PAASE x Shipbob
Direct to Consumer brands have garnered many retail headlines, especially since the early days of the pandemic. Filling the gap left by larger retailers due to material shortages and supply chain issues. While many nay-sayers predicted that their growth would slow over the preceding timeframe, there is little evidence this has come to fruition.
One of the biggest reasons – DTCs are no longer just direct. With skyrocketing customer acquisition costs impacting the market as a whole and supply chain disruptions returning to some level of normality. DTCs cast the net wider. Whether through marketplaces, retail partnerships, moves into physical stores, or entry into new geographies.
However, with more channels comes more complexity. New integrations, unique fulfilment requirements for each channel, juggling multiple systems and operating requirements. All challenges for any brand, nevermind for many with only a few years ecommerce experience under their belts. That’s why so many shifted from fulfilling their orders in-house to outsourcing to a 3PL that could better meet their maturing needs.
If you’re a DTC brand in the same position or one who already uses a 3PL but wonders if they have the right partner – here are questions that you should ask to find the right fit for you:
Can they handle both D2C and B2B?
While there are many fulfilment specialists for each, there are relatively few that do both well. The scale and specific retailer requirements associated with B2B orders are very different from handling D2C orders. Find a partner that understands the requirements of the specific retailers you want to work with, whether they be small boutique stores or high-street giants.
Do they offer live insights into stock levels and order management?
Gone are the days of cluttered excel files and chasing down orders. Your 3PL provider should have a dashboard that can give you all the data to make swift decisions and react to any complications that can arise. Does your 3PL allow you to get a picture of your whole supply chain anytime you need it?
Do they already work with marketplaces?
Again, individual marketplaces have specific requirements for merchants selling on their platforms. Does the 3PL provider already work with these marketplaces so that they can pick, pack and ship your orders automatically without manual intervention?
Do they work with other tech partners?
It is increasingly important in the ecommerce world that your 3PL can integrate and enhance the other tools in your tech stack. Can you automate customer service inquiries, Klaviyo email campaigns, and subscriptions in your current situation?
Can your 3PL trigger Klaviyo campaigns for orders outside of your ecommerce platform?
Most 3PL’s can hide behind your ecomerce platform to trigger your email and SMS campaigns. Shopify, WooCommerce, Big Commerce, etc., but what about your orders from Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other online retailers? Are you able to create repeat buyers off of your 3rd party transactions and drive those customers back to your website?
Can they help you get closer to your international shoppers?
If your business is booming in new markets, then so are your shipping bills. That is, unless you can get closer to your end shoppers. Cutting down on physical distances to deliver quicker and cheaper but also serve them with the local shipping options they’re accustomed to. Do they have fulfilment locations in the countries or regions you’re looking to expand into?
Will they give me back time to scale?
One of the biggest benefits that ShipBob customers talk about when outsourcing is the time, they get back to focus on growing their business. Whether coming from an in-house operation or another 3PL, sellers need to understand the level of involvement they’ll need to put into the everyday fulfilment operations. No 3PL relationship should be one way, but at the same time you shouldn’t be spending too much time closely managing. Find one that easily provides you the insights you need to be confident they are delivering the quality you desire.
Will they enable me to deliver memorable unboxing experiences?
With retention rates being of paramount importance, delivering unboxing experiences that customers love is crucial. Afterall, your parcel is your only marketing channel with 100% open rate. Creating experiences that customers remember through custom packaging, gift notes, special product presentation, or even including free samples, are all low-cost tools that have a big impact. However, delivering at scale is often complex. Does the 3PL partner have tools and processes to ensure your products and parcels are presented and delivered exactly the way you want with each and every order?
How ShipBob can help.
Our mission is to help ecommerce businesses be more successful online. Providing them with not only the best fulfilment services, but also helping them build the best technology stack to easily manage this. Today we enable more than 7,000 businesses to do just that, from over 35 fulfilment centres across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia. All integrated into a single real-time dashboard, whether you are selling on Shopify, via Amazon, to physical retailers, or beyond. Through our own app store, we help sellers easily build the best ecommerce tech stack. With the most popular webstores, marketplaces, ecommerce plugins and tools integrated in just a few clicks.
Like the folks at PAASE, we’re also a Klaviyo Elite Partner. With our integration allowing sellers to keep in touch with their customers at all key order touch points, such as when your order has been received, picked, awaiting carrier pickup, and when it is out for delivery. This allows you to head-off those frustrating WISMO (where is my order?) enquiries before they happen and also notify customers when their favourite product is back in stock. Resulting in higher levels of first-time delivery success and customer satisfaction.