UPS provides a range of helpful resources for eCommerce companies, including numerous white papers. One of them, the UPS 2021 Holiday Shipping Experience Report, contains valuable data that you can use to improve customer retention. But, while the report includes data that you can apply to your customer service and product development operations, accurate fulfillment can mitigate most of the top issues identified in the report.
Here’s how to tell if your eCommerce fulfillment is hurting your business and what accurate fulfillment can do to help your enterprise thrive.
Is faulty fulfillment costing you customers?
The messages that pop up on your screen telling you about the latest fulfillment snafu cause you to break out in a cold sweat. You dread wrestling with your fulfillment company about the issue because it’s hard to get through to someone, and, when you do, those conversations rarely resolve the issue. The best you can do is regularly check in on your 3PL operations and hope for the best.
Does that sound like you? Perhaps you accept poor service from your fulfillment warehouse because you don’t think you can do any better. Or your 3PL tells you that they aren’t responsible for the order fulfillment complaints that give you customer service headaches and negative reviews.
Here’s the truth about third-party logistics errors. First, everyone makes a mistake now and then, and your 3PL is no different. But professional fulfillment services should provide accurate fulfillment with a very low error rate, and your 3PL should take responsibility and help correct the situation when errors occur.
You can and should demand accurate fulfillment from your 3PL, and not only because that’s what you pay for. Poor fulfillment quality can keep your business small and stuck, while top-notch fulfillment can increase your sales. Data from the UPS report illustrates the value that outstanding fulfillment can add to your business.
7 ways to lose customers and how accurate fulfillment can help
For most eCommerce businesses, the cost of retaining a customer is much lower than the cost to acquire new customers. Therefore, increasing customer loyalty can reduce your marketing costs and enhance sales. In addition, dedicated customers can be ambassadors for your products, raising the growth curve of your brand.
The UPS report listed seven top reasons people give for losing faith in a retailer. Here’s how accurate fulfillment can help you buck those trends and boost your business.
Lack of support when packages go missing or arrive damaged
Some aspects of eCommerce shipping are beyond your control and the best efforts of your 3PL. You can’t completely protect your parcels from porch pirates or careless package handling. But your 3PL can reduce this problem in several ways:
- Better packaging leads to less damage. For example, Red Stag Fulfillment sends a test parcel from one of our warehouses to another as part of our onboarding process with new clients. We want to ensure that we have the correct box and infill to get your products safely to their final destination. Careful packing increases the chance that your orders will arrive in good shape.
- Ensuring that orders are shipped correctly can thwart thieves. If your customer has had front-door thefts, they might ask for a signature delivery rather than leaving the package. You need a 3PL that checks every detail twice, like Red Stag Fulfillment, to send out each order with the proper shipping instructions.
- Your 3PL can provide customer service or assist your customer support. Red Stag Fulfillment has a transparent, easy-to-use dashboard that lets you follow each order. If a customer reports a problem, you can quickly check the order status and follow up with your customer.
Lack of communication about delivery delays
The stress on supply chains has led to unavoidable delivery delays. Good communication with your customers helps, and your 3PL can support those communications. You should have a dashboard to track orders from pick and pack through shipping and delivery. That gives you real-time information about delivery delays that you can share with your customers.
Your 3PL won’t talk directly to your customers, and you might want to use customer service software to automate delivery notifications. But a well-run 3PL with tech that integrates seamlessly with your operations will help you manage your business and your customers’ expectations. And your 3PL can offer services that minimize the impact of delivery delays. For instance, Red Stag Fulfillment’s same-day fulfillment service moves orders quickly, reducing the order cycle time and getting your products to your customers more quickly, even when delivery is slow.
Lack of support for returns
Dealing with returns can be challenging, but you don’t have to face that challenge alone. Your 3PL can accept and process returns for you. A professional returns process can get refunds to your clients and undamaged products back on the shelves more quickly.
When we receive a returned item at Red Stag Fulfillment, we evaluate the condition of the article, and we take a photograph and send it to you so you can see any damage.
It’s vital to keep your customer data secure. While your 3PL probably doesn’t hold sensitive customer data, it could open the door to a malicious hack. Even if your systems are well-defended, hackers may access your servers through a vendor. Working with a 3PL that takes data security seriously removes one potential entry point for hackers.
You can’t deliver every customer order personally, so you can’t prevent packages from going missing occasionally. But accurate fulfillment can avoid the causes of many lost orders by labeling boxes correctly, including a tracking code, and following best practices to prevent missed deliveries.
Besides, it’s what you do when a package gets lost that will make or break your customer relationship. At Red Stag Fulfillment, we have solid relationships with our shipping partners, and we regularly follow up with them to resolve unexpected charges. You can leverage the close working relationship between your 3PL and your carrier to investigate lost packages and show your customers you care.
Lack of relevant inventory
Accurate fulfillment can’t help you directly with this problem. If your products don’t appeal to consumers, that’s a job for your product development team. However, with seamless, set-and-forget-about-it logistics services, you’ll have more time and money to devote to market research.
Packages can get damaged anywhere between the fulfillment center and the customer’s doorstep. However, if an item is packed correctly, with enough infill (but not too much), and in a box that’s an appropriate thickness, it’s less likely to arrive damaged.
Red Stag Fulfillment specializes in shipping bulky, oversized, and fragile items, so we are experts at getting those products safely to their destinations. We use corrugated boxes that are thicker than standard boxes to protect heavy shipments from damage in transit.
Red Stag Fulfillment provides the service that keeps customers coming back
If your business grows, so does ours. That’s the philosophy that has driven Red Stag Fulfillment to set and meet the highest quality standards in the fulfillment industry, and we’ve seen it in action.
When you have accurate fulfillment services from a 3PL partner you can trust, your customers will be happy because they get the products they ordered, delivered quickly and securely. You can focus on product and business development and watch your profits soar.
Want to know more about accurate fulfillment? We’d love to tell you about it.
More ways that Red Stag’s accurate fulfillment can support your business:
- How to Grow and Scale Your Business with RSF
- What’s Behind the Red Stag Fulfillment Guarantees?
- How Does RSF Achieve Such Low Fulfillment Error Rates?