As a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, you’re likely aware of eCommerce fulfillment services, which refers to the entire process of delivering an order to a customer after they click “Buy” when shopping within your online store. It entails receiving and storing inventory, processing orders, picking and packing orders into boxes, and then transporting items to the final shipping destination.
We are headed towards a global, digital-first economy in many ways, and the events of 2020 only expedited this process. In fact, it’s estimated that the pandemic accelerated the growth in digital shopping by approximately five years. Shoppers headed to websites to buy more than just toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The pandemic opened the door for consumers to buy things like casual home attire, meal kit subscription services, furniture for living rooms and home offices, fitness equipment, and beauty and wellness products.
Because of this period of unequaled growth, more eCommerce brands are looking for new ways to meet demand and add value, often by outsourcing fulfillment to focus on core competencies and big ideas instead of shipping costs, distribution, return logistics, inventory management, and other day-to-day operations.
eCommerce fulfillment services are the ticket to adding value for online retailers, DTC brands, and more. Here’s how.
Retain Customers with Better Customer Experience
The overall customer experience can make all the difference, perhaps making up more of a brand’s value than ever before. If you’re not careful, a poor customer experience can equal a lot of lost business. In the world of eCommerce, customer retention is everything.
Every year, retailers lose $62 billion in business due to poor customer service or experiences. And while you may think that these issues would never plague your business, odds are, you have some room for improvement. While 80% of businesses think they offer exceptional customer service, only 8% of customers agree.
According to Forbes, unbeatable customer service and a winning customer experience are the keys to retaining customers — and it’s easier to keep customers than it is to find new ones. Just what kind of difference can it make to offer a fabulous customer experience? With a great customer experience…
- 66% of customers said they would be more loyal.
- 65% say they would recommend the company to others.
- 48% would spend more money.
So how can you make this happen? With an eCommerce fulfillment service. Fulfillment centers offer fast support from online to the warehouse to your customer’s front door — often around-the-clock help for customers via email or phone — making it easier to make returns, exchange products, and give refunds when customers want them.
Working with a fulfillment service or third-party logistics platform provides more options for affordable expedited shipping and guaranteed delivery dates compared to in-house management of order fulfillment. These fast, friendly services don’t just boost customer satisfaction, but they also increase brand reliability, helping to retain customers and build customer loyalty.
Scale Your Operations and Reach New Audiences
The direct-to-consumer market has been growing by double digits year over year, but thanks to the momentum gained during the pandemic, we can expect to see this increase snowball this year with an expected growth rate of 19.2% in 2021.
For some brands, this growth is welcome — but also challenging. Why is this the case? Not all DTC brands are designed to scale up their operations easily. As companies grow in size, eCommerce fulfillment providers can manage new growth and fulfill orders quickly to avoid customer disappointment, offering seller support and various eCommerce fulfillment models throughout the supply chain, including the inventory management, order, fulfillment, distribution of products, and even reverse logistics. With these services, you’ll be better equipped to handle seasonal spikes in your orders or keep up with steady growth — your eCommerce fulfillment service is there to help you scale.
It’s very likely that we’ll reach 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021, or nearly one-quarter of the world’s total population — and while they may not all grace the “front door” of your DTC eCommerce website, you will probably still see notable growth. A fulfillment center can help you expand globally to reach all of these buyers while navigating the intricacies of exports and imports.
Ship Smarter and Faster
Another way improved eCommerce fulfillment centers can add value to your brand? Many fulfillment centers are connected to a network of national and global facilities and organizations like third-party logistics that house products in different zones. By working with these providers, you can get lower shipping rates with companies like UPS and FedEx and then pass these savings onto your customers and even offer free shipping, which can make a big impact on your revenue.
Why is this such an important added-value? It matters to your customers — and to your total revenue. Nine out of ten customers say free shipping is an incentive to shop more. Additionally…
- Orders with free shipping average a 30% higher value.
- 61% of consumers are somewhat likely to cancel their order if they don’t get free shipping.
- 93% of consumers are more likely to buy more products if their shipping is free (and 58% add more to their online shopping cart to qualify for free shipping).
By partnering with an eCommerce fulfillment center, you have the financial leeway to offer these perks to your customers, who will thank you by adding more to their online shopping carts. With the right fulfillment provider, you can even incorporate Fulfillment by Amazon (also called “Amazon FBA”) and other platforms if you so desire.
Are you looking to add those special touches to enhance the overall customer experience? An eCommerce provider can customize your packaging for a more personalized customer experience from the outside in. One definite plus of this service? When you work with Amazon FBA, your products ship in their packaging, but with an eCommerce fulfillment service, your goods arrive at your customers’ doors in beautiful, bespoke packaging covered in your brand. This way, when your customers order from you, they’ll associate your products with your company — not with large, impersonal online retailers.
Options to Expand Your Business
Working with an eCommerce fulfillment center allows brands like yours the opportunity to explore new money-making options like kitting, subscription services and memberships, fulfillment for marketplaces, and more.
Throughout the order fulfillment process, OceanX can be there for you so you can expand your reach and take advantage of a surging online economy. Ready to learn more? Contact us today!