When Do You Need A New E-Commerce Fulfillment Partner?

When Do You Need A New E-Commerce Fulfillment Partner?

  • Avatar photo by Best Inc.
  • 28/07/2020

As your online or multichannel retail company grows and expands, you may need to reevaluate what is important and necessary to ensure the continued success of the business. One of these points of review would be your e-commerce fulfillment partner. A good 3rd party logistics (3PL) company would be able to scale to fit your business needs; however, should the company you are currently engaging be unable to do so, it is time to move on to a more suitable partner. How would you know if you need to start looking for a new 3PL?

E-Commerce Fulfillment Partner

When They Can’t Scale With You

Are you finding that your 3PL is starting to make mistakes in its order processing or delivery fulfillment? Perhaps it could be that they are struggling to handle the increased capacity that you require from them now that your business is booming. Before you receive complaints and frustrated emails from dissatisfied customers, you should plan ahead and preempt a switch in logistics providers ahead of time, if necessary. During your evaluations, assess whether the company would be able to handle projected increases in sales. If they are unable to scale with you, it may be time to find a company better suited for your workload.

When They Struggle During Peak Seasons

Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s used to be among the main peak seasons, but now there’s also Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all manner of virtual events that drive extremely high volumes of sales online. Choosing the right 3PL is absolutely crucial if your company plans to participate in such online sale events, so that they can handle the influx of orders. Importantly, sales tend to happen at the last minute, so if for example your business runs a Valentine’s Day sale just a few days before V-Day itself, you can bet customers will be hopping mad if they don’t receive their bouquets or presents on time.

When They Are Not Updated With Real-Time Data

Having real-time visibility into your company’s operations is crucial for a 3PL, especially during high volume periods. They must be able to synchronize their inventory with your in-store one, accurately reflecting changes (such as sales or refunds) so that customers have accurate information on your store. In addition, your company needs to have instantaneous accurate data especially during promotions, in order to monitor their effectiveness and make changes on the fly if necessary; failure to do so may result in wasted opportunities and a smaller bottom line. One other complication is with the evolution of omni-channel distribution; customers may wish to choose a buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) collection option, and without accurate inventory information, they may not be able to select their preferred fulfillment method.

When The Communication Breaks Down

At the start of a business relationship, communication is usually good. But a true indicator of the health of your relationship is if it withstands the test of time. If you find that your 3PL is no longer sending regular updates and communicating with your business, there is a possibility that they may no longer be focusing on you. Transparency and communication is one of the most important elements in building trust between partners. A good partner should, and would, send feedback and insights regularly into the performance of your business, and evaluate how your partnership is doing over time.

If you are looking for a new e-commerce fulfillment partner based in California or New Jersey to scale with your business, BEST Inc. has got you covered – contact us today.