Your ecommerce business will only grow as much as your ability to get goods to your customers. Scaling your ecommerce logistics program to accommodate larger and more frequent orders will give your business the room you need to grow. See how you can increase your logistics team without losing your mind or your business.
As an individual, fulfilling orders with your family members working from inventory in your garage cannot work as your business grows. By scaling up your logistics team, you’ll be able to give your customers faster shipping. With big companies like Amazon and Walmart offering next-day or same-day shipping, you need to be on top of your shipping game to compete. Scaling up your logistics team can help with this.
A larger logistics team allows for multiple shipment locations. This is the secret behind the larger companies’ fast delivery times. Adopt a strategy of having product in warehouses across the country or world. This will lessen shipment times for all your customers since the products have a shorter distance to travel. With two or three distribution centers around the country, you can get your products to most of the US in two days. Companies that do this can offer two-day shipping to 80 percent of Americans.
Outsource to 3PL
Third party logistics, 3PL, is a means of outsourcing your logistics to another company. These companies take care of storing, picking, packing, shipping and returns. Your inventory goes to the 3PL’s fulfillment center. There, the company takes charge of fulfilling your orders. Be careful when using these options. You’ll want to make sure you have carefully planned agreements in place with contingency plans in the event of a fulfillment center stopping service.
If working conditions are important to you, discuss the warehouse operations of your 3PL. Many fulfillment centers have harsh conditions for their employees, who barely make minimum wage. A warehouse can have over 4000 employees, filling your orders and those of other companies. To get the most work for the lowest cost, employees often have long days with few breaks. Discuss conditions with your 3PL to see if you can negotiate for a warehouse that treats its workers well.
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Focus on Customer Service
As your ecommerce business scales, your customer problems will also grow. It’s a matter of statistics. If a given percentage complain, a similar percentage will complain when you have more customers. This will mean more customer problems. Plan for addressing customer complaints even before you begin to scale your business. Many problems arise from shipments arriving late or not as expected. Clearly outline your return policies on your website. And refer all customers to those policies.
Spend time on social media interacting with your customers to address concerns or questions about orders. This will go a long way toward smoothing over problems. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, most customers become upset over the way their complaints are handled. Take care of your customers by keeping conversations open. And address any questions or concerns in a timely manner.
Lower Shipping Costs
Depending on what you sell, your shipment costs could exceed your product price. But if you want to compete with the likes of Walmart and Amazon, which offer free shipping on certain orders, you’ll need to cut your shipping costs. Another advantage of 3PLs with multiple distribution centers is the reduced time it takes to ship. This lowers shipping costs for you.
If you cannot offer free shipping on everything, offer shipping deals on certain products. Another option is to cut shipment costs when customers buy a minimum amount. Or offer faster shipping at a premium price and cut shipping costs for slower delivery.
Incorporate Services into Your Products
You need to make yourself different. Incorporating services such as gift wrapping or gift boxes are means of making your company stand out. Gift wrapping becomes a part of the logistics of your company, especially when you’re dealing with 3PL fulfillment centers. Personalization, coupons and free gifts are additional ways a 3PL can help you make your shipments more special for your customers. If your 3PL offers these services, consider taking them up on them to give your ecommerce business a competitive edge online.
Bigger is Better for Ecommerce Logistics Program
In a world where major retailers have hold of a substantial portion of the market, you need to stay competitive. Planning for growth of your business is a good place to start. The best means of doing this is scaling your logistics. It’ll allow you to focus on making your business better while leaving room for growth now and in the future.