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A detailed discussion

The pandemic has created an enormous demand for online shopping, with unprecedented levels of eCommerce retailers becoming the go-to place for shopping for many Canadian, and international, consumers.

Of course, the pandemic has had an effect on businesses and their shipping strategies. Many, unable to adapt to the overwhelming demand, or just not prepared enough to have the proper infrastructure in place, quickly became second fiddle to every other online business preparing effective shipping routes and talking with multiple courier services, and preparing various shipping services, to ensure customer service doesn’t suffer.

Here at eShipper, we made it our priority to never stop working to ensure that all our clients, and their customers, were kept satisfied.

We partnered with Digital Main Street, and their shopHERE program, and became their official shipping partner so that hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores would find a place online, and begin shipping within weeks.

We were also privileged in that the transportation and logistics industry was deemed essential during the pandemic, and we worked tirelessly to make sure all our operations kept running, and the packages never stopped shipping.

“eShipper is a great company to work with, they helped us save on our shipping needs and also provided us options that were not only cheaper but more convenient than what we were previously using. Their customer support is amazing and it really feels like they are there for you.The Benefits of Having a Shipping Partner” 

— Brandon Morrison, Co-Founder of United and Free Skincare

Outsourcing fulfillment is a step above shipping orders from home, but it’s important to make sure your 3PL is a good fit. 

1. You are stuck using only 1 or 2 courier services

At this point, it’s time to branch out and diversify your courier services, to ensure you have the best rates, and the best routes in place for effective shipping, and last-mile delivery, to your customers.

Besides, partnering with a shipping service provider means you will gain leverage over couriers, and with its help, negotiating better shipping rates becomes easy!

courier service

2. Unable to scale your business to global operations

If you’re looking to expand internationally and business is booming overseas, it’s time to seriously consider partnering with a global shipping and fulfillment company that can accommodate worldwide delivery, or switch to a multi 3PL model, where you have a separate 3PL handling your order fulfillment based on the country being shipped too.

Now you might be asking if you’re a Canadian-based business, “how much is shipping in Canada?”, the answer…it depends. If you’re looking to expand across the nation, finding the right shipping service can be tricky and shipping courier rates can add up, check out a more affordable solution here.

And if you’re looking to ship to your customers in the south, here is the best way to keep our friendly neighbours not feeling left out.

3. You need better support

A well-established, and credible 3PL will go beyond basic customer inquiries and rudimentary shipping services — it should be your business's complete holistic solution to order fulfillment, from eCommerce to delivery, to managing any unforeseen circumstances in between — your one-stop-shop shipping service provider.

The end goal of any 3PL is to ensure your business's growth, so if you don’t feel like you’re getting that now, why settle for less?

Shipping service

4. Customized solutions for your business

In addition to the ability to scale operations, different 3PLs have different systems in place to better manage the logistical backend for your business. You also want to make sure they have a solid grasp on order fulfillment, provide you with the best shipping services possible and are flexible in adopting the needs of your business.

Don’t partner with a 3PL just for on-demand warehouse space, partner with a 3PL that offers your business the best shipping services possible.

The experience has been great so far. eShipper offers reasonable rates overall. Terrific and easy group of people to work with. Shout out to Minhal for being readily available for any shipping or storage-related service requests.” 

Shah Rai, Founder of Nimble

Besides warehousing, here is a list of services that you should expect from a 3PL partnership:

  1. Custom label printing
  2. Track & Trace technology
  3. Scheduled shipping routes/optimized shipping routes and rates
  4. One source of truth dashboard
  5. Reduced shipping rates with popular courier services
  6. Cross-border shipping 
  7. eCommerce solutions

…and many more!

Your business deserves the best, and there is a perfect 3PL out there for your business.

5. Unable to constantly improve and enhance their technology

In today’s world, data matters.

If your 3PL does NOT offer fulfillment software with order management capabilities, your business is behind the competition.

You MUST have insight into the status of every order that passes through the warehouse, without that level of tracking, it will be impossible to figure out customer pain points, find vulnerabilities and optimize the quality of experience you’re offering to customers.

But it shouldn’t stop there.

If your business is still stuck in the past, for example still manually uploading orders to your fulfillment provider’s system, you’re losing out on precious time! Instead, find a solution that will automatically sync every order that gets put on your eCommerce store directly to your shipping service provider's dashboard — no hassle, all in one place, and with an easy pick, pack, ship pipeline.

Your 3PL should also automatically push tracking info back to your store as soon as the order ships, ensuring the flow of data is consistent so that you can stay on top of orders, and keep the communication transparent for both you and your customers.

Example: A customer visits your store, finds a product they like, adds to cart and purchases. That transactional information has now been passed from the eCommerce store straight to your 3PLs dashboard, where you can view their entire order information as well as shipping details. The label then gets automatically generated, the correct shipping information is passed on to the warehouse, and the order is packed and shipped via the preferred shipping courier without you having to do anything — that’s the power of automated technology and what a shipping service provider can do for you.

6. Just not getting the value back

Cheap doesn’t mean better, but neither does expensive.

However, one thing is always for certain (besides taxes), if you’re paying a premium for order fulfillment, the value that is returned must equate to positive ROI.

So balance out the pros/cons with your current shipping service provider to see if the value adds up over a more traditional 3PL (spoiler, it doesn’t).

Choosing a shipping company partner can be a tall order, especially if you don’t know where to start.

Here are 4 questions you should always ask before making a decision:

  1. How much industry experience do they have?
  2. Do they offer 360-degree support in all aspects (shipping, fulfillment, returns etc.)
  3. Can they help scale your business?
  4. Do they offer customer support, and if they do, is it via human interaction or chatbot?

Asking the following questions, before partnering with a shipping service provider, will be the difference between finding a reliable one and one that doesn’t meet your expectations.

eShipper is a complete end-to-end shipping service for Canadian businesses of all sizes. We offer courier, LTL, and freight shipping, warehousing, pick & pack services, and technology to enhance a customer’s brand and scale their growth. eShipper integrates with major online stores and marketplaces to create a faster and more seamless shipping experience and enables businesses to manage all their orders in one place. For more information, please visit www.eshipper.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the author

Abdul Syed - is a Shipping consultant at eShipper and helping businesses save and grow.

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