Become Your Customers’ Source of Certainty


Savvy merchants know that the key to repeat business and long-lasting relationships is customer experience. Whether in manufacturing, distribution, or retail, customers are more likely to return to vendors who act more like partners – vendors who prioritize keeping customers informed, handling issues proactively, and delivering with as little uncertainty as possible. Shipping, as an overall process, can be a significant differentiator if managed correctly because it largely determines: 

  • Timely dispatch, updates, and arrival of orders
  • Correct items going in the boxes and undamaged merchandise coming out
  • All-in cost of doing business with a particular merchants

From order to receipt, customers consider their vendors responsible for getting them what they paid for, making “shipping” and “customer experience” heavily intertwined. It’s a complex process to manage, but software can help! Much of the customer lifecycle can be managed through a modern ERP, but most ERP systems come up short on shipping. For that, specialty software – like 3G’s transportation and shipping software – is needed. And for it to create the certainty customers demand, the two systems will have to integrate as if one. 

Timely transits. “Shipping” can be broken into two basic components: packing & preparation in the warehouse, and transit with a carrier. Both create substantial opportunities to affect timeliness. Warehouse workflows within a merchant’s direct control, and reducing the time needed to print labels & paperwork, determine packaging, and select a carrier means reducing overall shipping times. And despite not having custody of shipments while in transit, vendors can still affect timely delivery based on the carrier, service, and mode selected. Unfortunately, without a single interface to compare all options, suboptimal choices are often made.  

Accurate articles. Few things frustrate customers more than opening a box and finding wrong, or damaged, items. Many customers rely on those shipments to keep their own businesses running and need to be certain they will be salable. Technology in the warehouse – in the form of scan packing, batch shipping, retailer compliant labels, and EDI automation – can all but eliminate order errors when connected to state-of-the-art shipping software. Damage prevention, through proper packaging and appropriate carrier services, can be controlled via the same system.

Pricing prowess. One of the greatest sources of uncertainty for customers is pricing – final, total, all-in pricing. And that means shipping, too. It’s important to provide an accurate estimate early in the process, so customers know exactly what they will be in for (and vendors aren’t made to cover the difference when those estimates turn out to be wrong). By far the greatest determinant of pricing is mode, carrier, and service selection – necessitating access to an extensive carrier network – but having software capable of making accurate estimates is also paramount. That same software can also help drive costs down through elements of warehouse automation, too. The connectivity between that shipping software and the ERP is also a strong determinant of pricing success.

Managing the customer experience means working as a team, and that team includes software. Just as merchandise must flow through a warehouse, onto a truck, and into the customer’s hands, data has to flow unimpeded between systems. That means the ERP and shipping software, like 3G’s transportation and shipping suite, working with each other. Perfecting shipping on its own may not create customers for life, but poor shipping execution can certainly send them directly to the competition.

Do you have shipping-related customer service challenges, or see potential for them to pop up in the future? Let’s talk about them! Click here to contact us today.  




Publish date

August 16, 2023



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