How to Choose the Best E-Commerce Logistics Partner?

How to Choose the Best E-Commerce Logistics Partner?

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

October 11, 2023

According to a 2022 Ipsos-Octopia study, 85% of online shoppers wouldn’t reorder from a brand after a poor delivery experience. You guessed it but the success of your brand doesn’t rely only on the quality of your products or your marketing but also on logistics management.

Choosing the right e-commerce logistics partner is crucial. It can greatly affect your operations, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, your sales.

With numerous third-party logistics (3PL) providers fighting for your attention, selecting the best partner is overwhelming. So, how can you ensure you make the BEST choice? What should you demand from your logistics partners?

1. Frictionless logistics for e-commerce: ensuring smooth operations

1.1 Keys considerations to have in mind

  • Industry Expertise: Especially for niches like fashion, beauty, and food, it's essential that your 3PL understands industry-specific challenges. Make sure your 3PL services providers can handle different storage methods, First Expired, First Out (FEFO) inventory management, temperature-controlled warehousing, and other specific requirements.
  • Scalability: Can they handle your business as it grows? It's not just about today, but also the peaks of tomorrow.
  • Tech Capabilities: Your 3PL should offer cutting-edge technology for inventory management, real-time tracking, and efficient communication systems.
  • Flexibility & Customisation: Your brand is unique. Can they tailor their services to your specific needs?

Founded in 2018, Bigblue set out with a bold vision: to transform logistics for e-commerce brands in France, the UK and Spain by providing brands with a user-friendly solution.

Bigblue's warehouse in France
One of Bigblue's warehouse in France.

2. Platform integration: staying ahead of the curve

2.1 Achieving synergy with marketplaces

As a business owner aiming to scale and diversify sales channels, you require a logistics partner that offers a comprehensive fulfilment solution.

  • Pre-existing integration to leading platforms and marketplaces

A logistics system that easily works with popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces allows you to connect your online stores with the logistics service without manual intervention. If you use platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or sell on Amazon, you'd prefer a logistics partner that seamlessly integrates with these platforms, ensuring smooth and consistent data flow. For example, you can search for Shopify logistics integration on the Shopify App Store!

  • Automated order fulfilment

Once an order is placed by a customer on an online platform, it automatically triggers a series of actions within the logistics system. These actions can include picking the right product from the warehouse, packing it as per specifications, and preparing it for shipment. Ultimately, it reduces manual intervention, ensuring that there are fewer errors and faster processing times.

  • In real-time sync tracking from inbound, storage, and delivery to returns processing

Every step of the product's journey is tracked in real-time. This includes when a product enters the logistics system, gets stored in a warehouse, is delivered to the customer, and even if it's returned. This real-time tracking provides your brand with a clear overview of each item's location at any given time. It also enables you to keep your customers informed, enhancing transparency and trust in the process.‍

  • Optimised logistics fulfilment and inventory management

It ensures that storage spaces are used efficiently, products are stored in a manner that ensures their quick retrieval and inventory levels are monitored to prevent overstocking or stockouts. This optimisation is done using technology and data analytics, helping you decide when to reorder products, stop selling slow-moving items, or offer promotions on overstocked items. The ultimate goal here is to reduce costs and improve service delivery.

2.2 Leveraging marketing & support tools

Integrating logistics with robust marketing and support tools enhances operational efficiency and customer engagement.

This synergy streamlines inventory management, optimizes promotions, and ensures swift responses to customer inquiries about shipping or product availability.

Selecting a 3PL logistics company with integrated marketing and support capabilities gives you a competitive advantage through a smoother customer buying journey.

Utilising platforms like Klaviyo, a specialised email marketing automation tool for e-commerce, can boost your revenue and enhance customer Lifetime Value (LTV) by enabling the creation, management, and analysis of email, SMS, and ad campaigns.

Efficient customer service is vital for retention, and tools like Gorgias or Zendesk can facilitate handling support tickets seamlessly.

Moreover, platforms like Slack are essential to ensure fluid communication among teams.

Advertising plays a pivotal role in drawing customers, and leveraging platforms like Facebook Ads or Google Ads can help your brand reach a wider audience.

Bigblue's integrations serve as an example, providing a comprehensive ecosystem that caters to both logistics and marketing needs, ensuring you can truly maximize your sales potential.

Bigblue's Marketing & Customer Support available integration with logo of Slack, Gorgias, Zendesk, Klaviyo & Facebook
Bigblue's Marketing & Customer Support available integration!

3. Brand-customer relationship: exceeding expectation  

E-commerce partner end-to-end

Logistics doesn’t stop at inbound shipment, stock management, or order fulfilment. Modern 3PL providers offer a wider range of services and solutions tailored to e-commerce needs.

It's essential to consider a partner's approach to the entire customer journey, particularly their ability to enhance both pre- and post-purchase experiences.

The ideal e-commerce fulfilment services will not only boost your logistics efficiency but also strengthen the relationship between your brand and its customers.

