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A helping hand on deliveries

Using a third party to administer the e-fulfilment process could improve overall customer satisfaction

While the design of a website and brands stocked will entice customers to make a purchase, it is ultimately the efficiency and accuracy of delivery that determines whether they make a return visit. Logistics may not be the most exciting process when setting up online but it is one that can have a real impact on customer satisfaction. So, what are the advantages of using a third party to administer the e-fulfilment process?

E-fulfilment company Amethyst Group’s business development manager Clair Muir believes that once a retailer reaches a certain size, outsourcing is definitely the answer. Managing the logistics of an online business involves organisation and accuracy, dealing with multiple orders and delivering to various locations direct to customer. Third-party companies such as Amethyst can provide the connection between point of sale, packaging and delivery, and integrate the systems involved.

A benefit of using a third-party end-to-end fulfilment provider is the opportunity to take advantage of their relationships with carriers. Often the logistics company will have a number of clients and therefore can negotiate group rates with carrier companies and pass this discount on to retailers that use them.

Research is key when deciding on an e-fulfilment company. Their current customer list will show the size of business the company is experienced in handling and which markets they specialise in. Testing orders with their other clients can also give a good indication of how effectively the process is managed.

Effective e-fulfilment companies will administer bespoke strategies to work best with your business and have the flexibility to adapt to your brand. Everything should be taken into account - from integration with current systems to the quality of packaging required to retain brand image. E-fulfilment companies must also ensure they are prepared for growth within businesses and busy periods throughout the year, as well as having an adaptable approach to exceptional circumstances like the recent heavy snow. Procedures should also be put in place for return orders, as these will not only need to be recorded and refunded but also checked for damages.

A third party e-fulfilment company should have the flexibility and expertise to manage your operation and keep, if not improve, your overall customer satisfaction.

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