plays in their overall business model.