Features to look out for:

Enhanced Store & Checkout: Display accurate estimated arrival times and offer various delivery choices including carbon-free, express, home delivery, or pick-up point options.

Live Tracking: Offer real-time parcel tracking on branded pages. This feature enhances customer satisfaction by keeping them informed and decreases the frequency of “Where is my order?” inquiries.

Delivery Notifications: Provide automatic notifications through email or SMS for updates on delivery delays, backorders, and parcels that have not been collected.

Product Recommendations: Showcase products tailored to individual website visitors based on their data and browsing behaviour.

Intelligent Returns: Utilize a branded portal that offers customers a printerless label or a QR code for easy return label access, especially helpful for customers without printers. Instead of giving traditional refunds, consider the option of providing store credit, which can be used for future purchases. This not only encourages repeat purchases and retention of potential lost sales.

Unboxing Experience: Elevate the unboxing moment with custom packaging, informative flyers, thank you cards, and personalised gift messages.

Delivery Rating: Monitor customer satisfaction using Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and have a dedicated dashboard to analyse this data.‍

4. Beyond operations: sustainable logistics

In 2023, the UK anticipates having close to 60 million e-commerce consumers, meaning only a small portion of the population will not engage in online purchases.

The environmental consciousness of consumers is rising.

Based on a 2022 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey of 10,000 UK consumers, sustainability significantly influences consumer decisions. A notable 76% of consumers actively support sustainability and expect brands to reciprocate. Furthermore, 57% admit a brand's sustainability practices shape their perception of it.

Brands should highlight their environmental efforts to draw in and maintain a loyal customer base. Choosing a 3PL company that aligns with current realities solidifies your values.

Logistics is instrumental in the push toward a carbon-neutral economy, and the direction of the industry ought to be forward-thinking.

At Bigblue, we are committed to greener and sustainable logistics.

5. A successful partnership in action: SmartWorkout

From the inception of SmartWorkout, co-founders Christelle and Lucas aimed to reach not just France but the entire European market.

Partnering with Bigblue, they were able to effectively deliver innovative fitness equipment throughout Europe, rapidly gaining a vast customer base. Approximately half of SmartWorkout's orders are dispatched internationally in record time due to Bigblue's extensive European warehouse and carrier network.

Key features like Bigblue's prime-like experience called Fast-Tag enhanced SmartWorkout's product page conversion rate by 22%. Fast-Tag allows your brand to show a precise delivery promise and free delivery tag on your product's page. While integration capabilities with platforms like Amazon facilitated expansion into new markets and sales channels.

Next step

Have you determined which fulfilment partner is best suited to assist with your e-commerce logistics needs?

Choosing the right logistics partner to boost your e-commerce sales growth is a crucial decision for any merchant. The ideal partner will possess expertise and a robust network to support integrated solutions tailored to your unique needs.

Real-time tracking and logistics technology are not just nice-to-haves but essentials, ensuring that your partner provides detailed data and international capabilities can make all the difference.

It's about more than just transporting goods; it's about scalability in logistics, supply chain efficiency, and creating a seamless customer experience.

By focusing on these facets, you can run and scale your logistics effortlessly. This ensures cost-effective shipping, unparalleled delivery speed, and the freedom for merchants of any size to prioritize their core business without being bogged down by the complexities of logistics.

Bigblue is more than a logistics provider, we are a key player in your growth!

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
Why is choosing the right e-commerce logistics partner important for my business?

The success of your brand depends not only on product quality and marketing but also on logistics. Choosing the right logistics partner can significantly impact your operations, customer satisfaction, and overall sales.

Why is choosing the right e-commerce logistics partner crucial for business success?

The success of your online store depends not only on product quality and marketing but also on the efficiency of logistics operations. A well-chosen logistics partner significantly impacts operations, customer satisfaction, and overall sales.

What factors contribute to a frictionless logistical process in e-commerce?

Frictionless logistics involves considerations such as industry expertise, scalability, advanced technology, and flexible services tailored to the unique needs of your brand. These factors ensure a seamless logistical process.

How can a logistics partner contribute to cost savings in e-commerce shipping?

Outsourcing logistics is a strategic move for cost savings in e-commerce. A 3PL logistics partner with optimised fulfilment and inventory management systems can help reduce storage costs, prevent overstocking or stockouts, and enhance overall service delivery, leading to cost savings in e-commerce shipping.

Why are fulfilment centres essential for efficient e-commerce logistics, and how do they impact delivery times?

Fulfilment centres are crucial hubs for picking, packing, and shipping, ensuring streamlined processes and reduced delivery times. These centres play a key role in efficient e-commerce logistics.

Why is efficient order fulfilment key to the success of e-commerce businesses, and how does it impact customer satisfaction?

Fulfilling orders efficiently is key to success in e-commerce as it ensures accurate picking, packing, and shipping. This contributes to timely deliveries, reduced operational costs, and overall customer satisfaction.