Online and non-store sales are projected to triple the year-over-year growth rate for the entire retail industry in 2017, the National Retail Federation predicts. The new sales environment is one marked by constant evolution, a high level of competition and cautious consumers. What does this mean for your business?
Today’s sales environment calls for an unprecedented level of flexibility and scalability. High consumer expectations, dramatic variations in order volume and the need for faster deliveries might leave you wishing for the elasticity of Gumby.
Achieve Greater Ecommerce Flexibility with a 3PL
Your third-party partner may be able to stretch your capabilities. Here are five ways they can help you to take ecommerce growth in stride:
1. Shared-space environment helps handle fluctuations in order volume
Since your logistics needs may be unpredictable, you’ll want the flexibility to expand or shrink operations easily. In a shared-space warehouse, a third-party provider balances your requirements with those of other customers, helping you to meet the highs and lows of your business without a major overhead investment.
2. Multi-site distribution network expands distribution options
Shipping from facilities that are closer to your customers allows you to offer faster deliveries at a lower cost. With multiple DCs, you can reach nearly all your customers in two days or less using ground service. Don’t have a network of facilities? Chances are, your third-party provider does.
3. Value-added services allow for personalization
Personalized items are in high demand. Value-added services like embroidery and engraving can help you to increase sales, build customer loyalty and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. They can be time-consuming and labor intensive, however, so consider tapping your third-party partner as a resource to help give your customers a personal touch.
4. Postponement strategies better accommodate last-minute customer demands
Delaying product configuration or customization until the last possible moment allows you to optimize inventory and be more responsive to customers’ changing needs. Whether you’re making minor product modifications, building gift baskets or inserting coupons, a third-party provider can help you move these tasks closer to the consumer.
5. Transportation options provide optimal mode/level of service at the best price
Today’s consumer expects shipping choices. Draw on your logistics provider’s buying power, established carrier network and negotiated rates to expand your shipping options. They also can help you pool parcel packages and leverage postal work-share discounts for presorting and drop-shipping.
Strategies like these will help you to accommodate the evolving ecommerce environment without missing a beat when it comes to customer service. Talk to your third-party provider today.