What affects your brand more than you thought?
A brand which grows is a brand that puts its customers first: it’s a no-brainer. For a brand to grow and thrive, there’s nothing more necessary than curating that perfect customer experience. Everybody knows it. Today we want to share some thoughts on how we see how logistics can affect your brand perception in the marketplace.
But just what does it mean in practice?
For sure, retailers in both traditional high street settings and those whose brands are native to the internet can answer this question in all sorts of ways. An efficient store layout, for example, is important to both, making sure that any customer can navigate their way around, browse available stock, and find the items they’re looking for quickly.
Great customer service is indispensable too, particularly on the high street: most shoppers say they would be unlikely to return to a store where they felt the staff were rude or unfriendly, and even online, customers can easily be turned off a brand if there isn’t a clear, quick and simple way to get in contact.
Perhaps it’s even something as simple as aesthetics; a beautiful web design (or interior décor) can play a great role in planting your brand in the customer’s memory.
…all of these are important, yet still: research suggests there is another answer, more important than any of these factors by themselves, and it may not be quite as obvious at first glance: Fulfilment.
To make an online purchase, you click on the product you want, enter a few details, confirm, and within a few days, there’s a friendly delivery person on your doorstep with a package. This process is familiar to anyone who has ever bought anything online, and rarely if ever do we think about the parallel processes which transport the product from a manufacturer, perhaps through a fulfilment centre, to our door – but we all know how frustrating it can be when an order is delayed!
According to a 2020 report by Avionos, fast shipping is more important to customers than any other single factor when shopping with an online retailer. In fact, 76% of respondents rated this as their number one concern in 2020 – that’s up a whole 14% from 2019! This signals that what customers value in their brand experience is shifting decisively towards convenience factors like speedy delivery.
It hardly bears repeating by now that since the advent of COVID-19, there has been an explosion in online commerce and DTC sales across all sorts of markets, and one of many lessons we’re learning is that for the customer, convenience can make or break your brand; it’s clear that in 2022, ecommerce leaders will be those able to make quick deliveries reliably. That’s why it’s so important to invest in a capable fulfilment strategy that can scale to your volume of business, help you manage your own storage and delivery costs, and vitally, to meet growing customer expectations of a speedy and trouble-free service. This brings us back to the core question – how logistics can affect your brand.
So just how can the right logistics provider help?
Firstly: a logistics service provider offers the benefit of geography. There’s no guarantee that your customers will be located close to your company storage facilities and maintaining quick delivery times over long distances presents problems: practical difficulties, higher costs, you name it. By distributing your inventory to a fulfilment centre closer to your customers, you can ensure that when an order comes in, the product is already waiting in storage somewhere handy and closer to location, reducing not just the customer’s waiting time – and delivering that speedy service they value so much – but the costs involved too; after all, distribution tends to be cheaper when measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds!
We’ve seen that the faster the customer’s order is fulfilled, the happier they are; decentralizing your distribution network with order fulfilment services is a sensible way to plug your business into existing fulfilment infrastructures. Take advantage of what’s there!
Secondly: a logistics provider offers the benefits of an automated stock and management system, making it easier for you to manage a higher volume of orders and make quick decisions based on real-time supply chain data. As your brand grows and your volume of orders increases, it’s important to be able to manage these efficiently or you can rapidly find trouble coming in all directions: items may be overstocked – or understocked – in certain locations, items can be mispicked, or you may end up with a large number of backorders to deliver, limiting your ability to handle new orders as they come; a compound effect.
Mail order fulfilment services offer cutting-edge management systems for both orders and stock, affording you increased visibility along the supply chain and making it easier to track levels, orders, and deliveries in real time, catch opportunities for risk and cost reduction as they emerge, as well as make accurate predictions about the demand for your products and plan accordingly. With this increased degree of control, it is much easier to ensure that customers get the speedy service they are expecting and allows you a tighter hold of the reins as you seek to scale your business.
Thirdly: 3PL ecommerce fulfilment helps your business to expand. We’ve seen that distributing your inventory over a wider geographical area helps cut down delivery times, but it can also give you access to customers and markets which might previously have been beyond reach. Moreover, as order processing and fulfilment helps you to streamline the delivery process and make your operations more efficient, your brand can build a good consumer reputation for speedy delivery and quality service; since this is a number one concern for so many shoppers, it’s the surest way to acquire new customers and increase your brand recognition.
A final thought on how logistics can affect your brand:
Ecommerce brands that want to stay competitive and maintain good customer relations can’t cut corners when it comes to fast delivery. In a world where DTC sales are increasingly dominating online retail, shoppers remember delivery times more than they remember any other single aspect of the shopping experience, so it’s never been more important for retailers with online stores to invest in order fulfilment which is fast, streamlined and reliable.
By offering the benefits of geographically distributed stock, data reports which are thorough, penetrating and up-to-date, and the capacity to maintain a steady service that your customers can rely on, the indispensable role played by 3PL ecommerce fulfilment in commercial infrastructure is only set to strengthen in 2022 – where could it take your brand this year?