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Ryon Flack

10 Customer Experience Trends in 2020

By | Newegg Bridge Customer Service

Every company understands that the customer experience is an important one. Developing a seamless experience from the initial encounter, through the sale and beyond helps you create loyal customers that continue with your business into the future.

Consider the following 10 customer experience trends in 2020 and keep your company thriving in an ever-changing market. Integrating these tips into your business plan helps you build a strong reputation and impacts the overall impression of your company.

Understanding the Customer Experience

Before diving into the top 10 consumer trends, it’s important to understand what the customer experience actually is. Through a combination of both your products and your staff, your business creates the customer experience. The overall quality and benefits of a product help sway potential clients towards a purchase. Individual staff members and their customer service interactions add to the decision. If every employee strives to provide friendly service that meets the customers’ needs and shows that they are important as individuals, they further increase the chances of making a sale.

Through these positive customer experiences, your business creates repeat buyers, promotes brand advocacy and improves business growth. The key is understanding that customers have a variety of purchasing options, and how you go about improving their experience every step of the way plays a key role in them choosing to do business with your company over a rival. By being aware of the following customer experience trends in 2020, you set your business up for growth and improved revenue.

1. Mobile Platforms Are the Priority

Consumers today rely on mobile devices for their researching and buying decisions, and that is only expected to become more of a factor in 2020. Mobile platform usage is one of the most important digital customer experience trends, and that means your business must be prepared to meet those needs. Having a responsive website that works well on mobile devices is a necessity. In fact, research shows that 50% of consumers may even stop doing business with a company if their mobile site doesn’t work well, even if they actually like the organization. Add in that 57% won’t even recommend a business if the site isn’t mobile friendly, and it becomes even more important. Take the time to create an online presence that loads quickly, employs intuitive site searches and offers simple navigation on mobile devices and help ensure your business is in line with customer experience trends in 2020.

2. Services Are More Important Than Products

A surprising customer experience trend for many businesses is that consumers are more interested in the services that your business provides than they are the products. Rather than focusing on new products for consumers, businesses need to think about the services they provide that help customers with their needs. According to research, this shift to experiences means that companies need to focus on personalized service offerings and teaching consumers rather than only providing products.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Consumers today have more trust in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics-based products that make different aspects of their lives easier. Part of your company’s focus on digital customer experience trends should include the potential for products that assist with organization, simplifying household chores and providing a better experience. Virtual assistants are becoming more popular because they meet the demands of fast-moving customers. Smart home appliances add efficiency and help make daily interactions simpler for consumers, and these trends are only expected to grow.

4. AI Technologies Help Individualize the Customer Experience

Buyers today focus on their overall experiences with your business throughout the buying process. AI technologies give businesses the ability to access and utilize a variety of information from each consumers’ interactions, and harnessing that knowledge is easier than ever. Using natural-language processing and machine learning AI, businesses can create personalized experiences that align with the top 10 consumer trends. By harnessing information and mapping customer data, businesses can develop personalized interactions that focus on the preferences and choices of their customers.

5. Self-Service is Paramount

Research shows that customers are turning more towards helping themselves than relying on company support agents. When it comes to interacting with your business, 91% of shoppers prefer using a knowledge base, rather than reaching out to customer support. Consumers prefer finding their own answers quickly, which means that websites need to be searchable and provide clear navigation and FAQs that help customers find the information they want.

6. Hyper-Personalized Customer Experiences

Another important customer experience trend in 2020 is the expectation of hyper-personalized service. Research from Accenture shows that 75% of today’s buyers appreciate businesses that know their names and focus on recommending products that are related to previous purchases. Tailoring website navigation and the buying experience to a client’s previous and current interactions helps boost their confidence in your company and increase revenue over a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service.

