You started your eCommerce storefront with the hopes that customers could visit you whenever they wanted, but soon found that having an online business is more than just putting up some products and waiting.
You may want to be available 24 hours a day, but if you’re not maintaining inventories, updating customers about their order fulfillment, processing payments or handling returns all times of the day and night, many customers won’t be able to get the services they need when they need them.
How a 3PL Partner Can Increase Your Availability
Early in your business’s life, it was easy enough to keep everything running by yourself.
You didn’t have a lot of customers and the ones that you did have were willing to wait for you to get back to them about merchandise or policy questions. As your eCommerce shop grew, though, it quickly become much too much to handle alone. Customers expect a lot more from bigger stores, and being able to get answers swiftly is a high priority.
This is where a 3rd party logistics (3PL) partner can make all the difference. By reaching out to an order fulfillment expert, you can turn the most time consuming part of your business over to someone who can be there all the time to give customers exactly what they want. Through a combination of automation and carefully trained customer service representatives, fulfillment partners can make your store a truly 24/7/365 experience.
Here are just a few things that a good 3PL can offer your eCommerce business:
Up-to-the-minute inventory. Your customers need to know what’s available and they need that information now. The last thing they want is to discover that the birthday gift they ordered isn’t going to make it in time for the big event. By choosing a 3PL that uses bar code scanning to check items into and out of inventory, you’ll always have a real-time accounting of what’s in stock and what isn’t.
The feeling of around-the-clock fulfillment. No matter what the size of your business or the kind of products you sell on your website, your visitors and customers expect you to be open on their schedule. So while the actual warehouse you’ve partnered with may not be in operation 24/7, your eCommerce site is always open for business. This means that your customers can browse, shop and buy at their convenience…even when the warehouse is closed or you and your team are asleep.
Reverse logistics support. When their products arrive incorrect, the first thing an online shopper wants is to find out how to return those items. Without a team of specialists available to your shoppers the moment they discover a problem, those customers may find it difficult to contact you at all. Remember, a company is only as good as its returns support — and shoppers know it.
Even though you can’t personally man the helm all day long, every day, you can hand some of the important stuff over to your 3PL partner. This is a great way to extend your reach and continue to grow your business without having to bring a huge staff in-house.