For the first time in 2017 since the mid-2000’s, 3PL warehouses are in a position of both strength and demand. This factor enables 3PL operators the opportunity and advantage of building lasting relationships with important customers, suppliers and retailers they want to work with.
This position also now requires that warehouses and fulfilment centres step up in terms of quality service in order to meet increased demand. The only way 3PLs can succeed in this new environment is if they become equipped to deal with the industry’s biggest challenge today which is the escalation of customer and prospect expectations.
The elements responsible for the increase in customer demands have been said to be the consistent discoveries and breakthroughs in technology. Web-based, e-Commerce and mobile technologies have assisted in the excessive growth of e-Commerce sales worldwide. This growth is already serving as an advantage to 3PLs who can handle e-Commerce fulfilment. In fact, for many of these 3PLs, B2C e-Commerce fulfilment has grown from a side business to a main source of revenue.
It does happen however, that this same improvement has e-Commerce consumers demanding access to more data and information. Shoppers now expect to view product options in real-time on their mobile devices. They also expect to be able to buy online without having to be subjected to security concerns, and want to have delivery options available to them.
Being able to accommodate and fulfil B2C e-Commerce contains a whole set of expectations too when it comes to processing orders. To be successful in this environment, 3PL providers must be able to be proficient in a whole new range of services to ensure that they represent their retail customers’ brand images well. This happens in making sure that packaging for example, is presented properly – from the box the item is packed in, to the pre-printed custom labelling, package contents and neatness of the packaging. The secret to presentable packages is always in the details.
Brand presentation is one of the most important requirements to get right for 3PLs who want to make profit from the success of B2C fulfilment. One of the main reasons that could stop a retailer from outsourcing fulfilment to a 3PL warehouse is concern of failure to control brand presentation so it’s a very crucial aspect to get correct.
At the end of it all, building strong relationships and providing quality service is still crucial in maintaining long-term success. 3PLs who can master exceeding customer expectations will have an on-going strategic advantage. Here are a few fulfilments to take care of in order for 3PL providers to achieve that:
Build Seamless Connections With Multiple Sales Channels
Accurate, real-time inventory, pick-up and delivery information aids in creating great e-Commerce fulfilment service. This requires integrations right throughout the length of the fulfilment chain. The most basic of requirements become null and void if the connections or information in this chain are inaccurate.
Select the Right e-Commerce Engine
The right e-Commerce engine that fits should be inexpensive, easy to integrate and work seamlessly with a Warehouse Management System. Anything less than this could cause 3PLs to lose valued customers or potential business.
Adhere to the Highest Standards in the Fulfilment Process
It is very important that 3PLs handle every item as thought it was their own as customers are entrusting them with their brand image, something that is their most valuable asset.
Maintain Strong Relationships With Delivery Partners
When it comes to e-Commerce fulfilment, delivery services that happen at the last minute pose as a major challenge as they are often beyond a 3PL’s direct control. Having and maintaining strong relationships helps with this and becomes key in managing problems that have to do with lost packages, or damaged deliveries. Strong partner communication and data backed up from your Warehouse Management System are very powerful.
Provide Real-Time Visibility into Inventory and Order Shipment Status Worldwide
With technological advancement, retailers are now expected to provide real-time product availability, delivery and pick-up options that are available around the clock. This duty then becomes the responsibility of 3PLs who then have to have proper technologies that take care of today’s mobile e-Commerce shoppers.
Now that you know how 3PLs meet customer and prospect expectations, do you Need Third Party Logistics? Find out the Pros and Cons Of Asset and Non-asset Based 3PL first!