7. A Strong Business Culture Matters

Customers today care about the internal culture of the companies with which they do business. A growing customer experience trend in 2020 is a focus on companies addressing the uncomfortable topics in society rather than ignoring them. Consumers appreciate the businesses that focus on their employees and internal practices and create a cohesive culture throughout the organization. Companies that provide training and resources that improve employee empowerment are already taking advantage of some of the top 10 consumer trends.

8. Positive Customer Experiences Are Vital

Providing positive customer experiences continues to be an important component in business growth. Customers who have positive experiences share them with more than six others. Countering that, those that have negative experiences share with 15 or more. This means that focusing on every aspect of customer service and keeping all interactions positive will help your brand gain recognition. Generally, unhappy customers don’t provide feedback — they just leave. One way to counteract the negativity is to institute follow-up practices. Reaching out to buyers and making sure they are happy after the purchase could help your business find areas that are lacking and improve them for more positive experiences.

9. Omnichannel Contact

One of the most important customer experience trends in 2020 is meeting the demands of consumers through omnichannel contact. Customers want to decide how they contact and interact with your business on their terms. Providing seamless interactions across devices, platforms and channels improves the customer experience and helps increase the chances of a consumer using your products and services. Research and product searches happen across multiple platforms, including social media, websites, telephone conversations and in-store interactions. Streamlining these channels and mapping customer interactions keeps buyers happy and helps build cohesive interactions.

10. Data Transparency

Data collection and use is a fundamental business practice that accelerates growth. However, today’s customers want to know exactly how your business uses their personal data. Providing transparency in how you collect their data, how you use it and what you share impacts the customer experience. Consumers expect ethical practices, and knowing how you use their information without them having to ask increases trust in your brand.

Each of these customer experience trends in 2020 gives your business a unique opportunity to meet the demands of your clients. As services become more important to customers than your products, making sure you provide a tailored experience improves the chances of growth and increased revenue.

Tips to Improve Your Customer Support Interactions

By | Newegg Bridge Customer Service

Learning how to improve customer service interactions helps businesses maintain client satisfaction and develop long-term retention. While you may have excellent products and services, your customer support staff is the driving force behind higher sales. As the faces of your business, these employees represent your company from the first interaction. As such, making sure that they are providing good service offers customer interaction benefits that include business growth and improved satisfaction throughout client relationships. Add the following tips to your new-hire and ongoing training regiments and help make sure that you help keep customers happy and fulfill their expectations throughout the sales process.

Add a Personal Touch

Every business knows the importance of customer interactions that are positive. Every bad review gets way more attention than a good one, and studies show that up to 80% of people often choose another business based on bad reviews. Add in the fact that clients are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one, and you begin to see the importance of making sure you always work to improve customer support interactions. One of the easiest ways to improve customer service is by making sure that the client feels like more than just another sale.

Using a customer’s name goes a long way towards making them comfortable and keeping your business memorable. At each point of contact, whether through direct interaction, a phone call or a simple email, you show your clients that they matter. Calling a customer by their first or last name, depending on the overall feel of your business, instantly humanizes the interactions and makes them friendlier. Adding this same touch to emails, rather than sending impersonal form communications, helps achieve the same customer interaction benefits –your client feels remembered and important. Additionally, Experian marketing research found that personalized emails led to 41% higher click-through rates over standard form communications.

Make Sure Your Representatives Have the Right Customer Service Skills

When considering how to improve customer service, making sure that your staff has the right skills should be an important consideration. One of the most important of these skills is adaptability. Each customer your staff encounters behaves differently, and has vast differences in moods, attitudes and demeanor. Staff members that can interact with any customer and adapt to their personalities and moods improves the outcome of each interaction. Additionally, having patience and empathy with each customer facilitates growth and retention long after the phone call ends. The ability to remain cheerful and ensure that customers experience clear communications also add to improved customer support. Making sure that all of your staff displays these skills consistently helps ensure that each customer is satisfied at the end of their purchase or phone call.

