One of the beautiful things about eCommerce is that online retailers tend to operate with significantly less overhead than physical vendors. After all, there’s no showroom space, no cost of keeping goods on the premise, and no hourly sales team (at least for demonstrations). In fact, many eCommerce retailers do not even need an office location at all. So in today’s decentralized retail environment, where one individual can operate a sprawling online retail empire, why should you worry about “visibility”?
In truth, there are three very compelling reasons…
1. You Need to Answer Customers’ Questions
Even if your business participates in drop-shipping, or has products delivered from a remote warehouse or distribution center, you still want to keep control of your products or goods. Real-time tracking information is the first step. Your customers want to know when their item has shipped, where it is along every leg of the transit process, and when it’s expected to arrive at their destination. Ignoring this need only leads to more customer service requirements on your valuable time. A substantial number potential customer questions can be eliminated from your phone line or inbox when the clear and correct data is available to them online.
2. You Need To Monitor Efficiency
Is the 3PL service you’re using actually performing well, or are they costing you money and alienating customers through costly delays? In addition to easily helping you determine the operational efficiency levels of your hired delivery team and providing proactive resolutions to potential problems, visibility means you can create a more accurate chronological picture for your customer. If delivery personnel realize that their every action is being recorded into a productivity calculation, they are far more likely to keep up the level of service that your customers demand.
3. You Need to Protect Your Brand
You want your 3PL to accurately represent your brand, and make it clear that a package was delivered with care from your company. This also means that when something has the potential to go wrong, the fault would have your name on it. You want to give exceptional service and ensure repeat business, as well as completely alleviate the threat of blame for a bad experience actually incurred by a less-qualified 3PD service. For these tasks, visibility is the solution. The opportunity for improved delivery statistics and customer service is too valuable to ignore.
Visibility is that one key factor that protects your brand reputation, reassures your customers of your reliability, and monitors the efficiency of every variable involved throughout the entire delivery process. Because as an online retailer you enjoy the freedom of not being smothered under inventory and overhead costs, the flawless functioning of your 3PL—and the ability for you to see every aspect—is just that much more vital to your success.