For many retailers, December is the strongest sales month of the entire year. Not only do merchants enjoy an influx of orders during the holiday season, they also benefit when consumers spend their holiday bonuses on goods and services. The results can be nothing short of a Christmas miracle: putting struggling companies into the black, and helping thriving companies to finish the fiscal year strong.
To capitalize on this increased order volume, it is essential that your business puts a sound fulfilment strategy in place. Shipping and delivery delays are never acceptable, but punctual fulfilment takes on an even greater importance during Christmas time. If just one customer gets the gift they orderedon December 26th,chances are high that you’ll lose that person’s business forever. Worse still, companies that are consistently unable to fulfill holiday orders can suffer massive damage to their reputation. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to Toys.com, an iconic “dot com” era company that went bust virtually overnight after their supply chain broke down.
One of the safest options forholiday deliveries is to utilize the services of a 3PL (third party logistics provider). Doing so can streamline the entire fulfilment process while freeing your team to focus on making sales and keeping the business running smoothly. As an added bonus, choosing a 3PL will often save your company money by bringing efficiency to your supply chain.
How To Evaluate Potential Fulfilment Partners
When deciding which 3PL to trust with your deliveries, make sure to carefully review the history of each organization you’re considering. Aim to choose a company that has at least five years of experience in the fulfilment industry, although ideally their track record will span an even longer length of time.You should also see if the company you’re speaking with offers any guarantees – such as a promise that items will arrive to their destination on time. Additionally, you may find it useful to inquire whether the 3PL has a documented rate of successful deliveries, as many companies do benchmark their performance.
Yet another area of emphasis you should focus on when deciding which 3PL to work with is integration. The nation’s top fulfilment providers all have order management and processing systems that can be linked with your point of sale. This is a huge strategic advantage, as integrating your POS with a 3PL’s fulfilment technologies creates an uninterrupted and accurate supply chain process. Through integration, the selected item is picked, packed, labeled, and sent out for delivery the moment your customers complete their purchases. In turn, this results in faster delivery times, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
It’s long been said that the sale doesn’t start until after the customer says “yes.” The same holds true when it comes to your holiday order fulfilment. Receiving payment is only the first step— you must exceed their expectations though punctual and accurate delivery in order to have truly completed the sale.