In e-commerce, every touchpoint from purchase to fulfilment is an opportunity to give customers a positive experience that will keep them coming back. Here are six core practices that prime your 3PL processes to your customers’ needs, so you get the most out of your campaigns again and again.
1. Pay attention to the details
Your customers will appreciate how considerate you’ve been to their needs throughout purchase and fulfilment. For example:
- Make the purchase journey simple and clear. Work with creatives and developers to balance UX and aesthetics.
- Don’t force them to create an account - if they like you, they will come back. You can build a relationship and capture their data down the line.
- Enable address look-up. Manual entry is time-consuming and vulnerable to error, which might result in lost packages or more returns.
- Show them you know your customer base - for example, UK customers shouldn’t be asked for a US zip code.
- Make sure packaging meets their expectations. If under-packaged or poorly packaged, the product might look cheap or be damaged; over-packaging risks negative feelings about your brand’s environmental policy.
- See that the outer packaging makes it clear the parcel is from you.
2. Deliver on your promise
In 3P logistics, there are many variables that can affect fulfilment. But we work with these threats all the time; they shouldn’t affect your contract with your customers.
- Expect a transparent and proactive approach from your fulfilment and logistics partner. They should be flexible enough to handle a changing situation without missing deadlines and come to you with a plan before you even know something is afoot.
- Communicate appropriately with your customers if they will be affected. Their expectations need to be managed respectfully, which will limit damage to your brand’s reputation - in fact, it might even enhance it. This is also important to our next core practice.
3. Use your communications well
Relationships with your customers will flourish through good communication throughout the fulfilment cycle.
- Treat triggered communications with caution. There should be just enough, at the right time and in the right way.
- If you use a 3PL fulfilment partner or carrier, it’s critical to align your comms strategies and decide who does what. We see brands that use a parcel delivery partner doubling up on the same messaging, which confuses the customer.
- Make communications personal. Data you collect about your customers means you can stop making assumptions and use appropriate messaging at the right times.
- If something goes wrong, there’s still an opportunity to shine in your comms and build a better relationship. Your customers might feel disappointed in a delivery delay, but impressed by how you manage it.
4. Leverage your data
Building lasting relationships takes time. Earlier, we said you don’t have to force customers to create an account immediately - it might be more convenient (therefore satisfying) for them to buy anonymously in a few easy clicks. But once you do have this data, you can continue to nurture their loyalty.
- Make sure your fulfilment partner properly integrates their technology with your e-commerce platform. They need the right order data to act upon, but the added value lies in the data they can pass back to your platform.
- Ensure your fulfilment partner is giving you rich information about your customers, including how many times they have shopped with you.
- Use the data to build a loyalty and recognition programme. We find loyalty discounting works really well to nurture a long-term relationship.
5. Optimise delivery
It’s challenging for brands to tackle Amazon’s approach, but the answer can be found in using 3PL to build trusted relationships.
- Give your customer delivery options. Some might need next day delivery, some might be happy with 48-hour delivery if they can see the cheaper postage option.
- Be transparent about delivery costs so there are no surprises at checkout.
- Utilise packaging to promote your brand. We believe your delivery or fulfilment partner should be invisible to your customers; your products shouldn’t be delivered under their logo.
- Create packaging that is fit for purpose. It should protect and delight. Thoughtful, impressive packaging can even be used to inspire a social engagement campaign.
6. Innovate & improve
In a demanding marketplace, the brands we see thrive are those that continually push for better customer relationships.
- Optimise your customer relationships through the 3PL fulfilment process.
- Apply learnings from every fulfilment project or campaign.
- Stay flexible, open-minded and collaborative.
- Utilise your 3PL fulfilment partner as much as possible.
Discover more about the benefits of working with a 3PL fulfilment partner like Granby.
Image from Pexels by מתן שגב