The new wave of online sellers—newcomers either to the marketplace or to third party logistics providers (3PLs)—will need expert service at an affordable rate, but what does that look like, and what do these new sellers need?
3PLs are by nature an outsource service
When does the E-commerce retailer know they need the services of a 3PL? Simply, the vendor must evaluate the cost versus volume. When the one outweighs the other, it is time to outsource to a 3PL or invest in their own warehouse facilities.
If a business is seeking the help of a 3PL, they are choosing to outsource their order fulfilment, because their sales have increased, and they can no longer feasibly keep up with fulfilling the order volume themselves.
When considering what services, provisions, and processes an online retailer needs from a 3PL, and therefore which of these you, as a 3PL service provider, need to offer your clients, think like the end customer. This insight will answer most questions organically.
Common sales conversion drivers in the online marketplace are:
Or to humanise the message, today’s average online consumer has a three-fold focus:
- What do they want? – Their order
- When do they want it? – Today
- How do they want it? – Without fault
Essential service requirements
Clear pricing structures, SKUs (stock keeping units), adequate cubic space, shipping savings – these are order fulfilment basics and will be virtually the same in any commercial warehousing facility. What sets you apart from the rest is the way you manage your processes, people, and deliver with professional precision. Let’s unpack the 3PL fundamentals.
From the time the orders come into the warehouse, your people pick then pack the products before shipping them out for the final mile. A major reason why 3PLs are chosen by retailers is you can streamline your processes and utilise your human workforce more efficiently.
Reverse Logistics for returned items
Whole order or single product returns can diminish a retailer’s bottom line, and eat away any profits they have worked so hard to establish. The cost of reverse logistics often exceeds the product’s worth by recuperating the product.
Without the expertise of a 3PL to automate and accommodate E-businesses, returns would decimate the online retail industry and throw many into financial ruin.
Real-time stock visibility and client access, multiple business and courier integrations, along with accurate reporting that is made transparent and available to you and your clients at any time is an essential offering to win continued business and offer your clients what they need.
Brand and image
Consideration also goes into branded packaging – choice in sustainable, reusable, recyclable materials. 3PLs offering plastic alternatives and enviro-sound practices, including taking responsibility for the collection and disposal of used packing materials. These enviro-care practices will pay dividends.
Even if this isn’t your area and is undertaken by another partner, companies given more choice over their branding from the time it is picked through to the end-user will feel that they have more control over their image and will be happier with the 3PL who deliver on quality.
Specialised picking and packing
A 3PL worth its salt will provide the expertise and processes to guarantee quality assurance and brand presentation of their services and the products of their clients.
A 3PL’s labour force and facilities are what drives their continued popularity and existence. With great pickers and packers and streamlined procedures, 3PLs can deliver bigger and faster while maintaining their client’s brand’s reputation.
Keeping up with the latest technology and software, and by using software such as Mintsoft warehouse and order management solution, is crucial for your 3PL firm. With transparent data management across the entire supply chain, a wide range of shipping and courier integrations will ensure your business of taking care of others’ businesses continues indefinitely.
The bottom line
Online sellers want to know that the 3PL they partner with has their back when it comes to providing quality assurance and protecting their brand reputation. They need to know their products will be getting to their clients as and when they should. Any 3PL wanting to deliver the ‘wow’ factor for their clients will look to provide the essential services, offer choices, and back their operations with the software technology to power their outputs.
Get in touch with Mintsoft, the specialised software solution for both your 3PL and your E-commerce clients today and have your own demo of how it can work for you.