Turn Mistakes Into Positive Interactions

While your company may do everything possible to keep customers happy, mistakes can still happen. Whether these mistakes are due to miscommunication or even the client doing something wrong, these instances and how they are handled are where the importance of customer interaction becomes even more noticeable. Correcting internal mistakes is something that companies do because it just makes sense. However, going that extra step and handling customer mistakes in the same fashion can seriously boost the overall image of the business – even for those that are not currently customers. When companies take that extra initiative and help clients deal with something they have actually caused, customers are more likely to tell their friends and post on social media about the incident. When this happens, it can even boost the company’s popularity as it gets shared around the internet. Take advantage of these avenues and make sure your customer service staff know that they should always take the initiative and make situations better whenever they can.

Communicate Across Multiple Channels

Shopping for goods and services occurs across a variety of channels, and if you are wondering how to improve customer service, meeting your clients where they are is an important way to do it. Customers today have little free time, which means that your customer support staff must make the most of it during their interactions. Consider how clients and potential customers can interact with your staff. Make sure you have channels in place for email, phone, chat, in-person and social media support. When training staff in these areas, ensure that they understand that it is almost always best to engage the customer in the same manner that he or she reached out initially. If someone emails, respond via the same channel rather than calling the person on the phone. While there may be times this is not possible, doing so goes a long way in improving satisfaction.

 

Employing all or even some of these tips will help your business see important customer interaction benefits. While boosted sales are always important, making sure that customers are satisfied with their customer support can be the difference between you and another company. Focusing on the customer as a human and developing a rapport keeps your business memorable, and provides the added bonus of making clients want to continue using your products or services because they feel valued.

Newegg Bridge

When Does Outsourcing Customer Support Make Sense?

By | Newegg Bridge Customer Service

Beyond the products and services you offer, your customer support team has the potential to make or break your business. These staff members are the face of your company and are frequently the first human interaction a potential customer receives. Not having enough resources for optimal customer service staffing, or even having the wrong people in those positions, can drastically affect your brand’s image and loyalty.

For many companies, the answer for this is outsourcing. Discover the benefits of outsourcing customer support and how it can help you build your brand in ways that keep your customers satisfied and prevent the risks associated with poor service.

Resource Management Improvements

Whether your company is already established or just getting started, outsourcing customer support helps you better use the resources you have. Imagine how your current processes might improve if your employees only focused on daily operational tasks. Consider the amount of time managers spend on dealing with customer calls and issues. These are just one aspect of the benefits of outsourcing customer support.

When you take the weight of support calls off of your current employees, they have more time to dedicate to daily tasks that improve the business. Outsourcing also reduces interruptions in these tasks, helping streamline the processes and making sure that important details aren’t missed. When your employees can focus on operations, and your managers have time to deal with issues and emergencies, your business becomes more solid and provides better service to your clients.

Improved Customer Service

Whether you need traditional or e-commerce customer service outsourcing, your business will see internal and external improvements. Most businesses simply don’t have enough staff to handle the amount of calls that come in each day. With outsourced customer support, you help ensure that each customer receives a timely response to their questions and issues. Call centers generally have a high number of employees, which means there are enough team members to address the needs of your customers when they need it.

Customers who experience long wait times or have to wait hours for a response tend to be unhappy with the service. This means they are more likely to share their negative experiences with others, which can damage your brand’s image. Having a call center available that answers quickly boosts the customer experience and keeps them happier throughout the process.

Meet Customers on Their Terms

One consideration when thinking about how to outsource customer service is the methods that buyers use to reach you. Most call centers provide a mix of telephone, live chat, social media and email representatives, which means that your customers can reach out on their terms. One of the important customer experience trends is providing service in ways that clients want it. Being able to answer their questions and concerns quickly using the same communication platforms they prefer bolsters confidence in your organization and often improves brand loyalty. Both of these significantly impact revenue and repeat customers.

