The order fulfilment process is undoubtedly one of the most crucial functions within an e-commerce business. As 2020 saw record numbers of online orders, customer standards have never been higher than when it comes to receiving prompt deliveries and damage-free goods.

Many businesses choose to outsource their order fulfilment to a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider. If you are currently dissatisfied with your existing provider, you could be seriously impacting your customer experience and the success of your business.

Many e-commerce stores remain with their current 3PL provider because they believe it will be too much hassle to switch companies. Start-up businesses who have only ever worked with one 3PL provider, may not even know what red flags to monitor.

This article looks at what makes a top-quality 3PL provider looks like and how to assess whether your current company is meeting your business needs.

What should a good order fulfilment service provide?

Each aspect of the order fulfilment process should be done to deliver excellent customer service. Customers who are unhappy with their orders will ultimately lead to reduced profits and stunted business growth.

Here are some of the main points that a top-quality order fulfilment service should provide:

Smooth integration with your existing e-commerce platform

Choosing a 3PL provider whose systems can seamlessly integrate with your existing platform such as Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce is invaluable. It can be incredibly frustrating for businesses who have to use a new separate system for their order fulfilment unnecessarily. System integration allows companies to continue their operations with minimal disruption swiftly.

A simple to follow portal

There’s little point in having access to all your order fulfilment data if the platform is confusing and information is difficult to follow. At Pointbid, our online portal gives you easy access to your valuable business insights, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding inventory and other vital aspects.

Complete picking and packing accuracy

At Pointbid, our reliance on automated processes and the latest technology significantly reduces the possibility of human error. Our scanners and systems can locate stock, pick and pack goods securely and ship out to customers quickly and efficiently.

Appropriate packaging

Goods that are not packaged appropriately can result in damaged items, which will undoubtedly lead to incredibly disappointed customers. At Pointbid, we offer a range of packaging solutions to ensure that all goods, regardless of size, can be received completely intact when it reaches your customer. By considering the weight, size and shape of your product, we will always choose the best materials to ensure eco-friendliness and cost-efficiency.

Same day dispatch

Time is of the essence when it comes to customer deliveries, with consumers now expecting their orders to arrive the next day. At Pointbid the majority of goods can be dispatched the same day, providing that the orders meet our cut off period.

Easy returns

Pointbid’s purpose is to make the chance of a product return as low as possible with our prompt and accurate service. However, in the event of a return, we aim to make the process as stress-free as possible. One of our dedicated account managers can help advise you on the best returns process and, once products are returned to our fulfilment centre, products will be handled carefully in anticipation of a resale.

How do I switch 3PL providers?

First of all, it’s essential to review your contract. If it states that you have a set period to stay with your existing provider, then you will have to remain with them until the contract is up. In the meantime, you should research alternative solutions to make the switch to a new 3PL provider as seamless as possible.

Rather than instantly removing all your inventory from one fulfilment centre to another, it could be more beneficial to move this over gradually. Keeping some stock in the old fulfilment centre can prevent delays and backorders whilst you are transitioning.

It’s often a good idea to keep your customers informed of the switch on the off chance that there are delays in deliveries during the transition process. Sending them an email to tell them you are switch fulfilment companies to improve customer experience, shows that you are advancing as a business and that you are prioritising their needs.

If you think it’s time for your business to switch 3PL provider, then Pointbid could be the choice for you. With over 50 years’ experience in order fulfilment, we work with companies worldwide to help provide an excellent experience for both you and your clients. Please give us a call on 0121 326 7368.

 

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