Online Retailers

Building Trust With Your Customers: Why The Third-Party Provider You Choose Matters

By Neil Devani, WMS Fulfillment Team Leader
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Building Trust With Your Customers The Importance Of The Third Party Providers You Choose

As an online retailer, you naturally strive for excellent consumer service throughout your customer’s buying experience. However, many online and multi-channel retailers tend to forget the importance of what happens after your customer clicks buy. How important are the experiences later in the buying process (such as shipping, tracking, safe delivery) and why is it important to choose these partners wisely?

 

Consumers are looking for many things when it comes to online shopping – not just the perfect product. They require some sort of value at every touch point - easy payment options, cheap and convenient shipping and returns, as well as a seamless shopping experience. A recent article from Shopify has suggested that based on an average of 22 studies, 70% of all shopping carts are abandoned, with the biggest reason being that extra costs are too high. Having a reliable third-party logistics (3PL) partner can make all the difference when it comes to offering all the above. 

 

We discuss the three main ‘Rs’ that can be directly affected by choosing the wrong third-party providers.

 

Reliability

You've had a new order come in - great! Your product or online shop has been chosen over many others, which is a huge success in itself with the current levels of competition in the e-commerce world. But when a purchase is made by a new customer, you are being given the benefit of the doubt in terms of reliability, which could make or break the chance of repeat sales and customer loyalty.

 

What do we mean by this? As a minimum, both new and existing customers expect to be provided with accurate orders, adequate shipping details and swift delivery, all without realising that you (the seller) might not be in control of these functions if you rely on a third party logistics partner for order fulfilment.

 

Something as small as a payment error, missed order or delivery issue can be enough to lose customer loyalty these days, which is why it is important to do your research in the early stages of choosing a third-party logistics partner to ensure they have good reputation, are equipped to pick and pack the orders accurately and efficiently, and that the couriers they use have a good reputation.

 

Another thing to look into is to whether or not they use technology such as an Order Management System (OMS) as the back bone of their business. Choosing to opt for a logistics partner that have invested in relevant technology means that they will have the ability to automate time consuming tasks and processes, as well as have immediate access to an abundance of couriers, rather than having a few ‘favourites’ they use. Having an OMS also means that a fulfilment house has the ability to let you choose preferable couriers, and their system will automatically assign your orders to those couriers. 

 

Delivering great customer experiences will be made easier if you can ensure your customers are satisfied with accurate and speedy deliveries. 

 

If you're an online or multi-channel retailer that uses multiple marketplaces to promote and sell your products, then opting for a tech-enabled logistics partner is even more important. A good fulfilment partner will have the ability to sync inventory and keep stock level updated in real-time across various marketplaces, as they will have the ability to integrate with your sales channels and inventory systems.

 

Reputation

Once problems arise more frequently, your couriers and fulfilment houses are at direct risk of harming your reputation as slips in reliability are usually the biggest problem that prevents customers repurchasing.

Consumers hold the store accountable for the service they receive; from start to finish. You only have to look at reviews of popular stores to realise that it is usually issues with delivery, customer service, faulty goods or inaccurate orders that affects customer loyalty. The problem being that these are functions online retailers often outsource and have no control over.

If patterns start to arise from unhappy customers, these need to be acted on quickly. Reviews online are often the first port of call for many customers before trying a new shop they have not heard of.

 

How many times have you been discouraged to buy from somewhere because of a one-star review? Do not let that be your business. Make sure you check independent reviews of the partners you work with regularly, and clearly communicate concerns with them before it starts to seep into your business. Their reputation will impact your reputation, eventually. 

 

As a retailer, you should be looking for convenience and quick turnarounds – not just the cheapest service – and understand that the end goal of outsourcing fulfilment is to save time (and money) in the long run – as well as to establish customer loyalty and repeat orders. 

 

Relationships

Ultimately, if no improvements are made, a bad reputation can hinder building new customer relationships. Repeat custom is essential in e-commerce, and it is vital that you have a loyal customer base that will not only buy from you time and time again, but recommends your products (and services) to others.

 

All the hard work put into your e-commerce channels is suddenly wasted when the customer’s delivery experience does not match their experience on your marketplace or website. Be proactive in choosing partners that are as dedicated to customer service as you, and make sure you regularly review these partnerships. In a time where competition is fierce, you cannot afford to lose custom because of your provider’s mistakes.

 

Final thoughts

Outsourcing logistics to a third-party provider is a popular solution amongst online retailers as it helps to keep orders moving. But don't let choosing third-party partners be an afterthought - it should be a well though-out process with a lot of research to find the right partner for you and your brand. They are an extension of your brand – make sure you choose wisely. 

 

Make sure your relationship is solid and keep communications simplified by opting for a tech enabled fulfilment partner to take care of you fulfilment and logistics needs. 

 

Mintsoft works with many 3PLs, so why not get in touch if you're looking for a new fulfilment or logistics partner? We'd be happy to help. You can read some of our customer stories too, to learn more about how Mintsoft has helped them to become reliable 3PLs and fulfilment houses. 

 

 

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