Another important benefit of outsourcing customer support is multi-language capabilities that help you meet your customers’ needs. If you have an online presence, it is likely that your customer base comes from all over the world. Outsourcing your customer support helps ensure that clients can speak to someone in their native language, which greatly reduces the chances of miscommunication. This also makes customers more comfortable when contacting your business, simply because they know someone will be available that understands them and can discuss their questions and concerns easily.

Reduced Need For Employee Training

Training employees can cost your business thousands over a single year. Rather than spending years grooming employees into efficient and friendly customer service representatives, you can use those funds towards other areas. Eliminating the need to train and instill certain values into employees that answer phone calls gives your business more time and money to spend on finding highly skilled candidates for other positions. Additionally, administrative employees have more time to focus on their specific tasks rather than phone calls, which helps improve efficiency.

How to Outsource Customer Service

Now that you know some of the benefits of outsourcing customer support, you need to understand how to do so correctly. It is important to have a clear understanding of what outsourcing should accomplish, and what the main goals are for the support team.

Make sure to think about your customers and how they typically interact with your business. If you have contact across different platforms, you need to consider call centers that meet those demands. Contact different outsourcing partners before making your choice. Carefully consider what they offer and how their previous clients rate them. Finally, take the time to create a training process for onboarding the company. Make sure to include methods for showing your business culture, quality standards and the type of customers you have.

By completing these steps, your business can quickly start enjoying the benefits of outsourcing customer support with a company that aligns with your goals and the needs of your customers.

Order Fulfillment: What It Is and Why Getting It Right Is Essential for Your Business

By | Shipping, Supply Chain Management

Order fulfillment includes the entire process of receiving, processing, picking, packing and shipping orders to your customers. Without a good order fulfillment strategy in place, customers may never receive their product, or have the wrong items shipped. When either of these occurs, the likelihood of a customer choosing to continue using your company is slim. Understanding the processes and using them correctly for both in-house and e-commerce order fulfillment will help your business retain customers.

Understanding Order Fulfillment Processes

The order fulfillment process includes several different aspects that all play a key role in improving your customer service. The first part of this process is sourcing your products. This can be items you manufacture or products you purchase for selling to others.

Secondly, you have to know where your items are stored. If you handle everything in-house, then you likely have a warehouse or similar storage area depending on your needs. This space needs to provide ample room for both storage and picking of those items. The layout should also facilitate pulling orders in a timely manner.

The final areas of the order fulfillment process is the packing and shipping of your products. For successful completion of orders, it helps to have a specific area set up for these steps. The area should have access to everything needed for packaging, along with a computer system that helps packers know exactly what should be in each order, the shipping method and any special considerations like delayed shipping or rush orders.

In-House Vs E-Commerce Order Fulfillment Strategies

The first step in choosing the right order fulfillment process is determining whether you need in-house or e-commerce options. In-house strategies are for those who keep all of their products onsite and ready for shipping. This works well for manufacturers and others who produce the items or have a ready supply available. Being able to fulfill orders in-house gives you the opportunity to control all aspects of your business. However, as the demand for your offerings increase, you may need additional space for storage.

E-commerce order fulfillment provides options for online retailers. These retailers may have the capacity to handle in-house processing and storage. For those that don’t have the space, options like third-party logistics (3PL) or drop-shipping may work better. Third-party logistics companies store, package and ship the products you purchase and sell. You remain in communication with them about your needs, sales and inventory, and they handle the rest. These companies generally provide services for more than one retailer. Using a 3PL frees up your time for other business management aspects, and often provides faster shipping methods for your customers.

Drop-shipping options are suitable for clients that don’t have their own products. These companies let you sell products without pre-purchasing, and they provide storage and inventory management. With a drop-shipping company, you purchase the items after you sell them, eliminating the need to maintain your own storage facility. Drop shipping requires you to relinquish control over the packaging and shipment of your products, which means that items you sell won’t have your unique brand on them. This option also requires you to maintain communication with the shipper about customer service issues and needs.

