Thinking of outsourcing delivery to a 3PL company? As an e-commerce business, deliveries are an essential part of your daily operations, and as your business rapidly expands, you may start thinking about outsourcing fulfillment.
Many 3PL businesses have flourished in recent years as online sales have increased considerably. Therefore, you might have a number of options in front of you and not know which provider to select.
In this article, you will find out the elements you should pay attention to when selecting a last mile carrier in order to improve your operations and offer the best customer experience.
Do you need to outsource fulfillment?
Before we dive into the elements you should consider when choosing a 3PL, let’s first talk about the main reasons for doing business with a last mile carrier.
At some point, you may have asked yourself, “Should I outsource fulfillment or keep it in-house?”
Saving time and money. Businesses that choose to outsource usually do so to save time and money. Managing the increasing volume of deliveries requires a lot of time; businesses may choose to hire someone that they have to train, and this person will have to be extremely organized and not make any mistakes.
They will have to buy vehicles, do regular maintenance, hire drivers, and acquire technology tools to manage deliveries.
Some companies may not have enough storage capacity in their warehouse and thus need a company to handle inventory management. Last-mile carriers will usually take care of everything related to logistics. Some companies will even offer a return processing service if customers return packages.
How it can impact your brand
When it comes to choosing a last mile carrier, the choice must be considered carefully as the 3PL business will be an integral part of your customer journey.
It’s important that the company fits well with your brand values and is able to meet the needs of both your brand and your customers, in the short term, but most importantly, in the long term.
Don’t forget that a 3PL will represent your company. Your customers won’t pay much attention to the name of the carrier; in their eyes, your company is the one responsible for their whole experience, and they believe you chose your carriers carefully to offer a seamless delivery experience.
Accountable for your last-mile carrier's actions. As a matter of fact, surveys have shown that 70% of customers say that a negative delivery experience negatively impacts their impression of the brand and not of the carrier.
This is why you will have to make sure that they are the right fit to take good care of your customers. If customers are not happy about their delivery experience, they will be mad at your company even though it might be the responsibility of the 3PL business.
Elements to consider to make the right 3PL choice
Now let’s talk about the most important things you should keep in mind when it comes to outsourcing delivery and what criteria should guide your choice.
#1 Their experience with other businesses similar to yours
When choosing a delivery company, it’s usually safer to go with one that has delivered packages for companies similar to yours.
To find out if they are reliable, look at how many years they have been in business. Although years of experience is a good indicator of reliability, it’s not the only way to define credibility.
You might also want to see if they are operating in the market where you would like to deliver, and look for testimonials from customers. Social proof is essential when choosing a business partner, and you will want to deal with a 3PL that pleases its customers.
#2 Their ability to adapt to your growth
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a well-established company, it is likely that your goals are to grow and expand your business. Therefore, you should make sure that the 3PL company you choose will be able to support you not only now but also in the future when your package volume increases.
This is something you should discuss with the 3PL in order to see if they have the flexibility to adjust their service to your needs. Will they have enough storage space for your packages if you double your number of deliveries? Do they have enough drivers to ensure your packages will be delivered on time?
#3 Innovative and powerful technology tools
A last mile carrier that is not equipped with a powerful delivery management software should make you run immediately. Delivery management can be pretty complex and not using the appropriate tools will be very costly and shows a lack of professionalism.
Delivery software is an essential tool to every delivery company that wants to provide a seamless delivery service and offer full visibility to your customers as well as your staff. But using a delivery route software is not all, you will have to make sure that they use one that will enhance your customers’ delivery experience.
Real-time delivery tracking. You might want to ask them if they offer real-time tracking, a feature that will allow your customers to track their parcels in real time.
If customers knew precisely when they would receive their parcels, their anxiety would decrease and they would have the freedom to plan their day accordingly. They will appreciate the transparency and consideration for their time, and they will be more likely to remember your brand because of their positive delivery experience.