The holidays are fast approaching and that means possible supply chain disruptions and backed up orders. For 3PL warehouses, the weeks and months leading up to the holiday season can be among the busiest times of the year. This season presents great opportunities and significant challenges for those in the ecommerce field.
It may seem like the holidays are far away, but making sure your operations are in tip-top shape needs to start sooner than later. Black Friday is not too far off and typically generates 3.6 times more sales while Cyber Monday produces 3.1 times more sales than a regular day in November.
With this in mind, how is your business preparing for the holiday rush today? Having a third-party logistics partner (3PL) like Flex Logistics to help handle this type of seasonality can mean the difference between expanding your consumer base and watching as your future sales plummet.
Here’s why working with a 3PL during the holidays can be advantageous for your business.
Save Valuable Time
The time-saving benefits you reap from leveraging a 3PL are simply undeniable. As any business owner or manager can attest to, there is no such thing as “enough time” when prepping for holidays and major sales events. By outsourcing your fulfillment and logistics needs to a 3PL, you can focus your attention on valuable high-level activities like your holiday marketing campaigns. Ensuring shoppers have a positive experience is pivotal for driving customer loyalty and repeat business – two elements that are crucial for scaling and long-term success. And the best part? You can do all this while your orders are safely stored, picked, packed, and shipped by your 3PL warehousing partner.
Outsourced Warehousing Saves Space
From a practical perspective, working with a 3PL provider can be a serious space saver, even if you have large products. Before peak season this December, you will want to be sure you have enough inventory for the increased demand. If you have a wide assortment of products, stocking all these items at home or in your office may not be practical or organized. A 3PL service can store and manage these items for you, and ship and deliver the items your customers want in record time.
Holiday sales account for around 20% of annual retail sales each year, but that number can be even higher for some retailers especially with e-commerce on the rise. This puts additional pressure on equipment and staff, and many businesses are forced to purchase more to meet demand. Having a 3PL provider on your side can be a significant space saver, particularly if you are an ecommerce business. This is especially true if you plan to bundle items or if your products are on the larger side. As you begin forecasting holiday demand, you will need a bigger space to accommodate the subsequent influx of inventory. The increase in stock can quickly become disorganized and messy without the right systems – and space – in place to properly manage the movement of these goods. This is where having a 3PL partner can come in handy.
Put Products Closer to Your Customers
Today’s consumers expect quick, on-time delivery. And the truth is, the marketplace is extremely competitive. If you cannot satisfy the demand for quick shipping, you’ll basically be spoon-feeding potential customers to your competition. Working with a 3PL partner would allow you to optimize your order fulfillment and strategically manage inventory to ensure expectations are not just met but exceeded.
Similarly, 3PL warehousing providers offer last-mile carrier tracking, giving shoppers the power to track their packages – a game-changer for strengthening the customer experience and driving repeat business.
One of the best parts of partnering with an established 3PL is that in addition to having them manage your company’s logistical needs, you also gain access to their professional network. Having a history of long-standing relationships allows 3PL’s to leverage service, price, and capacity for their clients. During the busy holiday season having strong partnerships with operators might make the difference between delivering consumers’ gifts on time or missing valuable deadlines.
Provide Competitive Shipping
The “Amazon effect” has created lasting expectations in consumers for e-commerce orders. Customers now demand fast and inexpensive shipping, which can be challenging to meet during the holiday season. 69% of shoppers will not purchase from a brand again if an order is received late, so there is a lot of pressure to deliver on time.
3PL providers are often able to negotiate shipping rates for their customers since they handle many orders each day. These special shipping rates they receive can benefit their clients, which means huge savings for you. Access to better shipping rates can also provide you with new marketing and sales opportunities. You can pay it forward by offering free shipping, which is a big selling point for online brands. If you are trying to boost customer interest before the holidays, you can add a free shipping feature ahead of peak season.
Elevate Your Brand
3PL providers offer unique branding opportunities for your business. From custom packaging to package inserts, you can personalize your orders this holiday season by working alongside a 3PL. Unlike some providers, like Amazon, you will be able to highlight your brand in a way that builds recognition and creates a positive customer experience. Do not discount these kinds of touchpoints – customers love personalization and providing a sense of community among your audience can truly separate you from competitors.
Once you have made it through the holiday season, it is nearly time to begin planning for the next year. Collecting holiday shopping data and analyzing it can be challenging, but it is an important step to creating a plan, budget, and forecasting. By partnering with a 3PL they will not only monitor your business’s holiday shopping sales but also use that data to help formulate a plan for the following years to improve efficiency.
The FLEX Logistics Team is Here to Help!
Fulfillment and Replenishment are terms used regularly in Supply Chain. They are not synonymous even though they can involve the usage of many of the same processes in their planning and execution.
The different sources and timing for demand creation and the different processes required to execute them are what make Fulfillment and Replenishment unique.
Our team understands the importance of getting your products to the market. That is why we aim to understand your business and build lasting relationships with you and your team. Whether you are looking to add a new warehouse to your existing operations, growing and need to increase your distribution efforts, or starting a new company, FLEX has the solutions to meet your supply chain needs.
Contact us today to discuss your current and future warehousing and logistics needs. We will work together with you to understand your requirements and develop a solution that will set you up for future success.