How to Improve Order Fulfillment

The first step in improving your order fulfillment is going over your current processes with a critical eye. Are there any gaps that lead to lost or late orders? Do you have the capacity to continue providing optimal services to your customers? Is your storage facility the correct size for your growing business? Are you able to provide the most cost-effective shipping methods for each customer? These are all questions to answer prior to creating your own order fulfillment strategy.

In-House Improvement Options

For companies that handle their own in-house order fulfillment, there are ways to improve key steps in the order fulfillment process that are cost effective and increase efficiency. One of the most important is optimization techniques is slotting. This is the practice of placing the most popular items closer to the starting area of your warehouse. This decreases the time needed for workers to pick products and facilitates quicker same-day orders. If you have a mixture of heavy, light and fragile items, slotting needs to accommodate those characteristics. When choosing the layout, make sure pickers get to the lightest and most fragile items last to minimize breakage.

Batch picking is another consideration for high-quantity order fulfillment processes. With this process, pickers go through a list of needed items to complete multiple orders. To maximize picking speed, this option requires a consideration for where items are stored for each order, and how long it will take workers to reach those areas. Generally, having a computer system capable of mapping out the picking routes facilitates this process. This method often works best when pickers can sort items into multiple order boxes on a cart. Some methods also map out picking routes based on bays, which minimizes congestion in certain areas of the warehouse.

Both of these order fulfillment strategy improvements do require upfront planning, and may result in layout changes in your facility. However, once the plans are instituted, they can drastically reduce the time it takes for employees to pick and pack each order for shipment. Improving speed is one of most important key steps in the order fulfillment process, as it directly affects your shipping times and handling costs for each order you receive.

Is it Time to Change Your Order Fulfillment Strategy?

Growing businesses may get to the point where their current processes just don’t meet customer demands. When your facility becomes too crowded with products, or your supply chain can no longer keep up with demand, those are clear signs that it’s time for an update to your order fulfillment process. Carefully considering your options for 3PL and drop-shipping methods can make sense for many smaller businesses. For companies experiencing incredible growth, it may be time to look for warehouse and office space that can house all aspects of your business. When choosing to move to a larger space, taking the time to plan out your picking areas and routes offers improvements in picking, packing and shipping every order. Additionally, making these changes has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of time each order takes and increase revenue as you are better equipped to handle higher sales.

Once you have a plan in place for where your business needs to go, there are options available to help you meet those goals. From 3PL providers that automate the process for easier operation to a complete revamp of your current facilities, getting the entire order fulfillment process right is essential for your business. With proper planning and consideration, you can easily meet the demands of your customers and watch your sales and brand grow.

Things That Could Go Wrong with In-House Fulfillment

By | Shipping, Supply Chain Management

Whether you run a small business or a large corporation, in-house fulfillment mistakes can happen. With the many moving parts that go into storing, packaging and shipping products to your customers, these processes offer plenty of room for error. While most orders ship out correctly, the ones that are delayed or even incorrect can have a major impact on your revenue and brand image, even if it something out of your control. From a traditional warehouse setting to e-commerce fulfillment services, the following mistakes can happen for a number of reasons. The key is knowing how to avoid them and keep your business running smoothly.

Late or Delayed Shipments

Any time a customer does not receive their package at the time they expect, it can cause issues within your organization. An unhappy buyer often results in refunds and dealing with bad reviews that damage your brand’s image. There are several causes for late or delayed shipments, with the most common being due to fluctuations in the demand for your products. When sales spikes occur unexpectedly, in-house fulfillment mistakes can add up quickly. For companies dealing with only a few orders to fill each day, a smaller workforce typically has no problem keeping up with them. However, if your marketing efforts suddenly start making the orders come in fast, that small workforce simply cannot keep up with the demand. When this happens, the emails flow in from dissatisfied customers and you have to start issuing refunds for cancelled orders and expedited shipments that don’t arrive on time. Add in the negative reviews that are sure to happen, and you can see how late and delayed shipments quickly overwhelm businesses of all sizes.

