Become Part of the Problem-Solving Business
As one of the world's largest shipping and delivery companies, UPS traditionally highlighted its reliable logistics services in its marketing and branding efforts. Now, the century-old company is tackling broader business problems. In a new campaign that aired early last month, UPS states, "Bring us your daydreams, your ‘ahas,’ your easier-said-than dones … We're in the problem-solving business."
The spot mirrors what we aim to accomplish for our clients, and is a strategy all third-party logistics providers should also consider. A great fulfillment partner is one that can help business owners accomplish their goals by providing trust, excitement and new opportunities for both the brands themselves and their customers. Here are tips on how providers and retailers can better work together to improve not only fulfillment and logistics, but the brand overall:
1. Form a partnership. A partnership allows retailers to accomplish what they can't do alone. Businesses should partner with a trusted third party to assist with major logistical needs, especially when these tasks can impact brand reputation. Fulfillment providers should provide the same, and retailers should seek partners that are equally committed.
Why is this important? A brand often comes to work with a third-party logistics partner during its emergence stage. The brand is experiencing rapid growth where demand is high, and it's difficult to keep up with the increasing pace of operations. While working with a third-party logistics partner is necessary to get through this perilous stage, brands are often hesitant to open critical operational aspects of their business, like shipping and packing, to an outside party.
These areas have a significant impact on how consumers view their brand, so the risk is high. If the packaging design isn't consistent with the brand or products aren't delivered on time, consumers will likely blame the retailer itself. Retailers, therefore, should seek partners that are an extension of their in-house team rather than just a vendor. The relationship should always be collaborative and put the customer first.
2. Don't forget the details. A great logistics partner should be fully aware of their part in the customer experience and let business owners focus on creativity and growth.
Growing retail businesses should never hold back from pursuing creative ideas because of implementation challenges. This is where a great third-party logistics partner comes in. We never want our clients to stray away from creative ideas because they feel they don't have the resources to make it happen. A brand with an exciting idea should always be able to flesh out the details no matter how unique or challenging they might seem.
3. Turn problems into opportunities. A solid fulfillment partner should help businesses solve not only logistics problems, but problems facing businesses overall. Brands should always be anticipating problems and brainstorming ways to recover and gain something from them, and a good logistics partner can turn these problems into opportunities.
Retailers that are looking to cut logistics costs, offer space-efficient packaging or reduce their environmental impact, for example, should be able to turn to a third-party logistics partner to analyze least-total-cost solutions. For our clients, we do more than just handle these needs, we help turn problems into business opportunities. We've helped brands such as Birchbox and Vineyard Vines grow their customer bases and market reach.
We've also worked with our clients to expand from B-to-B to B-to-C and to home shopping networks. Most retailers want to push their business forward, and should judge the value of a partnership by this kind of extra effort. UPS functions as this voice from a shipping perspective, but logistics providers should do the same for brands earlier on in the process.
A great third-party logistics partner will do more than provide shipping, fulfillment or packaging services. They'll build trust with business owners when they deliver not only packages, but their brand experience as an in-house extension of the brand. At Dotcom Distribution, we specialize in creative package design that customers enjoy, but that's also efficient to ship. Through our partnership with Adore Me, we were able to maintain the brand's upscale image and ensure orders were received on time, all while lowering costs. Most importantly, Adore Me saw a 300 percent growth in revenue in our first year working together. When we help businesses achieve their goals and act a resource to turn problems into opportunities, the partnership truly pays off.
Maria Haggerty is CEO and one of the original founders of Dotcom Distribution, a premier provider of B2C and B2B fulfillment and distribution services. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business with a concentration in Accounting. Maria plays an integral role in developing and defining all aspects of the business, including sales and marketing, operations, finance and IT. As CEO, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership, establishing long range goals, and developing strategies for the senior leadership team. Maria has developed the systemic and procedural infrastructure necessary to provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial reports and financial trends in order to assist the Board, senior executives and clients in performing their responsibilities while achieving favorable results. She works closely with the leadership team to enhance, develop, and enforce procedures that will improve the overall operation and effectiveness of the corporation. During her tenure at the Dotcom, Maria has developed an environment of continual improvement by supporting the Senior Leadership Team and their department managers on continuous process, space labor, automation, and financial best practices. Prior to founding Dotcom, Maria was a CPA at Arthur Andersen and was later the CFO of GoodTimes Home Video where she helped grow the company’s distribution business. When Maria is not in the office, she enjoys traveling around the world and practicing her photography skills.