eCommerce and retail fulfillment can make all the difference in how brands serve their customers—and in your sales. It can even impact whether or not consumers actually make a purchase. In fact, according to Big Commerce:
- 61 percent of consumers will abandon their cart if they discover that the fees for shipping and taxes are too high.
- 53 percent of consumers factor shipping speed into their online buying decisions.
- 38 percent of consumers won’t repeat business with an eCommerce retailer if their delivery experience was unsatisfactory.
- 25 percent of online shoppers have canceled orders due to slow or delayed delivery speeds.
It used to be that retail fulfillment was a process of operations; that it didn’t have much connection to the customer or their needs. But today, all of that has shifted. Ultimately, modern retail fulfillment is a process of customer service.
Retail fulfillment has plenty of merits to an online brand’s entire operation, from before the moment a customer makes a purchase to the moment their order arrives at their doorstep.
Real-Time Inventory Data
A strong third-party logistics (3PL) provider will connect to your eCommerce marketplace and share indispensable information about what products are in your fulfillment center and what products you’ll need in the future. This data can be leveraged for inventory forecasting, which can help you avoid stockouts, which can be more damaging to your business than lost sales.
Plus? This data can help you accurately predict just how much inventory you’ll need to keep on hand at each of your fulfillment centers, meaning you can use space in your fulfillment centers more economically; you’re only buying and storing the products you are likely to need, without any unused storage or wasted product.
Inventory data can also help you track which products are selling well, and which are moving slowly. From here, a retail fulfillment partner can help you bundle these products with more popular ones to sell off these slow-moving goods, free up underutilized warehouse space, and grow your revenue.
Streamlined Order Fulfillment
When online retailers take fulfillment into their own hands or work with smaller fulfillment partners, they usually can manage—for a while. But when they experience a sharp increase in sales or order volume, or once they start to expand their product inventory, they just can’t keep up.
A fulfillment center has the established tools and processes to efficiently fulfill orders—after all, that’s what their facilities were designed to do. This includes:
- A full staff of experienced workers
- Receiving and inventory management
- Cutting-edge technologies to economize fulfillment like pick-to-light solutions
- Tools to automate box assembly, marketing inserts, and more
Additionally, your fulfillment locations can center their work around the metrics that matter most to you. Whether that’s scalable, fast fulfillment, or 100 percent order accuracy, fulfillment practices can be fine-tuned to zero in on what’s most important to your customers and your brand story.
Full Visibility of Customer Order Tracking
Today’s consumers want to know where their orders are in transit and exactly when they will arrive. Ninety-three percent of consumers expect to receive shipment updates, and 95 percent of consumers want retailers to proactively reach out if estimated delivery dates are changed or delayed. Once an order is placed, your customers are eagerly awaiting their package, and full visibility and order tracking are the tickets to increase customer satisfaction and create a positive, memorable brand experience.
This kind of proactive tracking that comes standard with OceanX’s technology-driven 3PL services is a proven way to boost eCommerce sales. Forbes offers this statistic as proof of customer interest: Traditional marketing emails have average open rates of somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. But emails with tracking notifications can achieve open rates that average somewhere between 50 and 80 percent. This can be a valuable opportunity to connect with customers, provide a service they want, build brand loyalty, and further nurture customer relationships.
But fulfillment and visibility are about much more than just shipping orders. A 3PL retail fulfillment partner can support visibility throughout reverse logistics operations and returns processing with customer support—not to mention handling the physical return of goods, warehousing, and restocking.
Shipping and Carrier Optimization
When eCommerce brands try to handle shipping logistics on their own, they lose out on the industry connections and expansive network of carriers that a retail fulfillment partner can provide on Day 1.
With support from OceanX, retailers can offer faster, more affordable shipping. How can fulfillment partners make this happen?
- Intelligent warehouse routing to send customer orders to the closest possible warehouse
- Faster picking and packing to ship orders the same day they are placed
- Access to affordable shipping rates from large national carriers
- Connections with smaller and regional carriers (especially in metropolitan areas) to bypass large distribution centers and deliver orders directly to consumers
3PL providers have proven, low-cost shipping operations already in place. Instead of having to negotiate rates with individual carriers, fulfillment partners have already secured great rates and fast shipping times, for a supply chain management strategy that makes sense.
What else can your fulfillment partner do for your eCommerce brand? The sky’s the limit. Since fulfillment is an essential part of customer service, fulfillment can include marketplace integration, expert insights and consulting for packaging fulfillment optimization, and more. There is a myriad of reasons that retail fulfillment makes sense for online brands, direct-to-consumer retailers, and eCommerce sellers—and it all starts with what you want.
At OceanX, we offer the services that our clients value and need for success:
- Kitting and bundling
- Sustainable fulfillment and packaging
- Peak season planning
- Scalable personalization
- Omnichannel fulfillment
Whatever your brand needs, your fulfillment partner can be the answer. At OceanX, retail fulfillment revolves around creating the perfect experience for your customers, and our operations can be tailored and personalized to you.
Our fulfillment partnership will elevate every aspect of your eCommerce retail experience. To learn more about how we can support you, contact our team today.