Choosing the right logistics partner can definitely make or break your business. Product delivery is a fundamental part of e-commerce. It can either become a huge asset or a direct pain for your business. It is your only physical touchpoint with the customers, and represents your business to them.
A good logistics process offered by the perfect e-commerce delivery service is as imperative for your business as anything else. It is not just a nice-to-have element but can offer a clear competitive advantage to your e-commerce business. While it can be easy to manage your deliveries when you only have 15-20 orders per day, it gets difficult when you scale. According to a recent study, the D2C outsourcing market may hit $156B by 2023. Outsourcing your logistics to an e-commerce logistics provider, who has the technology and expertise to deal with it efficiently can be the perfect solution here. This article will offer a complete list of all the indicators you should consider before selecting your e-commerce delivery service.
Outline your business needs first
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine your expectations from an e-commerce delivery service.
- 1. Do you want to deliver your products to a specific region or across cities?
- 2. Are your products perishable? Do they require refrigeration? Do they require any special care?
- 3. Do you require a warehouse to store your products safely?
- 4. Do you have large order volumes to fulfill? What are the sizes of your products?
- 5. Do you want same-day deliveries?
- 6. What are your pricing expectations?
- 7. Do you want the customer to place orders directly on your website?
Answering these questions will help you in determining your requirements, and shortlisting the prospective e-commerce delivery services for your business. For instance, if your products require refrigeration, you will only look for an e-commerce courier service which offers temperature-controlled deliveries. Once your expectations are defined, you can weigh your shortlisted options on the following parameters.
1. Area of expertise
Most of the e-commerce delivery services cover only one industry, segment or product and have built their efficiencies in that arena. Only a few offer omni-category logistics solutions with the same level of expertise. For eg; Pidge is one such city logistics expert that provides customised solutions for multiple product categories across industries with speed, efficiency and reliability. Once you have defined your business requirements you can look for a courier service for e-commerce which is proficient in the same area, and can effectively manage your deliveries.
2. Capacity & order accuracy
For selecting the right e-commerce delivery service, you need to evaluate your options on three basic factors:
- – Capacity to handle large order volumes,
- – Established transportation network, and
- – Delivery SLAs and order accuracy
Speed and accuracy are the key to acing your e-commerce logistics in today’s day and age. Look for an e-commerce delivery service which offers same-day deliveries without any delivery radius restrictions. You can also check out Pidge, which has a hybrid fleet and an established network across five cities of Delhi-NCR for optimised order fulfilment on the same day. Pidge’s proprietary routing algorithm helps in managing custom requirements at a business and time-of-day level to make the most effective decision.
3. Representation of your brand
Your customer cannot differentiate between your business and your logistics provider. Your e-commerce delivery service represents your brand at the customer’s doorstep. Whether the delivery is good or bad, it will be attributed to your brand service. Choosing a good logistics partner that can provide an exceptional at-door experience along with support services to the customers is imperative to satisfy customers.
Choosing the right e-commerce delivery service that delivers your product on-time, has polite staff and can manage customer queries easily can help in reducing your workload. In today’s day and age, when incidents of misbehaviour of delivery staff are rampant, it is important to carefully select a delivery service provider which monitors and trains their staff. For instance, Pidge’s on-roll delivery executives are highly trained for delivering a world-class experience to delight your customers. Well-rounded training equips them to skillfully handle and deliver your products.
An exceptional at-door experience also comprises the redressal of customer queries, and only an e-commerce courier service that has a customer-centric approach can have fluid lines of communication with the customers. A good customer service and true representation of your brand at the customer’s doorstep is a real value proposition. It can increase your customer satisfaction, brand recognition and drive repeat sales.
It is important to look for an e-commerce delivery service that can partner with you for the long run. Your logistics partner should not just be able to handle your current needs, but should also have the infrastructure and capabilities required to handle your future needs. As an e-commerce business, you may need to readjust your processes while scaling, and your logistics partner should be flexible enough to sustain that growth over time without compromising on performance, efficiencies and quality of service. Here are certain things to consider:
- – Does your delivery partner offer warehouse facilities to store extra inventory?