Even if shipments go out late due to supplier issues, those still come back on your company. Customers expect your business to have the products you advertise, regardless of who produces them. Keeping in close contact with your suppliers helps you better meet the needs of your customers, especially during peak seasons. Verifying that suppliers maintain adequate stock helps ensure you have access to the most popular products you sell. If supplies are low for a particular item going into high-demand times, it may be a good idea to remove those products from your listings to avoid these e-commerce fulfillment mistakes so they do not negatively affect your brand.

Improper Inventory Management

Some in-house fulfillment mistakes occur as a result of poor inventory management. For some, this issue may arise because of availability not matching what is in the system. For others, receiving may get clogged due to handling outbound orders. This results in the system showing that items are available, but pullers are unable to find the product on the shelves. When new inventory is not placed in the system in a timely manner, those pallets sit there and take up valuable space. Additionally, if workers cannot find the product, it results in longer pull times, which could delay shipments. For smaller companies and e-commerce fulfillment services, employees may have to decide whether to place receivables into the system or focus on the shipments that need to go out that day. Either decision could result in delayed shipments because the items are not available on the shelves or there simply is not enough time to accomplish both.

Employee Turnover

Employee turnover rates are a fact of doing business, and it can affect your company’s ability to handle orders properly. When employees quit or you have to hire a larger workforce for peak seasons, that training time frequently eats into your staff’s abilities to handle daily operations. This can compound in-house fulfillment mistakes because there are not enough employees available to handle picking, packing and shipping. Even with dedicated workers in each of these areas, hiring and training drains your available resources, and that could even be the time you would normally spend overseeing warehouse processes. This is one area where considering your options for in-house fulfillment optimization could have a major impact. From utilizing outsourced staffing to working with third-party logistics (3PL) companies, both possibilities help your staff meet the needs of your customers.

Product Detail Errors

Another common in-house fulfillment mistake is providing inaccurate product descriptions. Customers expect their items to be as described, and if your information is incorrect, it becomes frustrating for both buyers and your employees. Providing accurate information lessens the chances of unhappy customers, so it is important to make sure all of the information your provide is correct. This includes:

  • Verifying product specifications, descriptions and pricing
  • Clearly showing package size and weight
  • Defining accurate delivery times
  • Listing all applicable shipping and handling fees

When customers know exactly what they are purchasing, they have accurate expectations of the products they receive. This means you can spend more time focusing on in-house fulfillment optimization and less on fielding calls and emails concerning items that are not described correctly.

A Lack of Experience or Expertise

Whether you are a new business starting out or your company lacks someone with proper inventory management expertise, both of these can result in in-house fulfillment mistakes. The entire process of fulfillment requires knowledge in storing, replenishment, picking, packing and shipping processes. For many businesses, the person responsible for these aspects wears many other different hats, and that can lead to issues with completing all tasks on time. Having an employee that solely focuses on overseeing order fulfillment increases the chances of success for your brand, but this can be difficult to achieve. If you cannot find someone with the needed experience, it may be time to consider e-commerce fulfillment services that take over those responsibilities and free up your warehouse leaders for more important tasks.

Time-Consuming Processes

Do your pickers spend a lot of time revisiting the same areas in your warehouse? Are items stored wherever they fit rather than for accessibility? If so, warehouse optimization could provide serious benefits in shipping orders on time. The more time your workers have to spend looking for items, the longer each shipment takes to process. Inventory control measures that include an accurate count of products available is only one part of the process. Making sure your warehouse works well for sequential picking speeds up the time it takes for each order. If you have enough staff and time to reorganize your warehouse and optimize these processes, you will experience fewer in-house fulfillment mistakes. However, working with a logistics company gives you access to expertise, experience and software that makes optimization quicker and easier for your business.

