Managing an e-commerce business is easier and more difficult than brick and mortar business simultaneously. You can reach more customers. At the same time, you have to include digital marketing on top of offline channels of marketing that you do for your brick-and-mortar outlet.
One key area of operations is delivering the products to far-away delivery addresses. If you are delivering across countries, this concern becomes even bigger but e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay make the process easier.
Either way, you still have to connect with a third-party logistics solution provider (3pl) to get your products delivered to the warehouses.
Here are the most important factors you need to consider while choosing the perfect 3PL service provider.
This should be the first factor that comes to mind when you start shopping for the right service providers. You need to ensure that the company has the right customer care package, insurance coverage and partners, contract terms, and history.
You wouldn’t want to get your merchandise stuck with a supplier who will not send the freight on time or whose contract terms have lots of loopholes. Also, you want to verify that the staff is efficient and trained. Quality shipping contractors, for example, only employ those drivers who have gotten their LGV license after passing the LGV theory test.
If your product is sturdy and doesn’t damage easily, you can ignore this factor. But oftentimes, freight forwarders avoid the delivery of fragile and liquid products. Product size can be another limitation preventing the sellers from using some 3PL services.
Not all shipping companies allow you to track your merchandise in real time. Still, this tracking option is a must if your industry demands timely and prompt delivery to remain competitive. Although these companies will provide you with proof of delivery for every completed transaction, you may want to ensure the navigation while your supplies are on the go.
Some freight forwarders work in a country. Others have an international presence. You need to choose them according to your business needs and the locations of your ideal customers. If your customers have an international presence, a contract with a local company will not be enough. At the same time, if you sell both locally and internationally, you will not be helped by a shipping company that only deals in international logistics.
You will always have to allow a day or more for the shipment to arrive. But in some industries, longer wait times can kill the business. If you happen to be associated with a fast-paced industry, you should carefully look for a freight forwarder who provides fast delivery.
Compare with what timeline is offered by different providers and – given all other factors – remain the same, choose a partner that promises the fastest delivery.
We have mentioned this factor in the previous section but its importance makes it worthy enough to be discussed again. Once you have shortlisted the logistic partners for your e-commerce business, you need to check the insurance terms they have acquired to prevent you from unforeseen loss.
You need to check the types of losses covered as well as the compensation you will receive in case of the materialization of the risk. Note that in most cases, you will still need to get insurance coverage to mitigate other risks related to your supplies.
You have to keep this low and you know this. But make sure to not dwell too much on this factor alone at the expense of other factors. In all, you want a service that maximizes return on the cost paid.
This post talks about the fundamentals of digital marketing that can create brand awareness among your target customers. Note that this channel of marketing needs to be used in combination with traditional marketing channels to optimize your reach.