- – Can your delivery partner help you expand your business to newer markets?
- – Can your delivery partner support you during peak season?
- – Does your delivery partner offer flexible solutions for your product variations?
Answering these questions will help you understand the long-term benefits of partnering with an e-commerce delivery service. If you want storage facilities for extra inventory, look for a logistics partner which has a warehouse and fulfilment centres. Pidge, for example, has its own micro-fulfilment centres called Pidge House at various locations in Delhi NCR, which enable faster deliveries.
Expanding to newer markets requires your logistics partner to deliver your products without any radius restrictions across a wide area, just as Pidge delivers radius-free across Delhi-NCR. An e-commerce delivery service that can easily fulfil your on-demand orders and has excellent order predictability will offer the perfect solution for your e-commerce business.
5. Seamless, scalable and reliable tech integration
E-commerce businesses thrive on smooth flow of information and data, whether it be for the customers, business owners or logistics partners. Partnering with a logistics company offers a clear benefit to your business. They have access to those sophisticated hardware and software innovations that you might not be able to invest in by yourself. So, it becomes important to consider the level of automation that an e-commerce delivery service offers.
Your logistics partner should have access to the latest tech, should offer innovative solutions, and should have the necessary resources to adapt to your processes and needs. They should offer a high degree of tech integration with the current CMS you use to manage your store. Seamless data pass-through and a high level of automation can save time, effort and errors in decision making. An open API structure and capacity to work with third party platforms such as Shopify, help Pidge in ensuring a quick and consistent transfer of data along with various customisation options.
6. Returns management
Returns have become the new normal in e-commerce shopping today. As per data from Narvar (2018) and Return Magic Survey, 41% of online shoppers buy variations of a product with the intention of returning them and close to 89% have returned an online purchase in the previous three years. Due to the increased amount of online shopping in the pandemic, this number has increased now. It is essential for an e-commerce business to have a well established plan for movement of goods in the opposite direction as well. Your e-commerce delivery service has a key role to play in the success of those processes.
An effective reverse logistics management system can act as a market differentiator for your business and help in maximising your revenue. Before selecting a courier service for e-commerce, you need to ask certain questions about returns management such as:
- – What is the overall cycle time that they promise?
- – What will be the overall cost of returns?
- – Will the delivery service charge extra for reattempts?
Different logistics providers have different policies for reattempts and verification of returns. Some e-commerce delivery services like Pidge offer verified returns, delivery reattempts and reduced cycle time, which ultimately helps in reducing your costs and increasing your customer satisfaction. Make sure to look for an e-commerce delivery service that offers agile solutions for your reverse logistics as well.
7. Transparent & adaptive pricing
When you start looking for a logistics partner, you will realise that the market is highly competitive, and you will have a wide range of offers to choose from. You must choose an e-commerce delivery service that has a transparent pricing structure without any hidden costs or charges. It is important to be able to estimate your cost beforehand and make decisions accordingly. While most of the delivery services charge some form of order-based commissions, there are some like Pidge, which offer a transparent and competitive pricing structure that enables you to be cost-efficient.
Choosing the cheapest delivery option may not prove to be the best solution for your business when it comes to pricing. Many courier services for e-commerce may quote low prices but will also rate low in terms of on-time deliveries, order accuracy and customer service. There is no benefit of saving on logistics cost if your product does not reach safely and on-time to your customer. It is important to look for a logistics partner that can offer an optimum balance between cost, service and quality.
Your logistics partner should support your vision and goals in the long run. Along with all other factors, ensure that you both have the same values, and will be able to move in the same direction for the success, growth and expansion of your business. Employ these tips to choose the perfect e-commerce delivery service for your business and let us know how they worked for you.