Though eCommerce sales are largely driven by marketing, that doesn’t mean product fulfillment companies have no role in helping online sellers grow. On the contrary, a good customer experience depends on your fulfillment 3PL doing its job correctly. Your 3PL plays an active role in attracting new customers and keeping the ones you have. This article discusses ways your logistics partner can help accelerate sales growth, and how you can leverage your fulfillment operation as a competitive advantage.
The Relationship Between Sales and Fulfillment
It’s sometimes easy to look at fulfillment as disconnected from sales, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Without sales, fulfillment has no orders to ship; without fulfillment, sales can’t get orders to the customer. Here are some of the ways product fulfillment companies help retailers drive sales.
Reliable service from your 3PL directly impacts your company’s reputation and ability to get repeat sales. American consumers increasingly expect the following from online sellers:
- Fast, on-time delivery — often within 48 hours
- Sustainable packaging solutions
- Free, simple returns process
- Reliable order tracking from fulfillment center to front door
If your fulfillment operation cannot meet shoppers’ expectations in these areas, you risk losing business to competitor sites. But when orders get picked, packaged, and delivered correctly without damage, that provides a positive experience that keeps buyers coming back. Other special touches – for example, adding a sticker that displays the name of the associate who packed the order – personalize the experience and further connect the customer with your brand.
Online shoppers like options – and high-performance 3PLs will help an eCommerce seller provide them. When your fulfillment provider can offer a long list of value-added capabilities, it helps improve the customer experience. For example:
- Kitting and assembly services allow you to package and sell multiple SKUs in convenient bundles in support of marketing promotions
- Technology that connects your system with the provider’s warehouse management system let’s you provide customers with real-time updates on order and delivery status.
- Branded packaging elements like tape, labels and dunnage materials promote your brand to the end customer (and everyone who sees the package as it moves along the supply chain).
Not every eTailer needs all the value-added services offered by its 3PL. However, a broad service portfolio gives you options to support the selling process. A good logistics provider will sit down with you early on to make sure you understand the value of any extra services it can offer.
It can be challenging to get marketing materials in front of customers. Promotional mailers may get thrown away without anyone reading them. Online ads get blocked or ignored. But orders being shipped to the customer are guaranteed to get opened. With that in mind, fulfillment providers can place all kinds of extra things within the box to drive additional sales, including newsletters, marketing inserts, free samples, coupons, and much more.
Access to new markets
New markets mean new sales opportunities. Unfortunately, setting up a fulfillment operation in a new region poses financial and operational challenges for growing eCommerce businesses. One solution is to leverage the national fulfillment network offered by select product fulfillment companies. Such nationwide warehouse networks let you quickly move into new markets to scale fulfillment operations.
This sure beats doing it yourself. Hiring and training warehouse associates, purchasing equipment, and getting a new facility up and running can take many months. A national fulfillment 3PL can move your inventory into a live fulfillment center in relatively short order.
Sales Growth is Tied to Having a Great Product Fulfillment Company
Successfully growing an eCommerce business requires more than just a great product that’s marketed well. The operations side of the business – fulfilling orders accurately and on time – plays a huge role in company growth. At Amware Fulfillment, we understand the relationship between our service quality and the customer experience. If you ship at least 50,000 orders annually and need a partner to help you grow even more, let’s talk.