In-House Fulfillment Optimization

If you are finding that the above issues are affecting your business, optimizing your in-house fulfillment processes will make a serious impact on your brand. Working with a 3PL that understands your needs and has the experience necessary to address these and other common mistakes can be the difference in your overall success. From streamlining inventory management to ensuring proper labeling and shipping times, logistics companies give you the room you need for your brand to thrive. When you minimize errors in order fulfillment, you exceed customer expectations and boost revenue through both normal and peak-season sales.

What Should I Look for in a 3PL Provider?

By | Shipping, Supply Chain Management

Finding the right 3PL provider takes a lot of analysis and consideration. There are so many different options that it can be hard to know which one is the best one for your business, or will fulfill your current logistical needs, and can scale into the future. In this article, we cover some things that any online business can use to evaluate 3PL services and decide which one is best for their current fulfillment needs.

What is 3PL?

3PL (Third-Party Logistics) is a logistics service used by eCommerce companies to outsource order fulfillment and expand geographic reach, logistical flexibility, and ultimately to improve supply chain efficiency. When properly leveraged, 3PL services can help a business in a number of key areas.

  1. Cost Efficiency – Oftentimes, having to manage a complex logistical system is costly, and something many businesses do not want to spend  capital doing. 3PL services alleviate the need for a business to spend excessive resources on fulfillment.
  2. Scalability – To match increasing demand, businesses often find scaling, both geographically and financially, a challenge. 3PL services offer online businesses the scalability they need to rapidly adapt and grow.
  3. Flexibility – Flexibility in today’s markets is crucial, and many businesses don’t have the resources to be flexible, nor do they have the years of experience needed to understand and weather the logistical storms of seasonality. With 3PL services, a business does not have to be as concerned with these challenges.
  4. Customer Experience – Expeditious order fulfillment is a must for any online businesses. Without it repeat business will suffer. 3PL services give businesses the reassurance that their orders will be fulfilled in a timely manner and that packaging will arrive to customers in pristine condition.
  5. Reduced Financial Risk – Maintaining a vast supply chain is costly for any business, and something that they afford at the expense of profitability, thus exposing themselves to greater financial risk. 3PL services reduce this risk by providing online businesses a method of outsourcing fulfillment at very low (almost non-existent) financial risk.

Things To Look For in a 3PL Provider

Looking for a 3PL company can be daunting so, to make things easier, here is a list of 5 key things you should consider when searching for a 3PL.

1. Expertise

Logistics is complicated, and not something many have perfected. Obviously a 3PL can help with logistics, but are they masters of supply chain management? It is important to know how skilled or authoritative the services are within the world of logistics. If they seem unfamiliar with common topics or basic concepts of logistics, they might not be the best fit for you.

2.  Stability

An unstable supply chain can have disastrous consequences for sales. Worsr still, it will have a lasting impact on performance and likely damage reputation, which ultimately harms customer loyalty. A stable 3PL service is paramount. Without it, your business’ profitability is at risk. Make sure that you know what a 3PL will do during certain scenarios. Will they ever halt services and, if so, when and why?

3. Operational History

How long has a 3PL service been operating? Do they offer other services? How long have they been offering those services? Do they have an existing logistical structure that they use for other clients? These are all questions you should ask before choosing a 3PL service. In general, a company with a healthy operational history is one that you can trust with you merchandise and fulfillment.

4. Reputation & Trust (A.K.A. Proven Track Record)

3PL services are a dime a dozen and some can be fairly nebulous. This makes it incredibly important for you to explore their reputation. Ask the service company for references or explore the success (or failure) of brands they have worked with. Oftentimes, you can quickly find out what their service quality is if you take a few minutes to know more about their reputation.

5. Scalability

What is the point of outsourcing to a logistics provider if you cannot scale quickly and efficiently? The simple answer is that there is no point to contracting out to a service that cannot deliver or scale to meet with demand. Before you choose a 3PL, ask the following questions:

  1. What geographic coverage does it offer? Can the company fulfill orders internationally?
  2. Does increased demand result in higher costs?
  3. Will customer service be impacted by special requests (EX: RMA)?
  4. Will customer experience be impacted by the 3PL?

