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May 28, 2019

E-Commerce Fulfillment Expectations: How Fast is Fast Enough?

Online shopping is revolutionizing the way consumers and businesses interact with each other. Classic customer engagement tactics, like friendly staff, easy return options, and readily available product choices, are giving way to new benefits found online. Overnight delivery, lower prices, and browsing convenience seem to rule what online shoppers prefer when satisfying their cyber-savvy sweet tooth’s.

As more consumers choose online purchasing methods over the classic “shop-til-you-drop” mall excursions, retailers need to introduce additional service options and purchasing methods to accommodate this latest batch of consumers. And, when businesses do opt to onboard online options, they are often faced with a new host of logistical issues to maneuver.

One such issue is managing how to get the product into the hands of its purchaser, within a timeframe the customer expects. With online shopping, the traditional “cash and carry” system is no longer valid; new expectations have been established that need to be met. Fortunately, there are logistics providers already in place to teach e-commerce newbies the basics of what they need: 3PL solutions.

3PL Meets Fulfillment Expectations

Mega online retailers, like Amazon or Wal-Mart, have set high fulfillment and shipping standards customers respond too and, are starting to expect from other e-commerce retailers. Overnight, two-day, or even free shipping gets people’s attention and encourages them to take their full shopping carts all the way to the final, “pay now” button. Retailers trying to keep up with such stiff online competition should invest in 3PL services to meet their customer's expectations.

Fulfillment Speed Matters

Speed of order fulfillment matters to today’s online shoppers. Additionally, consumers want to stay informed during the fulfillment and shipping process. And they want their purchases shipped for free.

That's a lot of expectations, and not every retailer can keep up, especially without help. Enlisting the services of supply chain experts that know how to streamline fulfillment expectations, without bankrupting a business, can make the difference between business success and failure.

Consumer Care Matters

Keeping customers happy in the online world is a bit different than in a brick-and-mortar retail set-up. But, it’s just as important. Company resources that once went to providing smiling, well-presented employees in khaki pants should shift those resources to more cyber-friendly marketing practices.

Cyber-friendly customer care options can be created during the critical interim period when clients are waiting for their purchased package to arrive. Retailers who openly extend customer care to include the order fulfillment and shipping phase of the transaction likely see more repeat customers. Customer care after a sale has finished is a new concept that many retailers find it daunting. But, that interim period between payment and parcel delivery is crucial for e-commerce retailers to maintain good customer relations.

Businesses that partner with 3PL providers for customer care during the final phase of the customer service chain can easily create positive online experiences for their clients. Which, in turn, leads to happy customers who happily return for more.

But, what exactly is 3PL?

What is 3PL?

Third-party logistics, known by supply chain insiders as 3PL, is the term used when describing the outsourcing of one, many, or all facets of a company’s supply chain management. Using 3PL providers can infuse new life into businesses trying to tackle the daunting world of e-commerce on their own. Order fulfillment, shipping and tracking, and even customer care can be successfully outsourced and managed with the right 3PL provider.

Standard services 3PL companies offer that improve a businesses order fulfillment and shipping rates include:

  • Warehousing Solutions. Minimize costs and time with warehousing options that incorporate storage and distribution services in one location.
  • Shipping and Tracking. Shipping and tracking services using leading-edge technology keeps your customers and logistics team member aware and informed.
  • 24 Hour Service. Meeting customer demands often require round-the-clock commitment. 3PL providers are there to keep delivery promises to customers in check.
  • Customized Solution. No two businesses are the same. Just as each online shopper has unique needs, so too do their preferred retailers. 3PL companies partner with businesses to provide them with logistic solutions on their terms.

Online shoppers are a fickle breed of consumers. They’re known to abandoning full shopping carts and spending excessive amounts of time, “just browsing.” Holding consumer attention in the online cybersphere requires marketing finesse that goes beyond welcoming friendly faces. Low prices, website speed, and cost of shipping are all factors that weigh heavily on the online shopper’s mind.

3PL solutions can take businesses to the next level by helping them address the new realities brought on by rapidly expanding e-commerce options. Streamlining gaps created by the physical distance between online consumers and the delivery of their purchase

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