All these things need to be carefully considered before selecting a 3PL service.

The Importance of Speed in the Modern Supply Chain

By | Supply Chain Management

Today, online shopping orders are the highest they have ever been. In 2018, the U.S. Commerce Department reported a 15% growth in online sales over the previous year. Below is a report from that same department showing the growth of ecommerce sales since 2007.

With this growth has come a demand for rapid fulfillment. Customers expect fast shipping from any retailer – and they should! No one likes to wait for the items they have purchased. Historically, brick-and-mortar stores have provided customers with a way to purchase their merchandise and go home with it immediately. Now, people prefer to shop in the comfort of their home, but they still expect products to arrive quickly.

In order to compete, eCommerce businesses are fulfilling orders faster than they ever have. By embracing speed, they have become extremely competitive and even forced others to offer faster shipping or provide customers with convenient alternatives (like in-store pick-up). In today’s digital world any online business’ supply chain requires speed, especially during the holiday season.

Speedy Fulfillment Leads to Revenue

Cardboard boxes rises on the reflective floor. Green positive numbers Newegg Logistics

For any business, new customer acquisition is a costly undertaking that quickly consumes time and money. Businesses trying to increase revenue levels often hyper focus on strategies that prioritize new customer acquisition and, unfortunately, over-spend. But there are alternatives to costly acquisition strategies. Studies have shown that a large portion of any business’ future revenue comes from repeat customers. Adopting a strategy that prioritizes customer loyalty has been found to be more profitable than one that constantly tries to acquire new customers. Other studies have shown that fulfillment has one the most important roles in customer service, and directly influences a customer’s decision to return.

Fulfillment is unique as it has a direct impact on the customer’s journey. It is not like inbound marketing or other customer service functions. It is one of the few business functions that impacts the business’ overall health. A dysfunctional or convoluted supply chain increases customer churn rate, and as a result sustaining revenue levels becomes costly for the business. Building e-loyalty today is essential and requires fast shipping. Customers need to be satisfied with their delivery experience so that future revenue is persevered.

Fulfilling Customers Expectations

Woman hand accepting a delivery of boxes from deliveryman

Past surveys have shown that fast shipping is one of the most important things to online shoppers. Some of the most recent data shows that 63% of online shoppers surveyed expect delivery within three days of ordering. Anything less is a poor experience for them and does not encourage repeat business. eCommerce businesses that find themselves in this world need to know that fulfillment speed is more important now that it has ever been. Constantly achieving three day (or faster) fulfillment is not done easily, and requires a supply chain that can accomplish this lofty goal.

Speed with Accuracy Through Automation

Opex Perfect Pick System

Accurate execution is fundamental to supply chain management, but fully embracing this can sacrifice speed. To compensate for the increasing demand for speed, executives are embracing automated solutions that increase speed and deliver near perfect accuracy.

At Newegg Logistics, our 3PL service leverages technologies like Bastian’s OPEX Perfect Pick  and the Pick to Light systems which sort, retrieve, and ship products quickly. These two automation systems allow us to achieve a 99%+ same-day eCommerce fulfillment and a 99+% inventory accuracy rate. Any business looking to future-proof itself needs to ensure that its supply chain has adopted cost-effective, automated solutions which provide both accuracy and speed.

Finding The Right 3PL Service

In today’s fast-paced world, accurate fulfillment is something that every online customer expects. It drives brand loyalty, sustains long-term revenue, and increases customers’ lifetime value. With the industry’s growing emphasis on fulfillment and the influence it has on the bottom line, it is critical to have a 3PL service that recognizes the importance of customer service and proper supply chain management.

 

Lower Your Logistics Costs & Streamline Your Supply Chain